Embarking on a road trip along the Great Ocean Road is a bucket list item for many travellers, myself included.
I have been lucky enough to drive along this iconic coastal route in Victoria a few times and can attest to its mesmerising blend of natural beauty, rugged landscapes, and iconic landmarks. From stunning cliff formations to pristine beaches and breathtaking viewpoints, the Great Ocean Road is a treasure trove of must-see spots that will leave you in awe.
In this article, I will take you on my personal journey, highlighting the essential stops along the Great Ocean Road that should be on every travellers' itinerary.
When staying in Melbourne, I recommend leaving mid-morning after the peak hour traffic, this way, you’ll get a little sleep in and reach the start of the Great Ocean Road in Torquay in just about 1.5 hours from the city, great for a first coffee stop!
Bells Beach, Torquay
Torquay is a vibrant coastal town that marks the beginning of my Great Ocean Road adventure and holds a special place in my heart. You will have to pay a visit to Bells Beach, internationally renowned as a mecca for surfers, attracting wave riders from around the world with its legendary swells and thrilling breaks.
As I stand atop the stairs that lead down to the golden shores of Bells Beach, I can't help but feel the magnetic pull of the ocean. The waves crashing against the rugged coastline create an undeniable energy. Watching with awe, I witness skilled surfers gracefully carving through the waves. Even as a spectator, the sheer power and beauty of Bells Beach leave me speechless, serving as a reminder of the raw forces of nature that await along the Great Ocean Road. Torquay and Bells Beach are definitely the perfect introductions, setting the tone for the incredible road trip and the adventures that lie ahead.
As I arrive in Lorne, I am immediately drawn to its picturesque sandy beach, framed by lush green hills and crystal-clear waters. Strolling along the lively promenade, I wander past an array of boutique shops, art galleries, and inviting cafes that line the streets.
Lorne's vibrant arts scene and annual festivals add a touch of creativity to the town's character. With its scenic coastal walks, cascading waterfalls, and nearby national parks, Lorne offers a wealth of outdoor activities and opportunities.
Whether it’s a leisurely swim, exploring the Otway Ranges, or simply soaking in the serene coastal ambiance, Lorne proves to be a delightful retreat and an essential stop along any Great Ocean Road journey.
Great Otway National Park
Stretching across lush rainforests, rugged coastlines, and awe-inspiring waterfalls, the Great Otway National Park will transport you to a different world filled with towering trees, dense foliage, and a symphony of bird songs.
The park's diverse ecosystems provide a haven for a wide range of flora and fauna, including ancient ferns, vibrant bird species, and a lot of koala spotting, a highlight on my Great Ocean Road itinerary. No matter if you’re after breathtaking vistas of dramatic cliffs, secluded beaches, or cascading waterfalls such as the iconic Erskine Falls, the Great Otway National Park offers pristine wilderness that lets you reconnect to nature.
I make a little detour from the Great Ocean Road and drive towards Cape Otway Lightstation, a historical beacon of maritime history, offering panoramic views of the rugged coastline and the expansive Southern Ocean.
Twelve Apostles And Loch Ard Gorge
The Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and the adjacent Gibson Steps collectively form a trilogy of awe-inspiring geological highlights along the Great Ocean Road.
Approaching the Twelve Apostles, I am greeted by the stunning presence of towering limestone stacks, which have been meticulously sculpted by the relentless forces of erosion rising from the turbulent waters of the Southern Ocean. From the viewing platforms, I get a sense of the grandeur and expansive panorama that showcases the remarkable beauty of these natural limestone rocks.
To truly appreciate the magnitude and power of these majestic landmarks, take a walk down the Gibson Steps. Reaching the shoreline, the towering cliffs give me a real sense of humility and insignificance.
In close proximity, Loch Ard Gorge reveals a tale of maritime tragedy and astonishing resilience through towering cliffs and a sandy beach. Together, these extraordinary sites serve as a testament to the incomparable beauty that nature has sculpted along the Great Ocean Road.
Go on an unforgettable road trip along the Great Ocean Road and prepare to be captivated by its awe-inspiring landscapes and well-known gems that have earned their fame, as well as the hidden treasures still waiting to be discovered.
Make the most of your trip along the Great Ocean Road by staying in charming accommodations to ensure you rest and recharge for every new day on the road.
Whether you're a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or simply in search of unforgettable experiences, the Great Ocean Road promises a road trip filled with beauty, wonder, and endless memories.
Carolin is a travel expert born in Germany. She has been travelling around the world since 2006 and now lives in her adopted soul home Australia. Her travel advice has been featured on Forbes, Daily Mail, News.com.au, Canstar, Tour Radar, Expedia and she's also been named one of the top travel bloggers to follow by Tourism Queensland.
Find her on socials: https://www.instagram.com/breathingtravel/