Along the southeastern coast of Australia is a stretch of road called
the Great Ocean Road.
This picturesque stretch of highway is also known as the Surfcoast
It was constructed after World War I, predominantly by war veterans.
once you have seen it, you can imagine that
building the Great Ocean Road was an incredible
accomplishment, especially in those days.
Today the Great Ocean Road is a main tourist attraction because of the beautiful
setting, the quiet beach towns, great nature and the incredible Twelve
With the ocean on one side and the hills on the other this two lane
road, stretching for 160 miles, has speed limits of 80 to 100 miles an
hour. The road winds and curves making this speed virtually impossible
along most parts.
How to get there
The Great Ocean Road stretches between Torquay and Allansford where the
Great Ocean Road joins the Princess Highway near Warrnambool. Torquay
is about 90 minutes from Melbourne via the West Gate and Princess
freeway. Parts of the road wind through the rain forest of Otway
Port Campbell National Park is about a
five hour drive from Melbourne if you take the Great Ocean Road and
approximately three hours from Melbourne if you take the Princess
Highway. This national park is known for the Twelve
Apostles, stacks made of rock shaped by the sea
eroding over time.
These rocks are probably up to 20 million years old.
The area is also known for the many shipwrecks that have occurred
there. The Twelve Apostles are one of the most spectacular natural
sights in the world.
I highly recommend taking two minutes to watch
this Great Ocean Road video by the BBC with commentary from the great
Otway National Park
One of the most interesting parks, which part of the Great Ocean Road
winds through, is Otway National Park. If the
rainforests intrigue you, this is a must see. This area has some of the
most beautiful waterfalls, one of which is Triplet Falls.
This area has
recently undergone a 2 million dollar renewal, which included putting
in a loop walk, raised boardwalks, and a platform. These renovations
have improved the scenic quality of the falls and opened up areas of
the rainforest that had not previously been open.
When you have got the time, you should include a visit to Otway
National Park in your trip. Visiting the falls will take 1-2 hours out
of your day, but bush camping overnight is the real way to discover
I have camped there with my family.
Getting to the camp site is best done in a 4WD; we nearly got stuck
with our small regular car.
The next day we hiked down (15 min walk) to wash ourselves in the ice
cold ocean; a great way to wake up and nature living at its best !
Relax in Lorne
is a seaside town that is one of the top beach towns to go if you plan
to travel the Great Ocean Road. Settled in 1849 by a European named
William Lindsay, a timber cutter, the area began growing and was
visited in 1891 by Rudyard Kipling.
He was so impressed with the area
he wrote the poem Flowers, which included a line
about Lorne. On New Years Eve Lorne is host to the Falls
Festival, featuring the Lorne Pier to Pub Swim,
the Lorne Mountain to Surf Run, and the Lorne
Surf Race. These events are annually visited by approximately
Lorne's main strip along the beach is filled with restaurants, little
shops and hotels. Lorne gets visited all year round, but is rather busy
during the summer months.
When you drive out of Lorne, in the direction of Otway National Park
and the Twelve Apostles, make sure you pay attention to the trees the
first 30-45 minutes.
On both of our last trips there we were lucky enough to see koalas
sitting in the trees by the side of the road!
Other Towns and Places to
Visit along the Great Ocean Road
With so much to do, at any time, catering for any kind of person, the
Bellarine Peninsula is an excellent traveling spot to see and enjoy.
The peninsula offers plenty of water activities like snorkeling,
surfing, scuba diving, sailing and swimming, but there are also
opportunities for hiking, shopping and relaxing. Many people go here
for longer than one day. They have a vast range of accommodation
options to choose from.
Geelong is Victoria's second largest city after Melbourne.
Geelong is close to the start of the Great Ocean Road and situated on
the bay. The Barwon River flows through the city making numerous parks spring up
on each side.
Some of the popular tourist attractions here are the National Wool
Museum, the Old Geelong Gaol, the Ford Discovery Center, botanic
gardens, galleries, historical buildings, and beachfront areas with
swimming. Also check out some Geelong
Torquay is a beach-front town along the Great Ocean Road. It is famous
for its' surfing industry. In addition to surfing shops and
manufacturers, they also have the world's largest surfing museum. The
coast is lined with lots of shady trees, making for a great drive. You
can witness fantastic views from Yellow Bluff and Point Danger with its
Port Campbell is situated along the Great Ocean Road just around the
corner from the great ocean sculpture of the Twelve Apostles. It is
surrounded by the smaller towns of Princetown and Peterborough.
Campbell was once a sleepy fishing village but it has grown and is now
a small tourist town which hosts a vast choice of accommodation,
restaurants, cafes and craft shops. It is a good base to explore the
surroundings. Port Campbell is situated only a short drive away from
the Bay of Islands and Bay of Martyrs.
You will really enjoy a trip to Apollo Bay as it's a great coastal
resort which is packed full of exciting and fun things to do and see.
Whether you go here for Apollo Bay itself or use it as a stop in your
journey along the Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay is sure to please.
Apollo Bay has a great deal to offer and you are sure to enjoy the surf
beaches and the safe swimming beaches with clear blue water, boating
harbour, fine dining in the many restaurants and the many eco tours
including seal watching.
Warrnambool is the only city on the rugged Shipwreck Coast.
It overlooks the Southern Ocean and to its rear are endless dairy
Because of its extensive history with the sea, Warrnambool has restored
lighthouses, ship ports, and museums to visit and explore.
The museum contains many shipwreck relics that have washed up over the
This coast is also known as a whale nursery. Whales return to this area
twice a year and can easily be seen from the shore.
There are some penguin colonies in the area and lots of great places to
Great Ocean Road Events
Fairy Folk Festival
Port Fairy is an old farming and fishing village.
The town offers beautiful views of the ocean waves drifting down the
south-west coast of Victoria.
The Port Fairy Folk Festival brings together more than 100 acts and
plenty of visitors to Port Fairy and the Great Ocean Road.
Bay Music Festival
The Apollo Bay Music Festival is an annual event held in the quiet
little town of Apollo Bay.
Apollo Bay has always been a bit of a tourist attraction.
But the town really comes alive during the annual music festival.
May Racing Carnival
One of the most anticipated events of the year in Warrnambool is the
Warrnambool May Racing Carnival.
The Warrnambool Racing Carnival lasts for three days and is popular
with local and international travellers.
Australia loves their horses and what better way to showcase these fine
animals than through an annual carnival?
The skies will tremble with military technology as they take off, land
and fly over head...
The Australian International Airshow has been designed to show off the
military aircrafts of Australia.
It is one of Victoria's main events in March each year.
Surfers get together at Bells Beach annually for the Rip Curl Pro
The professional Rip Curl Pro event was first produced in the early
1970s and with the help of the Australian Bells Beach it has been part
of life ever since.
to the Coast
The Toast to the COast is an annual festival, completely dedicated to
wine, music and great food.
The Bellarine Peninsula and Geelong region is proud of its wines and
local produce and shares it with you in one special weekend.
You can enjoy wine master classes, vineyard tours, gourmet dinners and
local food, as well as music to liven up or calm your spirit.
A trip to the Great Ocean Road is a treat to young and old.
There is simply something for everyone.
Taking a trip to the Great Ocean Road is a definite must when you are
It is the most beautiful coastal road in Australia and probably the