DRIVES AND ROAD TRIPS

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How to tour the Great Ocean Road, VIC

A travel-loving couple with a baby. A UK-based woman who hasn’t met her grandson.

It’s the perfect excuse for an adventure along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road!

Meet Claire and Luke, their son Beau, and Luke’s mum, Wendy.

Here, Claire retraces the quartet’s fun-filled break following this epic stretch of bitumen and reveals the essential experiences along the way.

It’s time to hit the road! 

The road really is epic.

First stop, Anglesea

It had been more than two years since Luke had seen his mum, Wendy, and until this trip she’d never had the opportunity to meet Beau, her first grandson.

So, when international borders started opening, Wendy jumped at the opportunity to book a flight to Melbourne from the UK. We quickly decided to make it into a proper family holiday and chose to explore the Great Ocean Road together.

Luke picked up his mum from the airport and headed straight for our first destination, Anglesea.

As soon as Wendy saw Beau, she wrapped her arms around him. For once in his life, he didn’t resist the cuddle. It was a beautiful moment after such a long time. 

Smiles all round for the start of a holiday to remember.

Unfortunately, the weather during our time in Anglesea wasn’t ideal, but we loved checking out some of the local cafés – particularly GROW and Poppies Café.

And luckily the BIG4 holiday park we were staying at was amazing. Wendy got to see kangaroos in the park on her very first morning, and Beau loved chasing all the birds and going on the giant Jumping Pillow. 

MORE ABOUT BIG4 ANGLESEA

Rain, hail, or shine, chances are you'll meet the friendly locals at BIG4 Anglesea. 

On to Apollo Bay

From there, we headed to Apollo Bay, which we’d planned to use as our base to explore the Otways. The weather improved and we had an incredible few days.

Highlights were our hike to Beauchamp Falls and walking around the Californian redwoods. Both are absolutely stunning and must-sees if you’re in the area.

We really loved Apollo Bay, too. It’s a quaint little town with seals and stingrays in the harbour: we were lucky to see both.

It also has a beautiful, protected beach that the locals called ‘Mum’s Beach’. We could see why – it was absolutely perfect for families and kids, and Beau loved it. 

STAY AT BIG4 APOLLO BAY

The joy of exploring.

Destination Port Campbell

Continuing along the Great Ocean Road, we made it to Port Campbell where we based ourselves to see more touristy things like the magnificent Twelve Apostles.

We arrived on a beaut day and were surprised at how gorgeous the Port Campbell main beach was. Again, it was perfectly protected for kids and our little water-frothin’ baby!

Of course, the main attraction was the Twelve Apostles, which we visited a couple of times to check out at different lights.

Sunset was truly magical, and we heard that sometimes you can even see penguins arriving at the beach from the lookout. We didn’t spot any during the time we were there…although we probably didn’t stick around long enough!

The Twelve Apostles look amazing in different lights.

The highlight, though, was Gibson Steps. We experienced it at a time when we essentially had the beach all to ourselves with incredible light on the rocks and cliffs. We went at 8am and had a pearler of a morning; couldn’t believe our luck. We were in awe of the raw beauty of the place.

Our other highlight from that area was the beach at Loch Ard Gorge. You first see it from up high, and if you’re lucky enough to have a nice day, it’s an absolute stunner of a view from up top.

It kind of reminded us of a mix between a Greek island and Phi Phi Leh in Thailand. Of course, Beau loved it, as it offered good swimming and lots of shade from all the mighty cliffs. 

Loch Ard Gorge is a star from any angle.

Wye River adventures

After spending five days in the Port Campbell area, it was time to head back towards Melbourne for our final stay: the BIG4 park in Wye River.

We did something a little different at this park. Instead of booking a cabin for Wendy, we hired a caravan through Camplify, so that she could test out #caravanlife and so that we could be right next to her in our van. We had an awesome little setup altogether.

I think Wendy was both excited but also a little apprehensive about the caravan idea, as typically she doesn’t do a lot of camping or caravanning-type holidays. But as soon as she stepped into the van and saw all the mod cons and how spacious and comfortable it was, she appeared won over.

Wendy's right at home. So too is Beau.

The great thing about the setup was that we didn’t have to do any driving, any towing, or any of the leg work at all. The caravan was delivered right to our campsite, and everything was set up for us by the incredible owners: TV, awning, tables and chairs, etc. All we had to do was sit back and enjoy it – and that’s exactly what we did!

Sit back and enjoy.

As for the park itself, it’s one of the best we’ve ever stayed at! We absolutely loved it. I think mainly because it felt like we were in the heart of the hinterland (deep in nature) while actually being right next to the beach. Couldn't ask for a better location!

The walk along the river is truly beautiful and there are lots of kangaroos to spot. Not to mention the park’s incredible facilities: basketball court, go-karts, giant Jumping Pillow, etc. It is pretty much a dream for families and kids.

MORE ABOUT BIG4 WYE RIVER

Why go to BIG4 Wye River? This location says it all.

Beau absolutely loved it. He just loves being outside generally but add loads of birds and ducks into the mix that he can endlessly chase, and he’s a happy baby.

With both the river and the beach on our doorstep, it would be hard to recreate a better setting and mix of activities. 

Taking it all in.

A base to explore

Just outside Wye River, there are lots of attractions to choose from. Down the road, we visited Kennett River where we saw a koala. And then back up the other way we checked out Lorne and Erskine Falls, which are both well worth a visit.

Sadly, all epic trips have to come to an end, and it was time to say our goodbyes to Wendy and drop her at the airport to fly home. But the trip was incredible and one we’ll never forget. 

Priceless memories.

Looking for a Great Ocean Road getaway? Start by booking a stay with BIG4. See all our parks in the region.

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