Warning! Blog contains A LOT of beach and ocean photos!! Also – reader beware – blog contains SUPER CUTE fluffy koala photos!
The Great Ocean Road spans from about an hour outside Melbourne for about 150 miles. It lines the coast with the most beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. We decided to do it over two days to give us plenty of time to stop along the way to take in the views.
Our first stop was in Apollo Bay, about halfway down the Great Ocean Road. We stopped several times to take in the scenery and it was absolutely magnificent! Blue ocean with tons of waves. We stopped at an area called Kennett River that I had read was a prime koala sighting spot. At first glance, it’s a cafe on the side of the road and place for caravans to stop for the night. But a quick turn to the left takes you up into the forest and as long as you keep looking up.. there they are! Cute little fluffy gray tushies! Not hundreds, but every once in a while you see a koala sleeping on a branch. So fluffy and cute! We were overwhelmed with joy to see these little creatures in the wild! A few of them were even awake and walking around up on the branches. One little guy was hangin out watching us as we were watching him! Koalas sleep for about 20 hours a day, so not only seeing them but seeing them awake was very lucky!
On our way back down we noticed a koala in a tree right near the entrance back onto the great ocean road, after pulling over to say hello, we noticed a few parrots in the trees as well! Someone was handing around bird seed and as soon as we got a little handful the parrots were flying right onto our arms to get a little snack! Such fun!
We stopped in Lorne, another beach town, for a quick bite and while walking up and down the main street, we saw a few wild cockatoo’s munching on some people’s leftover food at a table! They swooped right in and helped themselves. Both Dean and I have only ever seen them in captivity so we were in awe watching them just fly around and landing right in front of us! It was so funny! They were HUGE and so gorgeous!
The next day we were headed to Warnambool. On this stretch of the Great Ocean Road there are tons of stops to see unique rock formations. Huge pieces of limestone carved away from the earth from relentless weather and waves over thousands of years. They’re all named something different. The 12 apostles, London Bridge, and Grottos just to name a few. They all look different from every angle! Be warned: there are a lot of other tourists doing these too! It seems hard to find parking and a spot on the lookouts to grab a pic. At one point as we were driving, we looked to our left and saw a beautiful view.. we decided that even though there wasn’t a designated stopping area we would see if we could pull off to take a look. We saw a sign for a boat ramp and thought we’d just go check it out. It led us to “The Bay of Islands” and was by far the best view we’d had all day. We were the only ones there and there were tons of limestone islands in our view. All different shapes and sizes and each had their own story to tell. Some had grass growing on top, others had arches in it carved by the waves.. they were all so unique. Maybe it was the view combined with the peace and quiet, away from other tourists that made it our favorite but nevertheless, It was a great pit stop!
On our way into Warrnambol, we saw a cheese museum on the side of the highway.. cheese? Yes please! We stopped in and had a walk around. Next to the museum was a shop that allowed us to taste as much as we wanted. We were in cheese heaven! We loved it so much we decided to buy some. We got a half a wheel of their Club Cheddar, aged 20 months. The sharpness of a mature aged cheddar, the creaminess of high milk fat and you could tell the cows were grass fed by the herbasiousness. Plus, the price couldn’t be beat!
Both towns had amazing beaches! We went both days and soaked in the sunshine and played in the water. Both towns had either access right by our hotel or a large parking lot right off the beach so they made it very easy to go enjoy. It made a great end to both days!
Side note: Everyone warned us to beware of the kangaroos! They told us to keep an eye out because they were considered more like pests here and would jump out in front of your car. They told us that there were a ton along the Great Ocean Road. We were so excited to see them! But… NONE! Not even one kangaroo! We’re seriously starting to think it was all a ploy to get people to visit Australia… but the verdict is still out.
Images: We decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner after only having takeout for a few days. Images was exactly what we were looking for. Located in downtown Warrnambool, Images was a cute little sit down restaurant with an array of different cuisines, and even better.. 3 female chefs! To start, Dean and I shared warm focaccia bread with a side of warm olive oil and Dukkha, an Egyptian spice mix. (Dean calls this a starter blend to North African spices!) It’s a mix of sesame seeds, cumin, coriander seed, pepper and salt. Smoky and nutty. It was a nice accompaniment to add to the the warm bread after you’ve dipped it in the fruity olive oil. It was delicious! For our mains, I got Camembert Chicken. A plump crispy skinned chicken breast stuffed with Camembert cheese with a spicy plum sauce. Served with a salad and crispy french fries. By far the best fries I’ve had so far! Super crispy on the outside and nice and creamy on the inside. The chicken was cooked perfectly with the crispy skin. The minute you cut into it the slightly stinky (in a good cheesy way!) but super creamy cheese oozed out and all that melty goodness paired perfectly with the fruity and slightly spicy sauce. Win! Dean got the locally sourced Otway Pork Belly. Slowly cooked then seared to get that crispy skin, on top of an apple cider glaze, topped with a fennel and rocket (arugula) slaw. It was served with creamy mashed potatoes. Needless to say, both our plates were licked clean by the end! Since a lot of the restaurants along the Great Ocean Road seem to be tourist traps serving fish and chips, cardboard pizza and other cheap but expensive foods (which don’t get us wrong, we do enjoy most of the time), it was so nice to find this place!
Next up: we explore Adelaide in South Australia. This area is known for its wineries, so we can’t wait to tour the wine region and taste some delicious wine!
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