Melbourne - Port Fairy: Great Ocean Road Experience
|Experience over 290km of breathtaking coastline along the world famous Great Ocean Road and take in the rugged beauty of Victoria’s coastline.
From major regional centres to quaint fishing villages, the Great Ocean Road is home to some of Victoria’s favourite seaside resort locations and shows off Victoria’s beautiful white, sandy beaches and rugged sea cliffs.
Begin your journey in the sport capital of the world, Melbourne, and catch a show, do some shopping along Chapel Street, get into some sports action or try a coffee in some of the world’s best cafes.
Then take your time as you travel down one of Australia’s truly iconic roadways. Visit Bells Beach, Australia’s surf mecca or feel the roar of the Great Southern Ocean on your face as you gaze at the natural majesty of the Twelve Apostles and their never ending vigil in Bass Strait.
Founded in 1835 by John Batman, as a large sheep station, Melbourne is now world renowned as one of the world’s most livable cities. It is nestled on the banks of the Yarra River and sits on the edge of Port Phillip Bay, one of the largest bays in Australia.
Noted for its passion for sport, Melbourne hosts the AFL Grand Final, the Australian Grand Prix, Australian Masters Golf, the Australian Tennis Open and many other major events all year round.
Melbourne also has a great cultural precinct, right in the city at Southbank. Enjoy superb international exhibitions at the National Gallery, or the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Maybe even try your luck at Crown Casino!
Whilst in town make time to take in Melbourne’s other passion; Cafes and Restaurants! Sample European treats at St Kilda’s patisseries, enjoy traditional pizza down Lygon Street, or take a trip down Little Chinatown to sample some delicious dim sum. Melbourne has it all!
Melbourne to GEELONG - 85km
Situated just 54 minutes drive from Melbourne, Geelong is located on the shores of Corio Bay. First declared a town in 1838, Geelong was initially a base for the large pastoral industry that grew out of Melbourne’s settlement just a few years earlier.
By the 1850’s Geelong was swept up in the gold rush that took Victoria by storm. During this period Geelong boomed as a major seaport servicing the gold fields with the population growing to almost 23,000 people, making it the fourth largest town in Australia.
Today, Geelong enjoys a reputation as one of Australia’s leading business centres and is the gateway to some of Australia’s world famous beaches in Bells Beach and Jan Juc at Torquay.
There are plenty of things to do in Geelong and surrounding areas for those that love nature. Experience native bushland at the Yollinko Park Aboriginal Gardens along the Barwon River, and see firsthand native bird life and flowers.
After working up your appetite you should have some lunch down by the foreshore and enjoy fresh local seafood caught in the local waters. Or if fish isn’t your thing then don’t forget to take the picnic basket when you visit Buckley Falls and take in the stunning river and valley views that await you there over a beautiful lunch.
Geelong to QUEENSCLIFF (BELLARINE REGION) - 32km
Queenscliff is a lovely seaside village which is bursting with reminders of its past. Walk through the streets to view imposing Victorian-era hotels dripping with intricate iron lacework, Fort Queenscliff, quaint fishermen's cottages and charming period churches, some enjoying new life as galleries.
Complementing this historic aspect of the town is the great range of boutiques and shops as well as some of the best restaurants and cafes on The Bellarine
. There are plenty of beaches around the area that are safe to swim at, and the chance to swim with the dolphins is a unique experience offered just out of Queenscliff.
Discover the Bellarine Rail Trail stretching some 33 kilometres linking Geelong to Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale and providing an inspiring passage to many tourist attractions across The Bellarine
Take a tour to visit the unusual Black Lighthouse at the Fort Queenscliff Museum and to discover the stories hidden behind the imposing fortress walls. It is one of Australia’s largest and best preserved military fortresses, and incorporates the black lighthouse (1862), military museum and underground shell magazine. Entry is only by guided tour.
Queenscliff (Bellarine Region) to ANGLESEA - 62km
In 1865, travelers with a taste for adventure came on horseback through dense ironbark forests to reach this isolated location, which offered excellent river and ocean fishing plus rock pools rich with crayfish. Anglesea was first known as Swampy Creek, then Anglesea River.
Today, Anglesea has a permanent population of approximately 2000 residents, which swells to the vicinity of 28,000 during the summer holiday period. There’s plenty to do on Anglesea Beach like learn to surf on with the locals, or saddle up on a horse for a relaxing gallop along a deserted beach.
