Road trip from Adelaide to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road – part 2: Warrnambool to Melbourne
The trip from Adelaide to Melbourne takes around 8 hours if you go the inland route. Or you can take the scenic route via the Great Ocean Road – it’ll take you a lot longer and you’ll probably want to break the trip up by staying a night or two or three along the way – but the scenery is worth it and there’s so much to do along the way.
PART 2: Warrnambool to Melbourne (click here for part 1: Adelaide to Warrnambool)
Day One: Adelaide to Robe
Day Two: Robe to Port Fairy
Day Three: Port Fairy to Warrnambool
Day Four: Warrnambool to Lorne
Day Five: Lorne
Day Six: Lorne to Melbourne
Day Three Port Fairy to Warrnambool
It’s a hop, skip and a jump from Port Fairy to Warrnambool and if we had planned to drive from Adelaide to Melbourne with fewer stops we probably could have headed straight from Port Fairy to Lorne instead of spending a night in Warrnambool. However we had a couple of recommendations for things to do in Warrnambool from a local that we thought we should check out.
Warrnambool’s Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground
Pertobe Road | Warrnambool 3280 | Victoria
On trips (pre-kids) along the Great Ocean Road parks and playgrounds weren’t on our radar, but life has changed. Even if you’re not planning to stay in Warrnambool then Warrnambool’s Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground would be a worthwhile detour. Without going into a full playground review here are some of the highlights:
- 20 ha of massive grassy spaces with attractive walking tracks and picnic spots
- sheltered bbq facilities
- a wooden maze
- lake with boats for hire
- two flying foxes – one for kids under 12 and one for kids aged 12 and up
- sandy area with a boat structure, ramps, tic-tac-toe, a tunnel slide, steps, scrambling walls and ladders
- a train line which runs along one edge of the park
Things to consider
- it’s not fenced
- the lake poses a potential drowning hazard
The maze is decorated with images of wildlife. Our kids found it very enticing to explore.
This is the larger, and faster of the two flying foxes. It was
impossible difficult to drag the children away from the flying foxes.
We managed a spot of trainspotting.
Warrnambool foreshore and Simon’s Waterfront
Just over the road from Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground is the beach and the opportunity for some waterfront dining at Simon’s Waterfront. We happened to be there on an especially windy evening so the outside dining area was deserted, but I imagine it would be a superb location in warmer weather.
We sat inside enjoying fantastic ocean views from our table, and admiring the kite surfers. It was a great location to relax and enjoy some seafood or a burger.
Simon’s Waterfront | 1/80 Pertobe Rd, Warrnambool VIC 3280
The outdoor dining area looks pretty bleak in these photos but just imagine it on a sunny day with the kids playing hopscotch merrily as you take in the views.
Day 4: Warrnambool to Lorne
We left Warrnambool feeling like there was plenty there that could have kept us busy and entertained (including a world-class BMX track, mini golf by the sea, and Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village which we were told has evening “Light and Sound” shows).
Bay of Islands
There were so many photo opportunities it was hard to know where to look. We thought the rock stacks were about as impressive as the Twelve Apostles, but we enjoyed the experience more as there were way less tourists to share the view with.
Port Campbell is a quiet little seaside town on the Great Ocean Road and it’s a pleasant spot to stop for an ice-cream or a swim. It’s about a 50 minute drive from Warrnambool and it’s just a seven minute drive from Port Campbell to Loch Ard Gorge.
Loch Ard Gorge
This photograph is taken from a viewing area at the top of the cliff. At this stage in the day we were not up for the walk down the steps leading to the beach at the bottom. (Also note that these steps are not suitable for pushchairs/strollers/prams).
The Wye Beach Hotel
We were told that a great spot to stop for a family-friendly lunch is the Wye River pub – also known as the Wye Beach Hotel. Perched on the top of the hill above the Wye River beach it’s in a fabulous location and offers uninterrupted views. It’s a low-key spot with the standard pub grub and a few fancier options, and it’s just up the hill from a Big 4 camping ground.
19-21 Great Ocean Road, Wye River | www.wyebeachhotel.com.au
Day 4 Lorne
Lorne is around an eight hour drive from Adelaide so it’s probably a bit too far to go for a weekend, but we liked it so much we want to come back again and spend more time here.
We had beautiful weather the whole time we were there and we made the most of the very lovely beach.
Lorne Beach Pavilion
Location location location! Situated right on the beach the beautiful Lorne Beach Pavilion is the kind of place where you wish you could just dial-a-nanny and have them look after your children while you enjoy a cold glass of something delicious and take in the views.
In the late afternoon the picnic tables outside along the edge of the beach were full of relaxed-looking couples, and the occasional family, all seemingly without a care in the world. We were on holiday time too so we decided that a bowl of hot chips would be a perfect appetiser for our hungry children.
The hot chips were wolfed down in a matter of seconds and we ended up buying some food from the local Foodworks and cooking dinner back at our apartment. There were however lots of enticing dinner options along the main street.
Lorne Sea Baths
Just behind the Lorne Beach Pavilion you’ll find the Lorne Sea Baths which has heaps of fun activities for families, including:
- aqua orbs
- bumper boats; and
- in-ground trampolines
There’s also an on-site gym and outdoor swimming pool with views of the restaurant and the sea. You can buy family passes starting from $70 for four people (as at August 2018) which gives you all-day access to the pool, bumper boats and aqua orbs.
Where to stay in Lorne
We stayed in an AirBnB apartment which was up a steepish hill and had wonderful views. We wandered past the Mantra which was in a great location right next to the beach. We liked the idea of the Mantra’s outdoor cinema (including kids’ movies) in their summer garden bar. There was also a busy looking camping ground at the swingbridge end of Lorne.
A pleasant shaded walkway under the trees is all that separates the Mantra from the foreshore.
Day six: Lorne to Melbourne
Kids up at the crack of dawn necessitated a wander along the beach to find coffee. We wandered across the iconic Lorne swing bridge to the aptly named Lorne Swing Bridge Cafe & Boathouse where you can find friendly staff, a fabulous beachfront location, and excellent coffee. It’s the perfect spot to chill and
Great Ocean Road tips
Stop and smell the roses
Our kids were suitably impressed by the beautiful scenery along the Great Ocean Road but we knew they wouldn’t be keen to spend all day taking in the sights so we decided to pick some of the less busy tourist spots (eg Twelve Apostles) and to break up the sightseeing with some more kid-friendly activities. If you have a bit of extra time up your sleeve you could get off the beaten track and explore some random turn-offs along the Great Ocean Road. It’s also not a bad idea to take your time and be aware that the road can get very busy.
We were recommended:
- Otway Fly Tree Top Adventure where you can zip-line or enjoy a tree top walk.
- Halls Gap
- Timboon fine ice cream factory
The early bird gets the worm
If you can get organised and get out of the house early (for me one of the few great advantages in having an early waker was getting to see some impressive sunrises) you will likely beat the crowds and maybe even have some of the tourists spots to yourselves. It’s also a great time of day to take photos as the light is beautiful.
About Susannah: I’m a mum to three boys and a little girl and I am learning to embrace the chaos. I love my morning coffee, exercise, cranking up some good tunes on the stereo, and heading away to new places on holiday. Originally from New Zealand, I now call Adelaide home and I love getting out and about and exploring all the fabulous things for families to do in Adelaide.
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
As per all our Play & Go reviews, this is not a sponsored post and our review is done completely independently. All photos are by Susannah Marks.
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