DRIVE the Great Ocean Road, a stunning, dramatic stretch of coastline in south-west Victoria. With several natural and historical attractions, it’s without a doubt one of the most amazing trips you’ll take in Australia. After all, the Great Ocean Road Drive took out the title of Australia’s ‘Best Road Trip’ in the Australian Traveller’s 2014 People’s Choice Awards.
Here are five attractions and activities for your road trip along the Great Ocean Road.
Surf at Torquay
This seaside town, just over an hour from Melbourne, is home to the famous Bells Beach, where the annual Rip Curl Pro event is held. It’s the birthplace of surf culture in Australia, with leading surf brands such as Quicksilver and Ripcurl established here 30 years ago. It’s also the official start of the Great Ocean Road, why not celebrate with some waves? If you’re a beginner, you can easily organise a quick surfing lesson.
Explore the Wreck of the Loch Ard
Experienced divers can join dive tours to the Loch Ard shipwreck at certain times of the year and explore the ruins of the ship bound for Melbourne in 1878 when it hit a rocky reef near Mutton Bird Island. Of the 54 crew and passengers on board, only two survived. Much of the cargo and artefacts have been saved, including a Minton porcelain peacock, which is on display in Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in Warrnambool.
Great Otway National Park
Rugged coastlines, stunning beaches, ancient forests, waterfalls and lakes are found in the Great Otway National Park. There are many walking and bike trails through this beautiful part of Victoria, such as the Triplet Falls Walk. The 2km loop passes 200 year old trees and treats you to spectacular views of the three distinct cascades. The spray from the waterfalls are much-welcomed on a hot summer’s day.
See the world-famous 12 Apostles
Off the shore of Port Campbell are the iconic 12 Apostles, which are limestone formations rising from the dramatic coastline. They were connected to the land millions of years ago before winds and ocean waves carved them into columns, now rising from the sea. Yet these marvellous formations aren’t infinite, as these same elements continue to erode the 12 Apostles every year.
Walk around historic Port Fairy
This pretty seaside town is one of a kind. Little economic development after the year 1900 means that Port Fairy’s older buildings, stone cottages and tree-lined streets have remained largely the same. Port Fairy is a wonderful place along the Great Ocean Road to relax and step back in time.