Or maybe you fancy some golf? Well get ready to share it with some kangaroos! Anglesea’s famous golf course is home to many friendly kangaroos, but as they are pretty focused on eating the grass just don’t expect too many putting tips from these guys!
Attractive parks and gardens also line the coastal foreshore and the picturesque Anglesea River. One of the best attractions is Coogoorah Park, a refuge for native birds which features a network of islands, all linked by boardwalks and bridges through natural wetlands.
The cliffs of the Great Ocean Road rise out of the sea either side of the Anglesea River, making for spectacular walks and views out over the Great Southern Ocean.
Anglesea to WYE RIVER - 46km
The town of Wye River is in the middle of perhaps the most spectacular and notorious stretch of the Great Ocean Road. So many ships met their match along this stretch of coast that it was dubbed the “Shipwreck Coast”.
Wye River’s most famous wreck and monument is the Lonely Grave of the WB Godfrey, shipwrecked in 1891 at the rocky mouth of Godfrey Creek. Although no one perished during the wreck, some men lost their lives during the difficult salvage operation.
The drowned men were buried on a low cliff overlooking the wreck where they remained in peace until workers constructing the Great Ocean Road stumbled across a small wooden peg in the ground, with a vague inscription about the tragedy that took place 30 years before. As the new road passed over the original gravesite, a white memorial stone was erected on the roadside at Godfrey Creek, where it remains to this day.
Wye River is set in a natural amphitheatre between Lorne (16km) and Apollo Bay (27km) and is the location of a number of prime Aboriginal archaeological sites. This was due to Wye River being a natural source of food and other natural resources.
Visit the strange Artillery Rocks, an internationally geologically important site, where due to erosion stone cappings project into the air, often elevated on pedestals of honeycomb weathered sandstone.
Wye River to APOLLO BAY - 28km
Explore Victoria's Great Ocean Road, Otway National Park, tree top walks, waterfalls, light house, the Twelve Apostles and whale nurseries.
Located at the foothills of the Otways and in the heart of the Great Ocean Road region, the beach is a focus for activity all year round at Apollo Bay. Swim in the clear water, sea kayak with local seals, indulge in some deep-sea fishing, learn to surf, or horse ride along the beach at sunset.
Sample the local seafood the local cafés and restaurants or shop for art and curios in the many gift shops, galleries and tea houses and peruse the regular Saturday foreshore market for local crafts and produce. If you’re feeling adventurous, head into the Otways to find Australia's oldest lighthouse, and explore nearby forest and waterfall walks or enjoy an exhilarating ride through the ranges on a mountain bike.
Apollo Bay to WARRNAMBOOL - 161km
Warrnambool is the largest city on the Great Ocean Road, offering all the services expected of a vibrant, modern city whilst maintaining the atmosphere of a relaxed country town.
Part of the Shipwreck Coast, Warrnambool is “home” to the mysterious Mahogany Ship, thought to be a Portuguese caravel wrecked over 400 years ago. Although the legend has intrigued locals and scholars alike for over 150 years, no conclusive proof has been found but could await in the dunes for you to discover!
With clean sheltered beaches, Warrnambool attracts international attention as a prime whale watching location.
In summer Southern Right Whales live in the freezing waters of the sub-Antarctic Great Southern Ocean, but most years between June and September winter sees the whales migrate to the relatively warmer waters of Logan’s Beach to calve.
The Whale Nursery at Logan's Beach, Warrnambool has an excellent observation platform overlooking the Whale Nursery where the whales may be viewed from the shore.
Warrnambool to PORT FAIRY - 29km
Picturesque Port Fairy's old world character has remained, as there was little economic development after 1900 and many of the old buildings were retained.
Port Fairy contains an extraordinarily rich variety of nineteenth century buildings and there are over 50 National Trust classified houses throughout the township, which can be seen on a historic walk through town. Enjoy a beautiful Devonshire tea in one of the white washed cottages, or browse through local craft shops.
From early settlement there were many whales in the Port Fairy area. There were so many of the Southern Right Whales taken in those early years that the East Beach was littered with their great bones.
By the mid 1840's the supply of whales was exhausted and the whaling station closed. Now though, these great creatures are free to frolic up and down the southern Victorian coast without a care in the world!
Port Fairy has a beautifully sheltered harbour, with a walk around the wharf one way to see what the catch of the day is. Port Fairy’s fishing fleet, which keeps the town supplied with fresh seafood, is your best bet to score some mouthwatering produce!