THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD (Australia)
Winding alongside the wild and windswept Southern Ocean, the Great Ocean Road is one of the Australia’s most famous road-touring routes. The dramatic region offering fishing villages, migrating whales, shipwrecks, golden beaches, rainforests and national parks stretches between Australia’s Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. The road is home to the world class surfing at Bells Beach and the craggy limestone spires of the Twelve Apostles.
On your arrival you are welcomed by the isolated beaches and lighthouses in between the towns, and the thick eucalyptus forests in the Otway hinterlands helping you actually escape the crowds. The road embraces the coastline, affectionately known as the Surf Coast, between Torquay and Cape Otway while Shipwreck Coast advances to the west of Cape Otway, providing visibility of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean.
Traversing rainforests, beaches and cliffs composed of limestone and sandstone, the Great Ocean Road gets close to Geelong. Here, the stretch of the Great Ocean Road meanders along the coast, with tall, almost-vertical cliffs on the other side of it. You can choose to enjoy the great outdoors or venture into a cultural exploration of museums, galleries and heritage sites; the Great Ocean Road is a complete package for all kinds of travellers.
Climate: Warm in winters and cool in summers
By Car: Via the Princes Highway over the West Gate Bridge to the bayside city of Geelong, the inland route follows the Princes Highway from Geelong to Warrnambool past rich farmland and picturesque country towns.
By Air: Avalon Airport is conveniently located between Melbourne and Geelong and operates services by most airlines from most Australian cities.
Other ways of Commuting :V/Line runs frequent train services from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to Geelong and Warrnambool.
Places of interest
Location: Southern outskirts of Torquay
Bells Beach is a major converging point for the world’s best surfers. The beach offers perfect conditions for surfing and is home to numerous surfing carnivals that are held throughout the summers apart from some major international level surfing contests. These include the Rip Curl Easter Pro, world’s longest running surfing contest, the Australian Strongman Triathlon held in February and the High Tide Festival that takes place in December. There are regions for learners and advanced surfers and you can take on the waves yourself. Besides this, you can go for snorkelling, skydiving or just strolling along the coast, enjoying the beauty of nature.
Great Otway National Park
Location: Barwon South West region of Victoria, Australia
The Great Otway National park occupies a massive percentage of the Great Ocean Road covering ancient rainforests, pristine beaches, dramatic coastline, magnificent waterfalls and windswept heathland. You can ride on horseback or travel on a mountain bike to enjoy and absorb the natural environment. There are numerous waterfalls and picnic spots and camping sites throughout the park where you can stop and enjoy the scenic beauty. Besides, there are also beautiful lakes in the park where you can spend some tranquil moments.
Location: Southwest Victoria, Australia
Located in the foothills of the Otway Ranges, Apollo Bay is a great place to kick back with some decent surfing or simply go for plenty of picturesque walks. You can traverse through the rainforests enjoying the crystal clear water of the streams, the gushing sound of the waterfalls or simply enjoy the beauty of the trees and the ferns. Those who love the sea can go for surfing, climb aboard a kayak or go for an adventurous deep-sea fishing. Apollo Bay has so much to offer for nature lovers with plenty of native wild life at Melba Gully or around Lake Elizabeth. There is lot of good sea food for gourmet lovers too, so just go ahead as the best of nature beckons you at Apollo Bay.
Location: 48 km inland from Port Campbell
The tiny town of Lavers Hill stands at an important crossroads in your journey. Known for its scenic beauty, the town is surrounded by the Great Otway National Park. In the southern part called Melba Gully, there are rainforests where you can see glow worms at night. Located between Port Campbell and Apollo Bay, the town features a pub and numerous cafes that cater to the tourists. You can also promptly stock up on some delicious local produce heading on along the Ocean Road.
The Twelve Apostles
Location: 275 km west of Melbourne
Being the Shipwreck Coast, the most picturesque stretch of this epic journey is the towering limestone stacks just off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. These rise up magnificently from the Southern Ocean. Originating from the limestone cliffs, these were earlier caves that later turned into arches due to erosion. Later these arches collapsed into stacks of rocks nearly 45 meters in height and isolated some distance away from the shore. Presenting a majestic picture, the 12 Apostles stand in rugged brilliance, changing colour with the movement of the sun.
Location: Near the 12 Apostles
London Bridge is an impressive stone arch that sits out in the water and is one of the most iconic tourist attractions of Australia. Offering a breath taking view of the surrounding area, it once used to be a double arch, another natural stone walkway connecting it to land. But in 1990, part of the bridge collapsed leaving some part in the ocean. As a result, now there are two platforms, each at different elevations, offering a great view of the surroundings. You can visit during sun rise or sunset to get perfect effect of light to view the wonder of nature.