Great Ocean Road (from Melbourne)

Old Oct 22, 06, 9:21 pm
  #1  
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Question: Great Ocean Road (from Melbourne)

I will be in Melbourne for 3 days in November as part of a 2 week vacation in Australia (followed by 1 week in SYD and then 3 days in Cairns).

It was suggested that we take a 2 or 3 day drive on the Great Ocean Road. I searched but did not see anything about this on FT.

Any suggestions on wether this is the best use of a few days in Melbourne, how many days is enough (2 or 3) and suggestions on itinerary or hotels to stay at during the drive?

Thanks

(any other suggestions on SYD / Cairns also welcome)

TMayer

[Edit - Had better luck with the search this am and found a few threads, but still interested in feedback / suggestions - Thanks]

Last edited by TMAYER; Oct 23, 06 at 3:46 pm
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Old Oct 29, 06, 1:32 pm
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I think it depends on you, as you really don't have enough time to do either one well, let alone both.

I would rather GOR than stay in Melbourne, but I'm not much for cities (although as cities go, I like MEL very much).

If you do GOR, I suggest you only go as far as Apollo Bay, overnight and then return. But it will take nearly 2 days even at that. GOR can't be done very quickly, due to the road, and the many possible stops along the way that make it worthwhile.

Personal suggestion: I'd remove 1/2 the time in Sydney and spread it elsewhere. SYD isn't that interesting.
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Old Oct 29, 06, 2:04 pm
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The GOR is nice but it is not much different from the California coast; if you are UGS, chances are you've spent some time on the CA coast, which might lessen the visual impact of the GOR. Melbourne is a great city and has a lot of attractions, though walking around the neighbourhoods is perhaps the most charming. It is quite easy to spend a week in either SYD or MEL and feel that it is not enough.
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Old Oct 29, 06, 3:17 pm
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Thanks number_6 and jtkauai

- spent a little time on CA coast, but think we are going to do the full 3 days on GOR and just skip MEL.

- jtkauai - to be more specific, we are not actually spending a week in Sydney proper - the week in Sydney include 2.5 days dowtown, one overnight to the Hunter Valley and a couple of days visiting a friend north of Sydney.

Thanks
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Old Oct 29, 06, 7:25 pm
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Go to Tripadvisor (and go into the Melbourne Forum) an dpost your question. Even do a seach as this is one of the most frequently asked area's and you will get a much better wealth (and depth) of answers from people that actually live there.
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Old Oct 29, 06, 8:10 pm
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I posted a fairly detailed description of the Great Ocean Road here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=610296

Audrey

PS: From pretty well anywhere in Victoria you can get back to Melbourne in half a day, driving the inland route. If you're at Port Fairy it will be a long half day, mind!
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Old Oct 29, 06, 11:13 pm
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i think your decision is a good one.

i lived in calif. for years and know the pch intimately. it is not at all like gor other than they both are roads along oceans. gor is fabulous and will leave you with such a different feel about aus compared to the very large cities. our favorite place was apollo bay, although everything was good. plus lots of koalas to see wherever you find gum (eucalyptus) trees. there's tons of info out there on gor, so you should have no problem planning. as i said before, it just takes longer to drive and see things than you think.

oh by the way, on your way back to mel, be ever so mindful of your speed, or you will without doubt get a very nasty surprise in the mail from the police.

mel is a great city and we look forward to spending more time there. aus is such a big place that it either takes a very long trip or many trips to see everything.
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Old Oct 30, 06, 6:25 pm
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By way of background, I generally prefer outside of cities when I travel (all things being equal), but don't really find the GOR that special (compared to dozens of other ocean roads) and do find MEL to be more interesting (esp. as compared to US cities); so I would rather spend time in MEL than on the GOR. But then I also like MEL better than SYD from a tourist standpoint (most would disagree with that, though the bitter SYD/MEL rivalry really distorts the truth there). Actually I would rate several other parts of Victoria countryside outside of MEL as better than the GOR. Koalas in gum trees are a penny a dozen in most of Australia, hardly cause to make the GOR special.
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Old Oct 31, 06, 1:38 am
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gor is beautiful, and has lots to offer an astute traveler. i'm quite certain that you won't be sorry. i suggest you research the opportunities, so that you can adjust your itinerary accordingly

we loved the ocean and beaches (which change most dramatically along the way), the relaxed pace, sunsets, natural formations, lighthouses, hiking in otway natl. park, and the people (and lack thereof). staying at the beach in apollo bay was an unforgettably charming, quaint and beautiful setting (and i say that from the viewpoint of living here on kaua'i).

mel is interesting, but in the end it is another city, albeit it more enjoyable for me than syd (where i previously worked). neither gor nor mel compare to tassie however, which in imho, is the jewel.
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Old Nov 6, 06, 11:51 am
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The Great Ocean Road is very stunning

The Great Ocean Road is stunning for a Mid-western boy like me. We did it as a day trip only going as far as the 12 Apostles. I was told there wasn't much in the terms of scenary beyond the 12 Apostles.

Melboure has alot to offer in terms of city life. The only mid-western city that even comes close would be Chicago.

