You might have had specific destinations like a mountain, lake or beach as your picture while planning for a vacation.
But here is an exciting place where the long, winding stretch of road is the destination.
It’s the Great Ocean Road right here in Australia!
This is one of the most beautiful scenic roads, snaking from the City of Torquay to the City of Allensford on the Southern coast.
If you are going there for the first time, I am sure a treat awaits you at every twist and turn.
So, grab a drink and continue reading this article from a quiet space as it unfurls adventure upon adventure to tingle your wanderlust!
1. The Great Ocean Road Scenic Run- Through
If you have never embarked on the Great Ocean Road drive, it’s high time you do it.
This is considered an iconic trip to see a few of the country’s most beautiful UNESCO-listed landscapes.
You will cross beach after beach, where one looks more beautiful than the other.
Visitors occupy a few of them, while mostly, it remains deserted.
Additionally, you will traverse across temperate rainforests and towering cliffs.
But the interesting part of the landscape is how it gets influenced based on seasons. You can treat your eyes with different hues each season you take a trip here. So, don’t expect the landscape to be the same if you are taking a trip during summer or winter.
And this particular road is more than a scenic drive.
It’s a place where memories are manufactured and cherished.
At heart, this place was a war memorial when the soldiers who returned from World War 1 built it for their lost comrades.
The Great Ocean Road was initially planned to be named Anzac Highway.
But today, it’s an iconic place and a pilgrimage for millions of tourists across the globe. I would suggest you drive independently to experience the beautiful freedom of this road.
2. Driving Backwards in Time on the Great Ocean Road
You might now be curious about how the once-returned soldiers built this road. Am I right?
That’s why I have drained some information from them to hand it over to you!
Do read every word of it…
The Ocean Road region is an eternal memorial and a tremendous engineering feat built by the returned soldiers.
It snakes on a long stretch along the rugged Southern Coast of Australia. Initially, it was a home for the seaside Lorne and other fishing communities.
And traversing across the settlements was a challenging task to complete.
Chiefly, through the rough coach track amidst the dense bush that goes all the way to the Winchelsea Railway in the 1870s.
Although you must note that the ocean was a link to the outside world.
2.1 Laying the Road Layout
It was during the 1880s that the plan to lay the Great Ocean Road began. But with the end of World War 1, it became an actual monument.
Mr W Calder, the Country Roads Board chairman, proposed retrieving funds from the State War Council to re-employ the returned soldiers on the roads in the less populated areas.
He submitted a plan describing it as the South Coast Road that started at Barwon Heads along the coast near Cape Otway and ended near Warrnambool.
2.2 The Plan in Action
What was in mind entered reality under Alderman Howard Hitchcock, a Geelong mayor.
He raised funds by forming the Great Ocean Road Trust to lay the roads.
His vision was not to create the road as an eternal monument and not just employ soldiers to lay it.
Nevertheless, Hitchcock sensed the power of the road to become a popular tourist attraction for its robust views of ocean, river, mountain and lush scenery.
2.3 Work at the Roads
The construction began with a survey on August 1918 when the soldiers jumped into the area to start work.
I must admit here that it was challenging and back-breaking work for them without machinery.
During early 1922, connecting Lorne and Eastern View was completed with just picks, shovels and horse-drawn carts.
In the upcoming decade, with the help of the trust, Lorne, Cape Patton and Anglesea were connected.
And the Country Roads Board constructed the link between Cape Patton and Apollo Bay.
2.4 The Road Coming Alive
Finally, on 26 November 1932, Sir Willian Irvine, the Lieutenant Governor, officially opened the route.
A procession of school children lined with 40 cars was present there, adding beauty to the road.
Early travellers paid a toll at the Eastern View, comprised of the memorial arch.
It was two shillings and sixpence for drivers and one shilling and sixpence for passengers.
However, unfortunately, the toll was destroyed on 2 October 1936 once the road was handed over by the trust to the State government as a gift.
3. Where is the Great Ocean Road Located?
Just 150 miles in southwestern Melbourne and 100 miles from Geelong spans the Great Ocean Road.
For more details, here are some more Great Ocean Road directions:
- Address: Great Ocean Rd, Torquay, Victoria 3231
- Click here to get the Great Ocean Road Map
4. Where Does the Great Ocean Road Start and Finish?
Starting from Torquay, the 240-kilometer Road ends in Allansford.
Begin your journey from Melbourne to reach the road’s starting point in Torquay.
5. What is the Best Time to Reach the Great Ocean Road
We discussed earlier that each season brings distinct beauty to the area around Great Ocean Road. So, it’s worth a visit all year round.
But if you want to see the winding cliff faces along the shoreline amidst the clear skies, book your Ocean Road trip during summer.
To avoid crowds, plan your day trip mid-summer between March and April when the visitor intensity reduces.
Otherwise, it’s worth a visit during Spring and Fall too!
