(English follows) Mon dernier article sur la Great Ocean Road, en Australie, vient d’être publié dans La Presse. Il fait parti d’un numéro spécial sur les road trips. Si vous avez envie de partir en voiture, lisez l’article ici!
My latest article on the Great Ocean Road was published as part of a road trip issue in La Presse. If you feel like getting on the road, read the original article (in French) here or the English translation here:
Weaving along the South-East coast of Australia, the Great Ocean Road is one of the most famous roads in the world. Tourists travel there to see the Twelve Apostles, but come back charmed by the trip.
Most people leave from Melbourne, but the 250 km road starts officially an hour later, near Torquay. The beaches of that small town are ideal to take a surf lesson. If this sounds too bold for you, go to Bell’s beach to look at the pros. The oldest surfing competition in the world is held there every year.
Second stop: Lorne. Jump in the limpid water, then walk in the forest to Erskine Falls. Before leaving, make sure you go to Teddy’s Lookout to admire the coast from up high.
Be alert while you’re driving, it’s common to see koalas in the trees and echidnas along the road.
The journey between Lorne and Apollo Bay is spectacular, but very sinuous. Road signs remind tourists that ‘In Australia, we drive on the left’. Keep that in mind… Once this is behind you, the popular scallop pies from Apollo Bay Bakery are a must.
After Apollo Bay, the road leaves the coast to sink into rolling lands, then into the rainforest. To stretch your legs, walk among the gigantesque ferns of Maits Rest walking trail and look at birds that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Back on the coast, the Twelve Apostles are waiting for you. Those limestone formations, which are actually eight, attract millions of visitors from all over the world each year. Admire them from the lookout or from a helicopter in the sky.
Before deciding if you’re going back to Melbourne or if you’ll keep driving until you reach South Australia, stock up on local food at Timboon Railway Shed Distillery.
It’s possible to do the return trip from Melbourne to the Twelve Apostles in one day, but you’ll need two if you don’t want to be rushed. Since the road is very popular, it’s better to visit during the week, in the spring or autumn, so that you can enjoy the weather while avoiding the crowds.
-To rent a car in Australia, you need a driving license in English. If you live in Quebec, you can get one from CAA-Quebec.
-The Great Ocean Road is a narrow and sinuous road, which is not recommended FOR beginner drivers.
-If you don’t have a car, several companies offer one and two-day bus tours.
-For those who like to walk, the Great Ocean Walk encompasses 104 km of walking tracks between Apollo Bay and the Twelve Apostles.