Guide To The Great Ocean Road

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Looking to plan a road trip to escape from your daily routine? Consider visiting the Great Ocean Road as your most desired option. This great road shows some of the most spectacular scenic views ever possible to capture. On your way, you will experience some of the best off-roading paths, seaside towns, broken cliffs, hiking and biking trails, and beaches as well. 

The Great Ocean Road is one of the most iconic destinations in Australia and is 243 km long, stretching through the Victorian towns of Torquay and Allansford. The road is approximately 100 km from the south-west of Melbourne. This road is the world’s longest war memorial, built by World War I veterans as a memorial to the dead soldiers of this war.

Coming for a day and staying for the week is the best way to let people know exactly what this mesmerising paradise entails. After coming here, you’ll get to see some of Australia’s most iconic animals and tourist attractions as well, such as Bells Beach, the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, the 100-km Great Ocean Walk, Great Otway National Park, Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, and much more.

Our guide will equip you fully with all the needed information about Australia’s best driving routes.

Trip.com Review: “Beautiful road trip to Great ocean road, mesmerising picturesque location on great ocean road” – Snehab

1. Best Times To Travel At The Great Ocean Road

Travel

The Great Ocean Road is a spectacular scenic destination that gives visitors the best experience throughout the year. The best time to travel to the Great Ocean Road depends on your requirements for exactly what you want to see. As per most people’s point of view, December to February is the best time to pay this road a visit, as the skies are clear and one can see the beautiful cliffs easily as well.

Here are the different seasons and the consequences of travelling on this road: 

  • December to February (the summer season) is a very hot and busy time to visit this mesmerising road. The skies are clear during these months, allowing the visitor to easily experience the cliffs and other spectacular sights near this location. To beat the heat, you can always take a refreshing dip in the Southern Ocean.
  • March to May (the autumn season) is the time frame when this place has fewer visitors and a much smaller crowd, and the weather is good as well. During this period, one can always take great photos from so many viewpoints and lookouts. You can always spot some wildlife with the conditions you come here prepared for, taking into consideration the cool mornings and evenings.
  • June to August (the winter season) is when the weather conditions are much cooler and you can experience this place at its best with the bare minimum of crowds. Make sure to take a brief look at some famous sites like the Loch Ard Gorge and the 12 Apostles while spotting the whales that make their annual journey here and can be accordingly.
  • September to November (the spring season) will give you more time to experience this wonderland in a very detailed manner. Days becoming more warm and longer allow travellers to capture a renewed outlook for this place. Plus, while traversing through the beaches on the Surf Coast and in Port Campbell National Park, you will get a view of baby wildlife, including wallabies and koalas.

2. Must-Visit Spots Along the Way

Must-Visit Spots

On your road trip to the Great Ocean Road, you’ll come across some of the best attractions as well as some things to do that will give you the best experience of your life. The best of these activities are as follows:

  • 12 Apostles

Located at the heart of Port Campbell National Park, the 12 Apostles are basically limestone stacks that were earlier part of the mainland. Carrying ambiguity with its name, only eight of these limestone stacks are present now, as the rest were claimed by the sea itself.

These picture-perfect rock formations are an impressive sight for all tourists, especially at the time of sunset, when the sun keeps on disappearing slowly and steadily. For those craving a more royal experience for themselves, taking a helicopter tour is always the best option to get a jaw-dropping experience.

  • Loch Ard Gorge Beach

Next on our list is Loch Ard Gorge Beach, which is based on a true shipwreck event that took place back in 1878 and featured the obliteration of 52 people, of whom only two survived. After reaching here, one can easily feel sand between their toes after coming from a charming paddle escape right in the Southern Ocean.

The best time to pay a visit is during the sunrise or sunset, when only a few people are present here. If you are someone who loves the turquoise blue sea waters being fed to your eyes, then this place definitely needs to be on your go-to list.

  • Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve

The Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve is a part of the Aboriginal cultural landscape and is home to many Australian wildlife animals. You can easily find kangaroos, emus, and koalas here. Located at a large volcanic crater, it’s also considered one of Victoria’s most fascinating and significant geological formations that ever existed.

Plus, with many cone-shaped hills, one can always opt for a short tour here from the Great Ocean Road, as it features easy boardwalks and scenic climbs as well. For those not having much time, just paying a short visit will also work for them, as this way they can still sight some Koalas.

  • Great Otway National Park

For all outdoors lovers, Great Otway National Park is a must-visit place. Located in southern Victoria, Australia, it covers the rough coastland, sandy beaches, and mountains of the Otway. Plus, it also features the best rainforests, waterfalls, wildlife, and campgrounds as well.

This park features tall, long forest trees and a bird sanctuary, where one can find pink robins, swamp wallabies, ring-tailed possums, koalas, and grey kangaroos with ease. The climate of the location is wet because of the presence of waterfalls, and the peace and tranquillity that one can get here is truly amazing.

  • Port Campbell

Located just a few steps further from the 12 Apostles, on the west side of the Great Ocean Road comes Port Campbell where one can easily locate a good number of cafes, restaurants, shops, and galleries. For those looking to get on a boat tour of the open ocean, possibilities are numerous.

You can always head to the Port Campbell jetty to see all manners of fish life and accordingly engage yourself in fishing, surfing, and scuba diving as well. This spot could also offer you some of the best and most spectacular coastline scenery.

3. Adventurous Activities To Do Near The Great Ocean Road

Adventurous Activities

Australia’s Great Ocean Road offers numerous opportunities for those seeking an adventure along with a breathtaking seaside environment. Some of the most exciting activities one can take part in near the Great Ocean Road are as follows:

  • Surfing at Bells Beach

Irrespective of your ability level, you can always surf at Bells Beach, which is home to many surfers. If you are a beginner at this conventional Aussie amusement, you can always take help from the guides available there to assist you. 

For those who are real pros, Bells Beach will prove to be a testament as it anchors the world-famous Rip Curl Pro, which is a World Tour surfing competition that is held in and around Torquay, Victoria, sponsored by the well-known surf company Rip Curl.

  • Enjoy The Superb Food, Wine And beer

Available all over the towns along the Great Ocean Road are a lot of exciting places where one can take a break and have a quick bite for himself. For those coming with kids, Dooley’s Ice Cream, and the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery are the best options if you’re craving a sweet tooth.

If you are in search of a complete meal, Aireys Pub or Greek restaurant in Lorne, Ipsos, could be your next stop. In addition, there are a lot of wineries and breweries established along the roadways, offering really fantastic drinks. 

  • Coastal Hiking Trails

Apart from the astonishing Great Ocean Walk, another adventurous activity to become a part of is to go on a road hike here. Plenty of coastal tracks and trails are present here, making the hiking activity worthwhile to engage in. 

Depending on your athleticism, you can opt for the distance to hike, whether it’s about strolling on a wider walkway or going on a multi-day hike. Most hikers tend to divide their hike into several parts to easily experience everything around them.

4. Cultural Festivals And Events

Cultural Events

There are plenty of events and festivals that take place around the year at the Great Ocean Road, baked on different themes for people of all ages. From food-based events to those based on music, the list of these festivals and events is very diverse.

  • Great Ocean Road Marathon

Athletes of every age can showcase their athletic ability at the Great Ocean Road Marathon, which is also held in a very scenic environment in the presence of beautiful cliffs, roads, and oceans. This is a two-day-based event, including ten distances consisting of something for athletes of all ages. 

On the first day, the distance features a 14-kilometre paradise run, a 6-kilometre run, and a 1.5-kilometre kids gallop, all of which begin at Apollo Bay. The 2nd day events host the Ultra Marathon (60km), Marathon (44km), and the 5km and 10km Great Ocean Road Walk with 6.5km and 12 km trail runs as well. The starting point of all these 2-day events is Lorne SLSC Car Park on Mountjoy Parade.

