Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road begins 111km southwest of Melbourne at Tourquay and stretches 253km to Warrnambool. This magnificent coastal route takes you on the journey of a lifetime and will captivate your heart forever. The spectacular limestone cliffs, brilliant blue waters and pounding waves of the Southern Ocean will take your breath away around every bend. This is one iconic drive you could easily do over and over again.
The Great Ocean Road is not only a scenic treasure, but a memorial constructed through hard labour, sweat and tears. Dedicated to fallen comrades in World War 1, 3000 ex-servicemen came together and built this remarkable scenic road over 13 years, completing it in 1932. Today it is a living memorial, the largest war memorial in the world
and what an absolute treasure it is. This road offers a stunning visual experience with meaning, remembrance and honour behind it.
The Great Ocean Road experience begins at Torquay, “Australia’s Surfing Capital”, where it’s all happening. Check out the Surf City Shopping Complex where all the big name surf wear retailers operate from, it’s pure shopper heaven. Discover the story of Australian surfing at Surf World Torquay, a museum dedicated to surfing history in Australia. Then head to the foreshore and sit atop Point Danger where you can see all the action on the water. Continue on to Surf Beach for more surfing action.
is Australia’s most iconic surf beach and no trip along the Great Ocean Road is complete without calling in for a look.
Located 7km southwest of Torquay is the spectacular beach flanked by prominent headland and its spiralling wooden staircase reminding film buffs of the hit movie “Point Break”
it is partly famous for. Not to mention the impressive waves, huge surfing attraction and Rip Curl Pro Surfing Championship held at Bells each Easter long weekend. Bells Beach is a major tourist attraction along this scenic adventure.
The scenery continues to delight towards the town of Lorne. There are roadside pullovers for photo opportunities and at Urquhart Bluff you can learn about the construction of the Great Ocean Road in its entirety.
The Great Ocean Road memorial arch commemorates the building of the road and honours all the Victorians who served in World War 1. The arch is located 10km east of Lorne and provides a memorable photo opportunity for your Great Ocean Road experience. There is also a sculpture here dedicated to the hard working diggers who made this tourist route possible.
Lorne is absolutely gorgeous and boasts a beautiful beach and foreshore with a waterfront shopping strip packed with eateries. The Lorne Pier is a popular fishing haunt and common catches include squid, whiting, salmon and snapper. Whilst in Lorne do not miss Teddy’s Lookout which is accessible via Otway St in town. Drive to the end of George St and the lookout is 50m from the carpark. The views are magnificent from high above the Great Ocean Road overlooking the sparkling blue sea and crashing white waves.
Erskine and Sheoak Falls are within close vicinity to Lorne in the Great Otway National Park. Erskine Falls
is accessible via Otway St in town and is 6km on. An easy 80m walk reaches the upper falls lookout and 220m takes you down a stairway to the lower falls lookout. The gorgeous falls descend to the rock pool over a cliff face covered with greenery. The overall effect is quite striking.
Sheoak Falls is located about 5km west of Lorne just off the Great Ocean Road. An easy 600m walk reaches the falls which spill over a black porous rock face. Take in the stunning views along the walk at Mt Defiance Lookout, another breathtaking ocean road sight.
Further on at Cape Patton Lookout you can park the car and get out and appreciate the magnificent coastline along the Great Ocean Road. This lookout has views for miles.
Just east of Apollo Bay is Marriners Lookout. Signposted on the main road, turn off and drive 2km along and you’ll find a private residence which has kindly donated a track on their land leading to spectacular panoramic views of Apollo Bay and the coastline. The 200m walk up hill is steep in some sections however the invigorating walk is entirely worth the effort once you reach the top.
Apollo Bay is a beautiful seaside township with a fabulous beach around the bay and a real laid back holiday atmosphere. The Apollo Bay Recreation Reserve on the Barham River is the only camping facility on the Great Ocean Road allowing pets during peak seasons.
