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12 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit on the Great Ocean Road

Best Places to Visit on the Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is one of the most amazing road trips in the world. The Great Ocean Road stretches 243 kilometers from the Victorian coastline from Torquay, near Warrnambool, to Allansford. Sheer cliffs lead to wild beaches dotted with high rock towers. Lush forests mark the hinterland, and the towns of the Great Ocean Road reflect the region’s rich history.

Built in the 1930s to help provide employment to returning service members during the Great Depression, the road was not only an outstanding feat of engineering but also a World War I.

The Great Ocean Road is just 100km from Melbourne and the area can be explored on a day trip from the city. But to truly appreciate all the sights and attractions and discover some of the secrets of the Great Ocean Road, try taking a few days to explore the coast.

Popular activities on the Great Ocean Road include surfing at some of the best resorts in the world, navigating windy beaches, helicopter flying over rugged coasts, watching Australian wildlife in parks and reserves, and exploring the picturesque seaside town.

Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit on the Great Ocean Road and make your trip enjoyable.

12 Best Places to Visit on the Great Ocean Road

Here are the top 12 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit on the Great Ocean Road:

1. Visit Port Campbell National Park

Standing atop a cliff in Port Campbell National Park, it’s hard to believe that wind and water have shaped this rugged, rocky beach with giant peaks. The most photographed attraction is the Twelve Apostles. These seven majestic rock towers jut out from the rough waves and you can enjoy panoramic views from vantage points along the sea cliffs. If you’re curious about the stops Great Ocean Road recommends, this is an absolute must.

This stretch of coast is known as the “Sunken Shore” because many ships met their fate on these rugged shores. The monument in Loch Ard Gorge tells how two young men survived the wreck of the ship of the same name.

Also, there are two rock formations, London Bridge and Island Arch, and are living proof of the area’s constant erosion. In 1990, part of the London Bridge Bridge collapsed spectacularly into the sea, with two ends left but no middle. In 2009, the arch of the island collapsed, leaving two columns at either end.

A short drive from the London Arch is The Grotto, a naturally formed cave and a vent where the water glows golden in the setting sun. Short hikes such as the Port Campbell Discovery Trail allow you to further explore the landscape and history of this famous beach.

Want to escape the tourist crowd? You can photograph similar limestone sea peaks at the Bay of Islands Marine Park between Peterborough and Warrnambool. The rock formations here are part of the Aboriginal cultural landscape, they are not as large as the Twelve Apostles, but the area is generally quieter and less crowded.

Official website: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/port-campbell-national-park

2. Helicopter tour

You can tour the weather-beaten beach on a helicopter tour and learn about the powerful forces of nature from an unforgettable perspective. It’s also listed as one of Australia’s top outdoor adventure activities, making it a great opportunity for photographers.

Seen from the air, craggy cliffs seem to curve around the edge of this great continent, and the limestone sea stacks look like giant puzzle pieces floating in the surging waves.

Flights range from 15 minutes to an hour, usually starting from the Twelve Apostles, optionally extending to the Bay of Islands and continuing to Cape Otway.

If you are visiting this stunning stretch of coast from Melbourne, the Private 12 Apostles and Great Ocean Road View Helicopter Tour will take you on an exhilarating private helicopter tour of the Twelve Apostles, Great Otway National Park and the secluded beach nearby.

3. Soak Up Aussie Beach Culture at Torquay

At the official start of the Great Ocean Road, Torquay is the perfect place to find your way while enjoying classic Australian beach culture. The first stop should be the auxiliary Torquay Visitor Information Centre. This is a great place to buy the Great Ocean Road map, gifts for friends, and great Ocean Road travel tips.

In the same building, you’ll find the ever-popular Australian National Surfing Museum, where you can learn about the history and development of one of the country’s most popular water sports. In fact, Torquay is known as the surfing hub of Australia and is a great place to surf at one of the many beaches. Are you a professional surfer? You might want to ride the waves at Bells Beach.

