The Great Ocean Road is a world famous road trip through the beautiful coastal landscapes of southern Victoria. This road trip is one of the most picturesque and fun-filled holidays in all of Australia. The road trip begins in Melbourne, or more specifically, usually begins in Geelong, a city just southwest of the capital city and takes road trippers west along the coast of the Bass Strait and the Indian Ocean. You will likely need to hire a car so that you can ensure that you will have the right vehicle to traverse all of the different types of terrain you will encounter along the route. The spectacular views you will encounter are magical. Most travellers make it a round trip, so you can go back and see things twice or experience different places along the way. Here are 5 must-see stops on the Great Ocean Road.
Torquay is considered the gateway to The Great Ocean Road, this is really where the cityscape stops and the scenery begins. Torquay is a well-known surf town and is where you will find some of the best surf beaches in Australia and the world, like Bells Beach. It is the birthplace of world-famous surf brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver and is also home to the Surf World Museum. If you aren’t a surfer, stopping here still affords you beautiful beaches and you can take a surfing lesson or two from some of the best in the world.
2. Lorne and Cape Otway National Park
Lorne is a seaside village that will remind you of being on the Mediterranean coast instead of the south Australian coast. The views of the winding coastal road here are very magnificent. Take some time to enjoy the sights and relax the way you would think you should in a quaint seaside village. In between Torquay and Lorne along Apollo Bay is Cape Otway National Park. When you visit a National Park, you know you will be seeing something special because the government is protecting the land. Within the park, you will find unique coastal rainforests, waterfalls, rivers, and gullies. You will recognise the distinct Cape Otway Lighthouse, which marks the southernmost tip of the journey along the Great Ocean Road. Once you pass the park, the landscape changes dramatically as the coastal cliffs will become more rugged and jagged.
3. The Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park
The Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park is a sanctuary for the native Australian animals that call the park home. In the 39 acres of land, they have an animal sanctuary section where the wildlife can roam freely about in their natural habitat, a petting area, organic gardens, and a section for herd animals. Visiting the park allows you to get the experience of seeing many different types of Australian wildlife you might not see while on holiday along the coast of the Great Ocean Road. Some of the types of animals you might encounter include kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, emu, dingoes, deer, alpacas, sheep, horses, ponies, donkeys, and free range chickens.
4. Port Campbell National Park
Many of the most famous sights along the Great Ocean Road are located within Port Campbell National Park. Mother Nature has carved out some amazing monuments for us to enjoy here including the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, The Grotto, the Arch, Gibson’s Steps, the Bay of Islands and more. There are lookout points in many spots along the coast where you can photograph and admire these beautiful landmarks. This is also where a return trip comes in handy because you will be amazed at how different the same monuments look at different times of the day in differing shades of sunlight.
5. Port Fairy
Port Fairy is the westernmost and final official stop along the Great Ocean Road. It is a classic old fishing village that looks just like a classic maritime painting. This is a great resting stop to relax for a day or two on your holiday. The small town atmosphere is very welcoming and you can learn about the maritime history here. If diving shipwrecks interests you, there are several located just off the coast. Fishing, swimming, and relaxing on the beach are also among the list of things to do in Port Fairy.
Shari McConahay is a travel writer and blogger for Apex Rent a Car. In addition to traveling with her family, she enjoys social media, sci-fi and action movies, and social media.