We began our journey to Timboon looking for another cheese farm that we’d heard good things about but unfortunately it was shut. So instead, we drove on to Timboon Railway Shed Distillery. Alongside GORGE chocolates and Apostle Whey Cheese Farm, the Distillery is part of the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail. It’s also home to a restaurant serving an abundance of local produce throughout the year, including Timboon Fine Ice Creams, as well as a grand selection of whisky and spirits. It’s also at the start of the 34km rail trail containing open grassland, forest and heathland which can be enjoyed by feet, bike or horse!
Next on our mini food and drink crawl was a place called Red Duck Micro-Brewary which, alongside serving a small selection of food, has a large range of craft beers on offer. We treated ourselves to a couple of different flavoured beers, including vanilla and juniper berry!
That was it for our brief stop in Timboon.. next up Warrnambool 🙂
We stayed at the Hopkins River campsite which had an indoor pool and jacuzzi, kitchen and lounge space and even en suite cabins next to the parking spaces so you didn’t have to traipse across the site for the bathroom! Even better.. they had a giant inflatable trampoline called a ‘jumping pillow’ which, although probably intended for kids, provided Gary and I with hours of entertainment on our first evening! 😛
On our second evening in Warrnambool, we went to the nearby award winning Maritime Heritage Centre (Flagstaff Hill) to watch their well-known laser show Shipwrecked. The show tells the (true) story of a famous shipwreck that took place on the Great Ocean Road. The show happens within a realistic 1870’s style Maritime village in an auditorium that faces a large pond (which allows for some spectacular reflections and clever use of lasers!). When walking over the cobbled stones through the village in the dark, with just lanterns to guide the way, you really feel like you have gone back in time!
Warrnambool is a charming place, with beautiful scenery and lots to do. You can explore parks, gardens and beaches, go whale watching or take a trip to Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. We opted to try our luck at whale watching at Logan’s Beach which has a large viewing platform and seating space. We were lucky enough to spot a couple – including a mother and baby! At one point, they swam within a couple of metres of two surfers who were resting on their boards – must have been a pretty awesome/ scary experience for them!!
We also drove to Hopkins Falls, which was in the middle of nowhere, buried deep within miles and miles of peaceful countryside. We got a bit lost on the way, but were eventually pointed in the right direction by a kind lady at a tiny petrol station who could clearly see we were struggling with our map!
After Hopkins falls, we set off for the Tower Hill Nature Reserve, which is nestled in the crater of a dormant volcano… cool, huh! The reserve, which is a haven for wildlife, is bordered by beds of volcanic ash with the swampy floor of the crater becoming a shallow lake after heavy rains. You can expect to see emus (and baby emus in our case!), kangaroos and koalas alongside many other wild animals. You can opt for a guided walk or stroll around at your own pace. We didn’t bother with a guided walk, instead climbing to the highest peak (‘peak climb trail’) independently at sunset for incredible views of the reserve from the rim of the volcano.
Warrnambool was our last stop on the Great Ocean Road – on our way back, we drove straight to Geelong (just over 2 hours of fabulous coastal views!) with the intention of stopping there for our last evening before heading back to Melbourne. On arriving in Geelong, we realised that it was a big and busy city and we probably wouldn’t be able to do or see much in the half day we had left. We decided instead to go back on ourselves a little and return to Torquay as we loved it so much (and also mainly because there was a FroYo shop…!).
If you are ever in Melbourne, PLEASE consider the Great Ocean Road! It’s an amazing trip and has the potential to be completely flexible and unique to you, as you can choose when and where you stop along the way.
It’s crazy to think that out of all the amazing (and sometimes expensive) things we did in Australia – from a 5 course meal in a Tramcar, to three nights on a boat surrounded by beautiful islands – the thing we actually enjoyed the most was living simply in a van for a week!