There are plenty of places to visit along The Great Ocean Road, use this guide to find the less common places to stop at for some stunning photographic opportunities.
Spanning 243 kilometres (150 miles) from the world-famous surf town of Torquay to the small town of Allansford, the Great Ocean road is one of Australia’s best drives. There are hundreds of potential spots you could visit during your trip, so why not mix in some of the less common locations to your pit-stop list.
To access the Great Ocean Road, you could join one of the many bus tours available or better yet, do it at your own pace by renting a vehicle. To have a less stressful trip, make sure you have access to a smart phone and Google Maps or at the very least, a sat-nav unit to help guide you through the winding roads down the south of Victoria.
Wongarra Pull Over Bay
There are many pull over bays along The Great Ocean Road. Although they’re mostly meant for slower drivers to pull to the side, they’re also amazing spots to stop and take in the scenery. There are plenty of actual lookout stops along the stretch of the Great Ocean Road, but some pull over bays offer unique views of the coast that most people don't get to see.
This particular pullover bay is at Wongarra. If you are travelling south from Torquay, the view snakes around a few mountains and the waves crash up onto the shore here. To get to this spot, it is about a 15 minute drive up from the closest town, Apollo Bay. The pull over bay is on the opposite side of the road, back towards the town.
Twelve Apostles (the less touristy part)
A trip down The Great Ocean Road wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the famous Twelve Apostles. Now only eight, the Twelve Apostles are massive limestone formations that have eroded over time. The typical spot to view them is a short two minute walk down from the Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre. This vantage point gives you a complete 360 degree view of the entire coastline, but while it's great, it's often very crowded with tourists.
After you visit that view, why not give the Gibson Steps a try? The Gibson Steps are two minutes down the road at the very start of the Apostles, and they give you access to the beach where you can the Apostles from an angle not many people get to see. It's a great place to get some amazing shots away from the tourists.
Californian redwoods, Beech Forest
If you’re starting from Torquay, enjoy the drive down and at Skenes Creek (just before Apollo Bay), take a 40 minute detour up north to Beech Forest. It's definitely worth it.
Beech Forest is not your average forest. Deep inside lies a large growth of Californian Redwoods. Planted in 1983, these Redwoods tower above you giving an effect that is not commonly experienced in other Australian forests. Wandering through the area you'll feel a sense of serenity and awe.
Just be warned that on the way into the forest, just off Beech Forest-Mount Sabine road, there's a solid 10-15 minutes of gravel road. A sedan will get you there but a 4-wheel drive would handle it better. Also if you're up for it, Hopetoun Falls is just a short 10 minute walk from the Redwoods too.
Cape Otway Lightstation
At the most southern point of The Great Ocean Road lies a little village-like Light-station that plays host to a gorgeous lighthouse. The Cape Otway lighthouse was built in 1848 and is known as 'Australia's most important lighthouse'. The village that surrounds it, is rich with culture and is home to an old Telegraph Station, Radar Station and other old artefacts.
If you're keen to stay here for a bit longer, the Light-station also hosts accommodation. You can also sign up for tours to learn more about the history of the lighthouse, heritage cottages, and integration of indigenous culture.
Loch Ard Gorge
Located just 5 minutes away from the Twelve Apostles, the Loch Ard Gorge received its name from the ship that crashed into it in 1878, killing 52 passengers aboard. The two remaining survivors, Tom and Eva, were immortalised here with its massive left and right pillars inheriting their names. There are stairs that lead down to the beach for you to explore, as well as a little museum and plaques on the walls decoding its history.
If you can, time your arrival at this location for sunset because the sun sets right behind the gorge and is a spectacle to watch.
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