The Great Ocean Road runs 253 kilometres along the south coast of Victoria from Torquay to Warrnambool and joins peaceful towns as it winds along the coastline of sandy surf beaches with rugged interludes.
You will need a car and we recommend driving east to west for cliff side views. To enjoy the full trip give yourself a minimum of 3-4 days as the driving is ‘serpentinal’ and slow… savour every minute of it rather than rushing on through.
Nothing short of picturesque, the history of the region is also interesting. London Bridge was renamed London Arch after the bridge collapsed on 15 January 1990. A couple left stranded on the reconfigured landmark hid their faces as they were rescued by news helicopter as apparently they weren’t married to each other!
From interstate fly to Avalon Airport for a 40 minute trip to Torquay.
From Melbourne, a 1.5-hour drive will get you to Torquay. Use the A1 for a speedier return trip to Melbourne.
Here are our Top 3 places to check out on the trip.
# 1 Wye River
Blink and you will miss Wye River but what is lacks in size, it makes up for in quality. You will never want to leave Wye River General Store across the road from the beach. Enjoy your coffee and brekkie on the deck soaking up the morning sun – the banana bread with cinnamon ricotta or homemade baked beans are standouts. Lunch is just as perfect. Dinner on the weekend is cosy and local. The Wye Beach Hotel a good Aussie watering hole, perfectly located on the hill overlooking the beach with pool tables, a standard pub menu and free wi-fi.
# 2 La Grecque, Airey’s Inlet
Whilst the location is under whelming, the opposite can be said for the food here. You would be hard pressed to find better in Greece. Simple, small share dishes are the way to go – try the calamari, panzonella or roast beetroot with labne.
Walk off lunch up at the lighthouse. The Airey Inlet Cliff Walk starts at the car park and heads north for 5.5 kilometre return with great views. Do the 45 minute lighthouse tour (leaves on the hour everyday 11am til 2pm for $12 – bookings recommended) for some local history and breathtaking 360 degree views. If you conquered the lighthouse stairs, reward yourself with fresh scones at the Willows Tea House, cosily located in the original stable house.
# 3 12 Apostles by Helicopter
Tick off a bucket list item and take a helicopter flight. Taking off from the 12 Apostles Car Park, 12 Apostles Helicopters 38 treats you to a bird’s eye view. It’s a worthy investment, especially if you are not exploring any further west. Stretch the legs on the stairs descending to the beach and turquoise waters in the strangely eery Loch Ard Gorge. There are a number of self guided walks from the car park including the 1.4 kilometre ‘Wreck of the Loch Ard’ walk, recounting the escape of the two young survivors from the ship wreck in 1878.