Great Ocean Road and Grampians Road Trip
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Young man and women sitting on beach in front of Apollo rental campervan

Make Adventure Yours Blog

 

Welcome to the Apollo RV Holidays Blog, here we will share our tips for making the most of your road-trip adventure. Whether you have never considered a self-drive holiday, or a seasoned veteran who lives the #vanlife every day we aim to provide you with some tips and tricks to make your adventure easier.

 

We have put together how to guides, destination overviews, recommended routes, destinations you may not have considered and stories from our guests to help inspire you to take the plunge into the wonderful world of campervan and motorhome holidays, we swear you won't regret it. 

Apollo Team
/ Categories: AU Blog

Great Ocean Road and Grampians Road Trip

Exploring beauty around every bend

 

We partnered with Dutch traveller, Lonne Rijvers, so that she could explore the Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park. The below writings are taken from and inspired by her trip. You can find her website, written in Dutch, HERE. All images credited to Lonne Rijvers.

 

 

This is one of the best things, if not the best, that you can do in the state of Victoria in Australia. Rent a campervan and go on an adventure. A road trip along the Great Ocean Road & Grampians National Park is a trip where you feel small in the univese. A trip where you experience the greatness and emptiness of Australia. A trip you will remember, because the landscape is even more beautiful after every bend of road. Wake up in your own campervan between kangaroos, breakfast on the beach and hikes to beautiful views. Fancy this? I understand. This is the ideal route for a road trip along the Great Ocean Road & Grampians National Park. A trip like this is perfect to escape the hustle of city ​​life in Melbourne. 

 

 

View from the campervan out to the ocean

 

 

Take a campervan

 

The advantage of a campervan is that it is a house on wheels. You have everything you need with you. You can cook and sleep in it – you don’t need more. Even though you can’t free camp in Australia, it’s more free than staying in hostels/hotels/motels. For the real roadtrip experience a campervan is the ideal solution. Check out Hippie Camper for their range of campervans.

 

Lonne sitting on the side step of the campervan reading a map

 

 

What is a nice route?

 

I first drove from Melbourne to Grampians National Park (250 km). After a three-hour drive, you arrive in Halls Gap. Here you will find an information point, some shops and, importantly, a gas station. Orient yourself and decide what you want to do. Before you press the accelerator, take a look at the Visit Grampians website for lots of information on the area.

 

 

'Wally' the camper out the front of the information centre at Halls Gap

 

 

Boroka Lookout

 

In Halls Gap you can already see the mountains and all I thought: I want to go there. I want to go up. From Halls Gap you can easily take the fun and adventurous route to Mackenzie Falls. By car! Along the way you will pass some absolute (literal) highlights. Starting with the Boroka Lookout. This viewpoint is located about 15 kilometres from Halls Gap. You look down on Halls Gap, east of the Grampians and Lake Bellfield.

 

Lonne at Boroka Lookout

 

 

The Balconies & Reeds Lookout

 

First you will pass the Balconies. The place lives up to its name, because the long, flat stones form as if they were a balcony where you can marvel at the view again. Then walk another mile or two on a very easy path to Reeds Lookout. Here again you have a magnificent view over Victoria Valley, Victoria Range, Serra Range, Lake Wartook and the Mt Difficult Range.

 

Lonne at The Balconies and Reeds Lookout

 

 

Mackenzie Falls

 

These are one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria and must be seen when you go to the Grampians. To get down to the waterfall you have to walk down the stairs for a kilometre. Sounds heavier than it is. It gets so monotonous when I say that it is beautiful here again, but it is. Go, go, go!

 

Lonne walking in front of Mackenzie Falls

 

 

Mount Abrupt & Mount Surgeon

 

I didn’t complete this part of the trip but the gentleman from the information desk in Halls Gap told me that it is a beautiful but tough walk through nature. Definitely for the active among us - this is a real hike and not just a walk. The entire route is about 7 kilometres in total and takes about three hours.

 

 

Where to sleep in Grampians National Park?

 

There are several options to stay overnight. If you’re going to continue your route to the Great Ocean Road (like I did), it may be useful to drive a bit out of the park. You can use the free ApolloConnect app to see what campsites are available in the area (downloadable for free on the App Store or Play Store). You can also save on local attractions! My expectations of an Australian adventure were met with crackling campfires in the evening and kangaroos in the morning.

 

Aerial view of campground at Grampians National Park

 

 

Lonne resting at a park bench with the camper behind her

 

 

My next drive was about two hours from Grampians National Park to Warrnambool (130km). This is where the Great Ocean Road, also known as B100, officially begins or ends. The greatness of the coast makes it so beautiful and special to see. Every now and then there is a new point where you can stop. Before I left, I was worried that I would pass beautiful viewpoints and then arrive at a point relatively disappointed and think: oh no, I missed this and this and this. Maybe I should drive back a bit? Well I can tell you that is not going to happen. The spectacular viewpoints and other beauty are so obvious when you see them.

 

 

Lonne with the view along Great Ocean Road

 

 

Top Tip: Allow yourself time

 

It’s easy to do the Great Ocean Road in one day. But then the question is: how much fun is that really? I believe it becomes more of a check-off ride instead of actually experiencing it. So allow yourself at least two days. Nothing is more annoying than driving with time constraints. Besides, it’s a shame to take a break at a beautiful location only to drive away without properly taking it in. You should stay, keep looking at the view, have a power nap on the beach or whip out the gas stove to cook a nice meal. All possible if you take your time!

 

Again, you can use the ApolloConnect app to find a place to camp up for the night and rest your legs.

 

 

Lonne lying down in the campervan overlooking the Great Ocean Road

 

 

I found the most beautiful part of the Great Ocean Road is between Apollo Bay and Lorne with spectacular views of the water. The road winds along the ocean, each bend as beautiful as the last. I recommend taking a break at Wye River where the rainforest meets the sea. Located in a bend, the area feels cozy and has easy access to the beach.

 

 

View from the campervans side mirror and a resting spot on the beach

 

 

Teddy’s Lookout is a place you must go to when you are in Lorne. It’s a bit of a climb but the viewing platform provides a photo-perfect view. This is a popular place, so you may share the platform with others. If you want to enjoy the view on your own, you can always walk down the sandy path and enjoy from there.

 

Lonne at Teddy's Lookout, Lorne

 

 

Top Tip: Refuel on time

 

During your drive along the Great Ocean Road you pass a few villages but not all of them have a gas station. You can refuel in Lorne, Anglesea, Apollo Bay and Torquay.

 

Once you have arrived in Torquay it is time to cover the last 100 kilometers back to Melbourne. SAD LIFE. The total round trip is almost 1,000 kilometers. My road trip lasted three days, which is really the minimum. I would make it four or maybe five days myself.

 

 

Map of Australia and the Great Ocean Road, Grampians Road Trip

 

 

Final tips!

 

  • Christmas lights are a fun way to light up the van. 
  • Bring power banks if you don’t plan on staying at campgrounds with electricity
  • Have a flash light, a lighter, a roll of toilet paper, a pocket knife and a water bottle
  • Before you go very far after picking up your campervan, stop at the local supermarket to stock up on enough food and drinks (read: wine and cheese)

 

Finally, ENJOY! It is an amazing round trip.

 

Combination of images showing the van on the road, the view along Great Ocean Road and Lonne taking a rest

 

 

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