Melbourne Australia is renowned for its wide variety of attractions. It offers everything from hospitality, fashion, art and much more, there really is something for everyone. Adding to the list is visiting the Great Ocean Road just 100km south west from the inner city you can immerse yourself in Victoria's stunning coastline.
The Ocean Road begins at Torquay and finishes near Warnambool and is approximately 200km which is a good days trip. (One way)
Torquay, known as the Surf Coast is home to one of the best surfing breaks in the country Bells Beach. This hosts the Ripcurl Pro surfing event held in April each year.
The best months to visit are from the start of November to the end of April.
Close by in the neighboring sea side town of Anglesea, there are plenty of cafes to choose from.
Make a visit to Point Roadknight and see the intricate patterns of limestone that have been formed over millions of years from strong wind.
The surf culture is a way of life here and the point is also a popular spot for beginners.
For a less adventurous option, consider a walk through the gardens at the Eagles Nest fine art gallery.
Next up is Lorne, a popular spot for lunch with local cafes serving fresh food and offering plenty of outdoor tables for a picnic. Set aside time for Erskine's waterfall and Teddy's lookout which both offer fantastic opportunities for photographers and hikers. The protected bay serves up a gentle swell making it a surfing sanctuary for longboard riders.
Lorne is also home to Falls music festival which takes place over new years eve. International artists attract thousands of people from all over the state of Victoria to ring in the new year.
The steep hills that surround the township offer a range of accommodation providing the perfect rainforest getaway, all within walking distance to the beach.
The next section of coastline between Lorne and Apollo Bay stretches 45km, winding through mountain valleys and passing over the Wye River as it leads into the ocean.
Each bend in the road offers breathtaking views of the Bass Strait accompanied by the sound of gentle shorebreaks. It is at this point when the Ocean Road captures your heart.
Arriving at the picturesque shipping town Apollo Bay, you are surrounded by a backdrop of green rolling hills and cattle farms. This is the final town to stock up on supplies as the road veers inland through the Otway national park which covers more than 100,000 hectares and starts to become quite remote.
The drive to the historic Cape Otway Lighthouse (via Lighthouse Rd) is home to a variety of native wildlife. This includes kangaroo's, bandicoots, echidnas and the fury marsupial koala. Due to the Otway's high density of manna gum trees, koalas have thrived in this region for decades.
The lighthouse is the oldest on the mainland of Australia and has an internal staircase leading to a viewing deck if you are feeling up for it. During the winter months whale watching is very popular here. Cape Otway is one of the southern most points of Australia which means whales swim close to shore.
The northern section of the park also referred to as Beech Forest has several waterfalls and walking tracks on offer and is a great opportunity to experience the lush ferns that densely populate the Otway. Other trees to keep a look out for include the eucalypt, myrtle and the Californian redwood.
Continuing on, the Great Ocean Road winds through the stunning countryside villages of Johanna and Lavers Hill which are only a stones throw away from Dinosaur Cove, an ancient fossil site.
The mountains eventually connect back up with the sea. This area is labelled the 'Shipwreck Coast' due to its long history of wild seas which has caused over 240 ships to become wrecked.
The Limestone stacks are all that remain standing of this rugged seascape, some towering up to 50m in height. Famously, these have been named: The 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge, to name a few.
Despite their name The 12 Apostles, there are in fact only 7 of them. However it is a great place to watch the waves crash against the landscape and provides a clear understanding of how the erosion took place over eons. Each of these locations have large carparks with footpaths and viewing platforms to accommodate for the millions of visitors from all over the world.
The Gibson steps are also close by which offer beach access and provide an up close view of the mammoth limestone cliffs.
Along these walks, immerse yourself in the hardy cluster of plants that line the cliffs, such as the white correa, beard heath, myrtle wattle and the cushion bush. Chirping sparrows can be heard nesting as well as mutton birds and other marine birdlife.
The nearby fishing town of Port Campbell is the perfect place to stay overnight while visiting, however accommodation can be limited during peak season.
As this region is so remote there is no light pollution from any major cities which makes the night sky very dark, well suited for astronomy and astro photography. On a clear moonless night get rugged up and experience the milky way while enjoying a hot chocolate.
The seastacks continue to line the coast for another 30km into Warnambool and Peterborough known as the Bay of Islands. If time permits, this can be a great spot to stay the night and explore as there are often less crowds due to the popularity of the Apostles.
Summary: When visiting Victoria, The ocean road is definitely one to consider. Take a surfing lesson or enjoy swimming at world famous beaches while soaking up the sun.
Learn the aboriginal history, indulge in local food and art all within a day trip of Melbourne CBD.
Getting there: From Melbourne take the Princes Freeway heading south towards Geelong, from there follow Anglesea Rd until you reach Torquay.
Getting home: An alternative route from Port Campbell back to Melbourne is available via Timboon Colac Rd which joins up to the Princes Highway. total distance 230km.
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Additional Ocean Road Photos: