Travelling the Great Ocean Road
There is no time like now for checking out this magnificent section of Victoria’s coastline. The Great Ocean Road was added to Australia’s National Heritage list in 2011. Unfortunately, due to natural erosion by strong winds and rough seas, parts of the natural limestone stacks and archways have already crumbled away.
The Great Ocean Road was built by returned soldiers after World War I as a war memorial between 1919 and1936. Here is showcased some of our most spectacular coastline runs, extending through several national parks. Stretching from Torquay to Warrnambool, near Portland, the road is a popular route for tourists and there are some excellent walking tracks, making this trip perfect for hikers and campers.
If walking the rugged terrain of the coastline and camping in the national parks is your style then travel insurance is wise. Cheap travel insurance is available for those keen to budget via the simple pleasures of camping and hiking along the scenic walks. Alternatively, in places like Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Campbell, accommodation is comfortable and readily available to suit every budget.
From its beginning in Anglesea to its end near the border of South Australia, The Great Ocean Road is not short on scenic towns, breathtaking ocean views and interesting places to stay. Geelong, Victoria’s second biggest city, is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road which begins just south of Geelong at Torquay.
Geelong is packed with things to do and see – if you need to get your bearings before hitting the road, so to speak. Botanical gardens, galleries and the National Wool Museum are a great start and there is also a swimming beach with several coastal walks for those keen to get moving.
Further down the road is Lorne. The Great Ocean Road just south of Lorne winds quite close to the coastline and is popularly regarded as the most spectacular part of the drive.
Apollo Bay is another key stopping point for travellers on the Great Ocean Road. Apollo Bay is located near the Otway Ranges, home to the Great Otway National Park, and many bushwalking tracks. The magnificent Erskine Falls can be found inside the park and are worth taking a look at. There are many surfing and swimming beaches and a large harbour and marina make this town a popular place to stop and explore.
Port Campbell, just minutes from the most recognisable landmark along the Great Ocean Road, The 12 Apostles, is also home to the London Arch, Loch Ard Gorge and The Grotto. It is vital to stop here for at least one night to explore the Port Campbell National Park and perhaps extend your stay for the Great Ocean Walk.
Near the very end of the Great Ocean Road you will find Portland, located in a large protected harbour. Portland was the site of Victoria’s first settlement in 1834 and has many impressive heritage buildings constructed out of bluestone that showcase its rich history. Often called an anglers’ paradise, Portland is a great place to unwind and go fishing.
If you are not already exhausted by the end of your Great Ocean Road-Trip then try the Great South West Walk in Portland. The Great South West Walk leads you to the Margaret Rose Cave, more brilliant ocean views at Discovery Bay and finally to see fur seals at Bridgewater Bay. There are 16 camping sites along the stretch and various options for the length of walk you might choose. A long walk with an overnight component is only for experienced hikers and everyone must check in before attempting this.
Portland accommodation is the soft alternative for those who like a relaxing comfort from which to launch into the sites of this peaceful maritime town, reflect on their journey and gather up the strength to get back home.