I’m a journalist, travel writer, editor and copywriter based in Melbourne, Australia. I write pacy travel features, edit edifying websites and fashion flamboyant copy. My articles and photographs have appeared in publications worldwide, from inflight to interior design: I’ve visited every continent, and have lived in three. Want to work together? Drop me a line… 



Spotted by locals: Lisa Gorman’s Great Ocean Road

Lisa Gorman: fashion designer,
entrepreneur, mother

Melbourne fashionista Lisa Gorman takes to the Great Ocean Road.

Gorman’s childhood was spent traversing the Great Ocean Road, so when
this stylish Victorian recently went home for the weekend, her local
knowledge came to the fore.

fishing for eels, of all things, in the Erskine
River,” recalls fashionista Lisa Gorman of family holidays spent on the
coast. “Being from Warrnambool, we spent our holidays in Lorne, Port
Campbell and Wye River,” she says. “We’d do a little fishing before
breakfast, then we’d swim. We were always in the water.”

and her husband, Dean Angelucci, recently took their young family to
her favourite local places, and discovered new experiences, on the way
to seeing family in Warrnambool.

The chief drawcard along the
Great Ocean Road is undoubtedly the Twelve Apostles near Port Campbell,
while Cape Otway is the place to spot koalas. However, the addition of
African-style safari tents set on wooden platforms at Cumberland River
Holiday Park near Lorne also caught Lisa’s attention. “It’s a gorgeous
caravan park,” she says. “The safari tents are perfect for really bad
campers like me. You just turn up and they’re already set up for you. It
was a great discovery. We’re staying there next time.”

holiday, Lisa, Dean and their children spent a night at Azure, a beach
house in Wye River. “For a sheer, slick, high-end holiday residence,
Azure is amazing,” she says. Ocean views unfold from the balcony, and
the property is about a five-minute walk from the township, where the
family dined at Wye Beach Hotel.

“It was packed, with a good, local feel, not that holiday-tourist feel, with interesting hearty pub food being served.”

The riches of the Wye River General Store

breakfast the next morning, Lisa visited an old favourite, the Wye
River General Store. Recently refreshed and given a touch of city aplomb
by celebrity architects Six Degrees (think Newmarket Hotel in St Kilda
or the Boatbuilders Yard at South Wharf), the store showcases local
produce. The family stocked up on chocolates, Zeally Bay sourdough from
Torquay and the famed Irrewarra muesli, produced near Colac, about an
hour north of Wye River.

The store’s great coffee helped fuel
Lisa’s drive from the sheltered bushlands of Lorne to Apollo Bay, where
the family stopped for calamari at Bayleaf Cafe and took a walk on the
pier. But there was no swimming in the chilly waters of Bass Strait.
“Lorne and Wye River are quite protected where the bush meets the beach,
but after Apollo Bay it gets really wild,” Lisa says.

A night at
the chic Great Ocean Ecolodge, built in a conservation park adjoining
the Great Otway National Park, meant the family woke up with wildlife on
their doorstep, before driving on to Cape Otway Lighthouse to take a
tour of the building. “It’s two-and-a-half hours from Cape Otway to
Warrnambool, and the drive between the cape and the Twelve Apostles is
gorgeous. It just continues to roll, with fruit trees mixed with gum
trees,” Lisa says.

There were thousands of tourists at the Gibson Steps,
she says, and at the Twelve Apostles the wind was howling. “There’s a
photo of me there, my hair at an 180-degree angle across my face. I look
like Cousin It. But it was still a sky-blue day.”

From Port
Campbell, the family drove into the hills at Timboon, 16 kilometres from
the coast. The towns along the Great Ocean Road really know how to feed
their visitors, serving a mix of the ocean’s bounty and
western-district farmland produce.

A hot tip for foodies, Lisa says, is
to pack a portable cooler and make for Timboon Distillery, where the
shelves are laden with local fare – from Arabian-style pomegranate
dressing to pear chutney, goats cheese and freshly-baked loaves. Lisa
stocked up on L’Artisan’s Mountain Man organic washed-rind cheese and a
bottle of Newtown’s Ridge chardonnay. As she drove away, she realised
she’d forgotten to stock up on Parratte smoked eel, but that’s okay –
she’ll be back soon for another taste of her childhood region.

