The mercury has dropped and winter is coming. Don't hibernate - get out, embrace the cold and explore. And there’s no better winter destination in Victoria than the Great Ocean Road.
It’s a no brainer that people don’t want to leave the house in the middle of winter, so take advantage of it! All those gorgeous lookouts that you normally need to fight hundreds of selfie stick touting tourists for that Insta-worthy shot are refreshingly crowd-free, and the number of tour buses parked on the side of the road drop dramatically. This also means not having to stand on your tippy toes to see over people’s heads at the 12 Apostles and not having people in the background of your shot at Loch Ard Gorge. That’s a major win if you ask us.
The Great Ocean Road literally goes through Great Otway National Park on the way to the 12 Apostles, so you have absolutely no excuse not to turn off the road and head inland towards some of the most lush and green scenery you’ll ever see. Better yet, if it’s raining, just duck into the rainforest and go for a stroll – the towering trees and ferns will protect you from the rain. Plus, the abundance of rain that hits Victoria every winter leads to raging waterfalls. The thundering sound of the water will leave you in awe and feeling kind of insignificant – in a good way.
Grab a glass of vino or a hot choccie and snuggle up by the wood fire heater in Apollo Bay Eco YHA’s lounge room for a night of relaxation. After a windy (and maybe rainy) day of exploring the Great Ocean Road, there is no better way to warm up! Plus hostel dog Amber might come by for some pats and cuddles, giving you all those warm and fuzzy feelings inside.
From June to August, whales swim along the coast of the Great Ocean Road to migrate to warmer waters. Keep an eye out for flags along the coastline as you drive as they mark that there have been regular sightings of whales in that spot. Pull over and cross your fingers for a sighting.
Seeing the 12 Apostles at sunrise is an experience that everyone should have at least once in their life. Thankfully in the middle of winter, the sun rises a lot later than it does in the middle of summer, which means you can spend those extra hours staying warm and snuggly in bed. If you are staying at Apollo Bay Eco YHA or Port Fairy YHA, it takes about an hour to drive to the 12 Apostles, so make sure to give yourself enough time to see the show.
Back for its third year, the wildly successful WinterWild festival is held in Apollo Bay in the depths of winter and celebrates art, culture, music, theatre and well, winter in the Otways – it’s like Dark Mofo but on the mainland. This festival pulls in people from all over the state, so this is one time throughout winter where you will want to plan ahead and book your accommodation early. Don’t miss this one.
Prices tend to drop in the winter as businesses see a decline in customers coming through their doors. So take advantage of this and spend some of your hard earned dollary-doos on amazing deals that’ll end up saving you cash. For instance, beds at Apollo Bay Eco YHA start at only $30 a night, whereas beds at Port Fairy YHA start at only $27 per night – how can you say no to that?!