Road Trip! Day 8 – Port Campbell – London Bridge – Flagstaff Hill – Port Fairy

12 Apostles beachAnother day, another breathtaking destination!

We left my mother to rest at the hotel this morning and set off back to Gibson Step (12 minutes drive) to walk down to the Twelve Apostles beach – the staircase only takes around a minute or two to go down and is quite safe and navigable for children – and at the bottom is one of the most stunning beaches in Australia!

Here’s a quick video of what Gibson Steps beach, Twelve Apostles is like…

This is the beach on the side of the Twelve Apostles dividing promontory where there are two Apostles only – but don’t be put off by this – it’s spectacular. Windswept, majestic – half deserted (even though we went at 10am) and stunningly beautiful. The cliffs made me a little nervous – particularly with the warning signs saying keep away, cliffs unstable, and the tide not leaving us much beach clear of the cliffs!

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The kids searched for shells, penguin feathers and rocks, and would have loved to go swimming, but I wouldn’t let them in more than ankle-deep – it was not safe around these massive structures! This beach gives you a ground-view aspect of the 12 Apostles that is really special. If I was time-restricted and had to choose between either the high walkway with stunning views of all Apostles, and the sandy wild beach with just two, I’d choose the beach any day – don’t miss it!

Alas, we had to hurry back for our late check out, so up the steep steps and back to Port Campbell we went.

The Gibson Steps lead down to the only 12 Apostles beach accessible at the moment

The Gibson Steps lead down to the only 12 Apostles beach accessible at the moment

Leaving Port Campbell and driving towards Warrnambool. there is a veritable treasure box of amazing sights to see – all within a few minutes of each other.

First, we stopped at the London Bridge lookout. With the carpark only a short, level-walking  distance from the stunning London Bridge rock formation. It’s an impressive sight, even with its first arch now gone, which famously collapsed in 1990 leaving two people stranded!

London Bridge

London Bridge

The next sight was The Arch, but I made an executive decision to skip it – I could tell the children were getting a little monument-tired of all the amazing sights at this point – although Brooke said to me later, why didn’t we stop at the Arch? Sigh!

We did stop at the Grotto. This is maybe a seven minute walk down a path then stairs to a beautiful arch with a aqua-coloured blue pool beneath – definitely worth the short walk, even though nowadays the Grotto is fenced off at waist-height. It’s a great photo opportunity, and a natural wonder. You can read all about how it developed on the information signs too – geology lesson, kids!

The Grotto

The Grotto

Next stop was the Bay of Matyrs. Samantha opted to stay in the car to keep writing in her travel journal, so just Brooke and I hopped out to see this one. You can actually see it from the car, but it’s worthy of a closer look – especially seeing it’s the last major sight here – and what a sight it is!

The Bay of Martyrs

The Bay of Martyrs

The road now leaves the coast to go to Warrnambool – miles and miles of milk-cow farms line the way. We’d never seen so many cows – clearly, the dairy products around here would be as fresh as could be. We thought we saw silos coming up – but they were actually milk containers – wow – they were huge! Opposite was our lunch stop – the Cheese Factory.

The Cheese Factory was a great place to not only get lunch, but to pick up some bargain-basement  beautiful Warrnambool cheese for supper from their wine and cheese shop – if only we could get such yummy cheese every day for $4! Don’t pass this place without grabbing at least one block of their scrumptious cheese!

The Cheese Factory wine and cheese shop

The Cheese Factory wine and cheese shop

We arrived at the city of Warnambool, however we didn’t stop here but drove through it to Port Fairy – a very quaint riverside fishing village. Wooden period houses line the river – it’s all so peaceful! It looked so picturesque that we decided to stay here the night, and I called a few of the vacancy board numbers lining the roads. I got a real estate agent who offered us a beach-view villa. We were leaving the coast after Port Fairy, so agreed an ocean view would be great.

Our amazing Hearns Beach Villa

Our amazing Hearns Beach Villa

The Hearns Beach Villas have the best ocean view from private accommodation that I have ever seen outside of a cruise ship. The coast is so wild and free here – it’s the open Southern Ocean – straight from Antarctica , and it’s as though the waves are about to wash right up to the villa. The Shipwreck Coast is truly awe-inspiring in its power. I scouted the villa out, took one look at the view and we booked it – $350 per night, and worth every penny. We all deserve a bit of self-indulgent luxury at least once in a road trip!

The villa itself was lovely – it was huge inside, with full glass windows looking directly out to the ocean, and all quality mod cons everywhere, including washer/dryer combo (yay – more clean clothes!), Gas log heater, two flatscreens, huge Jacuzzi, etc. – but really, it’s all about that view! You can read our full review of Hearns Beach Villas here.

Flagstaff Hill sound and light show and Maritime Village

Flagstaff Hill sound and light show and Maritime Village

Once we had settled in, I piled the kids back into the car to drive the twenty minutes back to Warrnambool to visit Flagstaff Hill. This is an awesome tourist must-see feature of Warrnambool. – an old-time fishing village by day, and amazing laser light show by evening that re-enacts the sinking of the Loch Ard – a shipwreck that by now we were on very familiar story-terms with. You can read our detailed Flagstaff Hill review here.

Finally we drove back to the gorgeous Hearns Beach Villa, it was late, and time to collapse. The days certainly are long and exciting, but we’ve all never slept better in our lives!

Today’s route…

You can read our Road Trip! daily posts here:

Read the Road Trip! Day 1 blog here  -Canberra to Gundagai to Wangaratta
Read the Road Trip! Day 2 blog here – Wangaratta to Glenrowan to Aireys Inlet
Read the Road Trip! Day 3 blog here – Aireys Inlet to Lorne
Read the Road Trip! Day 4 blog here – Lorne
Read the Road Trip! Day 5 blog here – Lorne to Apollo Bay to Cape Otway
Read the Road Trip! Day 6 blog here – Cape Otway
Read the Road Trip! Day 7 blog here – Cape Otway to 12 Apostles to Port Campbell
Read the Road Trip! Day 8 blog here – Port Campbell to Warrnambool to Port Fairy
Read the Road Trip! Day 9 blog here – Hearn’s Beach & Port Fairy
Read the Road Trip! Day 10 blog here – Port Fairy to Warrnambool to Ballarat
Read the Road Trip! Day 11 blog here – Sovereign Hill gold mining village, Ballarat
Read the Road Trip! Day 12 blog here – Ballarat and the road home…

Tomorrow we will be staying another night at Hearns Beach and Port Fairy…we’ll check in with you then!

Have you travelled (or want to) travel to Warrnambool, Port Fairy or along the Great Ocean Road with your family? Comment here!

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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at barbara@letsgomum.com.au!
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