Coda Lorne, Great Ocean Road, Victoria © Coda
Top places to eat and drink along the Great Ocean Road
Many of the food and drink offerings along the Great Ocean Road are inspired by the sea and its surrounds.
By Carla Grossetti
The Great Ocean Road wows road-trippers in the first instance with its awe-inspiring coastline. And while the iconic 12 Apostles may be what draws visitors to embark on the drive, the food and drink scene is another of its pleasures. Start exploring the Great Ocean Road in Torquay and factor in some delectable detours where you can fuel up in charming coastal villages and amid rolling hills in the hinterland. Following are a few foodie favourites that span the length of the Great Ocean Road.
"Find foodie favourites hidden amid the charming coastal villages and hinterland while touring the Great Ocean Road."
Best spots for brekkie
Warrnambool locals consider Pavilion Café & Bar, overlooking Lady Bay, the Southern Ocean and Middle Islands, to be the Great Ocean Road’s best brekkie or brunch spot.
The granola with berry compote at Bomboras Café Bar in Torquay is also something to write a postcard home about. The café is housed in a rustic wooden beach shack at the entrance to the Great Ocean Road.
Lorne locals take their lazy weekends seriously so get to The Swing Bridge Café and Boathouse early to order a ‘Wakey Wakey Roll’ (bacon, avocado, cheddar and aioli).
Be sure to try: The chilli scrambled eggs at the Pavilion Café & Bar.
Breweries & distilleries
Go on a weekday to Sou’west in Torquay, the newest brewery on the Great Ocean Road, to enjoy everything from IPAs to pilseners and more than a few lagers.
Any beer-focused tour of the Great Ocean Road should also include a stop at Salt Brewing Co. where you will find New World-style pale ales, IPAs, and big hoppy craft beers such as the hugely popular Cranky Mrs.
Koroit has also carved out a space for itself on the craft beer and spirits scene with Noodledoof Brewing & Distillery, where you can pick up a bottle of gin and vodka as well as beer in the industrial-chic distillery.
Apollo Bay Distillery, Great Ocean Road Gin, the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse, and Timboon Railway Shed Distillery are also worth adding to your breweries and distilleries crawl.
Be sure to try: The beef and whisky pithivier at Timboon Railway Shed Distillery.
Insider guide: pubs worth travelling for (according to Australia’s drink editors)
Follow the inland detour to Dinny Goonan Wines in Bambra, in the Otways Hinterland, where you can try cool-climate shiraz and chardonnay.
You will usually find colourful winemaker Shane Breheny on hand to talk through the specifics of hand harvesting grapes to make Brown Magpie Wines in Modewarre at the Torquay end of the Otway Harvest Trail, just off the Great Ocean Road. Otway Estate in Barongarook West, about an hour’s drive from Lorne, does many things well – it’s a winery, brewery, cidery and distillery – which means it attracts a diverse crowd of obsessives.
Be sure to try: A ‘Vineyard Platter’ from Dinny Goonan Wines, featuring a selection of local produce such as field jams and local cheeses.
Factor in time for some inspired detours along the Great Ocean Road: stop for a scallop pie at the Apollo Bay Bakery and enjoy grilled rock lobster and just-caught crayfish at the Apollo Bay Fisherman’s Co-op.
Those with children in tow should navigate to Platypi Chocolate for honeycomb echidnas and hot chocolate bombs and to Timboon Fine Ice Cream for a scoop of passionfruit meringue ice cream.
Visit Warrnambool Fresh Market by the sea to meet growers, creatives and pioneering producers and eat your way along the 12 Apostles Food Artisans Trail, home to small-scale producers such as Apostle Whey Cheese.
Be sure to try: A Sundae School class at Timboon Fine Ice Cream where you can learn to churn.
The Great Ocean Road’s flourishing foodie scene is evident in Port Fairy, where places such as the Merrijig Kitchen at Merrijig Inn and Time and Tide High Tea celebrate the calibre of the local produce.
There are also top-tier restaurants such as Dan Hunter’s award-winning Brae in Birregurra, where you'll taste fresh produce from the kitchen garden and working farm, and nearby Yield Restaurant and Providore, a homey hub run by Simon and Kara Stewart.
MoVida Lorne, on the ground floor of the Lorne Hotel, has been modelled on a chiringuito (beachside tapas bar) and is a magnet for fans of Frank Camorra’s Spanish tapas and signature paella. Upstairs is Coda Lorne, where head chef Hendri Budiman supports local producers with dishes such as Spencer Gulf kingfish sashimi.
Be sure to try: The Goolwa pippies with lemongrass, mint and coconut at Coda.