Lisa Gorman and her husband, Dean Angelucci, took their children on a
recent weekend break, a leisurely drive from Melbourne to Warrnambool,
Lisa’s home town, via the Great Ocean Road beckoned. The family spent
two nights on the road: one night at a designer beach house at Wye, the
other at a chic eco-lodge.

Azure (stayz.com.au/83824)
is a contemporary four-bedroom beachhouse that sleeps eight people and
has 180-degree views of the Great Ocean Road and the township of Wye
River. “Azure is immaculate, with spectacular views of the coastline,”
Lisa says. “It’s a really beautifully appointed house.”

The Great Ocean Ecolodge (greatoceanecolodge.com),
established and operated by the Conservation Ecology Centre, is
adjacent to the Great Otway National Park and hosts a welcoming communal
dining table.

Founded by Shayne Neal and Lizzie Corke, the
solar-powered eco-lodge’s ethos is impressive. “It’s a private business
and not-for-profit, taking care of wildlife and the bush: it’s a very
well-rounded concept, and they’re a multitasking gang,” Lisa says.
“Shayne will take you out at dawn to look for koalas or at night to look
at sugar gliders, then he’s pouring you a local pinot or two, while
chef Kylie is very conscientious and super-knowledgeable about local
produce. And her apple pie! It’s great for families, very educational,
with beautiful food and in a really beautiful environment.”

or winter, holidays with children usually include requests for
ice-cream and Dooley’s Ice Cream, made in Apollo Bay, recently took home
the gold at the 2013 Grand Dairy Awards for its liquorice variety. “We
always ate ice-cream as children on holidays along the Great Ocean Road,
but I think I’m eating more now,” Lisa says. Dooley’s liquorice is
very, very good.”

The tasting platter served at Timboon Distillery (timboondistillery.com.au)
was another foodie highlight, she says. The region’s artisan producers
are well represented in Timboon’s menus – think Old Lorne Road olives,
an Istra salami or ham, toasted sourdough, three cheeses including
Meredith goat cheese and a soft cheese from Apostle Whey – with Timboon
Fine Ice Cream to finish. In winter, soup shooters are added to the
menu. Many travellers also take the local food trail, known under the
umbrella of the 12 Apostles Food Artisans (visit12apostles.com.au), to sample everything from malt whisky to chocolates to berries and highland beef pies.

Wye River General Store (wyerivergeneralstore.com.au)
stocks a robust wine list that includes Bellarine Peninsula gems such
as Provenance pinot gris from Bannockburn, Lethbridge riesling and
Gosling Creek sauvignon blanc.

Great Ocean Road is not just about the views, it’s also about the food,
the walks. It’s about nature, and it’s about the ocean,” says Lisa.
Cape Otway Lighthouse (lightstation.com),
at the “junction” of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean, has
self-guided and guided tours, including a ghost tour which takes you up
the spiral staircase to the top of the light tower. “It was crazily
windy when we were there. They tell you to take off your hat and
sunglasses before you walk out onto the balcony,” says Lisa.

A key
calling card of the Great Ocean Road are the limestone stacks of the 12
Apostles, an hour by car from Warrnambool. At nearby Port Campbell,
visitors take the Gibson Steps up a 70-metre cliffside walk for the
breathtaking views from the top. Another formation of stacks, the Bay of
Islands, is 10-minutes west of Peterborough.

Treasures can also
be found indoors on this coast, too. “Ten minutes past Warrnambool,
Mailors Flat Demolition & Antiques is a big treasure hunt,” Lisa
says. “The owner, Bernie, has some great old stuff – whole staircases,
knobs, parts of buildings.” (www.visitwarrnambool.com.au)

Spotted by Locals is brought to you in association with Tourism Victoria. See more content from around Victoria on Twitter via #spottedbylocals

Source: Belinda Jackson, Good Weekend Magazine


Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling.
And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse.
With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets.
My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad, and occasionally I chat on radio, too, from Essentials Magazine to 3AW or the Irish Times.

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