28 May Where to Visit when Driving the Great Ocean Road
Australia is the ONLY continent we have not been to and we can not wait to get there! Because we have never been to Australia and it is somewhere that so many of you are also interested in, we decided to ask our awesome Instagram friend Tami from www.postcardsandpassports.com to share her fabulous itinerary for Driving the Famous Australian Great Ocean Road, because who doesn‚Äôt love an amazing road trip!
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Where to Stop when Driving the Great Ocean Road
A little background
The Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia is a spectacular coastal highway, most known for its incredible views of the ocean and majestic cliffs and rock formations. It was built in the early 1900‚Äôs as a war memorial and as a work project, providing jobs during the depression.
Traveling the Great Ocean Road is best done by private vehicle, although there are tours available. Be sure to plan for a car or campervan hire and start exploring, because this is a coastal drive you have to make it to if you are visiting Australia! Although the Great Ocean Road is only 243 km (151 miles) long, do not try to drive it all in one day. The freedom to stop and explore along the way will make this a memorable experience. Here‚Äôs what you will discover if you make this epic road trip‚Ä¶
The Best Stops
Begin the Great Ocean Road at Torquay
The Great Ocean Road winds from Torquay to Warrnampool, and because you will be driving on the left side of the road, it is best to travel from east to west. Torquay is only 35 km (22 miles) from Avalon Airport or 86 km (53) from Melbourne. The speed limit along the Great Ocean Road is 80-100 km/hr (50-62 mph) and 50-70 km/hr (31-43 mph) through the towns. Since this is a very popular route, do not expect to travel fast. At Torquay, you may want to check out Bells Beach, where the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition is held.
The Split Point Lighthouse, built in 1891, and lovingly called the ‚ÄúWhite Queen‚ÄĚ, is still operating and is open for guided tours and amazing 360-degree views.
Don‚Äôt be fooled into thinking that all of the beautiful sights are along the beach. At Lorne, you can take a short drive on Erskine Falls Road to a 5-minute walk to the Erskine Falls Lookout. Or takes the stairs down to the base of the falls and watch the water spill into the Erskine River. At Teddy‚Äôs Lookout, you‚Äôll stand on a viewing platform with views of the coast, the Saint George River, and the rainforest below.
Wye River and Kennett River
Wye River and Kennett River are tiny communities situated where the rainforest meets the sea. The most notable thing to look for here are koalas in the wild. Look closely, especially at the gum trees, as you drive by. You may be able to spot a koala slowly chewing his lunch in the treetops.
Apollo Bay & Cape Otway
Apollo Bay is the starting point for the Great Ocean Walk, a 104-km (65-mile) walk that takes you along the shoreline and beneath towering cliffs with hike-in campsites at intervals. From Marriner‚Äôs Lookout, you can see Apollo Bay and much of the coast. Travel deeper inland if you‚Äôd enjoy experiencing Otway Fly Treetop Adventures!
The Cape Otway Lighthouse is another popular stopping point. It is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Australia and was built in 1848. There are tours, a cafe and store, a WWII radar bunker, and a whale interpretation site.
Twelve Apostles Marine National Park
The Twelve Apostles park might just be the most famous attraction along the Great Ocean Road. Eroded by the ocean over time, these limestone rock formations stand as sentinels along the coast. Where there used to be nine, only seven are now standing. Two were victims of further erosion and collapse.
At Port Campbell is a beautiful gorge, known as the Loch Ard Gorge, at the site of the Loch Ard shipwreck of 1878. There were only two survivors of this wreck and there is a sign here as well as a small cemetery where four of the victims are buried. Gibson‚Äôs Steps are hand-carved steps in the rock face of these cliffs, and the London Bridge (which collapsed in 1990) and the remaining arch offer photogenic views. The Grotto is a natural open cave, caused by the waves.
Peterborough and the Bay of Islands
Peterborough is a perfect family destination, with a shorefront playground and a riding loop. Here you will also find the Bay of Islands Coastal Park. It‚Äôs a stunning view at sunset!
Warrnambool, the End of the Great Ocean Road
While Warrnambool marks the end of the Great Ocean Road, it doesn‚Äôt have to be the end of your adventures. ¬†Other notable attractions include the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village (a step back into time with a historic lighthouse and village) Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground (great for the kids!), and the Logans Beach Whale Watching Platform, where female whales migrate close to the shore, to bear their young.
Tami believes that traveling has strengthened her family and that everyone should travel! She loves to share her family & couple travel tales/tips so you can benefit from what she has learned. You can follow her travel photos on Instagram and read her stories at Postcards & Passports.¬†