Discover rock formations, rainforests and abundant wildlife in these National Parks on the Great Ocean Road.
Check out our guide to visiting the Port Campbell National Park and Great Otway National Park along the Great Ocean Road.
The destination – Great Ocean Road
Australia’s most iconic drive – The Great Ocean Road – winds its way along Victoria’s southern coastline. A short trip from Melbourne will have you smelling the sea air, hearing the waves crash and sight-seeing til your heart’s content. There’s epic surf beaches, rolling green hills, rocky headlands and endless turns. Not to mention the incredible view out to the deep blue Southern Ocean.
There’s many iconic locations to stop and take in along the Great Ocean Road. The Memorial Arch for a reflection on the effort made by thousands of World War 1 soldiers to carve a road into the rocky coastline. The cosy seaside towns that welcome you with fresh fish and chips, a hot coffee and locally made icecream.
There’s even a whole section of the coast dotted with lookouts – as each view becomes more spectacular than the next. From the steep steps of Gibson’s Beach to the mighty Twelve Apostles, and on to the spectacular Loch Ard Gorge, named after a tragic shipwreck. All framed by towering limestone cliffs and a raging Southern Ocean.
Touring the National Parks of the Great Ocean Road
For any easy day trip, take one of our tours and let our guides show you the natural wonders of the Great Ocean Road. We will take care of the logistics and let you enjoy your day tour.
The Great Ocean Road traverses two National Parks. The lush rainforest and eucalyptus trees of the Great Otway National Park. Plus the towering cliffs and incredible seascapes of the Port Campbell National Park.
We are the most highly-awarded tour operator in Melbourne and we guarantee to provide you with an experience that is memorable for all the right reasons. Our tour guides are knowledgeable, passionate and ready to share the best of the Great Ocean Road with you.
We guarantee the tour will be one of the highlights of your trip to Melbourne!
Port Campbell National Park
The Port Campbell National Park is home to a world famous coastline with incredible rock formations.
Located along the Great Ocean Road, the Port Campbell National Park features impressive locations such as the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Gibson Steps.
The towering limestone cliffs and spectacular rock formations have been carved by the wild Southern Ocean, as well as the wind and rain. Combined, these elements have created an amazing landscape that needs to be seen to be believed.
You can’t help but marvel at the sight of the Twelve Apostles towering an impressive 45 metres above the ocean.
Or step down onto the beaches, to come face to face with the raging Southern Ocean. A glance back up at the cliffs will reveal colours and formations from years of erosion.
Australian animals in the Port Campbell National Park
Port Campbell National Park is a good place to view marine animals, sea birds and some land mammals. There is a colony of Little Penguins that can be viewed at dusk from the 12 Apostles Lookout. Though it is far, you can view groups of the small penguins waddling from the ocean to their nests in the sand dunes.
During the winter months it is common to see whales passing by the coastline. Humpback whales and Southern Right Whales make the journey from Antarctica past the Port Campbell National Park to warmer waters. Particularly in June / July or October / November is when they can be sighted.
Where is the Port Campbell National Park?
The Port Campbell National Park is located approximately 4 hours drive from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road. Alternatively you can also take an inland route to get there in approximately 2.5 hours.
Great Otway National Park
Great Otway National Park stretches along the Great Ocean Road. From Torquay, to the Otways hinterland. There are many locations to visit as you drive along the Great Ocean Road.
Walk amongst tall eucalypt forests, and lush fern gullies in the Otway Ranges. A visit to Maits Rest lets you discover rainforests and giant beech trees – some of which are up to 300 years old.
Visit flowing waterfalls or sightsee along the coast on the Great Ocean Walk. Visit the historic Otway Lightstation or check out some epic surf beaches.
There’s no better place to reconnect with nature than the Great Otway National Park.
Australian animals in the Great Otway National Park
One of the most common wildlife sightings in the Otway’s is birds. There are many species to be found amongst the trees. Also amongst the eucalyptus trees are koalas. There are hundreds of these sleepy creatures amongst the tall eucalyptus trees of the Otways.
As per the Port Campbell National Park, the Otway Ranges rugged coastline has the perfect lookout points to view whales.
Deep in the rainforest streams, you might find one of Australia’s most mysterious creatures, the platypus. The muddy water and fallen trees of the Otway stream and lake are the perfect place for the platypus to call home.
If you are able to venture out at night, don’t miss the spectacular show of the Glow Worms at Melba Gully. These worms light up the rainforest trees after dark.
Where is the Great Otway National Park?
The Great Otway National Park is located along the Great Ocean Road. There are many different visitor areas form which to access it. The closest of these to the city is about 1.5 hours drive from Melbourne.
Visit these National Parks on our Great Ocean Road day trip from Melbourne. We tour the iconic road to explore the surf beaches, spot koalas in the wild and take in the amazing views. Following this, we spend the afternoon in the Port Campbell National Park visiting the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Gibson Steps.
Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au