The Great Ocean Road in Australia
The Great Ocean Road is an exciting, 243-kilometer-long road along Australia’s southern coast. This road is also called the B100. It goes through the state of Victoria, between the cities Torquay and Allansford. Each year, more than 7.5 million people drive this route to discover what this part of Australia has to offer. In the following article, we will tell you how to get to the Great Ocean Road and the best ways to explore it. Additionally, we will tell you a bit about the origin of this route and stops along the way that you won’t want to miss!
How do I get to the Great Ocean Road?
To get the ultimate backpacking experience, the best option is to rent a camper and relax as you explore the Great Ocean Road. Another option is to rent a car. There are also several bus routes that make stops or even offer tours in the small towns. Kicking off your journey in Melbourne can be fun because you can quickly get to Torquay. Don’t forget about the state’s capital on your adventure! Melbourne has been named the most livable city in the world six times.
The entire road can be driven in a day. However, it’s best to take some time and visit all the interesting sights along the way. You can explore the route any time of year, it doesn’t matter if it’s spring, summer, autumn, or winter. We suggest avoiding it around holidays like Easter and Christmas, due to the high number of visitors. Check out our climate guide for Australia to help you decide what the best weather conditions are for you before you visit this magical place.
To give you a little background on the origin of the Great Ocean Road, the next section will tell you a bit about the history of this beautiful route.
History of its Origin
The Great Ocean Road is a permanent memorial to all those who lost their lives in the first World War. The soldiers that returned from war constructed the road in their honor. As a result, the historical isolation of Lorne and other coastal communities from the rest of Victoria, finally came to an end.
Construction started in 1918 and ended in November 1932. Until October 1936, travelers even had to pay a toll to drive along the road. Luckily, we don’t have to do that anymore!
Attractions along the Way
Now, we will discuss which stops along the Great Ocean Road you should see while you’re on your Australian adventure.
Bells Beach is the most famous surfing spot on the Great Ocean Road. The annual Rip Curl Prohas taken place on this beach since 1962. It is the third stop on the WSL Championship Tour, a competition for the best surfers in the world. The beach falls within the city of Torquay where you can visit the Surf World Museum. It is worth making a stop here and is definitely a highlight for all surfing enthusiasts!
Look out for the Split Point Lighthouse on your adventure. You can find it in the small town of Aireys Inlet. The Great Ocean Walk leads you directly to it. Here you’ll experience a breathtaking view of the ocean. You can even take a 30-minute tour through the lighthouse and climb the stairs inside!
Next, you can take a break at the Kennett River. If you’re driving and see many people alongside the road with cameras – this means you may catch a glimpse of koalas! If you’re lucky, you can observe Australia’s national animal sitting in the trees. You’ll find most of them at the Grey River Road which splits off from the Great Ocean Road.
Lorne & Great Otway National Park
Further down the road, you will encounter the village of Lorne. It is the perfect starting point for hikes in the Great Otway National Park. As a collection of multiple parks, the area stretches over 1,000 square kilometers. One exciting route is the Otway Fly Treetop Walk, a 600-meter-long treetop path built into the canopy of the rainforest at a height of up to 30 meters above the forest floor.
You will also find many campsites and hotels, which makes Lorne the perfect pit stop for your trip along the Great Ocean Road! You can surf here or go on a short hike to Teddy’s Lookout, which offers an incredible and unforgettable view.
Apollo Bay is situated in the center of the Great Ocean Road and is also perfect for a short stay. Here you will encounter a fine sandy beach and a small harbor. The name of the town comes from a sailing ship that wrecked there in 1846.
Another highlight awaits down the road! The Gibson Steps are an impressive flight of stairs at the base of the rocky coast leading to the Gibson beach. Once you have climbed the 86 steps, you will reach a long beach that beautifully overlooks the ocean and the extraordinary rock formations that surround you. This is a popular tourist attraction. Although there may be lots of people, you shouldn’t miss out on this experience. Here, you can take unforgettable photos!
The Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles are one of the greatest sights along the Great Ocean Road. These roughly 60-meter-high limestone rocks can be found between Princetown and Port Campbell. This natural sight is, reportedly, following Uluru, the most photographed sight in Australia. At first glance, it appears that there are not 12 but 8 rocks. The name Twelve Apostles most likely traces back to the 1950s, although there were only 9 rocks back then as well. Unfortunately, this number fell in 2012 when the ninth formation collapsed. Today, you can still admire 8 of these unique rocks. The arrow-shaped rocks were formed by the sea’s erosive power.
The best time to arrive here is sunrise or sunset. The colorful atmosphere behind the unique formations on Australia’s southern coast provides an amazing background for pictures.
Razorback and Loch Ard Gorge
Just a few minutes away from the famous Twelve Apostles, you can explore more impressive rocky cliffs and bays. Loch Ard Gorge is a narrow, spectacular bay that’s accessible to visitors. The view of the ocean will blow you away. You can also see the narrow cliff formation, known as the Razorback, from the lookout point. Overall, there are many other massive rock formations to discover. For example, there is the Island Archway or the Tom and Eva Lookout, which was named after two survivors of a shipwreck. All these amazing attractions are located in Port Campbell National Park.
On the last stretch of your road trip, we recommend stopping by The Grotto, which is also located in Port Campbell National Park. This attraction features a gap in the rock that appears man-made. The origin of the formation’s name is the natural arch shape that looks very similar to a grotto. This hotspot is easily accessible with just a short walk up the wooden stairs to a viewing platform.
We hope we were able to deliver an overview of the beautiful sights and natural rock formations that the Great Ocean Road has to offer. There is something in it for everyone – small villages and beautiful nature.
Again, for the ultimate backpacking experience, a great option is to rent a camper and make it a road trip. The length of your trip is up to you, as you can choose your own adventure. One thing is for certain: the Great Ocean Road is one of the most beautiful and impressive roads ever. If you are ever traveling through Australia, don’t miss out on this magical spot. The view of the Twelve Apostles at sunset is one that will stay with you forever. We hope you can start your exciting road trip soon!