I would suggest seeing the penguins on Phillips Island. I would NOT suggest using Gowest tours as they will stick you in an uncomfortable van with no bathrooms. They also hurry you off to get back on the bus much too early.
Sounds like you plan on driving yourself so that isn't much of an issue.
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Old Nov 7, 06, 5:16 am
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Lorne

Try Lorne too. A lot more to do than Apollo Bay, Aireys Inlet or Anglesea. Quality of accomodation is better too, as asre the restaurants. Enjoy
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Old Nov 8, 06, 2:03 pm
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THanks to all for your suggestions. Leaving tomorrow night. Will post a report when I get back.

TMayer
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Old Nov 8, 06, 2:30 pm
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Originally Posted by afxdes
Try Lorne too. A lot more to do than Apollo Bay, Aireys Inlet or Anglesea. Quality of accomodation is better too, as asre the restaurants. Enjoy
While Lorne has a lot more accommodation, it completely lacks the charm and quaintness of Apollo Bay. We were so glad we didn't stay in Lorne. Yikes.
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Old Dec 2, 06, 3:56 pm
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Thought I would post an update after our (great) trip. Thanks for all who provided suggestions in this forum and others that I searched / read.

11/11 Arrived into MEL around 2pm after the long IAD-LAX-SYD-MEL [made even longer because LAX-SYD leg was diverted to Brisbane low on fuel / strong headwind).

Rented a car and drove out of Melbourne to Geelong where we stopped for a quick bite to eat. Continued on a drove the 1 to Warnambool. Weren't sure exactly how far things were apart and were we would make it each day so didn't have any reservations. Got in about 7pm and found a fine (but not spectacular) room at Old Maritiime in for AUS $99. It was basically a motel but we didn't really care. Walked into town (about 2 blocks long) and had a lite dinner and called it a night. Didn't seem like anything too compelling in town.

11/12 DAY Got up early (for 1st day on vacation). Drove out of of Warnambool at 8am. Drove for about an hour along GOR back towards Melboure with a few pit stops at scenic overlooks. Stopped in a small town of Port Campbell for breakfast. A few decent choices, but ended up just going to a convenience store and getting some fruit, yogurt and cheese and eating outside on a picnic table. Drove the rest of the day stopping every 20 or 30 minutes at various scenic lookouts. Did the 12 Apostles. Stopped in Apollo Bay for lunch. Saw the Lorne Hotel which had been recommended. Seemed to be by far the nicest hotel we saw on the whole stretch from Warnambool to Queenscliff, but certainly could have been others we did not see.

11/12 NIGHT - drove as far as Queenscliff and got a room at the VUE Grand hotel upon arriving for AUS $170 per night. It was sort of an odd town. We enjoyed ourselves, but felt like we were in a strange movie about a ghost town. Queenscliff seemed like one of those towns that was an old grand "seaside retreat" 75 years ago and not much has changed. Our hotel seemed similar. It was nice, but also could have been used as the setting for some kind of XFiles or Alfred Hitchcock movie where the newspapers are all dated 1958 (but the only other decent hotel in town looked the same) It was also a Sunday night in spring before the summer rush starts so the town was deserted.

We had a FANTASTIC Dinner at a small restaurant / inn called the ATHELSTANE HOUSE. It was not cheap, but not outrageous. Menu looked terrific and we wanted to try a few things but were trying not to overeat so we asked if we could share a few things and they were more than happy to accomodate. We ordered a salad, appetizer and entree and the brought each course out with small plates for us to split. Appetizer was one of best ever had - a crab and pumpkin ravioli. Total bill including 3 glasses of wine was ~ AUS $100. A fish entree was very good also.

11/13 - got up and had a good breakfast at the hotel (included in B&B price). drove 1/2 mile to catch the car ferry from Queenscliff to Sorento. Nothing special, but ferry was fun way to start the day. Drove on to Phillips Island. Did the animal reserve and saw koalas, etc. Had lunch in a nice little cafe. Were planning to find a hotel and stay overnight on Phillips island to see the Penguin Parade at sunset, but it was exceptionally cold and raining that day and we weren't particularly prepared for that so it would have been miserable to sit outside for 2 hours. Last minute change of plan and we drove into Melbourne in the afternoon (about 2 hours). Called ahead and found a room at the Lygon Carlton Downtowner on the edge of MEL's Little Italy.

Enjoyed walking melbourne in the evening. Rest of the trip was terrific. A week in sydney, saw some friends that live outside of Sydney, one night in Hunter Valley and finished it up with a few days in Palm Cove at the Outrigger outside of Cairns. Also flights were great - Used SWUs on UA to upgrade and we were in 15A/B both ways but won't go into detail as this post was specifically about Great Ocean Road.

TMayer
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Old Aug 9, 07, 8:37 am
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Is the following realistic/worthwhile for this weekend?

Early Sat morning leave MEL and take the inland road.

Either at Winchelsea, cut south to Lorne or through Whoorel towards Apollo Bay.

From there follow the GOR to Port Campbell and overnight.

In the morning head north toward Camperdown.

From Camperdown head back east towards MEL and stop at the 12 Apostles on the way.

Any input is extremely welcome!
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