Travel Life

Great Ocean Road Trips

Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime as you traverse Australia’s most iconic and breathtakingly beautiful route – the Great Ocean Road. The trail stretches nearly 300 miles of stunning coastline, offering breathtaking views, world-class surfing spots, and lush rainforests. It’s an excellent destination for couples, friends, or families who want to explore the unique beauty of this part of the country.

Discover the wonder Great Ocean Road

great ocean road trip

Embark along the awe-inspiring Great Ocean Road, where every curve and bend unveils a coastal wonderland that will leave you breathless. This iconic stretch of 243 kilometers (151 miles) runs along the stunning southern coast of Australia, with the Tasman Sea to one side and spectacular scenery of lush forests and rolling hills on the other.

Winding paths lead you through picturesque seaside towns, beautiful beaches, towering limestone stacks, and wild coastal landscapes. The road is known for its epic trips, rugged coastline, incredible views, and diverse wildlife.

The Great Ocean Road has many notable landmarks, including the Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, and Bells Beach – a world-renowned surfing spot. Visitors can also explore the Port Campbell National Park, Otway National Park, Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, and Kennett River, where they can encounter wild koalas, colorful birds, and kangaroos.

Driving along the Great Ocean Road, you will come across many stunning beaches, such as Apollo Bay, Fairhaven Beach, and Bay of Islands, where you can relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy the magnificent coastal views. Visitors can also take a day trip to the Erskine Falls, Hopetoun Falls, Lake Elizabeth, and Gibsons Steps, which offer an unforgettable experience.

The best time to visit the Great Ocean Road is from September to May when the weather is mild and comfortable. However, winter may offer unique and picturesque scenery, with eucalyptus trees dusted in snow and cozy seaside towns.

Great Ocean Road: start and end points?

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The starting point of the Great Ocean Road is the seaside town of Torquay, located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Melbourne. This picturesque township is known for its vibrant surf culture and is a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts. The best way to reach Torquay is by car, and numerous car rental companies are available at Melbourne Airport.

Driving along the Great Ocean Road, you’ll pass through quaint coastal towns such as Lorne, Apollo Bay, and Port Campbell. Each city has its unique charm, allowing visitors to indulge in delicious local cuisine, enjoy the stunning coastal views, and experience the relaxed beachside lifestyle.

The journey along the Great Ocean Road ends in the historic fishing village of Port Fairy, situated on Victoria’s south-west southwest coast. Here, visitors can discover the town’s rich maritime history, explore its beautiful beaches, and marvel at the unique blend of colonial and modern architecture.

While the journey along the Great Ocean Road can be completed in a day, taking your time and soaking in the beautiful scenery at a relaxed pace is highly recommended. Many visitors spend a few days exploring the various towns and attractions along the route, making the Great Ocean Road an unforgettable experience. Whether you start your journey in Torquay or end it in Port Fairy, the Great Ocean Road is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who travel along its winding coastal paths.

Why Take a Trip Along the Great Ocean Road?

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One of the top reasons to take a trip along the Great Ocean Road is the breathtaking coastal views that await you. From the rugged coastline to the Southern Ocean, every turn of the road will surprise and delight you with incredible vistas. Whether you’re admiring the limestone stacks that rise out of the ocean or taking in the endless stretch of beach, the views along the Great Ocean Road are truly epic.
Another reason to explore this iconic Australian road trip is to discover the charming seaside towns that line the coast. Each city has its unique charm and character, offering visitors a chance to indulge in local cuisine, shop for souvenirs, and experience the relaxed beachside lifestyle. The picturesque town of Apollo Bay, nestled on the foothills of the Otway Ranges, is an ideal spot to enjoy stunning beaches, lush forests, and scenic views. Meanwhile, Port Fairy offers a glimpse into Australia’s rich maritime history, with its picturesque fishing harbor, historic lighthouse, and colonial-style architecture.
Finally, the Great Ocean Road boasts many natural wonders, including the Port Campbell National Park and Otway National Park. Visitors can marvel at the famous limestone stacks at London Bridge and see native wildlife in their natural habitat, such as wild koalas and kangaroos. Erskine Falls and Hopetoun Falls allow visitors to immerse themselves in the lush forests and towering eucalyptus trees.

