For lovers of nature and wildlife, adventure and history – here we answer the question Should I visit the Great Ocean Road?
The Great Ocean Road is the number one tourist destination in Victoria, and for good reason. Stretching 243 kilometres along the coast, the road lets you discover seaside towns, natural wonders, and picture-perfect beaches. No wonder it’s considered one of the most scenic road trips in the world.
But if you are wondering – should I visit the Great Ocean Road – we’ve broken down the different attractions that you can experience and enjoy. Hopefully this list will help you make your mind up about taking a trip to this incredible destination.
If you only have limited time to explore, consider taking a Day Tour or Sunset Tour of the Great Ocean Road. We will show you the highlights of the road and ensure you travel in comfort with plenty of laughs and entertainment along the way.
Should I visit the Great Ocean Road?
Though the Great Ocean Road almost has something for everyone, we think in particular if you fit into one of these categories you will love a visit to this iconic destination.
The Great Ocean Road for Animal Lovers
Koalas in the wild
You can view iconic Australian animals, koalas, in the wild along the Great Ocean Road. The most popular locations are at the small township of Kennett River, or in the towering eucalyptus trees of the Otway Ranges.
Kangaroos live in locations along the Great Ocean Road. They are most likely to be spotted in the early mornings or evenings in open grassland. This could be in the area surrounding Bells Beach, or in the country areas when driving inland to and from Melbourne to the 12 Apostles.
Whales and Marine Life
Winter is the time to look for whales along the Great Ocean Road coastline. They migrate from Antartica to the warmer waters around Australia at this time. You may also see packs of dolphins off the coast, or seals and penguins on the beaches.
There are many native birds in and around the Great Ocean Road towns and national parks. Some of the most famous are cockatoos, kookaburras, and colourful parrots. If you visit Kennett River to see koalas, look for birds there too.
The Great Ocean Road for Outdoor Adventurers
Surfing the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road has many fantastic surf beaches. They cater from beginners right through to advanced surfers. The most famous surf spot is Bells Beach near the start of the road. It is the location of many surf contest and has some great viewing spots from the lookouts if you don’t want to get in the water yourself.
Great Ocean Road Hikes
If hiking is your ideal adventure, bring your boots along when visiting this great region. There are a couple of famous long distance trails – Surf Coast Walk (44km) and Great Ocean Walk (104km) – as well as smaller trails around the towns and in the Otway Rainforest.
Chasing Waterfalls in the Otways
Speaking of the Otway Rainforest, this part of the Great Otway National Park has many great waterfalls that you can explore on foot. Visit Beauchamp, Triplet or Stevensons falls among many others.
Swimming and Kayaking
Many of the Great Ocean Road township beaches are great for swimming. They have gentle waves and are patrolled in summer time. The secluded ocean beaches can be a dangerous place to swim because of rips, currents and big waves. For an excellent ocean adventure, try a kayaking tour in Apollo Bay to visit the local fur seal colony.
The Great Ocean Road for History Buffs
Indigenous History of the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road traverses through the traditional country of the Wadawurrung (Wathaurong), Gadubanud, and Kirrae Whurrong (Girai-Wurrung) language groups of the Kulin nation. To learn about the culture and history of the Firsts Nations people in this area, visit the Narana Cultural Centre near Torquay.
Construction of the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road was constructed between 1919 and 1932, after plans were confirmed in 1918. Return soldiers were employed to build the road along the rugged coastline. To learn more about the construction of the Great Ocean Road when you visit, stop in at the Memorial Arch and at the GOR museum in Lorne.
Australia’s Shipwreck Coast
A stretch of coastline that is now famous for its rock formations – the Twelve Apostles in particular – has an infamous history. The big swells and strong winds made it hard for ships to navigate this coastline in the days of European migration to Australia. You can learn the story of one particular shipwreck by visiting Loch Ard Gorge.
The Great Ocean Road for Foodies
When your on the coast, tasting the local seafood is a must-do experience. Particularly in the Great Ocean Road town of Apollo Bay where there is a marina and fishing fleet. Head there to buy fresh seafood, indulge in fish and chips, or even try the famous Scallop Pie from the bakery.
Locally made products
There is an abundance of localley made products along the Great Ocean Road. You woun;t be short on something delicious to eat when you visit. Some of our favourites include Dooley’s Icecream in Apollo Bay, chocolate, cheese, whiskey and more along the Shipwreck Coast food trail, and the region’s local craft breweries.
Restaurants and Cafes
The main townships of Lorne, Torquay, Anglesea, Apollo Bay and Port Campbell all have plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from, whether you are just passing through or staying overnight. You are never far from a hot coffee and locally made meal to refuel on your journey. In particular Lorne has a thriving food scene and some great dining options along it’s main street.
Take a tour of the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne
Whatever your passions and reasons to travel, we think the Great Ocean Road is a fantastic destination to visit. In fact, we’ve been taking tours there for the last 22 years! Our Great Ocean Road tour was our original tour and is our most popular tour today.
If you would like to join us for a tour of the Great Ocean Road, check out our itinerary below and book your tour online.
Great Ocean Road Day Tour Itinerary – Go West
- 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
- See koalas in their natural habitat in the eucalyptus forests of the Kennett River township
- Visit the charming coastal township of Apollo Bay
- Take a walk through the rainforest at Maits Rest
Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au