A trip along the Great Ocean Road has been noted by many as the best road trip experience one can possibly have around the world. This is not far-fetched, given the many notable features and landmarks the road has to offer.
Built between 1919 and 1932, the 244-kilometre stretch of road between the Victorian cities of Allansford and Torquay, along the south-eastern coast of Australia, is the world’s largest World War I memorial. Due to its significance, the road was placed on the Australian National Heritage list in 2011 for added protection and currently attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually.
Thinking of an exciting road trip adventure? Here are some notable features you will love to experience along the Great Ocean Road…
The Twelve Apostles
This is perhaps the most interesting part of the journey. The eight remaining massive limestone structures, towering about 45m above sea level, were once twelve in number and were formed thanks to the slow eroding of the limestone cliffs by the sea. To get the best out of the experience, it is better to be here early before other tourists arrive.
Carved by the local settler Hugh Gibson and comprising of 86 steps down the beach, the thrill of this experience – a few minutes away from the Twelve Apostles – is the exhilarating feeling of walking along the coastline and appreciating the power of the ocean. You get to walk along the sandy beach in good weather conditions, take pictures, and even touch the limestone rocks – the 70m high Gog and Magog.
The Loch Ard Gorge
Named after the Loch Ard ship that ran aground on the nearby Muttonbird Island, the gorge is a three-minute drive west of the Twelve Apostles and is a fabulous sight to behold. For lovers of nature and geographical landforms, you will totally love to sit at a comfortable viewpoint and stare at the wonderful views it offers.
Located 6km west of Port Campbell road, the Arch is a popular stop for tourists along the Great Ocean Road. The beauty of the naturally-sculptured form lies in appreciating the waves hitting against the arch at late sunrise. There is, however, no beach access to the arch and the best viewing experience is offered by the only viewing platform at the site.
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands and the Bay of Martyrs, south to Peterborough, offer another great view of rocks rising out of the ocean. Depending on weather and sea conditions, watching the sunset over the limestone stacks through any of the two different viewing areas can offer the well-known magic of the road trip.
One of the spectacular highlights of the trip, the Great Otway National Park takes you away from the coastline and offers you breathtaking views of waterfalls from a rainforest perspective. A series of viewing platforms off the forest of Myrtle Beech and Mountain Ash provides a wonderful view of the three cascades. The roar of the waterfalls can be therapeutic making visitors sometimes reluctant to leave the park.
Kennett River Koala Walk
The Great Ocean Road trip offers you a chance to watch wild koalas sleeping on treetops along the Grey River Road, right at Kennett River. Located halfway between Lorne and Apollo bay – two hours from Melbourne – the river is a haven for birdlife and native Australian animals. During the peak season, it also offers a safe beach patrol for tourists and a break for experienced surfers.
Teddy’s lookout provides one of the best sight-seeing experiences along the Great Ocean Road trip. It offers breath-taking views of the rainforest-covered Gorge and the amazing surf off the Saint George River. A 45-minute walk off George Street also provides spectacular views of the Great Ocean Road and the fern-covered valley.
One of the best surfing beaches in Australia – 100km south of Melbourne – Bells Beach is home to the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition. With the viewing points on the high cliffs, the beach offers an amazing sightseeing experience. For experienced surfers, the beach has great right-hand breaks, especially during autumn and winter, providing an adventurous surfing experience.
A picturesque town with galleries, boutiques, and great cafes 140km south of Melbourne, Lorne offers a great resting experience for tourists. Its newest experience is the Great Ocean Road Heritage Centre which tells the full story of the Great Ocean Road through its exhibits and displays. During the summer, the town plays host to the annual Falls Festival described by some as the best festival which celebrates music and arts in Australia. Visit the Airey’s Inlet, the Great Memorial Arch, the Erskine Falls, the Cape Otway, and the Brae restaurant in Birregurra for the best Great Ocean Road experience provided by Lorne.
The Great Ocean Road trip is a must-have experience for any avid tourist and lover of adventure. The six-hour drive is one best experienced slowly – a minimum of three days, at least, if you want to get the most out of it. Consider renting a car and getting travel insurance for your trip so you can fully take in the drive without any worries. To learn more about Australia visit www.ausmove.co.nz