We set off from Melbourne on a cold Monday morning in a car loaded up with pasta bake and bags of Falafel Chips (our new obsession, if you can get your hands on these, try them immediately). Our plan was to make it as close to Adelaide as possible in one day and then drive back slowly along the Great Ocean Road. A 7 am start, a slight mishap involving tyre pressures and a solid 8 hours of driving later, we made it to a little cottage in McLaren Vale.
The official start of the Great Ocean Road is Allansford, but there are a few worthwhile stops before it, like Kingston SE's giant lobster, Beachport's peer and the beautiful Griffiths Island.
Griffiths Island is connected to Port Fairy by a boardwalk and has rock pools, easy walking tracks and a lot of wallaby inhabitants (easily seen at dawn or dusk, but if you look carefully enough you can see them at any time of day).
Another good animal-watching spot is Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, about ten minutes drive outside of Port Fairy. Again, the best time to go is around dusk, when the kangaroos come out. There are great walks and views of the lake in the middle of the park, and we saw our first koala (thanks to Martin's hawk eyes and a well-timed emergency stop).
On the fourth day of our road trip we reached the Great Ocean Road. The first couple of hours take you away from the sea past rolling hills and farmland. And then the road twists and turns along the coast, where there are beaches, lookouts and great views everywhere.
After a week of driving, we stopped in Lorne for a long weekend. Two hours away from Melbourne, it’s a lovely beach town surrounded by forest. We spent our days going on long, long walks, feeding cockatoos on our balcony, playing Uno by the fire and eating platter after platter of cheeses and meats.
And then it was time to head back to Melbourne and start planning for our next road trip along the East Coast and then up to Darwin.