Find an idyllic summer weekender along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.
After 6pm on a Friday, close the computer then fold back the roof on the Austin. Navigate the city traffic with other commuters in envy of the convertible, destination evident by the surfboard strapped in. Finally over the bridge and into Geelong before the sweeping curves of the Great Ocean Road begin. The smell of the surf beckons as you wing your way into Lorne, with flocks of parrots and the husky Kookaburra providing the background sounds for an idyllic summer weekend.” – AT reader Richard Hopkins, Victoria
Everyone longs for that exciting, un-mapped weekend of exploration. Call it the Thelma and Louise syndrome. And for this, the Great Ocean Road meandering from Torquay to Warrnambool is as good a place as any and better than most. The holiday hotspot of coastal Lorne, leaning against the green of the Otways, is striking. Rivers and waterfalls are within close proximity and lookout ledges provide excellent views. The waters of Loutit Bay welcome keen surfers trying to master the Tom Carroll technique. In fact all along the Great Ocean Road you’ll find excellent beaches, so jump in your convertible and drive till you find a break you haven’t yet broken.
Lorne’s lanes are crowded on holidays and much of the allure can be lost. Avoid the silly season if you can and opt for a non-peak weekend, the ideal time to bird watch and creep up on little echidnas as you trek through the 50km of walking trails in the Otways. So, if you’re looking for a spot to get away from it all, where reflection is never-ending, silence is cherished, writing in your journal is the go and a hand of bridge can be played without interruption, look no further. Sometimes the hinterland, lush vegetation and fresh coastal breeze is all it takes to slow down your pace. The Great Ocean Road, quite aside from the cruising, is perfect for discovering new coves and revisiting ones you built sand castles in as a kid.
Other things to do:
- Sea Kayaking is a great family activity. Grab lessons from Big Stick Adventures (03) 5261 9181
- Scenic drives throughout the Otways to Apollo Bay, Cape Otway and onto Port Campbell
- Teddy’s Lookout is the preferred vantage point in Lorne, at the southern end of George St. Views inland, along the coast and towards the George River mouth
- Just south of Lorne, beside the Cumberland River mouth, take a walk along the river and past clifftop scenery looking out towards Cumberland Cascades. A beautiful 3.5hr return trail.
Details: Lorne via the Great Ocean Road
Where: 150km south of Melbourne, about 2hrs drive.
Contact: Lorne Visitor Information Centre (03) 5289 1152
Where to stay: Allenvale Cottages, founded in 1878, a series of timber mill cottages set amid forest near St George’s River, www.allenvale.com.au
What to take: Spare board wax.
Did you know: Rudyard Kipling visited Lorne in 1891 and was inspired by the town to write the poem, “Flowers.”