This article is #3 in our series of the best holiday road trips in Australia. AustralianTraveller.com made the list of the top 10 best road trips in Australia; we have outlined the details of each road trip with details and highlights of things to do in each road trip destination.
Great Ocean Road Photo Credit: AustralianTraveller.com
#3 the Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road Map Photo Credit: atn.com.au
12 Apostles Map Photo Credit: Australia-trips.info
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most iconic drives in Australia and is considered one of the best scenic drives in the entire World. The drive follows the coastline of the Indian Ocean on the southern coast of Australia in Victoria from Melbourne to the surf capital Torquay, on to Apollo Bay, then Port Campbell National Park, and the final destination is the historic fishing village of Port Fairy
Starting Out on the Great Ocean Road
Melbourne Car Rental Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
Great Ocean Road Round Trip Map Photo Credit: VisitMelbourne.com
You can hire a car in Melbourne and then make your way southwest along the coastline of the Indian Ocean to see the amazing sights. There are more than 20 different car rental locations in Melbourne, so finding one that is convenient for you is a breeze. When you are hiring a car, be sure to let your car rental agent know your plans so that they can recommend the best vehicle and give you route maps and safety tips for your road trip. The trip is 664 km from Melbourne to Port Fairy. If you can plan to see some of the sights during sunrise and sunset, you will witness how the play on light changes the scenery and makes for some breath taking photography opportunities. You can back track over the Great Ocean Road on your return trip to see how different the sights are during the lighting of different times of the day.
Places to See on the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road Photo Credit: Wikipedia
There are so many sights to see along the Great Ocean Road where you can witness the fury of Mother Nature carving her way through the limestone cliffs along the coast. This road trip is epic. The drive is an easy drive and fun drive filled with beaches, rainforest, cliff top terrain, and a volcanic crater. Plan to take your time on this drive and see the sights and wildlife including koalas and kangaroos on land and in the waters, see whales during season, seals, dolphins, platypus, and more. This is such an iconic drive because any of the stops along the way can be an amazing holiday spot in itself.
Torquay Surf Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Bells Beach Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Bells Beach Surfer Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Torquay is a town that is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. It is known for its beaches and surfing; Bells Beach is one of the most famous beaches here in the surf capital of Australia.. In fact, it is the birth place of surf brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver. In addition to surfing, snorkelling and beach walks are popular tourist activities. When not in the water, check out the Surf World Surfing Museum; check out the beach side cafes and eateries, or the salt air spas that are quite popular.
Lorne and Great Otway National Park
Triplet Falls in Great Otway National Park Photo Credit: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au
Great Otway National Park Picnic Photo Credit: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/
Erskine Falls in Great Otway National Park Photo Credit: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/
The Anchor Photo Credit: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/
Cape Otway Lighthouse Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Lorne is a seaside village with beautiful beaches and a relaxed Mediterranean flair with a very art driven community. Boating and fishing are popular things to do in Lorne. One of the main attractions is Great Otway National Park. Otway National Park covers a large area from Torquay south to Cape Otway and runs through Lorne and Apollo Bay. The park is filled with natural wonders that are quite different from the ocean and beach landscape. The park is filled with a rainforest, waterfalls, gullies, the Cumberland River, and Loutit Bay. You can camp and picnic in Otway National Park or find accommodations in Lorne, Apollo Bay, or other nearby towns.
Port Campbell National Park
Port Campbell National Park is home to many of the spectacular coastline attractions along the Great Ocean Road. The national park status means that the area is protected lands. However, you should try to see this land as soon as possible because nothing can protect the rock structures from Mother Nature’s ocean waves and wind. Erosion is changing this land at rapid speed, so come and see it before it is gone! Inside Port Campbell National Park, you can see coastline structures including the 12 Apostles, Bay of Islands, the Grotto, Gibson Steps, Loch Ard Gorge, and the London Arch.
The 12 Apostles were originally part of the cliffs; these 8 structures were carved out by the ocean waves and the elements over the last 10 to 20 million years. The limestone rock monolith structures that remain standing are up to 45 metres high. We previously featured a blog post all about The 12 Apostles, so you can read more about it there. How do you get to the 12 Apostles? They are part of Port Campbell National Park and when you visit the 12 Apostles, parking is available at the 12 Apostles Visitor’s Centre. They are located on the corner of Booringa Rd and Great Ocean Road in Princetown 3269. The entrance to the car park is 6km west of the township of Princetown and 12km east of the township of Port Campbell. If you are taking the Great Ocean Road direct from Melbourne, it takes about 4.5 hours to reach the 12 Apostles. While in Port Campbell National Park and taking your road trip, check out some of the other magnificent sights along the coastline pictured below.
Bay of Islands Photo Credit: Visit12Apostles.com.au
Loch Ard Gorge Photo Credit: Visit12Apostles.com.au
The Grotto Photo Credit: Visit12Apostles.com.au
Gibson’s Steps Photo Credit: Wikipedia
The Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park
Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park Photo Credit: VisitVIctoria.com
Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park Photo Credit: VisitVIctoria.com
Along the Great Ocean Road between Cape Otway and Port Fairy is the Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park. You can spend about an hour here visiting with the animals and even pet and feed some of the furry residence. This is an excellent way to get close to the animals of this region in a safe environment.
Port Fairy Photo Credit: VisitVictoria.com
Moyner River in Port Fairy Photo Credit: Port-Fairy.com
The last stop along the Great Ocean Road is Port Fairy. This is a quaint and peaceful fishing town. It is a great way to spend part of your holiday just relaxing and absorbing the relaxed small town atmosphere. Even though this is a small town, there is no shortage of things to do though. Choose to walk along the beach and learn about the shipwrecks. You can even search for mysterious lost shipwrecks! Fishing and boating are very popular among tourists on holiday and locals alike. Relax on the beach, go bird watching or take a tour of the lighthouse on Griffiths Island.