You’d think that after two full days of excitement in from Warrnambool to Port Fairy, it’s time to pack your bags and go straight home, right? Not exactly. The road to home (and by home, I mean back to good old Melbourne) is just as exciting as the beginning and middle of your journey.
When you wake up to the Port Fairy sunrise, make sure you get a quick breakfast and take time to explore the charming fishing village before heading back to the road. Take a walk along the river and/or beaches with a coffee in hand. Maybe even follow one of the walking trails and see the grand public buildings and whaler cottages. You can even take a cruise out to the offshore seal colony on Lady Julia Percy Island.
When you’ve had your fill of Port Fairy, you have to decide on one of two options. You can either retrace your steps backwards, spending a bit more time on all the exciting places you’ve visited in the last two days; or you can take the inland route via Colac to Melbourne. If you do decide to take the inland route, here’s what you’d want to do:
Day Three – Port Fairy to Melbourne (via Colac)
288 km/179 miles, about 3.5 hours
From Port Fairy, get back on the Great Ocean Road back through Warrnambook, and then drive around 140 kilometres inland towards Colac. About an hour along the drive and you’ll find Camperdown, where you can stop for a quick cuppa and amazing 360 degree views of Mt Leura and Mt Sugarloaf. Don’t rush out, enjoy your tea or coffee and the incredible views of the highest points between the rolling western plains and stunning coastal ranges.
Get back on the road and head out to Colac. If you’ve built up an appetite by this time, you’re in luck because you’re headed for a mouthwatering gastronomic journey. From gourmet food to craft beer and more, there’s a lot to do in this gateway city to charming villages. Once you get there, head out to the Otway Estate Winery and Brewery and get a taste of flavours that are uniquely Colac. Choose from their selection of stouts, lagers, ales, and all sorts of beers, homebrewed and available. Not a beer person? No worries. They have a selection of wines to love and ciders to die for. If you’ve never tried cider before then it’s about time you do. If you start to feel peckish between 12NN and 3PM, they offer light gourmet pastry meals like chicken pie, sausage rolls, and roasted vegetable quiche.
If you want something a little more than just a light pastry, or if you just want to go on a food trip on your last day, take a quick drive to Birregurra and stop at award winning Brae (Restaurant of the Year 2015, Food Guide). You’ll love feasting on superb dishes with clever, creative twists. But the best part of this restaurant is the on-site organic fruit and vegetable garden. Take a look at the 30 acre productive land and you’ll know just how fresh your food is going to be.
Your foodie adventure isn’t over yet so i hope you’ve saved some room. It’s time to head to Inverleigh, home to Gladioli. Gladioli is one of those regional gems that are a little more underrated but about as gastronomically divine as the rest of them. We opted for the 8 course meal instead of the 5 course and believe me it’s worth every dollar. You have the best of fine dining in a relaxed rural atmosphere with a sprinkle of the quintessential bush magic. When you’ve satisfied your cravings and had your fill of the atmosphere, it’s time to get back on the road and take the easy one-our drive to Melbourne.
The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most scenic drives. You won’t regret taking this three day self-driving roadtrip filled with lush greeneries, spectacular views, amazing food, and oodles of fun. Just be sure to equip yourself with a quality Melbourne car rental so you can drive on without a hitch. Have an amazing holiday!