by Chris Burns, Hop To It Tours
There are many reasons why you need more than one day on the Great Ocean Road. Whether it be to spend time at the beaches, hike through the Otway Rainforest, see some of the many waterfalls or just slow down the sightseeing, the Great Ocean Road has a lot to do. One facet that is often overlooked though is that the Great Ocean Road is a great culinary region and that any visit along it should include time spend trying out the various local food and drinks on offer.
Probably the best region though is towards the end of your drive quite near the 12 Apostles. This area is dairy country and as such there are lots of delights on hand. Here between the towns of Port Campbell, Timboon, Cobden and Simpson is an area the locals have drawn up as the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail. Time to describe the delicacies you are in for and why you need a day just to enjoy this!
Timboon Fine Ice Cream has some of the best locally made ice cream you can have and some random flavours to try. Some of our favourites are Orange & Cardamon, Passionfruit & Meringue, Ginger, Blue Cheese, Maple & Cinnamon. There are about 20 each day to choose from and they are more than happy for you to try them beforehand.
Just across the park is the distillery who specialise in single malt whiskeys but also do schnapps and vodkas. The whiskeys are $10/head for a tasting (redeemable on purchase) but more than worth it.
A few kilometres down the road towards Port Campbell is the Timboon Cheesery who specialise in German style cheeses like quark. They also had excellent soft cheese and lighter hard cheeses. Tasting is only $1 (also redeemable on purchase).
Just north of Timboon is Berry World, a 1.5ha lot that grows strawberries, boysenberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. You can choose to buy direct or pick your own and these berries are used by most of the local providers (such as the ice creamery).
Up near Simpson, Aldo’s olives grown all of their own produce turning it into oil and other artisan olive products of the highest quality.
Up higher on the Timboon Colac Road between Timboon and Simpson, the Fudge Farm makes their own fudge from totally natural products, which is a strong point of difference from most fudge manufacturers who use powder. With a stack of flavours to choose from why not go along and taste it for yourself!
Further along our loop in the town of Cooriemungle, the Apostle Whey Cheese comp[any provide just that, some great whey cheese options. Tasting costs are $2 (redeemable on purchase) and if you like your brie and camembert
styles, and want to see a live farm, then this place is not to miss.
As we continue the loop back to Port Campbell you will also hit Gorge Chocolates who make their own Belgian style chocolates. With many to choose from you can pop in to try some, but you’ll find it hard to leave without taking some home.
Also in Cooriemungle is the Sow & Piglets Microbrewery. Here they specialise in German style beers such as Kolsch, Dunkel and Marzen as well as the traditional Aussie styles. If it isn’t open you can always pop into the hostel in Port Campbell where they run the bar. A beer paddle sounds like the perfect way to finish of your gourmet day!
When driving he Great Ocean Road you have to remember that there are so many great things to do just off the road itself. There are many wineries in the region, particularly just before you start around Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula. Torquay, Aireys Inlet and Apollo Bay also have great microbreweries.
Just near Bells Beach, the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie is also a hugely popular stop early on in the drive and a hot chocolate from there is not to be missed.
Rushing the Great Ocean Road never makes sense. A 2 day tour is a bare minimum and a 3-4 day tour is a much better itinerary. By stopping along the way and experiencing the local produce you will not just excite your taste buds and help out the local community but also grow to appreciate just what the area has to offer!
A Hop To It Tours 4 day camping trip along the Grampians & Great Ocean Road has time to stop at a lot of the places described above. We can also arrange private day or overnight trip with you if you can’t find the time to spend a little longer around this great area of Victoria!