Discover the Great Ocean Road

Road signs along the Great Ocean Road highlight many wrecks and reveal the area’s fascinating maritime history.

Extending for 243 kilometres, the famous Great Ocean Road hugs Victoria’s coastline, winding through diverse terrains, passing by awe-inspiring settings and providing access to celebrated Australian landmarks. 

The drive starts at the legendary township of Torquay, the birthplace of famous surf brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver. Nearby iconic break, Bells Beach attracts the world’s best surfers with large Southern Ocean swells and reef-strewn shallows whipping up near-perfect waves. 

Further south, Lorne to Apollo Bay is regarded as the route’s most picturesque stretch. From the serene Mediterranean-like Lorne, with its trendy beachside cafes and specialty stores, to the rolling green hills and crescent-shaped inlet of Apollo Bay, the 45-minute drive sees lush rainforest-wrapped gorges and fern-covered valleys meet beaches, cliffs and escarpments at the ocean.

Hosting fertile farmlands and rich natural settings, the Great Ocean Road transverses an area with a burgeoning reputation as a red-hot foodie destination. Two excellent wine regions, the Geelong wine region and the Henty wine region flank the route. Continuing west from Apollo Bay, rounding the road’s most southern tip, the mighty Otways Ranges are celebrated for their world-class gourmet delights, showcased via The Otway Harvest Trail.

The Otways also offer and incredible opportunity to get up close and personal with Australia’s unique flora and fauna. Tall trees, giant ferns, gushing waterfalls, secluded shores, koalas, kangaroos, emus, and even an extinct volcano can all be found within The Great Otway National Park. 

The Otways  in particular Cape Otway  mark the start of the Shipwreck Coast, a rugged stretch of coastline illustrious  as its name aptly points out  for causing shipwrecks. While there have been close to 650 known shipwrecks along the Victorian coast, only 240 have been discovered. Road signs along the Great Ocean Road highlight many wrecks and reveal the area’s fascinating maritime history.

The Shipwreck Coast’s most notable landmarks are not its defunct boats, but its limestone and sandstone rock formations. Just minutes outside of the township of Port Campbell, natural structures like Loch Ard Gorge, The Grotto, London Arch, The Gibson Steps and The 12 Apostles offer postcard-perfect settings for holiday snaps.  

The 12 Apostles are the most famous of the formations  magnificent rock stacks that rise up majestically from the Southern Ocean along the dramatic coastline. The best time to view the 12 Apostles is at sunrise and sunset, when they change colour and cast intriguing shadows.

Words by Alice Nash - Published 19 August 2013
Quick Facts 
Population Approx 3.73 million
Area 2,254 km2
Time Zone GMT +10
Languages English (official)
Currency Australian dollar (AUD)
Electricity 220 – 240v 50Hz
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