Great Ocean Road remains one of Australia’s treasures, let alone Victoria’s, and as the famed Rip Curl Pro descends on Bells Beach it’s well worth planning your trip to make the most of the Great Ocean Road that surrounds the surf break. Once you pick up your wheels from Melbourne Airport, follow the hot tips below from the Visit Victoria team.
If there’s anything more impressive than a packed Bells Beach watching the world’s top ranked surfers carve up the waves every Easter, it’s the breathtaking ocean views to be had along the spectacular Great Ocean Road. All adventures lead to the 12 Apostles, and what adventures they’re bound to be. Whether it’s getting active, lingering over a coffee in a beachside cafe, tasting wines in acclaimed vineyards, or exploring dramatic scenery, there’s something for everyone on the Great Ocean Road.
With so much to do in and around Bells Beach during the Rip Curl Pro, our advice is to follow these sure-fire lists of recommendations when planning a coastal adventure.
The Great Ocean Road is a two-hour drive from the heart of Melbourne with dual lane highway conditions for most of the journey and excellent signposting. For over 400 kilometres, from Torquay to Nelson on the South Australian border, the Great Ocean Road provides some of the most impressive coastal scenery in Australia.
Regional train services run frequent train services from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to with coach services on offer from Geelong via the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay and Warrnambool.
Ferry services operate between Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula and Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula, allowing visitors to explore Victoria’s other coastal paradise with ease.
Great Ocean Road Surf culture
Bells Beach is the epicentre of Australia’s surf culture, which is documented in fascinating detail at Torquay’s Surfworld Museum and the Rip Curl Pro action is over, return to ride a wave in homage to the competition’s top-notch action.
After taking a lesson, or preparing to take the waves with anticipation, surf the west coast of Victoria at beaches in the Great Ocean Road region from the famed breaks of the Surf Coast to the wild waves beyond Discovery Bay.
On the road
While driving a stretch of the Great Ocean Road itself is a rite of passage, there’s also plenty outstanding opportunity to park the car and set off on the Great Ocean Walk for the most up-close experience of the famous coastal scenery.
Prepare to witness irresistible beaches, lush rainforest, and of course the iconic 12 Apostles.
Great Ocean Road destinations
The Great Ocean Road is dotted with tiny resort towns, welcoming hamlets and larger regional centres that all have their own distinct personalities.
Be sure to stop off as often as possible along the way to discover laid back surf culture, rich maritime history, fine food and wine, sophisticated seaside lifestyles and rugged shipwreck tales.
Wherever a pit-stop happens visitors are guaranteed astonishing scenery and lasting memories, with highlights including Lorne, Torquay and Geelong.
After the adrenaline rush of a day of world-class surfing, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a visit to one of the region’s many culinary hotspots.
The mesmerising natural beauty of the Great Ocean Road is matched only by the fine food and wine diners encounter along the way, with the delectable regional produce a true local hero.
Be sure to book a table at Dan Hunter’s Brae, before a pit-stop Chris’s Restaurant where the sumptuous food does its best to rival the outstanding views of the water.
Why settle for one or two, when you can take a vinous tour across the entire region?
Boasting a climate that sits someway between Bordeaux and Burgundy in France, the Bellarine Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road region have long been a haven for Victorian wine-makers.
Take a few days to discover the many varietals on offer – from cool climate favourites like pinot noir and pinot gris to rich shiraz and crisp Riesling – at vineyards including Jack Rabbit, Scotchman’s Hill and Pt Leo Estate.