Sponsored by: Jeep Australia.
The World War II Jeep rolled off the assembly line in the 1940s, an indestructible workhorse. The 'go anywhere, do anything' mentality has been at the forefront of the Jeep brand ever since. Today, there is no other vehicle that owns adventure quite like Jeep.
In more recent times, Jeep has partnered with like-minded brands such as the World Surf League, who equally epitomise the adventure ethos. These are no mundane urban cruisers.
When you buy a Jeep, you can certainly say “I can go places that you can’t”. It’s a great fit for a brand that prides itself on building cars that really get you off the beaten track.
The WSL partnership started back in 2015 and continues to this day.
At the time, Mike Manley, President and CEO of the Jeep brand, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for the Jeep brand to partner with WSL, a global organisation with similar values to ours – freedom, expression and creativity. This sport embodies the passion we have for breaking personal boundaries and making the most out of every day."
The appeal is in the freedom that Jeep offers. The ability to go anywhere and discover tucked-away gems, far from the crowds. The WSL association is a great fit for Jeep and the guys at WSL generously provided us with the perfect launch point for four days at Bells Beach, the home of the longest running surf competition in the world.
The competition turned into a professional event in 1973 and each year at Easter, the world's best surfers vie for the chance to ring the coveted Bell.
This year was Australian surf legend Mick Fanning’s final professional event. Excitement levels on the sand reached fever pitch as Fanning made it through each round and carved it up right through to the final. Fanning came a close second, to the roar of his fans.
While the spotlight was undoubtedly shining on the local hero, we got the chance to catch up with pros and Jeep ambassadors, Jordy Smith and Malia Manuel. Jordy Smith prefers the refined but hugely capable Jeep Grand Cherokee, which we had also chosen as our car of choice for our Bells road trip.
Malia Manuel prefers the tough and iconic Jeep Wrangler. Her father also grew up with a Wrangler, so it seemed a perfect fit as the brand goes full circle in their family.
Beyond Victoria’s Lorne is a stretch of unspoilt coastline, hosting so many different outdoor activities, that packing becomes problematic. Thankfully the boot space in our Grand Cherokee is generous, so we packed fishing gear, surfboards, wetsuits, off-roading gear, camera equipment and clothes. This provided the opportunity to really immerse ourselves in our surroundings.
There are many 4WDriving options along this stretch, but we didn’t have to travel far to find the perfect spot. While experienced drivers can elect to go solo, we had the new Jeep Compass tailing us. The Compass is also a Trailhawk model, geared toward the more adventurous owner and while it’s smaller than the Grand Cherokee, it proved extremely capable on the trails.
The Compass features a new set of 4WD controls delivering confidence in all conditions. The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is larger, but both will push confidently through any obstacle.
The Jeep Quadra Drive II system works to deliver torque to the wheels with the most traction ensuring power is not wasted on wheels with inefficient traction.
Having the right car to be able to get away from the hordes at Easter was crucial to our enjoyment of this special time of year. The chance to explore, in the hope of finding a small stream running from the mountains, that form the back drop to the Great Ocean Road was an opportunity too good to resist.
A short hike provided a chance to catch a small stream brown trout. We were particularly chuffed with this catch. After three casts, we’d found success and victory was very sweet indeed. He was released carefully, back to his pristine homeland.
All along this stretch, you are looking at uncrowded and stunning beaches, so with four-wheel-driving and fishing ticked off our adventure to-do list, it was time to find some surf.
You can’t drive on the beaches here, but you really don’t need to with so many pull-over bays dotted along the road. Finding a spot away from the colossal crowds at Bells and nearby Winkipop is as simple as hopping in a Jeep.
There were countless times on our Bells adventure, that we thanked our lucky stars that we were in such a capable vehicle. With the weather on our side, Jeep showed us some of the best that this beautiful region has to offer.