The beautiful Victorian coast.
The gorgeous town of Lorne.
The magnificent Twelve Apostles.
Get in the car and venture on what is said to be one of the world's most spectacular coastal drives, passing rugged cliffs and wild and beautiful beaches.
The Great Ocean Road starts 100km west of Melbourne at Torquay, and for 300km, continues to wind along the coast to Warrnambool. It is said to be one of the world's most spectacular coastal drives, passing rugged cliffs, wild and beautiful beaches, through mountain rainforest and tall eucalypts.
In Eastern View, 20 minutes on the Melbourne side of Lorne, is a memorial arch crossing the road and commemorating the returned WWI soldiers who built the road. Work began in 1918 and was completed during the Great Depression. Before then, the area was inaccessible by road, and workers had to carve out the cliff face with pick, shovel and crowbar.
Lorne is one of Victoria's most popular holiday destinations. It offers a safe golden beach and good surf, and fish are plentiful. It has lots of shops, cafés and coffee houses, including The Arab, which opened in 1956 with Victoria's second coffee machine. Erskine Falls are 9km inland from Lorne. Rudyard Kipling visited in 1891 and wrote a poem about his stay.
The road from Lorne to Apollo Bay is possibly the most dramatic. There are sheer cliffs dropping to the ocean on one side and Angahook-Lorne State Park on the other. It is a haven for musicians and artists, and there is a music festival held there each year.
The road from Apollo Bay leads to the Otway National Park, 13,000 hectares of eucalypt forests, coastal heathland, and the cool and tranquil Maits Rest Rainforest Walk. Tracks lead to Wreck Beach, Johanna Beach and the 150-year-old Cape Otway Lighthouse, which was built to warn ships in Bass Strait of the perilous seas and cliffs.
Port Campbell National Park holds the road's most famous attraction the stunning 12 Apostles limestone formations that look as though they are guarding the coastline. Formerly called Sow and Piglet, these startling quirks of nature were once cliffs, but the wild seas have eroded them from the mainland. There is a viewing platform, and you can walk down the steep Gibson's Steps for a closer look and some good surfing.
Over the centuries, the rugged coast between Cape Otway and Port Fairy, known as The Shipwreck Coast, has been fatal for ships. There are 700 known wrecks along the coast, though only around 200 of them have been discovered. Fierce winds, pounding waves, human error and foul play all had a part in their demise.
There is so much to see along the Great Ocean Road. Penguins and kangaroos, quiet bays and raging surf, caves and gorges, streams and crystal rivers and wonderful trees, ferns, mosses and wildflowers. You could even spot whales at play with their newborn calves.
You won't have any trouble finding good restaurants or picnic spots, and if you fancy a game of golf, be prepared to share the greens with grazing kangaroos!