Great Ocean Road road tours are very popular. A drive out to the Great Ocean Road is worthwhile for the views alone but if you’re keen for more there’s plenty to choose from: Helicopter rides, rainforest trekking, beach-combing, historical trivia (it is the world’s largest war memorial, built in 1919 by returned soldiers after WW1). If you are looking for an inclusive tour make sure you book directly with a smaller family run business such as Australian Wild / Luxury Escapes or you could always hire a car. My advice would be to contact a specialist like Bridge & Wickers and let them put together a classic tailor-made itinerary for you taking in some of the places I am about to mention.
Whenever Melbournians have visitors from overseas, the Great Ocean Road is always on the itinerary. Some parts may be commercialised but the Great Ocean Road takes its place among Australia’s must-see destinations for good reason.
An iconic drive
The road itself is 243 kilometres of pure, unadulterated views of the ocean. Lime stone stacks, crashing waves and brilliant surf are just some of the sights that will roll past your window. On the other side, feast your eyes on rolling hills, lush farmland and rapturous mountains rising up from the hinterland.
The ocean-side journey generally starts from Torquay and ends in Warrnambool with many towns and viewing points to stop at along the way. If you’re after beaches, the best parts to me are between Lorne and Apollo Bay because there are many spots where you can just drive up to and explore. (The other parts of the road are perched on sea cliffs so they’re nice to look out from but not much else.)
The secret to enjoying the Great Ocean Road is to take your time and stop wherever you feel like, be it a spectacular viewing point, a historical town or a wading pool.
Here are some points of interest in geographical order:
Torquay – Surfer’s paradise, literally. Birth place of Rip Curl and Quiksilver. Sports Bell’s Beach, one of the most challenging surf sites in the country.
Lorne Pretty – town with lots of cafes, playgrounds, branded shops and cinema.
Wye River – one of a few seaside communities you can stop at to get away from the big town bustle. Lovely beach on one side, lush camp grounds on the other.
Apollo Bay – good beach for summer swimming or just playing with sand. Smaller than Lorne but has its fair share of cafes, shops and supermarkets.
Twelve Apostles – signature destination for the typical sightseer. Built-up platforms and kiosk-cafe make it very accessible to all.
Port Fairy – charming fishing village with nineteenth century cottages.
Warrnambool – famous for whale-watching between June and October. You can spot them just a 100 kilometres out from Logan’s Beach.
A drive to remember
Even if you don’t feel like making it all the way from end to end, the Great Ocean Road will be one for the album. Few roads in the world offer such spectacular views of ocean and forest. It is best to make the trip over at least 3 days and 2 nights so you can take your time to soak up the sights, the scenery and everything in between.