Spectacular coastal wilderness contrasted against native wildlife, there’s nature, adventure, landscapes and beaches to explore. Highlights include the Great Ocean Walk from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles, Bells Beach and the Otways.
Helicopter Flights and Skydiving
One of the best ways to view the magnificent coast and scenery is from the air. There are helicopter, seaplane and even old Tiger Moth options giving you the opportunity for a bird’s eye view of the southwest coastline. As you fly, you’ll be rewarded with fabulous views of the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and the Bay of Islands. Keep an eye out for the sea life – blue wales frequent the coast of Portland during breeding season which falls between June and October.
For the more adventurous out there, why not partake in a bit of skydiving? Tandem skydiving really is a unique way to experience the region, as you surf the air currents above Bells Beach, and view the coastal bush and farmland all as you drop from around 15,000 feet in the air.
Natural Landscapes and Wildlife
The beauty of the Great Ocean Road is most definitely inspired by the natural landscapes. One of, if not the, most well-known highlights of the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles. The massive limestone structures call the Port Campbell National Park home, and their imposing 45-metre structure often leaves visitors completely in awe. Unfortunately, five stacks have fallen since the discovery, however the eight remaining are truly incredible, especially with the magical cliffs as their backdrop. While they’re breathtaking at any time of day, dusk and dawn tend to be the most popular times.
Stretching from Toquay to Princetown and up towards Colac, the Great Otway National Park has everything a visitor could possibly want. From rugged coastlines to heathland and everything in between, the park is an excellent place to explore. It’s truly a bushwalker’s paradise with dozens of trail options – you can even take a trail that includes cliff tops, coastal portions, rainforests and bush all at once.
The Great Ocean Walk hugs the coastline for more than 100km with plants, animals and scenery to discover along the way. Passing through some of the most remote places, you’ll feel like civilisation is worlds away. From the highest coastal cliffs on mainland Australia at Moonlight Head to seeing shipwreck anchors embedded in rocks at Wreck Beach, there’s so much to take in, you’ll never want to leave.
If it’s meeting the local wildlife you’re after, head to Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve where you’ll be able to meet koalas, kangaroos and several species of water birds roaming freely. The Reserve was declared Victoria’s first national park in 1892 and provides visitors with the opportunity to experience the Australian bush, enjoy the scenery and the landscapes, all while getting up close and personal with some of Australia’s favourite furry friends.
Beaches and Surf Culture
If there’s one thing Australia does well, it’s beaches and surfing, and Victoria’s coastline definitely doesn’t disappoint. There are literally hundreds of bay and ocean beaches to choose from along the Great Ocean Road. Just remember though, always look for the red and yellow flags to make sure it’s safe to hop into the water.
The famed Bells Beach is a much-loved icon of Australian surfers, and the Rip Curl Pro is held here every Easter. Located near Torquay, the high cliffs are a dramatic backdrop to the large Southern Ocean swells. Even for the non-surfers among us, Bells Beach is a popular spot for sightseeing due to the exceptional vantage points along the cliff.
For those who prefer a swimming beach, Anglesea is a great option. The sand dunes tend to protect the beach and lifesavers are on hand in the summer months. There’s also Lorne which is one of the most popular resort towns along the route. The gentle surf is great for swimming and the beach is very family friendly. Towards the end of the Great Ocean Road, the best and most popular options are Port Campbell beach and Port Fairy East Beach.