Great Ocean Road, Australia – Quick Guide

An opportunity to tour the Great Ocean Road was the main reason I was so excited to visit Australia for a second time within such a short amount of time (7 months, to be exact). You can do a day-long bus tour from Melbourne all the way to the famous Twelve Apostles and back, but I wanted to take my sweet time and be able to make spontaneous stops along the way since that’s more my travel style, so I rented a car and made it a two-day trip. Here are the highlights of the beautiful Great Ocean Road:

Bell’s Beach, famous surf beach and home of the Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival

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A spontaneous stop to get a closer look at this otherworldly beauty of the Great Ocean Road (one of many reasons to avoid the tour bus)

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The highlight of the Great Ocean Drive, the 12 Apostles. I saw these beauties at sunset…

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…and again the next morning via helicopter!

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We stayed the night in Port Fairy, about another hour’s drive past the 12 Apostles. You could stay closer to Port Campbell near the 12 Apostles if you didn’t want to do so much driving, but I loved waking up in this charming little port town. I even made a local fisherman friend with an Aussie accent so thick he might as well have been speaking Nepalese, but I understood his hand gestures well enough to have him point out a nearby seal sitting in the water staring at me.

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Loch Ard Gorge, named after the clipper ship that ran aground here in 1878, leaving only two survivors stranded on this beach.

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Another highlight of the drive, Teddy’s Lookout:

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Where to eat & drink along the way:

Maid’s Pantry Brunchbar (Anglesea)

Cumberland Milk Bar (Lorne)

Sandy Feet Cafe (Apollo Bay)

 

The Best of Fremantle, Australia in One Day (Guest Post by Ines)

I couldn’t be more excited to share with you a guest post from this lovely blogger in Australia named Ines. She lives on the west coast of Australia in Perth and is sharing with us her tips on visiting the port city of Fremantle. Having just returned from a visit of just the east coast of Australia, I am so excited to visit the west coast someday, especially this cute little seaside town! You can also check out her gorgeous blog at Inesphere for more post on Australia and beyond.

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My first visit to Fremantle was back in 2011 during my trip to Western Australia. A few years later, I found myself living here and I’ve become a lot more familiar with how best to spend a day in Fremantle. Just 30 minutes from Perth’s city centre, Fremantle is one of the easiest cities in the world to explore. It’s rather easy to lose track of time while making your way through the Cappuccino Strip down to South Freo and back along the coast.  If a day is all you have, here are a few tips on how best to enjoy this buzzing port city.

 

Wander Around

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Before sitting down for a bite to eat or just after breakfast, explore the city through a self-guided walking trail. Start with the Capppuccino Strip and make your way around side streets down to the Esplanade Hotel and the Park where you can ride the Ferris Wheel for a bird’s eye view of the surrounding areas. From there, slowly make your way back to check out street art and murals and unique little shops. Visitors’ Centre in the heart of the city will have maps and often cafes will have copies of maps outlining shops and cafes.

Explore the Markets

esplanade hotelA must see when visiting Fremantle are the Markets open Friday through Sunday. Here you will find endless array of fruit, veg and food ranging from Spanish Paella to cupcakes and everything in between. It tends to get busy, so it’s best to visit early to avoid the crowds.

 

Visit the Hidden Cafes

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One of the best things about Fremantle is the eclectic mix of cafes and restaurants known for their unique style many having outdoor seating. Must try cafes include Yocal, Two Rubens, the Attic, Raw Kitchen, Chalkys and if you wander down to South Freo look out for Lenny the Ox, Di Bella Coffee Roasting House, and Ootong and Lincoln just to name a few. I have had many visits to  at each of these and can tell you they are gorgeous and serve delicious meals. Perhaps, have a breakfast at Yocal and a dairy and sugar free dessert at the Raw Kitchen.

 

Arvo at Little Creatures

little creaturesAfter exploring the shops, galleries and cafes, enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the Little Creatures Brewery. A chubby cupid with a bow is the symbol of this iconic Fremantle boutique brewery. They serve great drinks and food to match. It’s set on the waterfront and my go to place when having visitors.

 

Fishing Boat Harbour

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Just next door to Little Creatures is the Fishing Boat Harbour. Many come for fresh fish and chips, but I would recommend enjoying a cone of ice-cream while walking around the harbour snapping photos of big boats and then heading towards Bathers Beach and WA Maritime Museum.

 

Lounge on the Beach

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Outside the city centre, you will find gorgeous beaches and bike trails that lead to them. Two of my favorites are Port Beach and South Beach. In the summer, these are great places to cool off and unwind. For those with more time, taking a 30 min ferry from Fremantle to Rottnest Island is a must. The island is surrounded by beautiful beaches and shoreline ideal for diving and snorkeling.

How to Beat the Post-Vacation Blues

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Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but coming home from a really good vacation can put me into a funky mood for a few days, at best. The more your vacation shifts you away from your routine, disconnects you from the computer, or opens your eyes to a culture vastly different from your own, the harder it is to transition back into regular life. Here are a few things I do to help make the transition easier:

 

1. Continue the mindset of exploration

When traveling, you are constantly seeing new sights, walking down new streets, and trying new restaurants, etc. When you return home, rather than slipping into your old routine, use the momentum from vacation mode to try a new place or walk/drive a different way to work. This helps to keep up the excitement of discovering new things that you had while traveling.

 

2. Talk to people about their vacations

Friends always want to know about my vacations when I return home, but I also want to know about theirs. Hearing about their travels is exciting, and I make mental notes of places I may want to travel in the future. I especially love to hear about other cultures, and we can share our observations about the vast and various cultures of our beautiful world.

 

3. Bring the scent of your travels home

Scent is the most powerful of our senses related to memory, so I always buy a little something that smells like the place I visited. I just returned home from a trip to Fiji and Australia, and our resort in Fiji used this yummy coconut soap by Pure Fiji so I bought a few bars of it for myself at the airport. Whenever I use it now, it takes me right back to our little hut on the beach, showering sand off my legs.

 

4. Start planning your next adventure

This is really what helps me the most with my post-vacation blues. The day I returned home from Australia, I started reading a guide book about New Zealand. A trip to New Zealand may just be a daydream at this point, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start researching and planning for it. Planning a trip can take months to figure out exactly what sights you want to see, how long you will need in each location, etc., so why not start when you aren’t under a time constraint? Even if your next adventure is something small and local, having something to look forward to really takes the edge off the post-travel downer!

 

5. Connect the dots

If you made any friends while traveling, take a moment to send them an email or connect with them on social media so you can stay in touch. Send them a few photos of your trip, especially if you have any photos of them. I love seeing my friends’ status updates and photos on social media from all over the world. You never know when your paths might cross again in the future – you now have friends to visit the next time you travel to their area, in your hometown or somewhere unexpected!

What do you do to beat your post-vacation blues?