The area around the Great Ocean Road is a wonderful, special place. There is a lot to explore like the long beaches, unique rainforest, a wild coastline as well as pretty beach towns. It’s just a great laid-back atmosphere everywhere and such a beautiful region – you might also spot koalas, wallabies and exotic birds.
Do: When driving from Melbourne towards the Great Ocean Road a nice stop is Geelong,Vicotira’s second largest city. The waterfront promenade is a great place to stretch the legs. In the afternoon people meet to do yoga or play volleyball around Cunningham Pier or sit in one of the nice cafes on the Esplanade like Edge or Sailors Rest.
The first stop on the Great Ocean Road is Torquay. It’s a laid-back town famous for it’s surfing spots, there is even the National Surfing Museum. Also many surf brands like RipCurl and Quicksilver were founded here and have big stores around town. The most famous beach around is probably the beautiful Bells Beach where the RipCurl Pro Surfing Event takes place. Other beaches popular with surfers are Jan Juc and Winki Pop. Stroll along the nice seaside promenade, relax at Torquay’s Front Beach or sit on the patio at Fisho’s and enjoy their delicious variations of fish and chips.
Lorne is another friendly beach town right at the sea but it’s also a good spot to visit the Great-Otway-Nationalpark. You find cafes, shops and the supermarket right on Mountjoy Parade across Lorne Beach. The beach is also a great place to enjoy the sunrise in the early morning. The forest and green hills begin right behind the town, where you have the most wonderful view from Teddy’s Lookout. It is at the end of George street and a beautiful calm place, especially in the late afternoon when the sun shines golden above the forest and the cockatoos sit in the trees. There are also many waterfalls in this area, for example the Erskine Falls only ten minutes by car away from Lorne.
The next spot on the Great Ocean Road is Apollo Bay on the eastern part of Cape Otway but it’s not as charming as the other places. Here starts the Great Ocean Walk, a beautiful walkway on the cliffs and beaches. Along the seashore you can see shipwreck monuments and remains of historic barques that shattered on the sharp rocks. The walk is about 90km in total but you can walk small parts, for example to the Cape Otway Lighthouse. From here you have an incredibly beautiful view on the rugged coastline. When driving towards the lighthouse look out for koalas that might be hanging in the eucalyptus trees along the road. From here it’s about a twenty minute drive into the forest to the Maits Rest Rainforest Walk. Wether you’re planing on doing a longer hike or not, this short walk is great and leads through a part of incredibly old, beautiful enchanted rainforest. If you’re interested in the hinterland you might want to do the Otway Fly Treetop Walk where you can walk on planks in-between the treetops of the huge trees in the rainforest.
The highlight of the Great Ocean Road is the rocky shore around the Port-Campbell-Natonalpark. Here you can see the spectacular Twelve Apostels as well as the other stunning rock formations Loch Ard Gorge and London Arch. The atmosphere is most beautiful during sunrise or in the evening, when there are less tourists. When it’s less crowded you might also see wallabies or other animals. Port Campbell is a small town mainly functioning as a base for exploring the area but there is a very welcoming and friendly, also touristy atmosphere. Many tourists meet again at 12 Rocks Beach Bar and Cafe, a busy, simple restaurant with good beer and delicious giant cakes. Right on Lord street is also the nice surf shop Trading&Co as well as a supermarket with a cute post office and a few other cafes and restaurants. For detailed information about events and experiences go to visitgreatoceanroad.org.au.
Getting around: Hire a car or camper van and drive along the scenic route along the highway B100. From Melbourne it takes about one and a half hours to Torquay.