Australia being a country surrounded by water it’s no wonder they have a road called The Great Ocean Road, a drive so beautiful it couldn’t be named anything else.
A short drive out of the city of Melbourne will have you on your way and exploring the famous coastal drive. The first beach town along the drive is Geelong, Victoria’s second largest city and less than an hour away from Melbourne. The highlight of Geelong is the downtown waterfront area that has an array of restaurants with views of the ocean. Geelong also boasts many museums including a national wool museum. The next town, and the first real taste of The Great Ocean Road is the small surf town of Torquay, famous for the yearly Rip Curl Surf competition held at the neighboring Bells beach. Along the main road is a cluster of surf shops selling every surf brand imaginable including Rip Curl, Roxy, Billabong, Quicksilver, as well as many small brands all within walking distance of each other. A 5 minute drive towards the ocean from the main road takes you to the beaches where you can watch surfers rip it up.
Continuing along the Great Ocean Road will wind you along the side of the ocean with stunning views of the crashing waves below. A stop at the Cape Patton lookout lets you take a closer look at the surrounding hills and endless ocean. The small town of Lorne is well worth a stop and looks like an idyllic beach town with it’s quaint cafes and restaurants.
Appollo Bay, about an hour past Lorne has it’s own share of little restaurants and cafes including a nice Greek restaurant. Being a typical small town all of the action revolves around the main street, but look past the main area for accommodation. Accommodation ranges from youth hostels (including an HI), small motels, to exclusive bed and breakfasts.
Past Appollo Bay takes you through the Great Otway National Park where you drive through wonderfully fragrant eucalyptus trees. The Great Otway national parks offers many different hiking trails, picnic areas and is home to the Cape Otway Lightstation, which claims to be Australia’s most significant lighthouse. The 20 minute drive to the lighthouse is an attraction in itself as you are guaranteed to see Koalas sleeping in the trees by the road.
The highlight of the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles, limestone stacks standing 45 meters tall off of the coast. With so many picture perfect views and beautiful beaches in the area, it’s well worth taking your time and making lots of stops.
The charming town of Port Campbell is the last small beach town before turning inland to return to Melbourne via the highway. The hidden cove in the middle of the town is a great place for a picnic and swim in the ocean or you can relax on one of the many restaurant patios.
On the drive back to Melbourne, remembering all of the beautiful sights it becomes obvious that the road is wrongly named it should actually be called The Really Great Ocean Road.