Great Ocean Road

Experience one of the world's most scenic coastal drives, along the south-west coast of Victoria. Great Ocean Road
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Guide to the Great Ocean Road

Experience one of the world's most scenic coastal drives, along the south-west coast of Victoria.


By Ellie Schneider

Take a drive on the spectacular Great Ocean Road, which winds alongside the wild and windswept Southern Ocean. Home to the famous surf at Bells Beach and the towering limestone rocks of the 12 Apostles, this region with its diverse and extraordinary landscape is best explored over the course of a few days.  

HOW TO GET THERE

The Great Ocean Road begins a 90 minute drive from Melbourne's city centre. It spans 400 kilometres (249 miles) from the town of Torquay to Nelson on the South Australian border.

 

MUST-SEE

  • Stay at beachside villages
  • Soak up breathtaking clifftop views
  • Immerse yourself in the nature and wildlife

Great Ocean Road Highlights

TOP THINGS TO DO ON THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD

Take in the scenery
Victoria's exquisite south-west coastline covers an incredible range of scenery. See the renowned waves at Bells Beach or have a relaxing picnic on the sand at Anglesea. Visit the charming old town of Port Fairy and soak in the great vibes of the buzzing arts community in Lorne. Of course, you can't miss the 12 Apostles. These lofty limestone rocks rising majestically from the Southern Ocean are a must-see. Join a scenic flight with 12 Apostles Helicopters to see the Bay of Islands, London Bridge or the entire Shipwreck Coast all the way to Australia's oldest lighthouse at Cape Otway.  

Embrace the unspoilt nature
From rainforests and rivers to old volcanoes and rugged coastlines, the Great Ocean Road showcases nature at its most diverse. In Great Otway National Park you'll see thundering waterfalls and sparkling gorges and walk through the tops of ancient trees. The Otway Fly Treetop Walk is a 600 metre (0.4 mile) long elevated treetop walk that ascends at a gentle grade through the cool temperate rainforest. Thrill seekers can choose the Otway Fly Zipline Tour, a leisure/sports activity where adventure seekers can zoom from one side of the wire fixed on the poles to the other, using trolleys mounted on the wire, 30 metres (98 feet) above the forest floor. Need to stretch your legs? See deserted sandy beaches, thick forests and some of Australia's highest sea cliffs on the 91 kilometre (57 mile) Great Ocean Walk.

Sample the local cuisine
The Great Ocean Road will tempt your tastebuds with sumptuous local cuisine, great dining and excellent wineries. For seafood, visit the Lorne Fisheries Co-Op to taste the local fishermen's morning catch (the fresh oysters are a must) or the Apollo Bay Fishermen's Co-Op for delicious fish and chips. Pick your own raspberries and blackberries from the Pennyroyal Raspberry Farm and blueberries from Shoebridge Blueberry Farm. Or try the gourmet cheeses at delicatessens in Allansford, Timboon and Cooriemungle. You will find many of the finest wineries along the Great Ocean Road. Stop off at a wine cellar, such as the Basalt Vineyard in the Henty wine region, or Bellbrae Estate near Bells Beach. Book well in advance for dinner at upmarket restaurant Brae, which serves a set menu created from the highest quality local ingredients. If you’re a vegetarian, ask for a special vegetarian meal, they’d be delighted to serve you an exotic mix of their freshest produce.

Meet the wildlife
The Great Ocean Road is home to an abundance of native wildlife. At Logans Beach in Warrnambool you can watch southern right whales calve in a nursery close to shore between May and September. Join a Seals by Sea tour to see hundreds of fur seals at Cape Bridgewater or swim with dolphins at Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula. See koalas in the wild at Kennett River and in the Great Otway National Park, and enjoy a game of golf alongside grazing kangaroos at Anglesea. For something completely different, canoe alongside platypus on Lake Elizabeth on a guided tour at dawn.

Experience Australia's Aboriginal culture
Aboriginal stories connect the landscapes of the Great Ocean Road from Wathaurong country in Geelong to the Gunditjmara region of the west. Taste native Australian foods, known as bush tucker; learn about ancient remedies and hear didgeridoo (a wind instrument) playing at the Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Geelong. Visit the Brambuk centre in Halls Gap to see fascinating displays of art and artefacts and join a tour to visit some of rock art sites dating back 22,000 years in the Grampians National Park. Take a walk with an Aboriginal guide at Tower Hill near Warrnambool, a nature reserve nestled in an extinct volcano, where Aboriginal people lived until it erupted more than 30,000 years ago.

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