Torquay is also home to two giant surf brands: Rip Curl and Quicksilver. If you want to buy something, you can visit their shop here and buy Australian surf gear. Other popular activities in Torquay include picnicking on the lawn and exploring the city’s main street and its eclectic galleries and cafes.

Head to Point Danger Lookout and bring your camera for great views of the coast.

4. Wander the Trails at Great Otway National Park

Great Otway National Park offers a rich ecosystem for nature lovers to explore. It runs along the coast from Torquay to Princeton and inland. Wild beaches, waterfalls, rocky shorelines, fern-filled valleys, lakes, and lush rainforest are some of the park’s features, and you can explore all these habitats on well-maintained hiking trails.

Highlights of Great Otway National Park include the mossy Melba Gorge, one of the wettest places in the state where you can look for fireflies at night. Shipwreck Beach is full of shipwreck bones, and if you take the Metz Retreat Rainforest Walk, you’ll dive into giant myrtle beech trees and California alder trees.

Falls are also a feature of Great Otway National Park. Triplet Falls, Erskine Falls, Beauchamp Falls, and Hopetoun Falls are some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the park.

You can also visit Cape Otway Lighthouse, built in 1848, which is the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Australian mainland. Part of the Great Ocean Road also runs through this beautiful park.

Official website: http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/great-otway-national-park

5. Surf the Swells at Bells Beach

Bells Beach in Torquay is one of Australia’s most famous surfing beaches. Strong Southern Ocean waves rush to the shallow reefs here, creating waves that attract tourists from all over the world.

Every Easter, the world’s best surfers come here to compete in the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition, but at any time of the year, you can watch experienced surfers from a cliffside vantage point. Conditions are usually best from March to October.

If you’re an intermediate or advanced surfer, you can sample the swells at the two breakpoints on the right. Beginners will find many beaches with gentle waves nearby, including Jan Juc Beach, Torquay Front Beach, and Torquay Back Beach.

If you live in Melbourne and are interested in recreational surfing locally, a 2-day camping and Great Ocean Road surf tour from Melbourne is a great option. This guided small-group tour takes you to Bells Beach and includes a two-hour surf lesson with an expert instructor.

6. Soar through the Forest at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures

Looking for an adrenaline rush? Otway Fly Treetop Adventures is an exciting way to experience the lush hinterland of the Great Ocean Road. Hidden in the shadow of a temperate rainforest, this adventurous tourist destination is approximately 47 kilometers from the beautiful town of Apollo Bay.

You have two entertainment options here. The treetop walk is 25m high and 600m long and takes you above the leafy canopy of magnificent beech, myrtle beech and elm trees. Its highlight is the spiral staircase that leads to the 47-meter-high observation deck, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the forest.

For an adrenaline rush, the Zipline Tour keeps thrill-seekers in the air for two and a half hours and stops at a series of “cloud stops.”

Combine this experience with the sights on a 12 Apostles and Otway Ziplining day trip from Melbourne. This 13-hour tour includes hotel transfers and all entrance fees and activities.

Address: 360 Phillips Beech Woods, Weeaproinah, Victoria

Official website: http://www.otwayfly.com/

7. Hike the Great Ocean Walk

The Great Ocean Road is one of the most popular walking routes in Australia. It begins at Apollo Bay and stretches for 100 kilometers along the most spectacular coastline of the Great Ocean Road.

You can enjoy the beauty of this designated trail in a variety of ways. The hardest part was carrying gear, pitching a tent, and cooking over the campfire. But you can choose an easier way. Several local and international hiking companies offer 3 to 7-day full or semi-guided tours that include meals, accommodation and luggage transportation.

Alternatively, you can plan a day trip from Apollo Bay or Port Campbell to explore the trail’s highlights.

8. Stay in Lorne

Lorne has been one of Australia’s most popular beach resorts for over a century. Protected by the Otway Mountains, this Mediterranean-style village has the best of everything: sea, river and rainforest.

