The Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands lies beyond the attractions of Port Campbell. It is perhaps one of the lesser celebrated parts of Great Ocean Road, probably as a result of it being just that little bit further down the road from Port Campbell, where most day trippers have usually reached the end of their energy levels and are ready to head back to Melbourne.
The Bay of Islands is the culmination of the area around the Gibsons Steps, the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, all in one area. In spite of this, and three different areas to park, the fact that it lies about 20 minutes from the Grotto is enough to convince most visitors to not bother visiting. In all honesty, if you’ve had a full day of visiting coastal rock formations, another rock formation precinct doesn’t sound too appealing. In spite of that, it is well worth a visit, especially if you are planning on heading further down the road on to Warnambool and Port Fairy.
Best times to visit
The location is open all year round. Like most of the coast in this area, the weather in the area constantly changes. The best times to shoot here are during early mornings or later afternoons on partially cloudy days. Summer is the best time to visit this particular spot.
With the weather in this area being as changeable as it is, check the forecast, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes).
The effect of sea spray in this location is fairly minimal. Nonetheless, carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. The use of a tripod is not essential unless you are planning to do time-lapse or long-exposure photography. The winds in the area can get very rough. If you do use a tripod, use one that is sturdy and can be weighed down by attaching your camera bag or other heavy object to it with a hook.
You have a large array or lenses to choose from in this area. Wide angle lenses will give you beautiful landscapes and seascapes. Zoom lenses will allow you to focus on a smaller section of the many limestone stacks which stand in the bay.
While the paved pathways remains a good surface in all conditions, the wooden decks can become slippery when wet. Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you. Your choice of footwear is important. I recommend comfortable walking shoes (not runners).
Vehicular Access: Sealed highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Several gravel paths leading to a wooden viewing decks.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty: Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About 45 minutes.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The viewing decks are slippery when wet. There are snakes in the area. Proceed with caution. The cliffs in the area are unstable. Stay on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: This is a relatively quiet and less celebrated area. There is beach access in certain areas and offers an opportunity for families to stretch their legs and have a picnic.