The Great Ocean Road Melbourne
The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia's most spectacular scenic drives. Along the dirve you will be witness to the world famous Twelve Apostles, the Otways rainforest, and legendary surf breaks, but also lovely resort towns like Torquay, Lorne and Apollo Bay, and the historic villages of Queenscliff, Port Campbell, and Port Fairy.
Started in 1918 and finally completed in 1932, the Great Ocean Road was all done by hand using picks, shovels and dynamite. The project was dedicated to those who gave their lives in WWI and it remains the world’s biggest war memorial. Until the road was built, the small coastal settlements were only accessible by boat or rough inland roads. Coach tracks were built along some sections, but these were never linked and were impassable in bad weather.
The Great Ocean Road officially starts at Torquay, although many decide to stop by Geelong first to discover Victoria’s second largest city. Geelong has beautiful beaches, delicious eateries and a fascinating heritage.
The section from Torquay to Lorne is known as the Surfcoast. It’s a surf heaven for experienced surfers, but also a great place to learn surfing. The famous Bells Beach, featured in the final scene of “Point Break”, is a much-loved icon of Australia’s surf scene. The Rip Curl Pro, part of the ASP World Championship Tour, is held here every Easter.
The road between Lorne and Apollo Bay is an area of great natural beauty. You can admire the ocean on one side and the forests and mountains of the Otway Ranges on the other. The Otways are a fantastic inland excursion and a definite highlight of the area boasting a superb national park and a magnificent tree top walk.
The section near Port Campbell is probably the most visited section of the Great Ocean Road because of its striking and dramatic natural rock formations. These formations include Loch Ard Gorge, the Grotto, London Bridge (renamed to London Arch in recent years after the ‘bridge’ partially collapsed), and the most renowned Twelve Apostles.
Between Moonlight Head and Port Fairy is a treacherous section of coast that has claimed more than 180 ships and earned it the name Shipwreck Coast. Here you can follow an exciting Shipwreck trail.
The Great Ocean Road is well-known for its stunning landscape, but it is also a wonderful place to watch the wildlife at its best. You can see kangaroos and koalas at the Tower Hill State Game Reserve, thousands of glow worms at Melba Gully State Park, Platypus at Lake Elizabeth, seals at Cape Bridgewater and massive whales at Warrnambool. So watch out!
The Great Ocean Road offers some of Victoria’s most stunning views of the Southern Ocean from lighthouses, lookouts and viewing platforms. Here are most of the lookouts that you will find on your way:
From Torquay to Lorne: Bells Beach; Point Addis; Anglesea; Aireys Inlet; Cinema Point; Lorne
From Lorne to Moonlight Head: Mt Defiance; Cape Patton Lookout; Marriners; Cape Otway lightstation; the Gable; Red Rock Lookout
From Moonlight Head to Port Fairy: Twelve Apostles; Bay of Martyrs car park; Bay of Island car park
From Port Fairy to Nelson: the Crags; Whalers lookout; Cape Bridgewater; Mickle lookout - Casterton.
- Geelong heritage homes: The Heights heritage house & garden; Barwon Grange, old Geelong Gaol, and Barwon Park (just past Geelong in Winchelsea)
- Portarlington Mill
- Nara Creations: Aboriginal interpretive Centre (Grovedale)
- Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum
- Lorne: the most popular of the coastal townships, combining great beaches, bushwalks and good food.
- Tower Hill State Game Reserve
- Angahook-Lorne State Park: popular bushwalks
- Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary (Aireys Inlet): great snorkeling area
- The Otways: Maits Rest, Melba Gully, Lake Elizabeth, Triplet falls, and Otway Fly Treetop Walk
- Cape Otway, Cape Nelson and Aireys Inlet lighthouse
- Loch Ard Shipwreck and the Shipwreck trail
- The Twelve Apostles
- London Bridge
- The Grotto
- The Bay of Islands coastal park
- Princess Margaret Rose Cave (accessible by cruises Ph: +61 (0)8 8738 4191)
From Melbourne, take Princes Freeway to Geelong, the Surfcoast Highway to Torquay, and finally the Great Ocean Road along the coastline.