Windswept cliffs, soaring forests, powerful ocean tides.

As far as road trips go, Victoria’s iconic Great Ocean Road is one that is defined by the sheer strength and unassuming beauty of the Australian landscape.

Only hours from Melbourne’s CBD, Lorne is a place where the solitude and calm of the natural environment meet a quietly thriving community.

It’s a place that photographer Aleksandar Jason goes to recharge.

But for Aleksandar, it’s not just the destination –it’s also the journey.

“It’s not just a drive to get to a location, but an enjoyable and picturesque drive,” he says.

Taking the MINI Countryman Hybrid to the coast for a weekend makes sense – the new hybrid model’s performance, matched with its nod to environmentally friendly principles, means it’s right at home in this part of the world.

And because the MINI Countryman Hybrid is made for exploring, taking it off the beaten track to discover the hidden secrets of the area is seamless.

“The beauty of Lorne is that it’s simple, not a lot to do but just relax and enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life,’ Alexsandar says.

“When we got to our accommodation in Lorne we were in awe of its beauty… beautifully styled and the perfect distance from beaches and shops,” he says.

“After unpacking and settling in we made our way down to the local stores to grab some necessities for the weekend and enjoyed a little stroll through town.”

The small village is a tourist mecca in the summer, but in its quieter moments gives way to boutique restaurants, bars and shops.

When not out exploring the waterfalls and forests that surround the town, the MINI Countryman Hybrid’s Connected interface was the perfect way for Aleksandar to find places to eat, chill out, and take in the beach.

No coastal road trip would be complete without a few trips to the beach – and Aleksandar says watching the sun rise on the last day of the trip was an enduring memory.

“We packed our bags, tidied the home and mad our way down to the beach one final time. We saw the sun rise & the people surf until it was time to make our way back home,” he says.