Discover the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch – a tribute to the soldiers who built this iconic coastal road.
An Australian icon, the Great Ocean Road is one of the most famous and well-loved coastal drives in the world! There’s so much to see as your journey stretches 243 kilometres along Victoria’s south coast.
The attractions don’t stop with the 12 Apostles. The road is also home to the Great Otway National Park, Loch Ard Gorge, and most importantly, the Memorial Arch. The arch is known as the gateway to the Great Ocean Road.
The Great Ocean Road was built in memory of the Australian’s that lost their lives in the first world war. Therefore the Memorial Arch was built to honour them. There were approximately the 3000 service men that worked on the road from 1919 to 1932.
History of the Memorial Arch
The current arch is the fourth version that has been built. It was one of the original toll points where money was collected from those travelling along to reimburse the cost of the construction. They took the toll point down once costs of building the road were paid off and made the second version out of mostly wood.
This version of the arch was burnt down in the terrible 1983 Ash Wednesday bush fire tragedy. Shortly after, a 3rd version was constructed out of metal to prevent its destruction in the event another destructive fire occurred.
Finally, a solid arch had been built that was said to last the test of time…. unfortunately, the bad luck got worse. A truck drove straight through this version and mostly destroyed it. This led to the fourth version being constructed which is still there today.
The good news is that with all of the rebuilds and tear downs, the original sign still sits on the top of the arch, for all to see.
Where to find the Memorial Arch?
The Arch is easily accessible with a car park on the ocean side of the Great Ocean Road. It is only a short drive after Airey’s Inlet and the famous Pole House. Be sure to take the opportunity to stop at the designated carpark to take a photo. From there you can view the arch and the statue, commemorating your adventure!
Attractions near the Memorial Arch
Lorne is an iconic seaside holiday town that is popular with holiday makers. Particularly those from Melbourne. It has the best of everything. The ocean beach is right in the middle of town and the national park in the hills behind it. The beach is a great spot for swimming or learning to surf. The wave are small as the headland protects the beach from large swells. There is even a popular ocean swimming event held each summer called the Pier to Pub Race. This annual event which attracts over 5,000 swimmers. The pier is a short walk from the central of town and is a great place for fishing or taking in the coastal views. There are bush walks through native shrubs and tall eucalyptus trees in the Great Otway National Park.
Torquay and the Surf Coast
This part of the Great Ocean Road is famous for its surf beaches. It is one of the most renowned surf spots in the world, playing host to a number of key surfing events throughout the year, including the annual Bells Beach Pro world tour event. Torquay is the heart of surf culture in Australia and is where surfing brands Rip Curl and Quiksilver were started. There are many beautiful beaches to explor in the area. There are also many surf schools if you want to learn to catch the waves for yourself!
Surf Coast Walk
The Surf Coast Walk on the Great Ocean Road is the place to explore coastal cliffs, world famous surf beaches, and even spot some wildlife along the way. The trail streches along the coast from Torquay to Airey’s Inlet. There is 44km of trail to explore on the Surf Coast Walk. It even traverses the beach right beside the Memorial Arch – so you can stop in and visit on the way.
Pole House at Fairhaven
Fairhaven is famous for the stunning views along the winding coastline. But there is one house that makes the most of these views all the way to the township of Lorne in the distance. The Pole House is recognisable to many Australians, due to being featured on many TV shows and in magazines. I’s worth a look as you drive past because of the remarkable architectural design of the Pole House. It is mounted on a pole (hence the name) high over the trees, on the hillside overlooking the ocean.
Take a day tour from Melbourne
The Great Ocean Road is the place to explore natural landscapes and stunning beaches. In addition you can spot wild koalas and view the incredible 12 Apostle rock formations.
- Enjoy morning tea on the picturesque beaches of Victoria’s Surf Coast
- Scenic drive along the Great Ocean Road
- See the Twelve Apostles in Port Campbell National Park
- Visit the Loch Ard Gorge, the site of the Loch Ard shipwreck
- Walk through lush rainforest rails at Maits Rest
- See koalas in their natural habitat in the eucalyptus forests of the Kennett River township
- Visit the charming coastal township of Apollo Bay
- Visit the beaches of Victoria’s famous Surf Coast
- Spot wild koalas while strolling in the sweetly-scented eucalyptus forest
- Drive through the Great Otway National Park
- Marvel at the natural beauty of Loch Ard Gorge and hear the famous tale of shipwreck survival
- View two of the Apostles from beach level at Gibsons Steps (time permitting)
- Visit the charming coastal township of Apollo Bay
- End the tour by visiting the 12 Apostles at Sunset
Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au