Day 3: The Great Ocean Road and beyond

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On our third day in the land of Oz we embarked on our much awaited road trip, taking on the Great Ocean Road and staying over somewhere in Apollo Bay before we headed back to Melbourne City.

Having collected our rental car from Avis in the city, we moved to our first destination, Little Creatures Brewery, for a quick lunch. Now I first fell in love with their chilli mussels two years back when I was in Fremantle, so when I knew Geelong had an outlet as well we absolutely had to go.

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It was hardly noon (didn’t prevent my dad from having a pony though) and we were only the second group of customers, so the place was rather bare. I suppose it would have been pretty lively in the night especially with the various beer offerings on the tap and the pretty comprehensive food menu of pizza, sliders and other bar bites.

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Brewery tours were also conducted at a price, for those who are keen to see how their pilsner are made before going into their bellies. At AUD12 per person though, we would rather have opted to have a swig than a view.

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The food was what we came for and while the mussels didn’t disappoint, it lacked that memorable taste that stuck with me when I first tasted them. That didn’t prevent me from slurping up the last drop of the special mussel broth infused with chilli though. I wish the bread was free flow though, since it was impossible for 4 people to share a small piece.

The vegetarian pizza was pretty decent, though nothing out of the ordinary, so we ended up soaking the crust with the chilli mussels’sauce.

Once we were warmed up we continued our drive and stopped over at a cute little bakery, Freshwater Creek Cafe, located at Anglesea. I think they are known for their passionfruit sponge cakes but it was way too big for 4 people so we passed and went for their other small cakes and pastries which were an absolute delight. Don’t miss the jelly cakes (cream-filled lamingtons) and the caramel slices. If you have the time and love to see some wallabies, you can head by to Anglesea Golf Club (yes a golf club) where you pay a small fee to see some wallabies congregating at the course for reasons unknown to me.

Our next stop was Lorne, where we made a short trek to Erskine Falls, one of the more respectable waterfalls around Victoria. Now if you were following my Iceland posts you would have known that I’m a major waterfall fan and frankly once you’ve seen Dettifoss and Niagara Falls nothing much comes close but still this one was still pretty decent in my books. Either that I managed to tamper my expectations such that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

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There’s something strangely therapeutic seeing water tumble down, and it never ceases to amaze me how waterfalls form.

A short 30 minute drive to Kennett River was arguably the highlight of the day, where we read that close to Kennett River Holiday Park, you could see wild koalas in their natural habitat, either sleeping or munching on eucalyptus leaves. The actual road where you get to view them is a gravel road called Grey River Road, but you probably can stop at the holiday park first to take a leak since it has the most serviceable toilet in the area.

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From Grey River Road you basically either hoof it for a few kilometres or drive up the gravel road and try your luck. Sightings are no guaranteed because they are rather hard to spot.

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With some persistence and keen eyes, you should be able to spot a couple. We were glad we saw 4 koalas in a relatively short span of 30 minutes.

While it’s entirely possible to finish the Great Ocean Road in a day, albeit in a mad rush, it’s probably better to spend a night somewhere in between so that the itinerary isn’t too packed and you can take your time to enjoy the sights a little longer. We chose to stay in this wonderful farm like apartment in Apollo Bay where we were treated to views of cows, donkeys, alpacas, and other animals. Plenty of fruits around the mini fruit orchard they built in the area as well, to top it off (please resist plucking the fruit without the owner’s permission)

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Idyllic setting, impeccably clean, and a terrific way to end the start of our road trip.

Next – ► Day 4 & 5: The Twelve Apostles & Mornington

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