Apollo Bay

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Apollo Bay is a picturesque coastal town along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Known for its stunning beaches, lush forests, and scenic views, Apollo Bay is a popular destination for tourists seeking a relaxing and peaceful vacation.

The town attracts visitors with its exquisite natural beauty, with the Otway Ranges and the Great Ocean Road providing a stunning backdrop to the coastal city. The beaches in Apollo Bay are perfect for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing, while the hillsides offer hiking trails and breathtaking ocean views.

If you’re looking for adventure, Apollo Bay is an ideal base for exploring the Great Otway National Park. The park has several waterfalls, like the picturesque Marriners and Triplet Falls. The forest also has a diverse flora and fauna, with native animals like koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies roaming free.

The town is full of attractions, making it an ideal stop for tourists traveling along the Great Ocean Road. Numerous cafes, restaurants, and shops cater to locals and visitors, offering delicious food, unique souvenirs, and handmade crafts.

One of the town’s popular activities is cruising along the Great Ocean Road, taking in the stunning scenery surrounding the coastal town. Visitors can also go whale watching during winter when the humpback and southern right whales come to the south coast to breed.

Bells Beach

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Located just a short drive from the coastal town of Torquay, Bells Beach is a world-renowned surfing destination that draws surfers from all over the globe. This iconic beach has hosted the Rip Curl Pro Surf competition, part of the World Surf League, for over half a century.
Not only is Bells Beach famous for its impressive swells, but it’s also known for its beautiful scenery. The beach boasts stunning coastal views, with rugged cliffs and rolling hillsides lining the shore. Visitors can explore the rocky outcrops and tide pools that dot the coastline at low tide.
Bells Beach still has plenty to offer for those who are not surfers. The beach is a popular spot for picnicking, sunbathing, and swimming in the refreshing ocean waters. Additionally, visitors can stroll along the scenic walking tracks that offer breathtaking coastline views.
During the winter months, Bells Beach also attracts visitors for whale watching. Southern right and humpback whales can often be spotted off the coast, making for an incredible wildlife sighting.
If you’re planning a trip to Bells Beach, be sure also to check out the nearby coastal towns such as Torquay, Anglesea, and Lorne. These quaint towns offer a range of attractions and activities, including hiking trails, seaside cafes, and boutique shops.

Port Campbell National Park

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Port Campbell National Park is a must-see destination for anyone traveling along the Great Ocean Road. Situated just a few hours’ drive from Melbourne, this stunning national park boasts Australia’s most iconic natural landmarks.

One of the main attractions in Port Campbell National Park is the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks along the rugged coastline that has become an icon of the Great Ocean Road. Visitors can take in the incredible views from the lookout points or even take a scenic helicopter ride to get a bird’s eye view of the stunning landscape.

Other famous landmarks within the park include the London Bridge, a natural archway that used to connect to the mainland before it collapsed, and the Loch Ard Gorge, named after the shipwreck that occurred there in 1878.
Visitors to Port Campbell National Park can also experience the area’s natural beauty through hiking and exploring the park’s many walking trails. The Gibson Steps trail offers sweeping coast views and iconic stacks, while the Port Campbell Discovery Walk takes visitors through lush forests and past beautiful beach vistas.

For those interested in wildlife, Port Campbell National Park has many native animals, including kangaroos, wallabies, and native bird species. There are also opportunities to spot wild koalas, particularly in the nearby Kennett River.

Gibson Steps

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One of the most breathtaking spots along the Great Ocean Road is the Gibson Steps. This stunning landmark features a staircase that leads down to the beach, offering visitors a unique perspective of the towering limestone stacks that make up the coast.

The Gibson Steps trail is popular for those seeking adventure and a chance to get up close and personal with the area’s natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy the incredible views of the cliffs and crystal-clear waters below from the top of the steps.

As you descend the 86 steps to the beach, the towering limestone stacks slowly appear. These impressive natural landmarks stand tall against the backdrop of the Southern Ocean, creating a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Once you reach the beach, take some time to explore the area and get a closer look at the limestone stacks. There are also many opportunities to spot native wildlife, such as seabirds and seals, lounging on the beach, or swimming in the ocean.

Cape Otway

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Cape Otway is a must-visit spot when exploring the Great Ocean Road. Located at the southernmost tip of the road, this rugged and unspoiled area is surrounded by lush forests, stunning beaches, and incredible views of the Southern Ocean.

