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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Melbourne April'17: Great Ocean Road Day Trip

"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."

I've never once felt that travel was a form of escapism. Setting foot in an entirely brand new foreign land, soaking in new sights and sounds.. It's an experience like no other. 

As you know, life has been kind of a rollercoaster lately. It was no better time, really, to get some fresh air, take time out and clear the mind, so I booked a ticket on a whim and flew out seven hours to Melbourne - A city that I've been meaning to see for the longest, longest time.

Thank god for BFFs too, because Tammi (who stays in Sydney) readily agreed to take a few days off to spend together with me in Melbourne! We booked a nice, cosy hotel room in the middle of the city and had so much great fun catching up, exploring Melbourne, shopping and eating.

Our initial idea was to do a road trip along the Great Ocean Road, but had to scrap those plans because Tammi had to return to Sydney for a couple of days due to last minute work commitments, which was quite a bummer. 

It must have been serendipity, because Tammi and I stumbled upon a little travel agency along the streets one day, and I ended up walking in and booking myself a day trip out to the Great Ocean Road with Bunyip Tours

Greatest decision ever.

1 Day Classic Great Ocean Road Tour - Bunyip Tours

I didn't do any research prior to booking my day trip/tour, but I went with the Classic Great Ocean Tour which is really really affordable at AUD130 with lunch inclusive. 

I took the following information from Bunyip Tours' website for easy reference!

***

HIGHLIGHTS

Beach stop on long golden surf beach with glorious views
Coastal towns of Lorne and Apollo Bay
Iconic Cape Otway Lighthouse dominates towering cliffs where Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean collide. Learn the ancient history of the Aboriginal owners, the Gadubanud people.
Look for koalas & native birds in the wild!
Aussie lunch provided
Rainforest Experience - Take in the luscious green surrounds of Otway Rangers rainforests and some of Australia`s tallest eucalyptus trees. Step down to the beach at Gibson`s Steps, gateway to the 12 Apostles
Loch Ard Gorge the history of the cruel Shipwreck Coast unfolds on a stroll along this historic beach
World famous 12 Apostles - This is what you've been waiting for! You'll be dwarfed by the soaring cliffs and the mysterious limestone towers that were created by erosion of the cliffs.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

All park entrance fees
Aussie lunch (sausages and salad)
Tea / coffee / biscuits
Friendly and informative tour guide

***

After much consideration and indecision, I paid an additional AUD145 for a 15 minutes long helicopter flight over the Twelve Apostles because YOLOOOOO. Might as well go all the way and enjoy the Great Ocean Road to the fullest, yes? AUD145 seemed like a reasonable price to pay for a bird's eye view of the 12 Apostles and a cool heli ride. Leggo! 

I woke up bleary-eyed and sleepy at the ungodly hour of 5am to prep and get ready on the day of my Great Ocean Road Tour - The tour bus was to depart at 7.15am from Bunyip Tour Office along Flinders Street. No breakfast provided so I grabbed a sandwich from 7-11 along the way from my hotel to the pick-up point.

The weather was SUPER foggy in the morning and that made me so worried. Fortunoa the weather cleared up in the afternoon! Remember to check the weather forecast before booking your day trip/tour because you wanna get good weather, ideally.

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Off we go!! Expect a fair bit of travelling time in the tour bus along the course of the day which I gladly welcomed, it was the perfect opportunity to catch up on some shut-eye haha.

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First stop at Anglesea Lookout! Some biscuits and hot tea did a whole lot to warm my tummy and keep me in good cheer despite the cold, dreary morning.

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Here's the famous "Great Ocean Road" sign where the road officially begins!

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I signed up for the tour alone which I was slightly apprehensive about, but happily made a couple of friends along the way! If you're taking the tour alone like me, just be friendly and strike up a conversation with your fellow tour group mates, it'll make your day a lot more enjoyable :)

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We spotted lazy sleeping koalas along the way at Kennett River, but most of them were so high up that you really don't see anything more than a clump of fur in the trees lol.

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Lunch was provided for us at the Cape Otway Lighthouse - A light lunch of sausages, salad and pasta.

I'm always worried about getting hungry so I packed along some chips and also brought my own water along that day, which proved to be a good decision because I did get hungry along the way lol :D

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Cape Otway Lighthouse is mainland Australia's oldest lighthouse and overlooks a magnificent view of the coast!

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The best fifteen minutes of my day was the heli ride at Gibson's Steps, where I got to admire the 12 Apostles from a bird's eye vantage!

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The helicopter seats around 7 passengers, so I requested to sit at the side so that I had a better view to take pictures :)

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It was so magical! The cloudy and foggy skies from earlier cleared up slightly, leaving behind a misty, surreal veil across the 12 Apostles that made the gorgeous panoramic view look like it came right out of a fantasy setting.

Did you know that there were only ever nine "Apostles" limestone stacks? Right now, there are only eight left due to erosion from the waves. 

The heli ride was super fun and I was really sad that it lasted only 15 minutes :( For AUD145, that works out to be almost 10 bucks a minute lol but the view was so worth-while.

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Loch Ard Gorge, another scenic stop along the Great Ocean Road. The rock formations here are amazing! This was the site of a tragic shipwreck in 1878 where only two teenagers survived.

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I really enjoyed the one day Great Ocean Road experience and I'm glad I didn't miss the Great Ocean Road despite not being able to drive out on my own road trip! Highly recommended if you're travelling solo or you just don't want the hassle and fuss of taking your own road trip.

I booked my day trip via a walk-in at a travel agency, but I think you can also book directly from Bunyip Tours' website here.

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Ending off with pictures of the cutest possums chilling at a park on my way back to my apartment after my day out at the Great Ocean Road ;) So cute aiyoooo.

It was a really good day, and sometimes, we just have to go through life, a day at a time.



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© Yina Goes

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