Oska and I love road trips. We met through a motoring club back in our university days. The road trips we took, as part of the club activities, played a part in bringing us together as a couple. We did a few road trips when we were dating. From Lhasa to Mount Everest Base camp, Florence to Rome, George to Capetown and most recently, Australia’s Great Ocean Road (GOR) with a toddler in tow. Look how far we’ve come!
So here I am, documenting our 3 days 2 nights GOR trip pitstops and highlights, with a 14 months toddler.
Our 3D2N GOR Route (summarised)
Day 1: Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens hotel > Werribee Open Range Zoo > Colac (lunch & Olive’s poopstop) > Port Campbell Jetty > Portside motel (check-in) > The Arch > The Grotto > London Bridge > Port Campbell (dinner) > Twelve Apostles Port Campbell National Park (sunset)
Day 2: Loch Ard Gorge > 12 Apostles Helicopters > Apollo Bay > Cumberland Lorne resort (check in & lunch) > Explore Lorne
Day 3: Teddy’s Lookout > GOR Memorial Arch > Aireys Inlet Splitpoint Lighthouse > Bells Beach > Torquay (lunch & surf shop outlet shopping) + Australian National Surfing Museum > Diamond Railway Valley > Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa, Yarra valley (check-in & dinner)
Note: Most people would have taken the coastal Great Ocean Road from Melbs city to Port Campbell (estimated 4hrs 15min no stops) and back via the faster inland Princes Highway route ( estimated 3hrs 15min no stops), but we did the reverse due to constraints from last minute booking of accommodations.
The official start of the Great Ocean Road. We went there to check out the surf shops and chanced upon the Australian National Surfing Museum. Also checked out Bells Beach because Olive, our little mermaid, needed her beach fix.
Aireys Inlet Split Point Lighthouse
We missed the Cape Otway Lightstation at the tip of the Southern coastline, so we went to Split Point Lighthouse instead.
This is where we battled the notorious summer flies and the buses of tourists to get a mandatory shot of the famous memorial arch and ‘diggers’ statue.
Olive, doing the Simba at the memorial arch.
Stayed a night at Lorne which was a great base for our road trip. The beach and the playground were enough to keep Olive busy the whole day. This seaside town is definitely not to be missed.
Went to Teddy’s lookout for yet another spectacular view of the GOR coastline.
Olive enjoying the sun, sand, and sea at Apollo Bay! Just like every parent who thinks their kid/kids is/are the best, here’s my BEST KID EVER:
12 Apostles Helicopters
We went to 12 Apostles Helicopters for Olive’s first helicopter ride. Prior to the trip, I wrote to them enquiring about the possibility of having an infant/toddler on the flight, safety aspects etc. so here are some useful information gathered:
Minimum age restriction: None. Apparently they fly infants every day because modern age parents are cool and adventurous like that.
Price: Price for children 3 years of age and above are the same as for an adult as they are required to occupy a full adult seat. Infants who have not yet reached their 3rd birthday may sit on the lap of an adult for a flat fee of AUD20.
Prices are per person and start at:
$ 145.00 – approx. 15 mins for 12 Apostles – London Bridge
$ 235.00 – approx. 25 mins for 12 Apostles – Bay of Islands
$ 570.00 – approx. 60 mins for 12 Apostles – Bay of Islands – Cape Otway Lighthouse
Other safety requirements: Only one infant may sit in an aircraft and must be seated in the rear of the aircraft.
No bookings required.
We took the shortest and least expensive ‘London Bridge’ flight, and were lucky enough to have a chopper all to ourselves.
Twelve Apostles Port Campbell National Park
I had the best sunset walk ever, along the stunning coastline which shone and shimmered at dusk. Hand in hand with Oska and Olive, my heart felt full yet light. It was one of those remarkable moments where Oska would ask me, “we won’t ever forget this, right?” As long as my memory doesn’t fail me, NO, NEVER! This is it! The unbearable lightness of being I seek.
Loch Ard Gorge
The GrottoThe Arch
Finally, let me leave you with my top 5 survival tips for parents with kids on a road trip:
1. Stock up whatever you need in the car, and make it as self-sufficient as possible.
2. Mark your pit stops, pee and poop stops, and never miss the food stops!
3. Be flexible even when things don’t go as planned because they almost always don’t go according to plan, especially with kids. We missed some places we wanted to visit, like Gibson steps, Cape Otway and Kennett River but quality time spent at the other sights more than made up for what we missed.
4. & 5. Go easy, go with the flow & enjoy every minute and every second of your trip!