Located in the major (but geographically small) southern Australian state of Victoria, the Great Ocean Road offers one of Australia's most stunning coastal drives. If one is planning an Australian road trip and plans to drive from Adelaide to Melbourne, then the traveler should consider taking this much longer but infinitely more scenic route down along the coast. One of the main attractions on the road is the so-called "Twelve Apostles" - picturesque limestone stack formations. There are numerous activities and things to do along the Great Ocean Road.
About The Great Ocean Road
- Length: 151 Miles or 243 Kilometers
- Status: Australian National Heritage Listed
- End Points: Runs From The Australian Towns Of Torquay And Allansford
The Great Ocean Road is more than just a scenic route, it is also the world's largest war memorial. It was built by returning soldiers from the grueling First World War between 1919 and 1932 and is now dedicated to the many fallen in that Great War.
Along the route, one will see some of Australia's best coastlines as the coastal road cuts through rainforests, along beaches perfect for surfing, and impressive and jagged cliffs. Some of the famous landmarks along the way include:
- The Twelve Apostles
- Loch Ard Gorge
- London Arch
- The Grotto
The Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles are one of Australia's most recognized landmarks. While not nearly as dramatic as Ayer's Rock, they are still considered one of Australia's natural treasures (landmarks in Australia are typically not as dramatic as those in New Zealand). Just off the coast and rising out of the ocean are the 12 Apostles. These stunning limestone pillars were once upon a time connected to the mainland cliffs but everything around them has since eroded away. The wind and the waves relentlessly carved their way into the cliffs forming arches, These were then battered down leaving the freestanding columns.
- Height Of the Columns: 150 feet or 45 meters
- Number Of Apostles: 8 (Not Actually 12)
While exploring the Great Ocean Road, one option is to go whale watching. Here one can see the returning Southern Right Whales as they migrate from southern Antarctic waters in order to give birth and then raise their fledging calves. One of the best spots to watch them is from the Logans Beach Whale Viewing Platform. From here one can watch them lunge, rise, and play. Additionally, there's the option of visiting the Maritime Discovery Centre nearby in Portland, one of its exhibits is a massive 14-meter long Sperm Whale skeleton.
- Whale Watching: Whale Watching Is A Must On The Great Ocean Road
Naturally, there are plenty of stunning hiking trails up and down this prized stretch of the Australian coastline. This is one of the best ways to really immerse oneself in the beauty of the coast. One option is to start on the western side of Cape Bridgewater and walk to the "The Blowholes" lookout and walk. The walk takes one across white sand dunes, to a petrified forest (this is a gnarled formation of trees that rise up to 1.5 meters having been buried in sandstone), continue past the seal colony as one makes one's way along the coast.
Of course, one should keep their eyes peeled for kangaroos, seals, whales, echidnas, and wallabies.
The longest walk is the Great Ocean Walk, it opened in 2004 and runs for 104 km (64 miles) of stunning coastline and stretches from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles.
Yet another option is to take a 75 minute guided walk through the stunning Otways bushland in the Wildlife Wonders. This is about 5 kilometers or 3 miles from Apollo Bay. On this walk, one will see lush tree-fern gullies, stunning ocean views, and "gum tree" or eucalypt woodlands that so characterize Australia. The conservationist guide provides the tourists with a deep dive into Australian conservation and the stories of the many unique Australian plants and animals.
If one is traveling in the winter, well it doesn't get cold enough in Australia to snow in the winter (outside of the Snowy Mountains around Canberra). But still, it can get chilly this far south on the island continent. At the end of the Great Ocean Road is the Deep Blue Hot Springs in Warrnambool. These are ideal to relax and rejuvenate as one soaks in the healing mineral waters and splurges with a well-earned massage and other therapeutic body spa therapies.
Accommodation options are abundant here. There are plenty of camping grounds, holiday homes or cabins for rent, Airbnbs, resorts, and ocean-view suites. Some of the more upmarket and luxury accommodation options include:
- Warrnambool Retreat: Offers Two Exclusive Log-Fire Units
- Deep Blue Hotel And Hot Springs: The Name Says It All, It Was The State of Victoria's First Hot Springs Hotel And Has Over 80 Guest Rooms Together With Penthouses And Ocean View Suites