Emblazoned with scenery ranking among Australia’s most spectacular, the Great Ocean Road is world class.
Blending breathtaking and rugged coastline with sprawling rainforest and towering trees, this region sparkles at every turn.
It’s where action abounds no matter the season; a pocket of the country where crowds have gravitated for generations.
If you want to get to know the Great Ocean Road in a hurry – including the Geelong and the Bellarine sub-region – you’re in the right place. Here is your handy guide to a region of endless opportunities.
The Twelve Apostles at Port Campbell have been ‘snapped’ more times than a family of twigs but warrant the hype. Frame the formations’ brilliance from several viewing points, but also take time to simply soak up their electrifying aura.
Just down the road is equally spectacular Loch Ard Gorge. Here, towering cliffs have been carved in dramatic fashion leaving just a slim opening out to sea.
Views from – and incorporating – Cape Otway Lightstation west of Apollo Bay are postcard worthy, exposing famous Bass Strait in all its rugged glory. Or try Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. At the western end of the region, reach the top of Cape Nelson Lighthouse for more stunning panoramas.
As you’d expect, the region’s famous beaches provide prime photo ops and often come with designated viewing platforms. These are top picks:
In addition, the viewing platform at Logan's Beach in Warrnambool combines glittering views with great opportunities to glimpse southern right whales in season (June-October).
For a funky photo, stop at Artillery Rocks between Lorne and Wye River and marvel at Mother Nature’s creativity.
Absolutely. Spectacular rainforest and other natural beauty abounds; much of it planted within Great Otway National Park. The park is prime for walks and hoards a series of mesmerising waterfalls. These include:
Outside of the Otways, grab your camera and shoot away at the dazzling 90m-wide Hopkins Falls near Warrnambool. The amphitheatre-like setting that supports Sheoak Falls near Lorne is sure to give your camera a tough workout, too.
When it comes to prized Great Ocean Road beaches, there are more names to mention than on a student roll call.
You simply must stop by Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village at Warrnambool – it’s one of the best Great Ocean Road attractions. Recently redeveloped, it features a museum and recreated village filled with engrossing interactive displays vividly detailing the area’s rich maritime and shipwreck past. At night, a dazzling sound and light show enthralls all ages.
While in Warrnambool, swing by Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground. It’s chockers with kids’ entertainment and is the perfect picnic spot.
Inland from Apollo Bay is Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, which features an exhilarating treetop canopy walkway that allows you to admire seemingly endless rainforest as well as get the heart racing on thrilling zipline tours.
There are loads of opportunities to see native wildlife and bird life, and these hotspots should be on your itinerary…
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, near Warrnambool lives up to its name and is home to koalas, kangaroos, emus, echidnas, and plenty more.
Kangaroos consistently roam the fairways of Anglesea Golf Club and make regular appearances at BIG4 Anglesea Holiday Park.
Kennett River is one of the best places in the country to see koalas in the wild and is also a prime bird-watching destination. It’s worth looking ‘tree-wards’ for cuddly koalas at nearby BIG4 Wye River Holiday Park, too.
Echidnas roam throughout Port Campbell National Park, and if you feel like your eyes are sharper than eagles, try spotting oft-elusive platypus at Lake Elizabeth in Barramunga.
Get your culture on! Century-old Warrnambool Art Gallery has a rich, diverse collection showcasing the region’s prolific beauty, complemented by several boutique galleries in the area.
Neighbouring Port Fairy has a cluster of inviting art spaces to check out, led by Whale Bone Gallery.
The nation’s wave-riding culture is best appreciated by visiting the Australian National Surfing Museum in Torquay. Myriad displays are full of colour and interest and will have you forgetting about dreary weather in no time.
The region’s link to water is also explored extensively at the Portland Maritime Discovery Centre with whaling and shipwreck history among the absorbing themes. Meanwhile, Fort Queenscliff Museum explodes with fascinating yarns about the area’s military past.
For history of a different slant, the National Wool Museum in Geelong is a seriously good find, rammed with a massive exhibit range. While in the city, stop by Old Geelong Gaol, which captured a wealth of fascinating tales over a period of almost 150 years.
With so much magnificent scenery, picnic spots abound. Lorne, Port Campbell, and Geelong are among locations with inviting foreshore areas; the latter has a series of colourful bollards to admire on a stroll.
Warrnambool Botanic Gardens and Geelong Botanic Gardens are both tranquil and picturesque and are perfect for a relaxing arvo.
While in Warrnambool, pick up a heritage map and wander the streets to admire striking old buildings. Nearby Port Fairy also teems with heritage-listed structures.
For much of the drive from Apollo Bay to just before the Twelve Apostles, there isn’t much ocean to sight. Instead, much of the windy road is a sea of green, passing through soaring trees and rainforest. When the sun shines through narrow gaps onto the road, it’s a magical scene and a spectacular contrast to what lies ahead at the famous rock formations.
Palate-pleasing goodies are dotted throughout the Great Ocean Road region, and following a designated trail is your best bet. Call into a visitor centre or download maps for the Otway Harvest Trail, the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail, or the Bellarine Taste Trail. They are bursting with local produce outlets: cheese, chocolate, ice cream, fruit, seafood, whisky, wine, and much more are on the menu.
Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula boasts a wide assortment of fantastic wineries: Jack Rabbit Vineyard earns a special mention, particularly for its sensational views.
Further west and inland, Otway Estate at Barongarook has a vast range: a glass of its sparkling on a warm day is just about unbeatable. And don’t miss Basalt Wines near Port Fairy.
Indeed, there are! The Great Ocean Road region is dotted with first-rate craft breweries.
With BIG4 of course! We have a host of fantastic parks dotted throughout the Great Ocean Road region. Check them out here.
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