Lorne is surrounded by nature. The Cumberland River hiking trails contrast with the rugged coastline and sparkling beaches. Nestled among ancient ferns and eucalyptus forests, Erskine Waterfall and Lower Kalimna Waterfall are must-haves for nature lovers. Walk along the three-mile trail and stop under the ledge behind the waterfall for a unique perspective from the water curtain.

To learn more about the fascinating history and construction of the Great Ocean Road, head to the Lorne Visitor Information Center and view the Great Ocean Road Stories exhibit at the Heritage Centre. If you’re wondering for directions to the Great Ocean Road, the friendly staff here can assist you.

Lorne is also known for its vibrant artist community, and you can enjoy changing exhibits and an outdoor sculpture park at the Qdos Art Gallery, located in the woods just a short drive from the city.

9. See Aussie Animals at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve

About 18 km west of Warrnambool, Tower Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is a must for nature lovers. Rich in history, this dormant volcano erupted 30,000 years ago, revealing Aboriginal artifacts.

Today, it is possible to descend through the crater, which is home to a large number of Australian animals such as koalas, kangaroos, emus, echidnas and many native birds.

Hiking trails are the best way to appreciate the reserve. Five themed, guided tours take you into the wilderness, exploring craters, ancient lava flows, wetlands and wildlife.

To learn more about the park’s Aboriginal heritage and wildlife, you can book a guided tour of the park. Stop by the excellent visitor center to learn more about the park and shop for Aboriginal artifacts.

Official website: https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/tower-hill-wildlife-reserve

10. Australian National Surf Museum

The Australian National Surf Museum is the world’s largest surfing museum. More than just a rainy day fun, this excellent museum is a must-see for the whole family, even if you’re not an avid surfer. Not only can you learn about the history of the popular sport, the evolution of surfboards, and the country’s surfing legends, you can hang ten at the museum’s green screen surf spots and send photos to your friends.

Vintage surf memorabilia, vibrant surfboard shaping, and the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame round out the excellent exhibits here. Save time by watching videos on how to ride the big waves and read the surfboard storyboard for a laugh. The little ones can be busy digging the bunker.

Address: 77 Beach Road, Torquay, Victoria

Official website: https://australiannationalsurfingmuseum.com.au/

11. Whale Watching, Warrnambool

Warrnambool is a major commercial center at the western end of the Great Ocean Road. It is a popular summer destination with sheltered beaches and great scuba diving opportunities. But the biggest attraction happens in winter: whale watching.

From June to September, southern right whales give birth and raise their calves in the waters of Logan Beach, where you can sit front row on the observation deck. Watching these gentle giants play in the sea, often just meters from shore is one of the best free things to do along the Great Ocean Road.

Other places to visit in Warrnambool include the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, a living museum about the area’s maritime history, with an extensive collection of shipwrecks and reconstructed sea villages. Thunder Point Marine Reserve is a great place to stroll the beach, gaze at the rock pools and watch the sunset.

12. Golf with kangaroos in Anglesea

About 10 minutes west of Torquay, Anglesey is a beautiful seaside village like no other. Golfers at the town’s Anglesey Golf Course have the chance to share one of Australia’s most beautiful greens, hundreds of kangaroos, with local residents.

The 18-hole golf course in the native bush is a great place to see these friendly marsupials. They definitely bring another dimension to the game of golf by hanging out under the eucalyptus and on the grass. Kangaroos are particularly active in the early morning and early evening, and classes are open to visitors. Special kangaroo tours are also available for non-golfers.

If you’re looking for other things to do in Anglesey, head to the Koorie Cultural Walk in Point Addis. The one-mile trail leads all the way to Addis Point Lookout, following windswept beaches and steep sea cliffs, and offers stunning views of the rugged coastline and Addis Point Marine National Park below. Along the way, you can learn about the Aboriginal lifestyle with interpretive signs and look for birds and other wildlife.

Address: Golf Links Road, Anglesea, Victoria

Official website: http://www.anglesegolfclub.com.au/

Conclusion:

Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit on the Great Ocean Road. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit on the Great Ocean Road, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.

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