Hugging Victoria’s south-east coast, The Great Ocean Road Tour is arguably most famous in Australia, and it’s easy to see why. Look one way, and a foamy blue shoreline along white-sand beaches stretch as far as the eye can see. Look the other, and deep green hinterlands and mighty mountains continue for kilometres. It is this sublime merging of the Great Otway National Park and the ocean beyond that makes this drive so spectacular. Beyond magnificent views, the Cape Otway lighthouse, famous surf spot Bells Beach, the epic Twelve Apostles, and many other note-worthy pit stops ensure there is lots to see and do along this seaside drive. A popular attraction among travellers and locals alike, a drive along the Great Ocean Road Tour from Melbourne offers a rare moment when the journey, rather than the destination, matters most.
Tread carefully when visiting the 12 Apostles. Formed some 20 million years ago, these rock stacks are precarious at best, and are known to crumble and collapse, with only eight of the twelve stacks remaining today. In 1990, another nearby site, a rock formation dubbed the London Bridge, collapsed leaving two travellers stranded. They were later rescued by helicopter.
Detour to Phillip Island and see penguins parade. Make time to cruise from Queenscliffe to Sorrento and take in the awe-inspiring wildlife and scenery at legendary Phillip Island. Penguins, seals and many other Australian animals call this isolated island home.
Take your time. Airey’s Inlet, the Great Otway National park, copious beautiful beaches, and charming seaside towns, there’s no end of things to do and see on The Great Ocean Road. Take a few days to do the Great Ocean road trip justice, and enjoy as many pit stops as you like.
Good to know
Best time to visit
The Australian summer months sees this coastal paradise truly come alive, although Great Ocean Road tours have much to offer year-round. Australia’s mild winters promises a quieter drive, while surfers should organise their Great Ocean road trips to coincide with the famous surf championships, the Rip Curl Pro, in late March to early April, at Bells Beach.
Just two hours from Melbourne, Great Ocean Road tours are the perfect add-on to your city visit, and is easily reached by bus or car. Start your journey from stunning surf town Torquay, and follow the 151-mile route to Allansford to see the site in all its glory. Be sure to make time for plenty of pit stops along the way, the many epic sights on this drive will have you pulling over much more than planned.
Money saving tips
A great way to a keep hold on your spending while visiting the Great Ocean Road is by planning ahead. Bringing your own lunch and snacks for the drive rather than eating in restaurants saves significant funds.
Did you know?
Impress your fellow travellers with these interesting titbits about The Great Ocean Road…
The 1991 action film, Point Break, starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, was set on The Great Ocean Road’s Bells Beach. Despite this, the Bells Beach scene was actually filmed at Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA.
Alongside the Great Ocean Road is a particularly rough ocean, with dangerous sea swells claiming more than 180 shipwrecks over the years. One of the most famous shipwreck sites is the Lorch Ard Gorge, which saw a ship wrecked after an arduous three-month journey from England to Melbourne in 1878. Of the 54 passengers aboard, only two survived the disaster.
The Great Ocean Road was built as a permanent memorial to soldiers who died during World War 1. Built by returned service members following the war’s end in 1918, the site was a remarkable feat of engineering, with workers using only picks, shovels, and horse-drawn carts to build the road.