The historical Cape Otway Lighthouse
is 12km off the beaten track. This lighthouse is actually the oldest on Australia’s mainland and is open for viewing daily from 9am and entry fees apply. If you aren’t into lighthouses still make a point of driving along this road and spot for koalas
, there’s a very good chance you’ll see some in the wild, particularly in the warmer months. Keep an eye on the tree tops.
The stunning attractions of Port Campbell National Park are the highlight of the Great Ocean Road. West of Princeton the Gibsons Steps descend down the magnificent coastal limestone cliffs to a beach of taupe sands with striking rock formations. This is just a hint of the grandeur of the 12 Apostles yet to come.
The 12 Apostles
are the remains of a receding limestone coastline constantly being eroded by the sea and its powerful waves. The remnants are changing all the time as erosion continues and rock stacks erode, break and fall. The extraordinary rugged beauty of the apostles and the limestone coastline is so captivating. This part of the Victorian coastline is so unique and really shows the powerful forces of the elements. It is estimated that the cliff faces are being eroded by about 2cm each year. Wonder what they’ll look like next year?
Loch Ard Gorge is a maritime historic site and named after a ship that wrecked here in the 1800’s gold rush era, only 2 of the 54 people on board surviving. The entire coastline here is magnificent and several easy walks lead to different parts of it. The stunning Loch Ard Gorge, Island Arches, Razorback, Thunder Cave and Broken Head are all worth exploring.
Port Campbell breaks up the rugged coastal exploration as you pass through town. The gorgeous seaside village has a lovely protected beach and foreshore patrolled by lifeguards, a jetty popular with the fishermen and a stunning lookout over the township and surrounding coastline. It’s a beautiful spot to stop for lunch or refreshments or even stay a while longer.
The next rugged coastal attraction is The Arch
. This strangely eroded limestone formation is only a short 50 metre walk from the car park.
London Bridge is another impressive sight with an interesting story behind it. The bridge’s archway was caused by waves sweeping along both sides of the headland and eroding the cliff faces to caves and then eventually arches. In time the top of the arch will collapse from erosion and two rock stacks similar to the Apostles will remain, these being subject to continual erosion as well. Another interesting and surprisingly lucky fact is that the gap between the arch and the mainland was once part of the bridge. This part collapsed in 1990 and fell into the sea leaving 2 people stranded on the remaining arch. Thankfully nobody was injured or worse.
The Grotto is an unusual attraction formed by coastal and inland erosion where weak acids in the water have slowly dissolved the limestone, resulting in sinkholes and eventually hollowing out to form the Grotto.
Continuing on northwest of Peterborough is Worm Bay, an absolutely beautiful beach bordered by reddish coastal cliffs in the Bay of Islands Coastal Park.
Next to Worm Bay is the Bay of Martyrs where red rock stacks remain in the sea after the receding coastline eroded in a similar fashion to the 12 Apostles.
Further on is the Bay of Islands, another erosion casualty. The sweeping bay has been subject to the Southern Ocean swell over many years and the limestone has withered away leaving remnants scattered in the sea. This beautifully scenic bay with its rusty coloured cliffs is the perfect final attraction on this fabulous coastal journey.
The Great Ocean Road is one of those scenic routes you need to take your time
to appreciate. The journey can be done in a day but it’s a lot more fun stretching it out, getting out of the car at all the attractions, doing the fabulous walks and camping along the way.
There are plenty of caravan parks along the way at Torquay, Angelsea, Aireys Inlet, Lorne, Cumberland River, Wye River, Kennett River, Apollo Bay, Port Campbell, Peterborough and at the end of the road at Warrnambool. If you’re travelling during peak season with a pet it’s not easy to find accommodation along the Great Ocean Road. Bear in mind the Apollo Bay Recreation Reserve and the Warrnambool Showgrounds/Greyhound Track do accept pets.
Travelling the Great Ocean Road is an exciting and breathtaking experience. It feels like you’ve really made the most of your holiday and enjoyed every minute of it. Now that’s a journey worth embarking on!
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Destinations in Victoria
Great Ocean Road
Return from Great Ocean Road to Victoria