The Ultimate Guide To The Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s greatest drives. The 243 kilometre drive between Torquay and Allansford (near Warrnambool) winds through rainforest, hugs cliff edges and offers you the chance to see a number of renown sights.

We created the ultimate guide with the 7 must-sees along the way and a list of insider’s tips.

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Peak season: December – February
Summer is peak season but there is a reason why because the views are stunning and there are plenty of festivals along the way.

Midseason: September – November
The crowds are still small, the weather is beginning to fine up, and nature is in full action. At this time of year, the waterfalls in Otway National Park experience peak run-off, the wildflowers begin to bloom, and the wildlife are active. Don’t forget to bring your rain gear just in case!

Low season: June – August
During winter, the weather is gentler, the traffic is less chaotic and everything is less expensive. You can come and watch for the whales during their migration, or simply sit back and enjoy the view.

Top seven sights along The Great Ocean Road     

1. The 12 Apostles

It used to be called “Sow and Piglets” and it used to have 9 limestones, so its current name cannot be clearly explained but nevertheless, it is one of the most famous views in Australia.  The 9th limestone crumbled 5 years ago, leaving 8 “Apostles” that can be admired from the many viewpoints off the cliff-top trail.

  • Get there for sunrise – you’ll escape the crowds and have the place almost to yourself.
  • Enjoy the sunset with a picnic or grab a takeaway pizza from Port Campbell.
  • Walk the boardwalks around the cliff tops which provide various viewing platforms.
  • Don’t rush. You may only witness this once in your life.
photobymkuhnviaflickr

Photo by M. Kuhn via Flickr

2. Gibson Steps

Just down the road from the Twelve Apostles Visitors Centre are the Gibson Steps. Walk down these steps on to the beach for a close up view. Here you can experience a new perspective on the power of the waves and the height of the rocks. You can even touch the rocks and feel how easy they crumble away. Please b

Take time to watch the water crashing around the base of the limestone stacks to understand the true power of the ocean and how it’s constantly shaping our earth.

  • Keep the tide in mind: don’t walk too far around the corner as you may have a wet walk back. It comes in quite fast.
  • Visit Gibson Steps at sunset. This way you get the sun setting behind the two Apostles which looks just magic.
gibsonsteps

Image via www.art.amplifiedversion.com

3. Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge is amazing and only a few minutes drive west of The Twelve Apostles. The gorge is named after the ship Loch Ard, which ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island at the end of a three-month journey from England to Melbourne.

Take the stairs down to the beach and sit in wonder. And there are three easy walks you can take to discover the area and getting viewpoints.

  • Allow 2-3 hours and be aware that there are 3 separate car parks.
lordarchegorg isabellestravelguide

Image via www.isabellestravelguide.com

4. Lorne

Lorne is only 120 kilometres west of Melbourne, along the Great Ocean Road. It is a picturesque town with great cafes, shops and Otway National Park is at your doorstep.

  • Enjoy a walk on the beach, a bike ride along the foreshore out to the pier, have a coffee at Lorne Beach Pavilion and eat a pizza from Pizza Pizza – delicious!
  • Please note: this place swells with people over the Christmas holidays.

Great Ocean Road Trip

5. Teddys Lookout

A short drive up the hill behind Lorne is Teddys Lookout. Teddy’s Lookout offers spectacular views of the St. George River and the Great Ocean Road coastline. There is walking trail connecting Teddy’s Lookout with two other lookouts, and takes about 30 minutes return.

  • The upper lookout is the first one you’ll arrive at and it provides spectacular views of the George River mouth and the Bass Strait.
  • The lower lookout has a more southerly view and is a better viewpoint to the river and picturesque valley to the west.
ytravelteddyslookout

Image via http://www.ytravelblog.com/mantra-lorne-great-ocean-road/

6. Bells Beach

Considered by many to be the ‘surf capital’ of Australia, Bells Beach holds the annual Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition (3-14 April)

There’s an impressive cliff-face and views from the cliff-top car park are spectacular and great spot to watch local surfers. Image by Steve Ryan

7. Cape Otway

Cape Otway is just over 200 km from Melbourne. It is situated in a national park and its lighthouse is amazing. Apollo Bay in Cape Otway is a fairly exposed beach and point break that has pretty consistent surf.

  • Cape Otway is an Excellent location for a picnic
  • Winter is the best time of year for surfing here.

 

SRO 165 Bels Beach Winter Lines wwwsteveryancom

Image via http://www.australiantraveller.com

Insider’s tips for the Great Ocean Road

Don’t rush! –Slow down and appreciate all The Great Ocean Road has to offer. Visit all the rock formations and towns, walk on a beach and in the rainforest, see a waterfall and wildlife, sit at a lookout and be present. We would suggest 3 days minimum!

  • Watch out for speed traps along the Great Ocean Road. Speed limits vary from 60kmh to 90 kmh. There is a tendency to lose track of your speed especially when the roads are seemingly empty, but there are police out there waiting for you. Fines are really hefty and can exceed $300!
  • If you only have time to visit one section, spend the most amount of your time in Port Campbell National Park.
  • If you only drive in one direction, drive from Torquay to Warrnambool (East to West). That way you’ll be on the left side of the road closest to the ocean and you’ll be able to pull over easier to all the view points.
  • Fuel up your car – there can be large distances between petrol stations, so make sure you fill up.

Great Ocean Road Trip

There you go. The Ultimate Guide to The Great Ocean Road. Don’t hesitate and start planning the best roadtrip ever! To rent or buy one of our vehicles please call 1800 674 374.

If you would like to read more of our Melbourne Road Trips, come and explore our adventures.

 

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