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TRAVEL / AUG ‘2016

The Great and Wonderful Great Ocean Road!

A family road trip – what could be more fun? Before you start shaking in your shoes at the thought of “are we there yet?” a road trip can actually be great fun and educational at the same time. With a bit of forward planning, a good time can be had by all!

Words COLLEEN WILLIS

Eagles Nest

We are fortunate in Australia to have a multitude of scenic routes from which to choose. One of the most spectacular would have to be the Great Ocean Road, which is on the Australian National Heritage List. The Great Ocean Road is 243km of road between the Victorian towns of Torquay and Allansford, and is next to Warrnambool.

 

 

Sea All Dolphin Swims - Queenscliff

 

The beauty of a trip like this is that you can decide how fast or slow you want to do it and what sights you want to stop at. Here are some of the amazing things to visit:

  • Bells Beach
  • Wye River
  • Apollo Bay
  • Kennett River Koala Walk
  • Otway National Park
  • Otway Lighthouse
  • Port Campbell National Park
  • The Twelve Apostles
  • Tower Hill Warrnambool

For more information visit www.greatoceanrd.org.au

However, to make a family road trip successful, it’s important to do things to keep the kids interested, or you may well end up with that chorus of “are we there yet??” The Great Ocean Road has plenty of opportunities to stop, have a look and have a play.

For example, in Torquay itself, a visit to the Tiger Moth World holds lots of fun and is aimed at families with children up to teenage years. Some activities include:

  • Paddle boats
  • Mini golf
  • Mini soccer
  • Giant Tiger Moth play park
  • The Jolly Roger ship
  • Scenic flights

For more information visit www.tigermothworld.com.au

If you feel like a swim in the ocean then head to the famous Bells Beach or take a stroll along the Surf Coast walk.

For more information visit www.travelvictoria.com.au/torquay/

Helpful Hint

Plan to make stops at some of the many playgrounds along the way. Some of them have more than just your run-of-the-mill swings and slides, such as the Lorne playground and skate park, which has:

  • Globe designed skate park
  • Pool
  • Trampolines
  • Mini golf
  • Beach access

For more information visit http://www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au/media/33385/playgrounds_brochure.pdf

  ** This is fantastic as it lists 35 playgrounds, their facilities and an age guide. Brilliant!! **

Road trip hints

  • Pack plenty of healthy snacks and water
  • Pack wipes and hand sanitiser
  • Make several stops to cover the toilet and a run around
  • Keep hats and sunscreen handy
  • Bring a First-Aid kit
  • Have plastic bags handy for rubbish and possible accidents
  • Plan your route before you start
  • Update navigation systems
  • Bring books, ipads, DVDs, colouring-in packs
  • Plan some games eg I spy
  • CDs to sing along
  • Talk to each other and have fun!

 

Captain Cook's Cottage in the Fitzroy Gardens

Accommodation

There are so many great towns along this road and they have a large number of accommodation options available, ranging from basic camping to luxury lodgings.

There are plenty of caravan/holiday parks to choose from, spanning from the Big4 chain to those privately owned and run. Most will allow camping and range from basic facilities to having a pool and playground.

For more information visit www.vicbig4.com.au

If this isn’t your style but you don’t want to pay 5 star rates, then why not consider a B&B? B&Bs allow for more interaction with the ‘locals’ who can give you lots of tips and hints on the area.

For more information visit www.visitvictoria.com

If you’re travelling with a group then another option is to rent a house for a few days when stopping. This can sometimes help cut costs yet give you the freedom and flexibility to come and go as you want.

For more information visit:

www.visitmelbourne.com/Regions/Great-Ocean-Road

www.stayz.com.au

www.greatoceanroadtrip.com

 

Port Fairy

Getting there

The most direct way from Perth is to fly to Melbourne, pick up a rental car and then go from there. Torquay is roughly 100kms south west of Melbourne on the Geelong route.

The closest major airport to get back home from is Adelaide. (Another great city to stop and play in; after all it has been ranked the 9th city in the world to visit by Lonely Planet!)

For information visit:

www.qantas.com.au

www.virgin.com.au

www.jetstar.com.au

www.driveaway.com.au

If flying is not on your radar, then there are other options available, such as the train and of course, taking your own vehicle.

For more information visit www.greatsouthernrail.com.au

COLLEEN WILLIS

Colleen has roamed the world for many years on her own and with her husband and daughter, Rebekah. During this time, Colleen has been a teacher and an award-winning recipient of Flight Centre both in Australia and overseas. Colleen will guide you through family travel the way she knows best!