The Great Ocean Roads – No.1 of the Great Drives of Australia
The Great Ocean Road
This cliff-hugging Victorian seaside drive has some of the most photographed rocks in the country and sweeping views that will literally leave you breathless. Everyone knows the Twelve Apostles, but you might not know that this drive spends quite a bit of time inland in some of the best rainforest you’ll find south of the tropics. Built by WWI veterans as a monument to fallen comrades, it was also Australia’s first toll road and later a gift to the Victorian government. The road turns 75 in 2007, and other top spots include surfing Mecca Bells Beach, historic villages Queenscliff, Port Fairy and Portland, and resort towns Lorne and Apollo Bay. Coastal drives simply don’t get any better than this.
Total distance: Torquay to Port Fairy, 260km
Day 1: Melbourne to Torquay, 94km
Day 2: Torquay to Port Campbell, 165km
Day 3: Port Campbell to Port Fairy, 95km
Slow down for . . .
- Your first coffee break should be the rejuvenated Geelong waterfront where bizarre painted bollards make for interesting distractions.
- Torquay’s Surfworld is a unique museum-cum shrine to the art and culture of wave riding.
- The rainforests and waterfalls are a true highlight. Erskine Falls near Lorne is the easy one, but a beauty is Triplet Falls in the Otways just off Lavers Hill Rd.
- The Fisherman’s co-op at Apollo Bay will fit you out with the tastiest seafood. Sitting on the beach, gorging on fresh seafood, it doesn’t get any better.
- To appreciate just how menacing this coast is to ships, stop off at Loch Ard, site of the most famous shipwreck, then enthral the kids at the sound and laser show, Shipwrecked, at Flagstaff Hill in Warrnambool.
Best kept secret
From June-Sept at Logans Beach near Warrnambool, Southern Right Whales stop by to give birth. Drop in!
From the outside, McDuffs Bakehouse at Lavers Hills doesn’t look like much, but inside you’ll find colourful lounges and cosy tables around an open fire. Great for tea, coffee, soup, sandwiches, pies and cakes.
Accommodation pick of the bunch
Cumberland Lorne Resort, Mountjoy Parade, Lorne. phone: (03) 5289 2400 website: www.cumberland.com.au
More info: www.greatoceanrd.org.au