You might have read our blog So what's so good about Torquay?' Well... the next instalment of our 'is it really a glorious slice of heaven or is it all just hype?' series is here and we're taking on the Great Ocean Road.
It's right at the top of your Aussie bucketlist - that pretty stretch of road down south that's home to the iconic Twelve Apostles. But is it just another way to get from A to B? (Or Torquay to Allansford if you want to get technical.) Should you turn this damn van around and hightail it up to New South Wales?
If you want to get into the nitty gritty of taking a road trip down the GOR, here's an ultimate guide with the need-to-know info and all that jazz. But if, on the other hand, you want to learn why you should never EVER take a road trip down the Great Ocean Road, read on.
Terrible views from the Great Ocean Road, just terrible.
There's loads of history behind it - booooooring!
Did you know that the GOR is actually the world's largest war memorial? That's right, there's a heap of history, stories and culture to unearth on this 243km journey through Gunditjmara country.
The road was built in 1932 by returned vets to honour the lives lost during World War I. Back then, there was no heavy machinery to help, so the whole thing was built with picks, shovels and horse-drawn carts. Wild, eh? All the way back in the 20s, Victoria's beach towns were isolated along the rugged coast but the Great Ocean Road made them accessible to the adventurers and sun-seekers among us. Before the GOR, Lorne was just a secluded little coastal hamlet you had to travel down a bumpy dirt road through the bush to reach. Now travellers come from all over the world to drink at the Lorne Pub!
What, you want MORE history? Alright, alright. I suppose you could visit the towering lighthouses and learn all the lives lost along the shipwreck coast or explore an Aboriginal settlement and taste bush food.
How can you concentrate on the road with views like this?
The views are dangerously distracting
Surely it can't be legal to have views this damn good looking right next to a major highway! Every corner you turn, the water gets a bit bluer, the cliffs a dash higher and the rainforest a little thicker. If driving head-first into a postcard is your thing and you can promise us you won't get mesmerised by the dreamy vistas, you might just be okay.
You'll also have to put up with hearing, "OOOOOOH LOOK AT THAT!!!" from your passengers every five seconds. You're probably better off taking the inland route where there's nothing to see but the bitumen.
This drive is particularly popular with vanpackers, you know, those hippies you see cruising around in decked out vans. You're bound to cross paths with a tonne of fellow travellers and free-spirits, so if you hate forging connections over a beer with new mates around the campfire, save yourself some time and stay home with a puzzle.
Twelve Apostles? There's not even twelve of them!
It's got too many beautiful beaches to choose from
What do you picture when you think of Australia? If you said perfect white sandy beaches - GET OUT OF HERE you walking cliche! But also, yeah. You're dead right. Aus has got some of the world's most bangin' beaches and you'll find a lot of them right here on the south coast of Victoria.
Whether you're looking for wild surf breaks, a spot of nude sunbathing or hidden coves you have to hop over jagged rocks to reach, your perfect beach match is here. You might just have to get your butt sandy sitting on a bunch of beaches until you find it, you cool with that?
Nothing to SEA here in Anglesea.
It's where the rainforest meets the sea - couldn't Mother Nature just pick one or the other?
Driving down the GOR you've got the waves crashing on one side and the majestic Otway Rainforest on the other. This tangle of ancient trees and lush ferns is absolutely riddled with waterfalls, wildlife and bird songs. How inconvenient for all of us that just want to walk down a trail in peace, right?
The Redwoods are one of the oldest and tallest tree species in the world and there are about half a dozen spectacular waterfalls to discover. On top of that, Kennett River is one of the best places in the country (well, the world really!) to spot some koalas chilling in the wild. It's all a bit excessive, right?
Erskine Falls - Lorne. (But don't go chasing waterfalls.)
There's too bloody much to do
"Ugh, you call this a holiday? I just want to relax on the beach and you keep throwing all these wonderful, fun activities at me!" Sorry guys, you may think you want a do nothing but bask in the sun kind of trip but I guarantee you'll get roped into some pretty spectacular sight seeing.
Once you've seen the GOR staples like the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge and the Grotto, there's still SO MUCH TO SEE! AND DO!
You'll face all your fears and your wildest fantasies (get your head out of the gutter I don't mean the sexual kind!) at this adventurer's playground. Go skydiving over the surf coast, get high flying through the Otways on a zipline, learn to surf at the world famous Bells Beach, hike the Great Ocean Walk, test your balance stand up paddle boarding in Anglesea and go horse riding along the sand at sunset. Jeez, i'm bloody tired just looking at that list!
You know how they say it's the journey, not the destination? Well in the case of the Great Ocean Road, both are true. Yes my friends, you can have your board and surf it too!
If we haven't put you off with all those horrible truths about this hideous place, come on down to Torquay to start your adventure - it's the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. You can stay at Bells Beach Backpackers from just $30 a night.
Written by Rachel Wagner
Bells Beach Backpackers Content Writer
CONNECT WITH US: @bellsbeachbackpackers
Rachel Wagner is a freelance producer who writes about the good things in life - travel, culture, creativity and how to tread lightly on our Earth along the way.
She previously flexed her creative muscles as a Podcast Producer for the Mamamia Women’s Network before she gave up the desk life to travel the world. Over the past three years Rachel has found her home in Melbourne, Scotland, England, Mount Buller and the Bellarine Peninsula. And now? Torquay baby!
Her top travel tip is not to be afraid of exploring a new place alone. You’ll be amazed at how many locals and other travellers you meet along the way, plus you’ll never have to say no to a spur of the moment adventure.