As you cruise along The Great Ocean Road you cannot help but be mystified by the beauty of the sand swept shorelines and deep blue sea. Speckled with small coastal towns, picturesque landscapes and hundreds of beaches, The Great Ocean Road drive in the Australian state of Victoria is a must do for any traveller.
So, how long is the Great Ocean Road?
Stretching from the Surf City of Torquay to Allansford, your journey takes you 243 km along the South-Western coastline of Victoria, mesmerizing your optical senses with amazing natural limestone formations such as The Twelve Apostles and The Grotto.
For your travel planning
Torquay, our suggested starting point of your Great Ocean Road itinerary, is 101 kilometres from Melbourne along the Princes Highway. Regular domestic and international flights arrive in Melbourne daily and cheap accommodation is available if you wish to explore Melbourne before this trip. The best way to see the sightsis by car. You can rent one from numerous companies in Melbourne such as Europcar, Avis and Budget car rentals, or if you want to use some backpacker style, a Wicked Camper rental may be a better choice. If you don’t fancy driving yourself and have a healthy budget for your trip, there are a variety of differing guided tours available.
Here some suggested things to do for your Great Ocean Road itinerary
Probably Australia’s most famous surf beach and home of the World Surfing Tour Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach is a must-see stop on your Great Ocean Road itinerary. Featured in films such as Point Break, this right hand reef break can be seen from the car park at the cliffs above the shoreline. Situated at the start of The Great Ocean Road, this surfing amphitheatre provides a great rest stop after travelling from Melbourne. For the surfers among you, this surf spot is truly only for the experienced wave rider.
Situated 47 km from Torquay on The Great Ocean Road, Lorne is the essence of beach-side living. The Lorne pier is a great place to cast a line and catch some fish for lunch and the local pub is a great spot for a bite to eat, with a commanding view. Soak in the rays on the beautiful beach-front or try your hand at surfing, Lorne really has it. Nearby Erskine Falls is a must see and Teddy’s Lookout provides spectacular photographic views of The Great Ocean Road, just turn off at William St and follow Erskine Creek Road until you get there!
Lorne Falls Festival is on every summer, with international bands and musicians providing a flow of music to the seaside town. It takes place from 28 December to 1 January every year, but make sure you get your tickets early.
Cape Otway and The Great Otway National Park
Cape Otway is situated 143 km along the Great Ocean Road from Torquay, 76 km from Lorne. After a stop for lunch in Apollo Bay, the road begins to zigzag and climb into the cliffs that you have spent most of the trip below. Cape Otway overlooks the Bass Strait and was the site of eight known shipwrecks; the lighthouse watching over the sea on the cape has been the saviour of many more. The light house is open daily to visitors and a few short hikes in the area allow the active traveller to take in the scenery.
The Great Otway National Park stems from Torquay through to Cape Otway, but the lushest and best experienced region is around Cape Otway. For those chasing the outdoors experience then look no further as the forest meets the trees, koalas are abundant in this area and it is not uncommon to come across a friendly fellow. Cheap accommodation is available at Cape Otway, otherwise camping is permitted.
The 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road in Australia
The highlight of The Great Ocean Road itinerary and a world renowned destination, the 12 Apostles are located 213 km into the journey, 6km from Princetown in Port Campbell National Park. The remaining eight limestone towers (four have fallen since being discovered) can be accessed via a short walk along the boardwalk from the visitor centre (can’t miss it). The lookouts are well maintained and provide an epic platform for photography, but watch out for crowds as it can get pretty busy. The 45 metre limestone towers are best viewed at sunrise or sunset, when the amber glow of the sun invigorates the natural limestone colours and the deep blue sea paints an amazing background.
Our last destination located at the 216km mark of our journey is The Grotto. The Grotto is a circular arch made naturally in the limestone cliffs that captures a naturally framed view of the ocean. As you look out from the rather small viewing platform you can see a calm and placid rock pool preceding the Southern Ocean. A picturesque spot that allows you view it from above or to walk down to shore level and truly experience its beauty. The Grotto is situated just 340 metres from the car park and is well signposted.
As you can see, The Great Ocean Road is packed with golden moments, spectacular scenery and awe-inspiring landscapes. So what are you waiting for?
When is the best travel time for your Great Ocean Road drive?
Victorian Weather can be a little fickle (as my not so great photos prove) and you should pack some warm clothes all year round as the nights can get quite chilly. To truly enjoy the sun-soaked beach lifestyle encountered on this epic journey one should chase the sun and head there during summer. Summer in Victoria is between December to February; however October to April provides pleasant conditions in the region.