Great Ocean Road Destination Guide
Great Ocean Road holidays
If stunning limestone rock formations, quintessential surf towns, spectacular national parks and world-famous road trips are your thing, the Great Ocean Road will not disappoint. Spanning 250 kilometres of rugged Victorian coastline, this popular drive takes you from Torquay to Warrnambool, with photo-worthy views around every bend.
It’s a drive that many tourists aim to complete in a single day, but with so many beaches, forests and seaside towns to explore, you won’t regret using a few extra days of annual leave to experience this Aussie gem. There are some excellent activities to get involved in along the way including walks, water sports and cultural and heritage attractions.
Renowned icons of the Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles and London Bridge draw many thousands of visitors from across the globe every year. These stunning limestone rock formations are as impressive in real life as they look on postcards. Picture-perfect seaside towns complement the majesty of the shoreline beautifully, with must-visits including Torquay, Lorne, Anglesea and Apollo Bay.
Water sports are on offer at every stop along the drive – scuba dive at Apollo Bay or Warrnambool, check out the shipwrecks at Peterborough or catch world-class surf breaks at Bells Beach.
Be sure to head inland to explore the national parks and reserves that surround the Great Ocean Road route. Check out Port Campbell National Park and Discovery Bay to enjoy sights that perfectly capture the diversity of the Australian landscape. Finally, get set for adventure at the Otway Fly, where a fabulous treetop walkway and zip line experience are set amidst lush rainforest.
Melbourne’s esteemed coffee culture has spread to the Great Ocean Road, so this spectacular coastal drive is lined with hotspots to grab an excellent cup of Joe. The charming town of Aireys Inlet is a popular stop for lunch and dinner, with boutique restaurants serving up fresh local produce and great wine in spades. Apollo Bay and Anglesea are prime spots to sample the freshest fish and chips in the region against the backdrop of a charming Australian fishing village, while Torquay boasts a great restaurant scene with a diverse range of international cuisines including Thai, Middle Eastern, Mexican and Italian.
There’s certainly no shortage of quaint seaside villages to rest your head along the Great Ocean Road. Warrnambool, Apollo Bay, Bells Beach and Anglesea all offer an excellent range of affordable accommodation, while Torquay is a haven for picture-perfect guesthouses and B&Bs.
Lovely cabins, lodges and retreats are dotted along the Great Ocean Road, and there’s also a wide selection of caravan parks if you prefer to camp your way along the route. The Otway Ranges are home to some stunning accommodation options nestled in dense rainforest, which are perfect for those seeking a romantic experience.
The collection of beautiful towns and villages along the Great Ocean Road boast some excellent shopping opportunities. Quintessential seaside towns including Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Fairy offer the pick of the bunch when it comes to boutique specialty stores.
Torquay boats anything and everything surf-related, while Warrnambool is home to bigger shops and chain stores. There are also some quality markets along the route that showcase the best in local arts, crafts and produce. Be sure to sample the region’s top-notch wine, cheese, chocolate and seafood.
Great Ocean Road Like a Local
Resist rushing through the Great Ocean Road – spend a little time to capture the essence of the region and immerse yourself in the laid-back lifestyle of the locals. Rent a holiday house in Lorne or Anglesea, do some fishing in Apollo Bay, grab a couple of drinks at a watering hole in Warrnambool, or pick up some fresh seafood and cook yourself dinner in Port Fairy. Finally, check out the sleepy village of Wye River and unwind with the locals at the beachside pub.