One Oz Town at a Time: Port Campbell
Well, thanks for choosing to follow the Buss!
My name is Brandi, Bee for short, and my last name is Buss so naturally the pun created itself. I am a Canadian girl taking on the travel world one country at a time. I now am living in Sydney, Australia and thought it was time to start sharing my travel stories, advice, do’s and dont’s and everything in between. I love Australia, it has literally stolen my heart, so I guess it’s the perfect place to kick things off!
I have covered great distance since arriving two years ago to the beautiful land down under. The country is filled with breath taking scenery, amazing and sometimes terrifying wildlife, countless coffees, gorgeous wines, great people, and obviously much more. I would hate to generalize any city or town as a whole as there is so much depth and diversity in this country, so I will start with a recent and extremely memorable town Port Campbell.
Port Campbell: Off to Explore
My boyfriend and I took on The Great Ocean Road during the summer break and due to the fires in Victoria were unable to start the drive from the beginning as the whole road was closed. Little did we know this was a blessing in disguise. We drove from Melbourne taking the inland route ending up at Port Campbell.
We pulled in late day and the town was busy with everyone from families, campers, travelers, and locals. After using our handy WikiCamps App we found the perfect spot to set up camp. On a small side note, the WikiCamps App is an awesome tool for anyone who is set up to camp. It tells you the campsites that are around the area of interest and what the campground provides. It also tells you where you are allowed to stay the night for free if your budget is running low. There is a free 30 day trial, so download it on the day you leave, and then its no more the $5-$7.00 to own. A great tool to arm yourself with before you hit the open road!
The campground that WikiCamps took us to was the Port Campbell Recreation Reserve. We pulled up to the campground and were greeted by a lovely lady named Evon Burtonwood who is in charge of the grounds. She set us up in an unpowered site for $30/night (powered $35) and sat with us to chat about what there was to do around the area and the must see’s. The facilities that they provide are toilets, showers, laundry (coin machine), and an outdoor communal kitchen. All are extremely well kept to the point we could no longer say we were camping but glamping (glamorous camping).
What to See: Surrounding Sites
The original plan was for us to stay one day in Port Campbell but that easily changed into three. Port Campbell itself is a small town but the surroundings are something not to be missed and its takes a few days to do it all. We chose to hit all the sites on our first day as the weather was windy and a bit colder then we are used to up in Sydney. But as the days went on we realized that the Great Ocean Road is a very windy place and even though the sun may be out it doesn’t heat up like we were used to. So make sure you pack an extra jumper or jacket and a pair of pants as it cools off even more at night. Regardless, dress for the weather as make the most of this beautiful area.
We started off by driving south to see the 12 Apostles. There is a parking lot that is easy enough to access and from here you walk out to observe the 12 Apostles, or what is still standing of them. As we were standing there taking in the beauty we loved the sites from above but wanted to get to the beach. We saw people walking along the sand and wanted to join. For access to the beach you need to drive south of the main tourist area and go to the small road turn out. There you can access a set of stairs that takes you down the beach. I highly recommend getting yourself down to the sand and being at sea level to experience it. We got back in the car and headed and headed north back towards Port Campbell. There are multiple look outs along the way and be sure to hit every one of them. You will see the Loch and George, Thunder Cave, The Arch, London Bridge-awesome story with this one, and the Grotto. When we were at the Grotto we decided to go a bit off the beaten path, and it was well worth it. If you get the opportunity take yourself inside and experience The Grotto right at the water. Do your best to hit every site as they are all so unique and but equally as breath taking.
A day in Town: Activities and Eating
Back in Port Campbell itself you can easily fill your day. Down at the beach is where we spent most of it. We took our snorkel gear as there is a lot to see. There is a lot of marine life and old pieces from the numerous shipwrecks. I highly recommend putting a dry suit on as the water temperature is quite cold. There is also a pier that you are able to jump or dive off of if you’re brave enough. The water isn’t overly rough so we kayaked out and around but the waves do pick up once you are out further on. The surf starts out there and many people are catching waves out in the open ocean. It was amazing to watch and take in from our kayaks. For lunch head to the petrol station, yes I am serious. Attach is a fish and chip take away called Frying Nemo and it has got to be the best fish and chips. Make sure you are hungry as they give you enough to fuel a village!
Supporting the Locals: Time to Indulge
Around Port Campbell there are some other cool places to take in. There is the Gorge Chocolate Factory, which is more like a café to buy chocolate and have a delicious coffee, as well as the Apostle Whey Cheese. If you’ve got time and are in the area definitely check them out and support the local business.
There is a lot to do and I am sure we missed some things as well. I know for a fact we would never have ventured so much if it wasn’t for the guidance from the amazing Evon at the campsite. So when you go say hi to Evon from Brandi and Igor and I am sure she will be thrilled to help guide you in your stay there.
That is it for now and thank you for following the Buss.