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Your cheat sheet to Victoria’s Great Ocean Road region

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.

If you want to get to know the Great Ocean Road area in a hurry – including the Geelong and the Bellarine sub-region – you’re in the right place.

The Twelve Apostles deserve their headline status but are far from the only stars in these parts.

See the rock stars

Port Campbell National Park is home to a handful of amazing natural wonders that can be witnessed from various viewing areas. They include:

  • The Twelve Apostles: World famous with an electric aura to boot. Deservedly iconic.
  • Loch Ard Gorge: Towering cliffs that have been carved in dramatic fashion leaving just a slim opening out to sea. 
  • The Bakers Oven: Avoids much of the crowds afforded to other natural wonders but is equally dazzling.
  • London Bridge: Once connected to the mainland before collapsing.
  • The Grotto: A stunning mix of archway, cave, and blowhole.

Hot attraction: The Bakers Oven.

Best Great Ocean Road beaches

Brilliant beaches abound in the Great Ocean Road region. Here are some highlights:

  • Bells Beach, near Torquay: World famous and a surfer’s mecca. Home of the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition each Easter.
  • Point Addis, near Anglesea: Another enticing spot for surfers.
  • Anglesea Beach: Well-suited to surfing, swimming, and fishing.
  • Lorne Beach: Popular stretch, particularly in peak holiday season.
  • Wye River Beach: Magnet for swimmers and surfers.
  • East Beach, Port Fairy: Biggest drawcard in town for swimming and surfing.
  • Apollo Bay Beach: Designated path is ideal for a stroll.
  • Johanna Beach: Off-the-beaten-track and framed by epic cliffs. Wild and wonderful but for experienced surfers only.
  • Lady Bay, Warrnambool: Suits surfing and swimming yet the highlight is interpretive signage detailing various shipwrecks. 

Beautiful beaches abound in these parts. Location: Johanna Beach.

The greatest views

As you’d expect, the region’s famous beaches provide prime photo ops and often come with designated viewing platforms. These are top picks:

  • Bells Beach, Torquay.
  • Teddy's Lookout, Lorne.
  • Point Addis, between Torquay and Anglesea.
  • Memorial Lookout, Anglesea.
  • Cinema Point, near Aireys Inlet.
  • Cape Patton Lookout, between Wye River and Apollo Bay.
  • Marriners Lookout, Apollo Bay.

Glorious: Teddy's Lookout, Lorne.

In addition, Mt Defiance Lookout at Separation Creek – between Lorne and Wye River – is another popular viewing area, and with good reason.

Elsewhere, 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.

Grab the camera: Mt Defiance Lookout.

Great Ocean Road lighthouses

A few lighthouses also gift glittering outlooks, either from their base or atop.

  • Cape Otway Lightstation, west of Apollo Bay: Overlooks the meeting point of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean.
  • Split Point Lighthouse, Aireys Inlet: Outstanding sea views abound from this landmark, which featured in the 1990s children's TV series, Round the Twist.
  • Cape Nelson Lighthouse, Portland West: Soak up more captivating coastal vistas.

The postcard-worthy lighthouse at Airey's Inlet offers panoramic views.

Great Ocean Road waterfalls 

Great Otway National Park features a handful of waterfalls set among spectacular rainforest and other natural beauty. These include:

  • Triplet Falls: Spectacular three-tiered falls; 2km walk to reach several elevated viewing spots.
  • Erskine Falls: 30m drop; upper lookout an effortless walk from car park, lower lookout accessed via 200-plus stairs.
  • Hopetoun Falls: Another 30m plunge; very easily reached at top, access at bottom within grasp of most.
  • Beauchamp Falls: Tougher walk to access, but this 20m fall shines among a world of greenery.

Be mesmerised by the stunning sight of Hopetoun Falls.

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 or phone a tough workout, too.

Wow-factor: Hopkins Falls. Credit: Warrnambool City Council.

Great Ocean Road family activities 

While there is loads for families to do in the Great Ocean Road region, we're pointing out two attractions that should not be missed. 

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village at Warrnambool

This is one of the best Great Ocean Road attractions. 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.

Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, inland from Apollo Bay

The attraction 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's family fun inside and out and day and night at Flagstaff Hill.

Wildlife spotting

There are ample opportunities to spy native wildlife and bird life, and these hotspots should be on your itinerary…

Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, near Warrnambool: Lives up to its name; home to koalas, kangaroos, emus, echidnas, and plenty more.

Anglesea: Kangaroos consistently roam the fairways of Anglesea Golf Club and make regular appearances at BIG4 Anglesea Holiday Park.

Kennett River: This 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.

Port Campbell National Park: When not admiring amazing formations, there's the chance to spot echidnas here.

Kennett River is a koala-viewing hotspot.

Great Ocean Road on a rainy day

Don't let the weather dampen your mood. Head indoors and explore worlds filled with colour and interest at the following attractions:

Warrnambool Art Gallery: A century-old gallery with a rich, diverse collection showcasing the region’s prolific beauty.

Australian National Surfing Museum, Torquay: Dive in to explore the nation's wave-riding culture via myriad displays.

Maritime Discovery Centre, Portland: Comprehensively details the region's link to water with whaling and shipwreck history among the absorbing themes.

Fort Queenscliff museum, Bellarine Peninsula: Explodes with fascinating yarns about the area’s military past.

National Wool Museum, Geelong: A seriously good find, rammed with a massive exhibit range.

Geelong Gaol Museum: Has captured a wealth of fascinating tales over a period of almost 150 years.

The National Wool Museum in Geelong is rammed with engaging exhibits. 

Great Ocean Road budget tips

With so much magnificent scenery, picnic spots abound. Apollo Bay, 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. 

Apollo Bay is perfect for a picnic.

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 and a great wharf, both of which are well-suited to walks.

A Port Fairy stroll reveals ample visual highlights.

A seriously epic drive

For most of the way from Apollo Bay to just before the Twelve Apostles, there isn’t much ocean to sight. Instead, the windy road is dominated by 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.

There's more to the Great Ocean Road than just great ocean views.

Great Ocean Road food and wine

Palate-pleasing goodies are dotted throughout, 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're bursting with local produce outlets: cheese, chocolate, ice cream, fruit, seafood, whisky, wine, and much more are on the menu.

Annie's Provedore and Produce Store is a key player on the Bellarine Taste Trail.

Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula boast fantastic wineries: Jack Rabbit Vineyard earns special mention, particularly for its sensational views.

Further west and inland, Otway Estate at Barongarook has a vast range in pleasant surrounds. And don’t miss Basalt Wines near Port Fairy.

Indulge in a glass of your favourite wine at Basalt Winery.

Great Ocean Road breweries

This region is dotted with first-rate craft breweries, including:

  • Bells Beach Brewing, Torquay and Geelong: Excellent beer selection across two sites.
  • Blackman’s Brewery, Torquay: Outstanding beer in a welcoming, central space. Has since added bars in Geelong and Ocean Grove.
  • BrewiColo Brewing Co, Ocean Grove: Modern, spacious, two-level area ideal for sipping on tasty beers.
  • Forrest Brewing Company, Forrest: Once a general store; warm and inviting interior.
  • Jetty Road, Lorne: Mornington Peninsula brewers who have branched out and opened this inviting taproom.
  • Little Creatures Brewery, Geelong: Housed in an old mill; excellent setting, beers, and food.
  • Noodledoof Brewing Co., Koroit (near Port Fairy): Great venue with some quirky styles among its top tap range.
  • Otway Estate, Barongarook: Home to the established Prickly Moses label, which also lines the taps of the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse in Apollo Bay.
  • Salt Brewing Co., Aireys Inlet: The feel-good story of the beer scene. Visit to learn why.
  • Sow and Piglets Brewery, Port Campbell: Small but quality range.

Enjoy a tasty beer at Forrest Brewing Company.

Great Ocean Road accommodation

We have a host of fantastic parks dotted throughout the Great Ocean Road region.

Check them out here or below.

Related Parks

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