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kangaroo island and/or Great Ocean Road

Sunnyvale, CA
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kangaroo island and/or Great Ocean Road

We will be going to Australia late July 2014 (family of 4, 2 older teenage sons). We're all nuts about nature and especially wildlife! I had our whole trip planned that started with 2.5 days on Kangaroo Island, but now i discovered the Great Ocean Road and am debating if I should try to squeeze it into our itinerary. We are from northern California and have driven our famous Highway 1 coastal road many times and I essentially grew up on California beaches so rugged coastline and surfing areas are not novel to us. I know the GOR is amazing but given that we have limited time, live on the California coast and will have already seen a lot of wildlife on KI (koalas, kangaroos, fur seals), I was wondering what would be some of the unique attractions on the GOR for us?

Coffs Harbour...
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1. Re: kangaroo island and/or Great Ocean Road

I know I will get soundly berated here but ... the GOR pales in comparison to Highway 1.

My husband is originally from Northern California (San Francisco/ Santa Cruz) and we have done multiple Highway 1 trips (north from San Francisco to Fort Bragg is my fav part). This year we did a road trip to Kangaroo Island and the Great Ocean Road. There are some scenic parts of the GOR and some nice towns but I found it not as wildly varied and visual as Highway 1.

But as I said ... I am now expecting to get put in my place by other TA posters!

Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: kangaroo island and/or Great Ocean Road

We made a 3-day drive of the GOR (after a 3-day visit on KI) one year in the month of January (middle of summer). There were some nice beach stops (Apollo Bay), historical stops (Flagstaff Hill and Loch Ard Gorge) and scenic stops (Twelve Apostles), but overall, we were not "wow'd". Having driven Highway 1 in California, I'm not sure you'll be wow'd either. Also, I don't think I'd be so inclined to drive it in winter (June)--the weather may not be conducive to outdoor activities.

Sunnyvale, CA
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3. Re: kangaroo island and/or Great Ocean Road

Thanks so much for the reply. You made our travel planning a lot easier.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: kangaroo island and/or Great Ocean Road

I don't think it's really fair to directly compare locations like this - they are in entirely different parts of the world in a completely different context. Certainly the GOR is a novelty for us in Australia as generally the roads don't come quite so close to the coast for such long stretches. For those of us used to other types of scenery, it is an excellent tourist destination with many stunning features and is very commonly ranked on the top 10 lists of the world's coastal drives.

The GOR is certainly different to California's drive in many ways - it may not be as long or cover quite as many "destinations" but should that affect whether you visit it or not? I'd say what you really need to think about when planning a holiday is what kind of things you enjoy doing - if you like driving and like coastal scenery, you should love the GOR - it will differ from California in many ways. But if you've had your fill of this kind of destination elsewhere, and don't have the time or inclination, no one is going to judge you for that. I agree with the idea that there are no "must see" destinations that apply to all travelers, and you can certainly find so much else to do that is unique and interesting in the region.

I agree that the weather can be cool and possibly rainy in July... plus with short daylight hours. Melboune has only 2.6 clear days on average in July and about 10 days of rain (the remainder cloudy). If you aren't already considering it, this is an ideal time to visit northern Australia as part of your trip too.

Edinburgh, United...
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5. Re: kangaroo island and/or Great Ocean Road

Hi.

It sounds like you have made up your mind. However, if you do make it to GOR, this is a wildlife experience your family may love - Paddle with the Platypus! It's a canoe tour at dawn or dusk in a remote highland lake in Otway. We haven't been yet (heading at the end of March), but I can't wait!!

http://platypustours.net.au/platypustours.htm

Abs :)

Gungahlin, Australia
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6. Re: kangaroo island and/or Great Ocean Road

That sounds great Abs140, I've saved the post for my GOR ideas. Please let us know if you post a reviews, or better yet do a Trip Report.

Good post Jeremy512. I wasn't going to add anything as I cannot compare the two from personal experience, but FWIW my feeling was that although I love the GOR, maybe for visitors from California familiar with that famous coastal drive, squeezing in the GOR is not the best use of their limited time.

Sunnyvale, CA
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7. Re: kangaroo island and/or Great Ocean Road

Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like the GOR is not worth doing. It looks amazing, and I would love to do the "paddle with platypus", but we do have a limited itinerary and Australia is such an amazing and diverse place that we want to first see the places that are unlike anything we have here. We do not have the tropics, coral reefs, rainforests, outback and the incredible wildlife that Australia has. When my kids read about Exmouth and snorkeling with manta rays and whale sharks (darn internet) I already had to cut Kakadu from our itinerary to squeeze a few days on the east coast.

Geelong...
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8. Re: kangaroo island and/or Great Ocean Road

The lake is called Lake Elizabeth and not far from Apollo Bay. Beautiful serene and yes there is the possibility of seeing the elusive platypus. If you get a chance to visit you won't regret it

9. Re: kangaroo island and/or Great Ocean Road

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