When you think of an oceanside road trip, that classic image of a red convertible driving beside a perfect ocean in the sunshine comes straight to mind. Well, in our case the car isn’t red (and certainly not convertible) and the weather was far from sunny, but even still our road trip along the Great Ocean Road was unforgettably good.
The Great Ocean Road runs 243 kms along the southern coast of Victoria and has got to be Australia’s most famous road. It was built from 1919 to 1932 by return WW1 soldiers to honour those who died in the war. This makes it the world’s largest war memorial.
We drove the road from Warrnambool at the eastern end to beautiful Torquay (just south of Melbourne) and found so many beautiful and interesting things to see and do that it took us four whole days to complete! Here are our top picks for an amazing and varied experience along the road.
Enjoy the view from The Bay of Islands or London Bridge
Two stunning spots to stand in the salty wind and admire the view to immense sandstone cliffs and islands jutting out of the sea.
Take in the history at Loch Ard Gorge
The Loch Ard ship sank here just one night before its intended arrival at Melbourne. Of its 54 crew and passengers, only 2 survived the massive swells and jagged rocks that day. They were washed up on the shore and climbed the cliffs to eventually find help. That being said, when the waters are calmer in Summer this would be a breathtaking spot to jump in for a swim.
Tease your tastebuds on the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail
Take a turn off from the coast and into the hilly countryside to enjoy farmhouse cheeses, handmade ice-creams, fresh berries, wine and even gourmet snails! The detour takes you from Port Campbell to Princetown through some beautiful country, and before you complain about going the long way round I’ll mention just one thing – free tastings!
Replicate those famous photos of the 12 Apostles
These ‘apostles’ or limestone pillars are the stars of the Great Ocean Road. They were originally connected to the mainland but after thousands of years of erosion by wind, sand and sea have been left isolated, sticking up out of the rough ocean in an almost unnatural way.
Discover glow worms on an evening stroll through Melba Gulley
Its not uncommon to witness these sparkling blue worms in the banks of earth along Melba Gulley rainforest. Take a torch and memorise the map of the loop walk before you begin so you don’t get lost in the dark!
Melt at the sight of cute Koalas right on the roadside
A quick stop at the Kennett River caravan park and you’re almost certain to see one of these fuzzy tree dwelling creatures.
Get all pro surfer at Bells Beach (or catch a wave in Torquay for the less advanced)
Bells Beach is famous the world over for its quality surf break, attracting thousands of professional surfers every year. If the waves are a bit intense at Bells there are some gentler breaks just around the corner in Torquay.
Watch our video below to get a better idea of The Great Ocean Road’s beauty and unique activities.