  • Lorne Sculpture Biennale

A unique theme-based event for Aussies is the Lorne Sculpture Biennale, which celebrates the best of Australian and international sculpture, making it one of Victoria’s most prestigious events too. It comes every two years. One can easily see and explore all the art sculptures with the ineluctable walk going along the foreshore, which features numerous sculptures for all to view. 

Not just the outdoor show, but one can even mark their attendance in the Sculpture Plus, which is a public events programme featuring so many performances, some of which are free while others require a fee to be paid.

5. Best Accommodation Options Near The Great Ocean Road

camping

All the accommodation options near this iconic road are pocket-friendly and easy to find as well. One will for sure get a bang for their buck, and thus they won’t be required to think about their budget at all. While some of these accommodations will allow you to experience camping in a natural habitat, others will provide you with luxurious services.

Set a Camp

If you are a beach lover, this is your thing. Easily set up your camp at either of the beachfront campsites, consisting of Blanket Bay or Johanna’s Beach. Doing so will also make it easier for you to get along with the local habitat that this site features.

For all fauna lovers, camping at a site either in or near one of the national parks seems to be the best option. Specific campsite accommodations in this case include the Apollo Bay Campgrounds and Marengo Family Caravan Park.

  • Apollo Bay Campgrounds: This accommodation is a recreation of the reserves, alongside the Bahram River. The location and accommodation are very friendly for pets too, and you can use this place as the perfect campsite to organise a BBQ as well.
Name Apollo Bay Campground
Address 70 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay VIC 3233, Australia
Facilities Good for kids, a photogenic place, park amenities available.
Contact number +61352376577
Website http://apollobaycampground.com.au/
Directions https://maps.app.goo.gl/JBA7h9EqpW7qqsfJA
Google Review: “Great little park, short walk to shops etc, even seen a koala in the tree next to amenities” – Andrew Craft
  • Marengo Family Caravan Park: This option will give you some of the best and most spectacular scenic views, for sure. The place is quite famous for being a photogenic one and is good for sightseeing as well.
Name Marengo Family Caravan Park
Address Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay VIC 3233, Australia
Facilities Wifi availability, pet-friendly, free parking, child-friendly
Contact number +61352376162
Website https://www.marengo-caravanpark.com.au/
Directions https://maps.app.goo.gl/LHqKySxpARbA33rv5
Google Review: “Stayed here for two nights. Cabins were great and had a nice view of the ocean. Beach surrounding the caravan park and you could even see seals out on a distant rock. The staff were super friendly. Would highly recommend this caravan park and would happily stay here again. By far my most favourite place we have stayed in on our holiday on the great ocean road.” – Natalie Krawczyk

If Low On Cash

For those with less cash or who are budget-conscious, Bell’s Beach Backpackers and Apollo Bay are the best options for staying near the Great Ocean Road. Their self-catering services are really great for those who are low on budget.

They come as a fantastic choice for solo travellers as well. You can easily find your way through the local brews before making your way upstairs and getting a comfortable night’s sleep.

  • Bell’s Beach Backpackers
Name Bell’s Beach Backpackers
Address 51-53 Surf Coast Highway | TORQUAY, VIC 3228
Facilities Spacious rooms | Private rooms | Vanpacking option | Carpark | Kitchen | Laundry | Lounge | Bathrooms
Contact number +61 3 5261 4029
Website https://www.bellsbeachbackpackers.com.au/
Google Review: “ The owner and his dog are very nice, kitchen and room are clean, bed very comfy. I recommended it” – t.d
  • YHA Apollo Bay
Name YHA Apollo Bay
Address 5 Pascoe St, Apollo Bay VIC 3233, Australia
Facilities Heater, fan, & desk | Linen, Wi-Fi & lockers | Access to wood fire heater & lounges | Access to BBQ, kitchens & rooftop terrace
Contact number +61 3 5237 7899
Websites https://www.yha.com.au/
Directions https://www.yha.com.au/hostels/vic/great-ocean-road/apollo-bay/#location
Google Review: “ Absolutely perfect backpackers, cannot fault. Comfortable rooms, extremely clean and tidy, wonderful kitchen facilities, hot & fresh showers. Friendly staff. Wonderful location. Free parking. Just incredible.” – R Dee

