The Great Ocean Road Trip

British people all seem to dream of going to Australia. And there’s one item sure to feature on their itinerary. A highlight of Aussie travel marketing in Europe that somehow few Kiwis have ever heard of: Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.¬†After hearing about it non-stop when I lived in the UK, I decided to pop over the ditch to discover it for myself.
Driving the Great Ocean Road, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was a tad overrated – dreamed up by some marketers at Tourism Australia as another lure for tourists from the landlocked capitals of Europe.
Growing up in New Zealand, I have seen more than my fair share of beautiful coastal drives, and this 250km stretch of the journey between Melbourne and Adelaide didn’t feel much more notable than the decidedly less-hyped routes along the Far North, Coromandel, or Nelson. But it does have a very marketable name, and I can’t deny that there were a few truly beautiful spots.
Split Point lighthouse
The view from Split Point
Erskine Falls, a short detour from the Great Ocean Road
The view from one of many well-placed lookout spots
And the highlight of every Great Ocean Roadtrip: the majestic Twelve Apostles
(time it for sunset if you want to recreate this gorgeous photo)
We made other (less photogenic) stops in Port Fairy and Mount Gambier. Most roadtrippers head back to Melbourne after completing the Great Ocean Road, but we chose to continue along the Coorong to Adelaide.
And, interestingly enough, we stumbled across one of the most magnificent sights of our trip by accident, several hours after concluding the Great Ocean Road: pelicans chilling out by the gum trees in Meningie at sunset.

But we had a very special reason for being in Meningie en route to Adelaide, and it had nothing to do with pelicans. Kat and Mikey, our best friends from London, who we also had epic trips to Copenhagen and Ireland with, had moved back home a few months earlier.

And a little while after they arrived back in South Australia, Mia turned up.

So, for me, the Great Ocean Road itself was a little underwhelming (except for the Twelve Apostles). And I haven’t even mentioned the $900 worth of speeding fine we managed to accumulate unawares in a single 24 hour period! But, our journey across the Tasman was completely worth it when we were reunited with the Pullman clan.
We’re at an interesting point in our lives where people are coming home from their OEs and settling into families, careers and mortgages. And Kat and Mikey are the first of my friends to have a baby – a fact that made me a pathetic combination of proud and excited. We instantly assumed the titles of surrogate uncles. And the time we spent hanging out together, just the five of us in Mount Barker, was as memorable as any day we ever spent in London.
Life is good.

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