What could be more fun than doing a roadtrip on the scenic Great Ocean Road? Doing a roadtrip with a bunch of funny international people in a crazy painted campervan bus on the scenic Great Ocean Road!!
Just after the last lecture of the semester in Melbourne I did a little roadtrip with 13 other exchange students from the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Germany – three days on Great Ocean Road, some difficulties (especially with that huuuuge bus) and a lot of fun.
On our crazy ride we took a hitchhiker, found a graffiti picture that looked just like me on a random viewpoint on great ocean road, sang to guitar sounds around the fireplace, slept in a camping-managers living room and nearly run out of fuel as we couldn’t find a gas station which Diesel within 40kms. We visited the 12 Apostels, saw kangaroos on the street while sunset, had to push the bus with our hands back due to a broken reverse gear and drove 20km only in the 3rd and 4rd gear as the other gears also broke down one after another. We also blocked a whole McDonalds parking lot because our big “machine” aka bus was just too big to go through the drive in but also too big to turn around again 😀
At the end we managed to go back to Melbourne – delayed and tired, but healthy, happy and most of all enriched by a lot of impressions from the beauty of the Great Ocean Road.
How to drive
If you’re coming from Melbourne it is normally better to take the inland highway (Princes Hwy) to Warrnambool and then going back all the way on Great Ocean Road along the coast. A little extra trip to the Cape Otway Lighthouse is nice as well, as you see many koalas on the way down sitting on the trees right next to the road. At the end you pass great surfing spots like the city of Lorne or the beaches of Anglesa and Torquay. We did the trip the other way around though – so we drove along GOR to Warrnambool due to weather reasons and then we had to speed all the way back inland at the end. It was fine as well but it’s just nice to bee closer to home after the trip ended.
Where to stay
We stayed the first night on a night camping site in Apollo Bay. When the weather is better than it was when we were there, it is an amazing spot to camp and have a surf in the morning. They have a nice “kitchen” with a BBQ grill and stove in front of it and a big table as well as a fireplace inside. This is very cosy and assures a nice dinner no matter how the weather is outside. The camping manager is a really nice guy, although maybe a bit unorganised… but we had no problems – rather he allowed us to sleep in his livingroom which was pretty nice of him! So for a one night stay absolutely fine.
Our second night we stayed in the Port Campbell Hostel which is totally recommendable! The Dutch owners put a lot of effort into details and decoration – it has a big kitchen with free coffee and tee and a large lounge area, as well as super clean facilities and rooms with comfortable bunk beds. Everything is super new plus alll is decorated in a maritime style – so you feel homely from the first second there.
– Don’t touch the koalas as many of them have chlamydia
– Call camping sites before you get there, sometimes there are overburdened when you just go there or the managers are not there at all…
– The 12 Apostels are nice but very touristy… so don’t spend that much time there – there are even more spectacular cliff formations coming in between 12 Apostels and Warrnambool
– If your car needs Diesel be aware that many of the small gas stations don’t have it – so plan accordingly that you don’t run out of Diesel
Note to the campervan rental:
We rented the van/bus at Wicked Campervans in Melbourne, but although it’s fun to have a bus for a roadtrip and be as a group altogether in one car, we were not really happy with the rental service. The car itself was pretty dirty inside, most dishes and pans as well, the handbreak didn’t work properly and that the gear broke at the end was just the last straw that broke the camel’s back… the mechanic told us the shattered part of the gear was broken before and just badly fixed – so that’s actually dangerous to rent out such a car. Moreover the service was pretty poor – they didn’t really seem to care about anything…. I wouldn’t recommend that rental service again.