The 12 Apostles have been on my bucket list for some time.
Even being a gal who lives near the ocean and traveled to many a distant coastlines (be it home state great lakes to exchange program Mediterranean peaks)…I knew in my heart this beach would be different. And I was right…
If only I could have taken the position of shotgun inside this fine outback machinery for this journey – then and only then it would have been a solid adventure.
Next time for sure…
The cost line of Australia is rugged, worn and beautiful. It amazed me how many times and how quickly, for that matter, the landscape changes – especially on this particular drive.
From lush tropical forests, to rocky beaches and desert-like spreads to prairie fields full of cattle (and roos!), there is a contestant shift in nature eye candy guaranteed to push you to the side of the road and frantically Instagram as you navigate through the windy terrane.
Need a start of the ocean-trek pick me up?
If you’re like us and started on the mission much earlier than you think is appropriate (ah! 6:00am) …Check out Willows Tea House in the Aireys Inlet and partake in their homemade scones with cream and one majestic lighthouse named The White Queen.
The scones are perfection as is the local entertainment - Australian Magpies begging for your left over cream.
After a few hours and twists down the coast, be sure to take another road break on the Wye River. The Wye General Store is the most surprising of stops, especially with the quality of food and coffee given the remote and casual location. There’s a reason they’ve been awarded so many high fives within Victoria and the community.
And while we’re talking about award winning – never EVER pass up the opportunity while in Australia to consume:
1) an avocado toast
2) a properly made flat white.
….NEVER! (they are all unique and magical)
Even if you’re not hungry at this point in your journey, hop into the general store next to the cafe and browse the stocked shelves with local artisan products and bag of chips that will blow your American flavor mind (sea salt balsamic or roasted chicken!?)
Yup, thought you’d make room for those on the road!
Where the road might seem long and journey endless mid-way through the adventure, the sights never end. I suggest (especially if not whirl-winding this tour in one day) to stop off as much as possible. The highlight of our road trip was taking a (further than expected) detour into the Otway Ranges to experience an herbaceous oasis like none other.
The Otway Herb Farm is the most tranquil nursery I’ve ever visited. Located high above The Great Ocean Road, up a winding dirt road that will make you question not once, but 6 or 7 times if you’ve turned the wrong way. Selling herbs from Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean as well as medicinal herbs, insect repellents and fragrant plants – it is a nature theme park literally buzzing with the sound of bees.
Let’s just say the crazy plant lady in me was thrilled…even if she couldn’t bring home any saplings or seeds due to a layover in New Zealand. No really, taking it all in visually was satisfactory enough.
A few hours in and a massive need for a sugar kick, we stopped off in Apollo Bay for an award winning treat at The Ice Cream Tub.
Where the Vegemite flavored ice cream was honestly good – no seriously…salty, earthy, surprisingly sweet….but odd.
Needless to say, we decided on some more traditional and refreshing scoops to carry us the rest of the journey.
Onward to see the 12 stunners….
Made it! And really…it is indeed stunning. Awe jaw dropping, actually.
Sometimes people think they’ll be disappointed when finally coming face to face with something they’ve wanted to see in person, or something that has been so highly spoken of for a great amount of time.
There was no disappointment here.
This Australian coastal stretch is breathtaking, literally. You’ll get the air knocked out of you! The winds were harsh and mean and ready to push you over the cliff’s edge. But even with those chilled furious gusts, there was calm. Everyone was standing still, silent and taking in all the incredible nature-made artwork of colors, rocks and water.
Hard worn lines of thousands of years wear, soft fluttering sand and a color of blue water richer than any depths I’ve explored.
141 gorgeous miles of twisting and expansive sea-scape with unique culinary stops in between. We met The 12 Apostles in all their statuesque glory while nearly getting air-lifted by wind at the viewing point.
An amazing adventure that is a life-long memory and definitely worth the trek out of the city to see.