Great Ocean Road Attractions
The Great Ocean Road, built to provide employment during the economic depression of the early 1930s, gives access to more than 300km of spectacular coastal scenery.
Originally completed in 1932, it has since been upgraded to become Highway 100.The Great Ocean Road begins at Torquay, a well-known surfing venue, 22km south of Geelong, and after 46km comes to the popular holiday resort of Lome, with substantial hotels and guesthouses which hark back to earlier days. Inland from Lome are the Otway Ranges, extending from Anglesea to Cape Otway, with beautiful walking trails, waterfalls and rest areas. Innumerable kangaroos romp on the greens and fairways of the Anglesea Golf Club, unperturbed by the white balls whizzing past. Between Anglesea and Lorne Aireys Inlet with its lighthouse opens up, framed by rocky cliffs. At Apollo Bay, 39km further south, the road leaves the coast for a time and runs through the Otway rain forest, on slopes covered with ferns. Side roads, usually unsurfaced but negotiable by ordinary cars, lead into the quiet, unspoiled forest. In this area visits can be paid to Melba Gully State Park and the tiny settlement of Lavers Hill, once an important timber-working center. At Princetown the road returns to the coast, skirting Port Campbell National Park, the high point of the Great Ocean Road, on a fascinating stretch of road with breathtaking views. Off the wild, cliff-fringed coast are a number of heavily eroded rock formations, lashed by the surf - London Bridge, the Twelve Apostles, the Arch and Loch Ard Gorge.Less well-known are the Bay of Isles and Bay of Martyrs to the west of Peterborough. The Great Ocean Road then turns inland. At Warrnambool, 53km beyond Peterborough, it runs into the Princes Highway, which continues via Portland to Mount Gambier in South Australia.
Apollo Bay, Australia
Apollo Bay (pop. 890) is a good base for excursions into the Cape Otway hills on roads of great scenic beauty (often unsurfaced and with many bends). The town's economy centers on the fishing industry (fish-freezing plant), and for anglers there is good sport in the sea and the mountain streams. There are excellent surfing beaches on the rugged coast, on which many ships have come to grief. There are fine views from Marriner's Lookout.
At Apollo Bay the Great Ocean Road leaves the coast and runs inland to the Otway Ranges.In Melba Gully State Park, near Lavers Hill, there is an area of fern forest (also found in abundance in the rain forest on Cape Otway).
Otway National Park
12,750ha.The Great Ocean Road runs through the park, an area of impressive and varied scenery - deep depressions overgrown with ferns, dense eucalyptus forests, cool temperate rain forest, heathland and a magnificent stretch of coast between Apollo Bay and Princeton. On Cape Otway, 14km south of the Great Ocean Road, is a lighthouse built by convict labor in 1848.
Colac (pop. 10,060) attracts visitors with its situation on Lake Colac (good fishing, water sports). On the shores of the lake are the large Botanic Gardens. The town and surrounding area are fairly densely populated, thanks largely to the fertile agricultural country round Colac.
From the Alvie Red Rock Lookout, near Colac, 20 volcanic lakes can be seen.To the west of Colac is Lake Corangamite, the largest salt lake in Victoria.Beautiful winding roads run south from the town of Colac through impressive mountain scenery to join the Great Ocean Road and from there farther south to Cape Otway (old lighthouse).
Port Campbell National Park
1750ha.Port Campbell National Park takes in the best known and most spectacular stretch of the Great Ocean Road, with magnificent views of a series of interesting rock formations - the Twelve Apostles, Muttonbird Island, London Bridge, Loch Ard Gorge. The Shipwreck Trail Coastal Walk running along the top of the cliffs has memorial tablets recalling the many shipwrecks on this coast, such as that of the clipper Loch Ard which ran aground on a reef in 1878 with the loss of 52 lives. Also impressive are the cliffs to the west of Peterborough, the Bay of Martyrs and the Bay of Islands. The limestone rocks along the coast have been eaten away over millions of years by fierce waves and winds, creating gorges and gullies, arches, blowholes and sheer, rugged cliffs.
Address: Level 10 535 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
Useful tips: Best time to visit: late spring to autumn. Access from Princetown to west of Peterborough the Great Ocean Road runs along the coast and through the park. Warning: Bathers should beware of dangerous waves and currents under the cliffs.