I watched with interest a great little video by BMPRO focussing on travelling the Great Ocean Road in South West Victoria, Australia.
The Great Ocean Road itself travels from Torquay (where it takes you beyond the Surf Coast Highway) to Allansford, just shy of Warrnambool (where it joins the Princes Highway) – if you travel east to west.
But behind the scenes of BMPRO’s heart-warming video and its tantalising views of beaches, creeks and waterfalls lies so much more for the traveller and camper.
When I travelled the Great Ocean Road in January 2015 with the Honourable Minister for War and Finance and our daughter it was one more tick on my road trip checklist.
This was all new country for me and the family, and one we all thoroughly enjoyed with the cliff-edged road, sweeping bays, rocky outcrops – some still standing the weather of time, great camping spots and views aplenty.
For me the most memorable landmark of the trip would have to have been the statue that sits alongside Great Ocean Road’s Memorial Arch. Here, some 30 kilometres into the trip (from the east), the arch over the road recognises the work of some 3,000 returned soldiers who worked constructing the road.
The sculpture depicts two returned soldiers; one passing a water canteen to the other; says so much about the great Aussie spirit of mate-ship and hard work. The sculpture was unveiled in 2007 to commemorate 75 years since the road was opened. (Source www.travelling-australia.info)
A little further on you’ll find the road out to Cape Otway and its Lightstation. The drive out is well worth it as is the climb to the top with a guide. The history around the Lightstation is certainly one to take in with stories of shipwrecks, German submarines during WWII and running a telecommunications cable across to Tasmania.
Further in to the road trip you get to pass rocky outcrops that stand somewhat defiantly against the ravages of time, water and wind. The most famous of these would have to be the Twelve Apostles. The the arch was known as London Arch. London Arch collapsed in to the ocean in 1990, but its remaining pillars still provide a great photographic vista.
Lesser known formations in these limestone cliffs include The Razorback and Loch Ard Gorge and are equally impressive.
My Big Tip for Travelling Great Ocean Road
My big tip for traversing the Great Ocean Road towing a caravan, camper or trailer, or even in a motorhome would have to be that you pore over the maps, GPS devices and books etc before you enter the road.
Why? Quite simply, you will want to stop at many, if not most, of the lookouts and viewing areas. But, not all have adequate access, parking or egress for bigger vehicles. While there is notice that you are approaching a carpark etc, there is a temptation to say – “Oh, we’ll give this one a miss” – and want to change your mind once you feast your eyes on why the lookout is there.
So, between snatching glimpses over your shoulder while driving along the road; watching the road; watching for others who are also looking over their shoulders you will want to look for parking spots and exiting traffic.
You’ll think you have an idea of what you want to see – but when you get there there will be so much more.
Another way to do the trip may be to set yourself up at a town or camping area and explore from there at a much slower pace or knowing where you will be retracing your steps.
Another way to take the stress out of driving when on any road trip is to take advantage of the many artificial intelligence (AI) devices now available.
The BMPRO has such a suite of AI devices in their ProSmart package. Here you will find devices that feed real-time insight on your gas bottle levels, your onboard water levels, the status of your secondary or trailer battery/ies (depending on the number of devices you have), temperature gauges that can be used for fridge/freezer temperatures and the all important tyre pressures. All of which feed directly to your mobile phone or other device via a free App.
There’d be nothing worse than finding that perfect camp spot only to find out (after the sun has set and you’re all settled in) that you’ve run out of gas, water, power or perhaps the fridge hasn’t been working properly all day.
Well maybe there is… you missed the subtle telltale signs of a slowly deflating tyre and find yourself stuck in a tricky spot on the side of the road or perhaps running flat and destroying the tyre on the trailer’s rim.
Not to finish on a bad note…
The Great Ocean Road, its sights, the countryside and the small towns you will travel through are terrific and perhaps a must for many travellers.
Get out and about and enjoy yourselves.
Out&About with Dayv