Great Ocean Road travel destination
INCOMPARABLE DISPLAYS OF NATURE
The Great Ocean Road is ranked among the most impressive scenic coastal roads in the world, and theres no shortage of luxurious guesthouses around the region to give your visit that extra sparkle.
Leaving Melbourne, the road commences at Geelong and ends at Nelson in the west, passing national parks, famous surf beaches and between Lorne and Apollo Bay the massive cliffs and rock stacks that rear out of the boiling surf.
You can find details of the best in accommodation at Lorne, Apollo Bay, Cape Otway and other stops along the way on the Great Ocean Road accommodation page of this site.
There are any number of tours you can take of the Great Ocean Road and Otway National Park, but its an easily driven route that allows you to dictate your own pace.
Naturally, the high point of any trip along the Great Ocean Road has to be the Twelve Apostles, the most recognised natural attraction in Victoria and, with Uluru (Ayers Rock), one of the key natural icons of Australia. The rock stacks, the tallest of which is 45 metres, are part of the Port Campbell National Park and had their beginnings some 20 million years ago. They are the result of erosion forced by wind and sea over the millennia.
To fully appreciate the Twelve Apostles and the massive limestone cliffs on the mainland that add to the dramatic scene, a visit to the multimillion-dollar interpretive centre is a must.
There are extensive boardwalks to provide dozens of views for photography that are quite different to the standard picture-postcard shots one is familiar with. Theres also the opportunity to take a helicopter flight to view the Apostles from the ocean side, adding another memorable dimension to the experience. On good days, you can take a boat trip out to view the Twelve Apostles at sea level, exhilarating for those with a strong stomach!
Other notable natural features of the area are Pudding Basin Rock, Island Arch, the Razorback, Muttonbird Island, Thunder Cave, the Blowhole, Bakers Oven, London Bridge and the Grotto. A tunnel takes you under the Great Ocean Road to some of the viewing platforms, where you can take pictures of nature in its unvarnished glory.
Make time to experience Port Campbell, one of the closest towns to the Twelve Apostles. The history of this Shipwreck Coast is recorded on the headstones in the cemetery of this coastal town, where access by road to Melbourne only happened in the 1930s due to the roughness of the terrain. Prior to that, all the supplies were transported to the coastal communities by sea.
The guides warn that surfing is epic in this area and
advise its wise to go out with someone who knows the conditions.
Sunrise and sunset are ideal for photography from a variety of positions and the area teems with birdlife, including Peregrine falcons, fairy penguins, Australasian gannets and albatross. Between October and April there are also thousands of mutton-birds, which fly some 30,000 kilometres a year across the Pacific from North America to their rookeries on the coast of Bass Strait.
Travelling west from the Twelve Apostles brings you to Warrnambool, the only city on the Shipwreck Coast. There are around 180 recorded shipwrecks along the coast and Flagstaff Hill is the place to find out all about them. This is a re-created maritime village, which after dark presents the fascinating sound and laser show, Shipwrecked, telling the tale of the Loch Ard, which was wrecked along this coast in 1878.
This is one part of the country you know youll have to visit a second time, as theres simply so much to see and experience.
Copyright © Jamieson Publishing Pty Ltd 2005 - Dawsons home page