One of the highlights of Cape Otway is the lighthouse that stands tall atop the cape. The lighthouse was completed in 1848 and has been an essential navigational aid for ships traveling along the treacherous coastline. Visitors can tour the lighthouse, learn about its fascinating history, and enjoy panoramic views from the top.

Cape Otway is also home to many native wildlife, including wild koalas and bird species. Some of the best spots to observe these creatures are the nearby Otway National Park and Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve.

Another popular activity around Cape Otway is exploring the stunning beaches that dot the coastline. These beautiful spots are ideal for swimming, surfing, or simply relaxing and enjoying the view. Some of the most famous beaches include Fairhaven Beach, Bells Beach, and Apollo Bay.

The Twelve Apostles

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Prepare to be amazed by the stunning Twelve Apostles, a true masterpiece along Australia’s breathtaking Great Ocean Road. These limestone stacks rise majestically from the Southern Ocean, standing as a testament to the high power of nature.

The Twelve Apostles were formed over millions of years through the Southern Ocean’s natural coastline erosion. This constant barrage of waves and wind carved away at the soft limestone cliffs, creating the dramatic stacks we see today. However, despite the name, there have only ever been nine limestone stacks that have stood tall, as the other three have collapsed and eroded over time.

Visitors can stroll along the cliff edge to observe these magnificent formations from various angles. Alternatively, a helicopter ride allows an even more spectacular aerial view of the Twelve Apostles and the surrounding coastline.

The best time to visit the Twelve Apostles is sunrise or sunset, as the changing light creates an ethereal glow that highlights the stunning coastal scenery. In addition to the spectacular geological formations, visitors can spot a wide range of marine wildlife. This includes seals, dolphins, and even migrating whales during certain times of the year.

While the Twelve Apostles are undoubtedly the main attraction, visitors can extend their trip to include the nearby attractions of Loch Ard Gorge and London Arch. These sites offer equally breathtaking coastal views and feature unique geological formations shaped by the powerful forces of the ocean.

Loch Ard Gorge

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Nestled along the Great Ocean Road, Loch Ard Gorge is a must-visit attraction for any traveler exploring Victoria’s stunning coastal scenery. This picturesque gorge is named after the ship Loch Ard, which was wrecked on the nearby shores in 1878. The ship’s tragic story and t and coastal formations make Loch ArdGorge a beautiful destination for visitors from around the globe.

The rugged cliffs of Loch Ard Gorge provide a stunning backdrop to the crystal-clear waters below. Visitors can stroll down the steps to the gorge’s pristine beach, where the turquoise waters invite you to take a dip and cool off from the summer heat. The beach is surrounded by towering rock formations, creating a sense of seclusion and tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere on the Great Ocean Road.

Visiting Loch Ard Gorge’s museum is a must for those interested in history. The museum details the story of the ill-fated ship and the heroic efforts of its survivors, as well as showcasing a range of artifacts recovered from the wreck. Visitors can also walk along the nearby cliff tops for an incredible panoramic view of the rugged coastline and the Great Southern Ocean.

While Loch Ard Gorge is undoubtedly a standout attraction, the surrounding area also offers a host of other sights to explore. Nearby Thunder Cave is another popular point of interest, featuring a natural arch carved out by the ocean’s relentless power. For those seeking adventure, there are plenty of opportunities for kayaking and snorkeling in the gorge’s tranquil waters.

Memorial Arch

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The Memorial Arch is a must-see landmark on any Great Ocean Road trip. Located just before Lorne, this historic arch was built in 1939 as a tribute to the World War I service members who made the road. The towering arch is a majestic sight, standing at a height of 10 meters, and it is an enduring symbol of the great sacrifice made by the people who constructed this iconic stretch of road.

As you drive under the arch, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and reverence for the people who built this magnificent road by hand, hacking through dense forests and rugged terrain. It truly is a remarkable feat of engineering and a testament to the human spirit.

A plaque at the base of the arch reads: “To the Glory of God and in memory of those who built this road during the Depression – 1919-1932″. The arch also provides a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding forests, making it an ideal spot to stop and take photos or soak in the area’s natural beauty.

