Victoria's Great Ocean Road hugs the contours of the rugged south-west coast and gives one of Australia's most spectacular drives. It stretches from Geelong to Warrnambool and offers outstanding views of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean. Its striking and dramatic natural rock formations include Loch Ard Gorge, The Grotto, London Arch and the famous Twelve Apostles.
Geelong is Victoria second largest city and largest regional centre. The port city is on Corio Bay and has a population of 190,000. It is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road, the Shipwreck Coast and Bellarine Peninsula.
A $150 million make-over has transformed Waterfront Geelong into one of Australia's leading coastal locations. Once derelict, it now has restaurants, hotels, apartments and leisure areas for locals and visitors alike.
The Wharf Shed Caf offers casual dining all day, with indoor and outdoor seating and reasonable prices. Their gourmet pizzas are popular and they also serve chicken, beef, seafood, risotto, pasta and great desserts.
Torquay is 21km from Geelong and faces Bass Strait. Its coastal features include Point Danger and Zeally Bay. The surf beaches Jan Juc and Bells Beach are internationally famous. Bells has been hosting the Easter Surfing Classic since 1961 as well as other major events. Surfers arrive from around the world to conquer the swell which can reach four metres.
Some surfers from the northern states believe Victorian surfers are lazy because the waves take them all the way into the beach and then it's just a walk to the point and a short paddle out again. Others would say they were just plain lucky.
Many successful surf companies are based in Torquay Rip Curl, Piping Hot and Quiksilver are all there. Attractions there are Tiger Moth World, a joyflight operation, and the Surfworld Museum.
Lorne is a seaside town on Louttit Bay on the Erskine River. Its activities include traditional beach pursuits and pier fishing for barracuda, whiting and trevally. Teddy's Lookout at the town's southern end has fine views of the town, coastline, Great Ocean Road and The Great Otway National Park is nearby.
During the first weekend of every January, around 20,000 spectators turn up for the 1.2km Lorne Pier to Pub Swim, the 8km Lorne Mountain to Surf Run and Lorne Surf Boat Race.
Swingbridge Café at the mouth of the Erskine River offers a quiet break from the bustle of the centre of town. Named after the historic swing bridge where the river meets the sea, it has easy access to the surf beach and a family-friendly river and estuary beach where paddle boats can be hired for loads of fun.
140km south of Melbourne.
The Wharf Shed Café open from 11am until late, Monday to Friday, and from 9am until late on weekends. Pizzas start at around $13.
Surfworld Museum admission is $8.50 for adults and $6 for children. It is open every day, 9am-5pm.
Prices quoted are correct at April 24, 2007
The Wharf Shed Café
15 Eastern Beach Road
Geelong Vic 3220
Ph: (03) 5229 3110
Fax: (03) 5221 8132
Surf City Plaza
Torquay Vic 3228
Ph: (03) 5261 4606
Fax: (03) 5261 4756
Fruits of the Forest
Shop 2 Cumberland Plaza
Great Ocean Road
Lorne Vic 3232
Ph: (03) 5289 2433
Fax: (03) 5289 2058
Lorne Swingbridge Café
Mouth of the Erskine
Great Ocean Road
Lorne Vic 3232
Ph: 0408 895 022