One of Australia’s ultimate road trips. The Coastal drive along the Great Ocean Road is unarguably a highlight of an trip to Victoria, or indeed Australia. Intrepid Papa and I spend a lovely few days driving there only a matter of weeks after we first met. If you don’t fall in love all over again amongst the stunning views, and picturesque beaches, frankly you’re a lost cause.
(original image visit Melbourne)
The Great Ocean Road is considered to be Geelong and westwards, I will cover Mornington Peninsular (along the coast East of Melbourne), in another post. It is equally stunning and also worth a visit. We didn’t make it as far as Warrnambool which is at the most Westerly point the GOR, but I would love to get there, and I am desperate to have a successful Whale watching trip!
Whilst you could manage a day trip from Melbourne to see Torquay, I would recommend at least a couple of days to enjoy the GOR.
Places to stop on your way
Geelong-If you want a pitstop on the way out of Melbourne, Geelong is a sizeable City with an attractive waterfront, pier, and Waterpark.
Torquay-the town gets better and better year on year, with cute shops popping up and a host of great eateries. Growlers is still up there as one of my favs though, with the great view’s, and outdoor space for kids to play. Not to mention yummy Mexican Bakes Eggs. Also swing by the IGA to pick up supplies, and enjoy the noticeboard with all sorted of wonderful and wacky things advertised. And be sure to hire SUP boards to enjoy the shallow, clear and warm waters (available for multiple locations along the shore). For quality fish and chips head to Fishos, and for a good coffee (though you’re spolit for choice-the Melbourne standards spread far and wide!), head to the Pond.
A fabulous spot to stay in Torquay are the Front Beach Cottages. literally a stones throw from the beach, dog and child friendly.
Angelsey- a lovely little town set on an Estuary. Head up into the hills to spot wild Kangaroos. It is also home to Jumpz outdoor trampolining park, great for burning off some energy before hopping in the car.
Lorne-a gorgeous bay, more great shops, views and eateries, but a different look to Torquay. Bells Beach is between on the way to Lorne, just outside Torquay, and is an infamous surf beach. It’s quite hypnotic to watch them all sitting on the boards waiting for the next wave. April sees the Surf Championships. of Erskine Falls, amongst other beautiful waterfalls, and with an active arts community, Lorne has a lot to offer. It is home to the Lorne Festival of The Performing Arts and the Falls Music Festival, which has hosted the likes of The Flaming Lips, Iggy Pop and Public Enemy.
Apollo Bay-for a bit of luxury, stay at Captains on the Bay, a beautiful boutique apartments just 100m from the beach, with a massive bath need I say more! And eat at Chris’s Restaurant to feel as though you’re eating amongst the trees.
The twelve Apostles (although I believe the official total is now more like nine as they have fallen into the sea), is a must see on any trip to the Great Ocean Road. Its well worth treating yourself to a Helicopter Ride to see them close up. It’s only a three seater Copter, and is a really treasured memory for us.
Besides the twelve apostles, Apollo bay is where you can head inland to reach the Otoways Tree Top Walk. Keep your eyes peeled through Cape Otway for wild Koalas-I spotted my first ever there. What better way to gain perfective and enjoy the forests than to zip line through them! There’s also walks through and some Dinosaurs hiding in the bushes to keep younger family members entertained.
Then drive further inland to Forest for the Platypus Canoe tour. It was incredible to see these elusive native animals in the wild, and if you take the evening tour you get to enjoy the glow worn walk on the way back.
When to go?
Whilst the weather is warmest in Victoria November-March, this is also the busiest time on the GOR. Part of the joy of the trip is driving along the cost roads and enjoying the spectacular views. our first trip was in July (mid Winter), and having been back multiple times at different times of year, I still think this is possibly my favourite. If you are headed down at a popular time (such as Australia Day weekend) I would recommend staying in one spot as opposed to doing too much driving as the roads are narrow and windey.
Have you been to the Great Ocean Road? Which Road trips in Oz do you think can rival it?