In recent years, the Memorial Arch has undergone some renovations to make it more accessible to visitors. A car park has been built, allowing tourists to park their cars and easily access the arch. The area also has a range of walking trails leading to nearby attractions, such as Erskine Falls, which is just a short drive away.

Kennett River

Nestled along the picturesque Great Ocean Road lies Kennett River, a small coastal town home to abundant native wildlife. Visitors to Kennett River are often greeted by fascinating animals, such as wild koalas dozing in gum trees, playful parrots flitting about, and curious kangaroos hopping through gardens.

One of the most popular attractions in Kennett River is the Kennett River Koala Walk, where visitors can stroll amongst eucalyptus trees and spot sleepy koalas high up in the branches. The walk is an excellent way to learn about the life and habitat of these fascinating creatures while taking in the lush forest surroundings.

For bird lovers, the Kennett River is a paradise. King parrots, lorikeets, and rosellas are some species that call this area home. Visitors can purchase birdseed from the local Koala Kafe and spend hours feeding and observing these majestic birds up close.
Regarding stunning coastal views, Kennett River certainly doesn’t disappoint. The nearby Kennett River beach provides a beautiful stretch of sand for a stroll or picnicking while taking in the beauty of the Southern Ocean.

For those seeking adventure, the towering coastal cliffs and rugged landscape offer some incredible hiking trails, such as the Grey River Road walk, which leads to a secluded waterfall, or the nearby Eastern View lookout, which offers sweeping views from above.

London Arch (London Bridge)

One of the most iconic sights along the Great Ocean Road is the London Arch, formerly known as London Bridge. This limestone stack formation is located in Port Campbell National Park and must-see for any road trip along the coast.

Initially, the London Arch was a double-span natural bridge that connected the mainland to a rock stack out at sea. However, in 1990, one of the spans collapsed unexpectedly, leaving two tourists stranded on the far side of the arch. They had to be rescued by helicopter, which made headlines worldwide and turned the London Bridge into the London Arch.

Today, visitors can walk along a viewing platform to get a closer look at this stunning rock formation. From there, they can see the sheer drops down to the ocean below and admire the rugged coastline that stretches out as far as the eye can see.
The London Arch is particularly striking at sunset, when the sky turns deep shades of orange and pink, and the ocean reflects vivid colors. It’s a quiet moment where time seems to stand still, and the beauty of nature takes center stage.

The London Arch is an excellent spot for photographers to capture beautiful shots. The changing light throughout the day adds to the scene’s drama, and the contrast between the white limestone and the blue-green water is mesmerizing.

Prepare for an adventure on the Great Ocean Road

If you’re looking for great weather, the best time to visit the Great Ocean Road is during the summer months between December and February. This is when temperatures are warm, and there’s plenty of sunshine. The long days give you ample time to explore and soak up the scenery. However, remember that this is also peak tourist season, and you may encounter crowds and higher prices.

If you prefer mild weather and fewer crowds, then the autumn and spring months of March to May and September to November are also great times to visit. The weather is still pleasant, and fewer people are around, making it a good choice if you’re looking for a more peaceful experience. In the autumn, the trees change color, and there’s a beautiful array of red, orange, and yellow leaves to admire. Spring brings wildflowers and new growth, adding to the area’s natural beauty.

If you want a unique experience, consider a winter road trip between June and August. While it can be chilly and rainy, this is the best time to see the Southern Right Whales as they migrate along the coast. You can also witness the winter storms that make for dramatic coastline views and famous landmark rocks.

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  • The Twelve Apostles: Majestic limestone stacks rising from the ocean
  • Bells Beach is famous for its surf culture and competitions.
  • Port Campbell National Park offers stunning natural landmarks, including London Bridge and Loch Ard Gorge.
  • Apollo Bay is a picturesque town with beautiful beaches and lush forests.
  • Cape Otway is known for its historic lighthouse and native wildlife.
The ideal time is between September and May, with mild and comfortable weather. However, winter also offers unique scenic beauty, like eucalyptus trees dusted in snow.
While it can be driven in a day, it’s recommended to take a few days to fully appreciate the scenic views, towns, and attractions along the route.
Yes, there are numerous activities, including surfing at Bells Beach, hiking in Otway National Park, wildlife watching at Kennett River, and exploring the numerous waterfalls and trails.

Yes, the area is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including koalas, kangaroos, and various bird species. Kennett River is particularly known for its wild koala population.