The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243-kilometre stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Warrnambool. We had read about it before we went to Australia and decided we wanted to drive through this beautiful scenic route. So we left Melbourne and Phillip Island behind and rented a car (via Herz) and headed to Torquay in the morning.
This map was very handy when planning where to drive next etc. It had driving distances and other helpful information in it. We got it from the Melbourne visitor centre which is one of the best visitor centres I've been to - very helpful staff and a large amount of information available.
Our route day 1: Torquay - Bells Beach - Lorne - 12 apostoles - Apollo Bay
Our route day 2: Apollo bay - Kennet river - Lorne - Anglesea - Torquay
We made many many many stops along the way. Day one from Lorne to 12 apostoles was quite a long drive almost in one go - especially because we drove the same night back to Apollo bay from the 12 apostoles, but otherwise we drove shorter times and had stops more frequently.
Great Ocean road is all about the charming little towns...
...the breathtaking panoramic views...
...long lunch & snack breaks...
...and beautiful beaches.
In the picture left is Bells Beach. It is a world famous beach which holds the venue for the Rip Curl Pro, one of the most sought after titles on the World Championship Tour.
If you're into surf gear, wear and overall surf atmosphere Torquay is the place to go. It is the birthplace to brands such as Quicksilver and Rip Curl. It is Victoria's surfing capital where the beach-based culture is at its strongest. There is a huge retail outlet area called Surf City Plaza with brands such as of Rip Curl, Quiksilver, Strapper, Gash and Rojo selling their latest ranges & everything connected with the sport. And around the corner you can bag yourself a bargain from the Baines Court surf seconds outlets. My hubby went a bit mad here as he had trouble choosing the best swimming shorts from the hundreds and hundreds shorts available just in the outlets ;)
There are a lot (A LOT) of different kinds of viewing points along the way. I suggest you stop in many of them and enjoy the views. We stopped almost all the time and it was amazing. If you just drive through the road in one go you're not going to have time to take it all in properly. My tip would be to dare to go along little paths and follow view point signs and you'll discover some amazing places.
There are a lot of beaches along the way and if you're not there in the most popular of times you'll easily find beaches where there is no one else. We had a dip in a deserted beach when the sun was going down and it was (a bit chilly) but very exhilarating.
We didn't drive up to Warrambool, we drove just up to the 12 apostoles which is a rugged splendour of
magnificent rock stacks that rise up majestically from the Southern Ocean on Victoria's dramatic coastline. The rocks were created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland beginning 10-20 million years ago. The stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs. The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 metres high were left isolated from the shore. We got there just in time for sunset and they looked magnificent. If we'd had more time, we would have liked to go walking along the beach, but as we were a bit short on time, we just viewed the rocks from the viewing platforms.
These signs were all over the place along the roads.
Tales from our trip to Tokyo, Australia, New-Zealand & Singapore
Tokyo - city of lights and color
Tokyo - <3 SUMO
Tokyo - old & new
Tokyo - Tsukiji fish market
Melbourne & Australian Open
Great Ocean Road
We loved the route and everything on the way and could have easily spent more than those 2 days that we spent there. I would recommend to book 3 days if you go there with your own car. Then it's not so hard for the person driving as you can have more and longer breaks. It was fine with 2 days but we did have to choose where to go and what to see as we did not have time to do all. The Otway national park is something we decided to skip when we where there so we would have more time to take breaks when driving back (we returned the car back to Melbourne and headed to Sydney with a night train). But I'm sure it would have been worth visiting too. We did drive through it though and almost drove over a kangaroo! It was horrible! It was pitch black in the night and the kangaroo just bounced in front of us. We were able to break just in time (like 20 cm before) and the kangaroo bounced back to the bushes. We drove the rest of they through the rainforest veeeryyy sloowlyy and carefully as we got so scared we'll drive over one. That was scary - but luckily nothing bad happened! Here is a lot of useful information when planning your GOR trip.