Ultimately for a quieter environment, winter is the ideal time. Also, as a bonus, you get Great Ocean Road accommodation prices cheap around this time.
6. How to Reach the Great Ocean Road?
To make the most of your trip, it’s best to enjoy a scenic drive on the road by yourself so you can stop in between and enjoy the beauty of each landscape.
The road is just 100 kilometres away from Melbourne.
You can use a navigation system to get through the entire stretch of the winding road. If you don’t have a car of your own, then try hiring one from Melbourne!
Also, you can sojourn the roads on public transport like taxis and buses.
If you are taking a shuttle to reach the road, click here!
7. Activities You Can Expect at the Great Ocean Road
Driving along the long stretch and gazing at the beauty of each landscape is not your ultimate goal of reaching the road.
Otherwise, I would not have revealed this article to you!
You might be amazed that there are countless activities you can do reaching the roads and stopping in between.
Here they are expounded for you to ring the adventure door of your heart!
7.1 Skydiving and Helicopter Flights
To put it short, this is the way to glimpse adventure at its fullest from the sky!
Old Tiger Moth, helicopter and seaplane options are available for you to choose from and have a view of the Great Ocean Road from the top.
These rides reward your eyes with fantastic views of the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and the Bay of Islands.
To experience adventure, take a Tandem Skydive over Bells Beach, and view the farmland and coastal bush from 15,000 feet in the air.
Be sure to reserve a place much ahead!
7.2 Wildlife and Natural Landscape
These are the two prime factors that inspire visitors to take the road tours of the Great Ocean Road.
One of the many fascinations is the highlighting landscape of the Twelve Apostles. Click to quench your curiosity!
These are colossal limestone structures that hail for millions of years now. They are housed under Port Campbell National Park.
But it’s sad to say that today, five have fallen. You get some stunning views and images if you are there, either at dawn or dusk.
Furthermore, as you journey from Torquay to Princetown up to Colac, you can find some excellent wildlife at the Great Otway National Park.
This is a fascinating place that suffices every visitor’s needs to explore and enjoy.
From numerous trials and rugged terrains to the extensive bushes, there is something in there to make your day.
Also, head to Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve to explore wildlife in its full glory, where you’ll encounter koalas, kangaroos and numerous water bird species wandering freely.
7.3 Surf Culture and Beaches
One thing that sets Australia apart is its beautiful beaches and surfing experiences.
I can bet that you will never be disappointed with Victoria’s coastline. You can choose from hundreds of beaches and bays to surf along the Great Ocean Road.
However, note whether there is a red or a yellow flag before jumping in!
And among the many, most visitors, both surfers and non-surfers, Bells Beach is their favourite for surfing and an excellent vantage point along the cliffs.
If you are not up for surfing, then go swimming in Anglesea. Also, this is a family-friendly beach with lifesavers available during summer.
You can also head to Port Campbell Beach and Port Fairy East Beach towards the end of the Great Ocean Road to spice up your fun in the waters!
7.4 Camping and Glamping
Not interested in staying in a hotel or a lodge?
Then you can try camping here at specified places like Johannas Beach or Blanket Bay to enjoy the beauty of nature.
However, bring your tents and utensils as the dotted campsites have just fuel stoves. Also, you must have the required permits to camp. So, prepare and head out!
You can also choose glamping options if you don’t possess traditional camping equipment.
All you need to do is to choose the dates and the site and leave the rest to the company!
8. Places to Indulge Along the Way
Wow, we have already walked you through the best places to visit while discussing the activities you can take up.
But here’s a run-through list of the tourist attractions on Great Ocean Road if I have missed uncovering any places for you in the earlier section!
- Apollo Bay
- Twelve Apostles
- Aireys Inlet
- Memorial Arch
- Gibson Steps
- Kennett River
- Shipwreck Coast
- London Arch or London Bridge
- Teddy’s Lookout
- Johanna Beach
- Loch Ard Gorge
- The Grotto
- Bay of Martyrs
For an endless list, check the links provided at the end of the article!
So, with various points to stop by, it’s best to make a Great Ocean Road itinerary 5 days max to enjoy something new each day.
However, if you are just taking an entire stretch drive without stopping by, you can complete viewing the Great Ocean Road in four hours.
Driving on the Great Ocean Road might not be that dangerous unless you stick to the speed limits and road safety rules.
However, to keep you informed, you must battle your way through fog, slippery surfaces (during wet weather), vehicle traffic and pedestrians.
So, drive slowly and safely!
9. Is the Great Ocean Road Worth a Visit?
Absolutely it is if you want fun, memories, and adventure!
You get plenty of stuff to participate in, enjoy, see and explore at the Great Ocean Road.
So, be sure to plan your trip accordingly.
Whether looking for a comfortable getaway or an action-packed experience, the Great Ocean Road drive has something new to offer you!
Now, what are you waiting for?
Start planning and zoom into the Great Ocean Road today!
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