If You Have Enough Funds

For those craving luxurious accommodation for themselves, possible options might include The Pole House or staying at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Lorne. Located at a suspended height of 40 metres above the Fairhaven, this luxurious pad offers some of the best scenic views that one will for sure enjoy.

If you are a history lover, you can opt to spend your time at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Lorne, where its official opening took place. This place features some of the most charming rooms and an on-site restaurant that offers some of the best sea views as well.

  • The Pole House
Name The Pole House
Address 60 Banool Rd, Fairhaven VIC 3231, Australia
Facilities Accommodations in Aireys Inlet | Free Wifi | Free Private Parking
Contact number +61488063419
Websites https://www.greatoceanroadholidays.com.au/
Directions https://maps.app.goo.gl/TA7mxRhgPhCxqZXV7
Google Review: “ Absolutely brilliant. Loved every minute. Lovely and cosy with the fireplace. Magical really. ” – Darina Ryan
  • Grand Pacific Hotel Lorne
Name Grand Pacific Hotel Lorne
Address 268 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
Facilities Room Service | Newspaper | Baggage Storage | Lounge | Free parking | Free internet | Laundry Service
Contact number +61 3 5289 1609
Website -
Directions https://maps.app.goo.gl/87sXYtZ7jhF2rC8y7
Tripadvisor Review: “ It should not be on the site as it has been closed for years|Trip advisor should be well aware of this|It was once great but tomes have passed and it is no longer there|It was a great spot for families and its demise sadly reduced the dineing options in Lorne ” – Jenny F

6. Towns Near the Great Ocean Road

Torquay

On your journey to the Great Ocean Road, pay attention to some nearby towns that prove to be some major stops in this journey. The most renowned ones are Torquay, Anglesea, and Lorne.

  • Torquay

The Torquay has everything you need to relax on your journey to exploring the Great Ocean Road. Home to the many water activities near Bell Beach, one can jump straight into the waves, surf, and explore the Australian National Surfing Museum.

  • Anglesea

This town is surrounded by fresh, clean air and ocean views, providing excellent opportunities for experiencing wildlife and nature spotting. You can also see grey kangaroos and rare orchid species at this location.

  • Lorne 

A perfect town, located adjoining the beach, shows some of the most spectacular scenic views for all. One can enjoy a perfect weekend picnic with their family at Lorne, along with BBQ food service as well.

Conclusion

In this blog, we gave a detailed guide to the Great Ocean Road along with some specific points, like facts regarding its route, its history, and some of the iconic sights one can capture along this very route. Whichever season it is, when you travel to this scenic road, for sure you will get something to remember for ages. 

Plus, it’s preferable to go on a long vacation here so that you can make the most of your available time. We hope that after going through every necessary piece of information and guidance given above, each of your doubts will be solved. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Started in 1919, the Great Ocean Road was completed in 1932 and was built as a memorial to Victoria’s servicemen and women for their war service and sacrifices.
Officially beginning in Torquay at the iconic Great Ocean Road gate and going along the south-east coastline, it ends at the small regional town of Allansford.
Most of the travellers take between 2 and 4 days to complete this coastal drive on their own. It goes from the surf capital Torquay and ends at Port Fairy.
It would be a one-hour drive from Melbourne to Torquay i.e, The Great Ocean Road’s official starting point.
To witness an amazing display of wildlife, prefer heading to the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, where you can spot many Australian wildlife animals such as kangaroos, emus, koalas, and many more.
In the time period of May to October, one can see southern right whales along the Great Ocean Road.

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