Fasten your seatbelt and get set to cruise along the Great Ocean Road, one the world’s most celebrated and breathtaking scenic routes. To help you make the most of your journey, we’ve pulled together a six-stop road trip guide of our favourite towns and attractions along the way.
Stop 1: Take a dip at Torquay and learn about Australia’s surfing history
1 hr 28 min | 104 km
Image source: Torquay Life
It’s straight from the big smoke to Torquay, the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. Stop off and enjoy a refreshing swim at the beach, stroll along Torquay Promenade, part of the wider 44km Surf Coast Walk or kick back on the grassy reserve on The Esplanade and soak up the idyllic oceanside views. Be sure to stop in at the National Surfing Museum to learn about Australia’s contribution to surfing history.
Stop in at Pond Cafe or Surf Coast Whole Foods, for brunch ahead of the next part of the drive.
Stop 2: Visit the infamous Bells Beach
10 min | 6.9 km
Image source: Visit Victoria
You can’t come to one of the world’s most famous coastlines and not visit its most famous beach. Watch the surfers below from one of several cliff top lookouts or take a walk on its legendary sands. As you continue on the route you’ll briefly head up and away from the coast, stop in at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery, where you can get your hands on all kinds of sweet treats and witness the art of chocolate making first hand.
Stop 3: Walk to Split Point Lighthouse, Aireys Inlet
22 min | 22.1 km
The quiet coastal hamlet of Aireys Inlet is where the familiar curves and dramatic scenery of the Great Ocean Road really begin. But first stop at the Split Point Lighthouse, where you can find out about the workings and history of the “White Queen”, visible for km up and down the coast, on one of the quick tours that run several times a day. Explore the rockpools that can be found near the base of the lighthouse or take a swim at nearby Fairhaven Beach.
Grab some local produce, seafood or wine for a picnic or refill on caffeine at Truffles Restaurant and Deli before stopping at the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch – constructed between 1918 and 1932 to commemorate returned World War I servicemen – as you head out of town.
Stop 4: Picnic at Lorne
20 min | 18.1 km
Image source: Lorne, Victoria
Lorne has plenty of picnic spots, so take your pick and roll out the blanket. Or sample local produce and seafood from Ipsos Restaurant and Bar or one of the many other fine eateries in this bustling holiday town. Check out the fantastic exhibits at the Great Ocean Road Heritage Centre to learn about the Great Ocean Road’s fascinating history or pop into Qdos Arts or Will Dielenberg’s Great Ocean Road Gallery to see some of the locals’ artistic endeavours.
Take the short 10km drive up into the bush to experience the beauty of Erskine Falls, which drop 30m into the fern-lined valley of the Erskine River.
Stop 5: Enjoy a swim and an ice cream at Apollo Bay
1 hr | 47.3 km
The road into Apollo Bay is one of the most spectacular parts of the drive, with beautiful beaches and several turnoffs to significant waterfalls in the area, such as Carisbrook Falls. In Apollo Bay, look for signposts to Marriner’s Lookout, a spot with amazing views of the town and its surrounds. Grab an award-winning ice cream from Dooley’s Ice Cream and take in the town’s picturesque foreshore before your last swim of the day at Apollo Bay’s main beach.
Image source: Visit Apollo Bay
Stop 6: See the 12 Apostles, Princetown
1 hr 25 min | 87.2 km
Late in the day is the ideal time to take in the jewel in the crown of the Great Ocean Road and the region’s number one visited attraction, the 12 Apostles. There are viewing platforms and walkways that are accessible from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year. Next stop is another big drawcard of the Port Campbell National Park, the Loch Ard Gorge. Follow one of the three easy walking trails to discover the magnitude of this well-loved treasure.
Take the short drive west to the stunning seaside town of Port Campbell and take your pick from a selection of pubs, cafes and restaurants located on the main street for dinner.
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