Watch nature's drama unfold around every turn of the Great Ocean Road, which stretches from Torquay, near Melbourne, to Portland. Experience the raw power of the Southern Ocean as it meets rugged cliffs, tangled forests and secluded beaches. Surf at Torquay, see the magnificent Twelve Apostles and walk past waterfalls in lush Great Otway National Park. Connect to the region's rich Aboriginal history at Geelong, Tower Hill and Lake Condah and spot whales from historic Warrnambool. Stretch out your journey with a stay in seaside towns such as Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Fairy.
Five highlights on the Great Ocean Road
Ride the waves of Victoria's Surf Coast at Torquay, Jan Juc, Pt Addis or iconic Bells Beach. Enjoy family friendly swimming, fishing and boating in the holiday hamlets of Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay. Just around the costal corner are the ancient limestone pillars of the Twelve Apostles. See them on a scenic helicopter flight or from viewing platforms on the cliffs. Scuba dive the Loch Ard wreck in Port Campbell National Park or hike through the Bay of Islands Coastal Park. Soak up the history and windswept scenery of the Shipwreck Coast at Warrnambool, Portland and Port Fairy.
Mountain bike through the Otway Ranges or take the Otway Fly Walk through the tops of ancient mossy trees. Climb to the top of Cape Otway lighthouse - mainland Australia's oldest lighthouse - in Great Otway National Park. Hike or horse ride through dense forest to thundering waterfalls. Bike ride from West Barwon Reservoir to Lake Elizabeth. Wander deserted beaches and learn about shipwreck history in Port Campbell National Park. In Tower Hill State Reserve the self-guided walks introduce you to wetlands, geology and Aboriginal foods.
Swim with dolphins in Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula and play golf alongside grazing kangaroos in Anglesea. In Great Otway National Park you can canoe next to a colony of platypus on Lake Elizabeth and see glow worms light Melba Gully after dark. Get up close to emus, magpie geese, echidnas and waterbirds in Tower Hill State Game Reserve. Watch southern right whales calving off Logan Beach in Warrnambool between June and September. Spot them further along at Portland, then cruise or kayak next to the huge seal colony at Cape Bridgewater.
Drive the Great Southern Touring Route, which hugs the rugged coastline from Torquay to Warrnambool. Take in spectacular views of the Southern Ocean from Anglesea and between Lorne and Apollo Bay, where the highway carves through sheer sea-cliffs. For a closer coastal encounter, do all or part of the Great Ocean Walk. It winds 91km from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles. Discover the wet forests, cliff-tops and remote beaches on day walks or do the entire eight day hike, camping overnight at picturesque locations.
See the stone houses and fishing traps left from a permanent Aboriginal village in heritage-listed Lake Condah. Near Tower Hill, you can join a walking tour through the extinct volcano where Aboriginal people lived until it erupted 30,000 years ago. Taste bush tucker, browse Aboriginal arts and crafts and stroll through a native garden at Geelong's Aboriginal centre. On the nearby William Buckley Discovery Trail you can trace the story of Aboriginal people after European colonization. Discover middens, native plants and remnants of an ancient campsite at Yollinko Park Aboriginal Garden on the Baron River.