GUEST POST – Australia’s Great Ocean Road is considered one of the most beautiful roads in the world. Measuring 243 km (about 150 miles) in length from Torquay to Allansford town, there are lots of things to do along this scenic stretch. Driving the Great Ocean Road offers animal encounters, cosmopolitan seaside towns and beaches galore.
Prepare yourself for an incredible adventure along Australia’s popular coast, ranked amongst the top things to do in Australia. The Great Ocean Road, located less than two hours from Melbourne, is a playground for sun-seekers, surfers, wildlife lovers and culture enthusiasts.
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Driving the Great Ocean Road is a great way to see the natural beauty of Australia. While there are many things to explore, here is a list of the top five attractions on the Great Ocean Road you shouldn’t miss. They combine the best of what the region has to offer.
The collection of limestone stacks, known as the 12 Apostles are arguably one of the most fascinating things to see as you drive the Great Ocean Road. Found just a few hundred metres from the shore, they are a marvel to behold.
In the high season, driving the Great Ocean Road can be busy. Hundreds of people flock to the area to see these symbols of Australia before they are gone. Currently, only eight remain and geologists predict more will fall in years to come as strong ocean waves erode the limestone stacks.
There are a couple of different ways to view these fantastic rock formations. Most people park and explore the walkway and lookout points on foot. However, you can also take a scenic flight over the 12 Apostles. The bird’s eye view is especially breathtaking at sunset.
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Nearby Loch Ard Gorge and Gibsons Steps are also worth a visit. They are located within a kilometre of the 12 Apostles and both offer something special. Loch and Gorge have an interesting history which you can read about on plaques around the beach. Meanwhile, Gibsons Steps was given its name for the collection of stairs carved into the cliffside leading to the beach. No doubt you’ll feel tiny on the beach at Gibson Steps standing next to the towering yellow cliffs.
Bells Beach is world-famous for its excellent surf. In fact, during Easter Holidays, the best surfers in the world converge on Bells to compete in the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition. The iconic Bells trophy is one of the most sought-after awards in the World Surf League. Therefore, it attracts many tourists and surfers alike.
Bells Beach is found just outside of the small coastal town of Torquay which is the starting point for driving the Great Ocean Road. If you are planning on a road trip, we advise you to have your morning coffee at Bells Beach before hitting the road. Even if you’re not a surfer you’ll enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
The Surfing Museum in Torquay celebrates Bells Beach and the area’s surf history. It is a fantastic place to immerse yourself in the surf culture and learn a thing or two about the sport.
Located just a few kilometres from the Kennett River Township, Lorne is a serene seaside resort sheltered by the Otway Ranges. It is one of the most popular stops and a great place to stay if you want to take a break from driving the Great Ocean Road. It has lots of nearby natural attractions and a cosmopolitan main street with shopping and great dining options
The main beach at Lorne attracts people of all ages. There are sections for surfing and swimming, as well as lifeguards on duty in the summer months. However, the Lorne Sea Baths is another wonderful place to swim.
While in the area don’t miss stopping by Erksine Falls. The impressive 30-metre drop is surrounded by ancient ferns and forests. It is one of the most accessible waterfalls on the Great Ocean Road and just a 12-minute drive inland from Lorne.
During the summer, Lorne hosts the famous Falls Festival which is one of the country’s premier music festivals. It brings together legendary music artists and upcoming artists. The town’s atmosphere is second to none during Falls Festival.
Kennett River Koala Walk
Located approximately 30 minutes from Lorne, the Kennett River Koala Walk is the best place in Victoria to see koalas in their natural habitat. The walk is along Grey River Road which is 15 km (about 9 miles) in length. However, most people spot koalas within the first hundred metres of the car park.
To get the most out of your visit, stop by the Kennett River Koala Walk early in the morning or in the evening. These animals are known to sleep most of the day. They are most active during the early morning or late afternoon and therefore easier to spot.
Look for these exclusive Aussie animals in branches of the eucalyptus gum trees. They love to eat the leaves of the eucalyptus. Therefore, they spend most of their time in the heights of these towering trees.
Besides koalas, there are also many birds in the area. You can spot king parrots, cockatoos, and kookaburras in abundance. The Kafe Koala sells bird feed for anyone interested in feeding them.
Anchored in the foothill of the Otway Ranges, Apollo Bay is a laid back beach town with lots to do and beauty in excess. It attracts tourists with all sorts of interests. Everything from surfing, swimming, fishing, and kayaking can be done in Apollo Bay.
Apollo Bay has many beautiful walking trails as well as an iconic lookout point. Mariners Lookout is located on the outskirts of town but offers a panoramic view of the coastline and town below.
At the Apollo Bay Harbour, you can watch fishermen bring in their catches. While at low tide you can often spot jellyfish, stingrays, and a variety of fish in the harbour’s water. It’s a great place to take a quick break from driving the Great Ocean Road or stay for a few days.
However, the most popular thing to do in Apollo Bay is definitely to lounge on the sandy beach. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards and the perfect place to spend a day swimming and sunbathing. It is located just across from the town’s core so restaurants and shops are never far away.
Final thoughts on driving the Great Ocean Road
In a nutshell, the Great Ocean Road is rich in natural beauty and offers visitors a lot of different things to do. From famous beaches to nearby waterfalls, if you are embarking on the Great Ocean Road don’t miss these top attractions. They will make all the difference!
About the author: Henry is part of the Great Ocean Road Collective, a website dedicated to sharing the beauty of the Great Ocean Road in Australia with travellers far and wide. For more inspiration, head over to Great Ocean Road Collective on Instagram.
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