Whether you're holidaying in Melbourne or if you've lived here all your life, heading down the Great Ocean Road is a great way to escape the city for a few days. The journey alone is one of the world's most scenic drives, but to get the full experience you must stop frequently to absorb the atmosphere and explore some of the most beautiful beaches, forests, landscapes and wildlife.
From the moment you begin your drive down the Great Ocean Road in Torquay there are countless sights to see, as well as some of the most picturesque coasts. There are plenty of places to stop with convenient parking too. Visit the Great Otway National Park and walk around ancient rainforests and some of Victoria's most spectacular waterfalls. Just follow the sounds of the cascading water through an otherwise silent forest.
Apollo Bay is a lovely place to stop for lunch and to take a walk along the beautiful sandy beach. If you're exploring the Great Ocean Road over two or three days Apollo Bay is an ideal place to spend the night. The coastal town has lots of shops, museums and bed and breakfasts.
The Twelve Apostles have come to be one of the most popular tourist attractions along the Great Ocean Road. The historic apostles are a collection of limestone rock stacks that were formed by erosion of the cliff. The apostles are roughly a 4 hour driving distance from Melbourne and helicopter tours are available for the best photo opportunities. Visit The 12 Apostles for more information. Another famous formation is London Bridge, located in Port Campbell.
The Otway Fly Tree Top Adventure is great for nature lovers. Visitors can either walk along the tree tops or zip wire through the world's longest and highest tree top adventures. The highest point is on top of a spectacular 47 metre high tower.
If you're on the lookout for Australia's iconic wildlife, stop off at the Tower Hill Extinct Volcano Reserve. Not only will you see kangaroos, koalas and emus wondering around freely, the scenery is quite breathtaking. The reserve is located just west of Warrnambool and it is a great end to a truly unique drive.
For whale watching opportunities, Southern Right Whales and Humpback Whales can be spotted along the Otway Coast from May to November.
The Great Ocean Road is best explored over two or three days, but it also makes a great day trip. For more tips on how to enjoy it all in one day, check out Weekend Notes writer Julia Hebaiter's article.
Good article about the Great Ocean Road. A lot of people do not consider the time taken to stop in the various towns and hotspots to fully enjoy the drive along the road. I recommend that this trip is best done when you take a few days to go through the towns and enjoy all the little activities day by day.
There's a proposal at the moment to impose a $20 toll on the Great Ocean Road - hopefully it doesn't get through, it would be such a pity if visitors were charged to see it, especially as it honours war veterans and brings so much tourism to the local areas.