The Great Ocean Road is one of the best drives in Australia
You will encounter some of the most unique attractions in the country.
Stretching from Torquay just outside of Melbourne over 250 kilometres to Nelson, The Great Ocean Road is the stuff of travel dreams.
Beautiful beaches, incredible national parks filled with natural wonders and one stunning scenic town after another, if the Great Ocean Road isn’t on your travel to do list, it should be.
We’ve put together a list of the best places to see on your drive through the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.
1. Teddy’s Lookout
This lookout is located in Lorne and is highly recommended.
You’ll see stunning views of hills, St George River and the blue waters along the coast on a high platform.
There is a dedicated car park for this lookout and it’s located at the end of George St.
2. Marriners Lookout
A very steep 5-minute walk from a specified carpark (Marriners Lookout Road), the Marriners Lookout offers panoramic views of Apollo Bay and far out to sea.
You’ll find this lookout between Lorne and Apollo Bay.
3. The Gable
The Gable is located between Apollo Bay and Warrnambool, with views to Moonlight Head.
There is a stunning platform that appears to hang 70-metres above the water.
4. Cape Bridgewater
Cape Bridgewater is located between Warrnambool and Nelson.
The lookout has views across Cape Bridgewater and a panoramic sight of rock formations home to 650 Australian fur seals.
This is unique wildlife spotting opportunity.
5. Eastern Beach
This is one of the first beaches you’ll see if you’re coming from Melbourne.
Located in Geelong, Eastern Beach is perfect for families.
It has a famous art deco sea-bathing complex with a swimming pool and promenade.
Parking along with various facilities is also located at same site.
6. Ocean Grove
Perfect for both swimming and surfing, Ocean Grove is fully patrolled during the summer.
There are more staff particularly during summer on weekends.
Facilities include a cafe, kiosk and parking.
7. Bells Beach
Bells Beach is home to the Rip Curl Pro, which is the longest running pro surfing event in the world.
Its a beautiful sandy beach.
However, the very large swells is suitable for experienced surfers only.
There are a number of surf breaks also surrounding this beach.
Angelsea is a safer option for families and casual surfers.
The sand dunes offer wind protection.
Lifeguards are also on patrol during the summer months.
Lorne is one of the most popular beach resort areas on the Great Ocean Road.
The beach is large and sandy with some gentle waves, making it safe for swimming.
Lifeguards patrol in the summer.
It is also a great place to learn how to surf.
The resort town also has a great cafe culture and lovely coastal walks.
To get a better view of Lorne, head to Teddy’s Lookout.
Alternatively, check out the natural waterfalls including Erskine Falls and Sheoak Falls.
10. Apollo Bay
Apollo Bay has a large, crescent-shaped beach with good natural protection for swimming.
It is popular with families and patrolled in the summer only.
There are some gentle surf breaks nearby.
Most visitors enjoy a casual stroll along the stretch of sand.
Apollo Bay also makes a perfect base to see the 12 Apostles.
This seaside village is at the foothills of the amazing Otways and surrounded by many beautiful Great Ocean Road walks.
You can also explore the nearby Great Otway National Park where you’ll find a lush rainforest and waterfalls.
11. Port Campbell National Park
Port Campbell National Park hosts many tourists attractions including the 12 Apostles, London Arch and Gibson Steps.
The park is famous for its natural rock formations and the many walks that visitors can take along the stunning cliffs.
12. Great Otway National Park
Great Otway National Park is an enormous natural rainforest with some of the world’s tallest trees.
It is the home of Triplet Falls as well as a range of nature treks.
You can enjoy a board walk through the Maits Rest Rainforest or a quiet picnic near the Cape Otway Lightstation overlooking the ocean.
If you’re more active, try the Otway Fly Zipline.
13. Tower Hill Game Reserve
Tower Hill Game Reserve is perfect for animal lovers.
This unusual park is filled with amazing Australian wildlife in a gorgeous green setting.
It also sits on an extinct volcano.
There are five different self guided walks for visitors to enjoy the natural scenery.
Keep an eye out for kangaroos, koalas, emus, echidnas and turtles around the volcanic crater.
14. Brisbane Ranges National Park
Brisbane Ranges National Park is well known for its colourful wildflower habitat.
It has unique geography that makes it popular for scenic drives, bush walking and camping.
There are various short and long bush walks for eager adventurers.
Spend time at some of the picnic areas within the national park and see if you can spot Australian wildlife.
15. The Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles are famous limestone stacks sitting offshore on the Great Ocean Road.
They have impressed and captivated tourists for decades.
There are 8 limestone rocks left due to erosion and extreme weather conditions, with some still standing up to 50 meters high.
The ‘Twelve Apostles’ is the main highlight of the Great Ocean Road.
16. Gibsons Steps
Gibson Steps is a stair way leading down to the beach.
You will see the enormous vertical cliffs of the 12 Apostles.
The closest limestone stacks are named Gog and MaGog.
It is only a 2 minute drive from the main Twelve Apostles stop and is generally part of the itinerary on most tours.
17. Loch Ard Gorge
Seeing Loch Ard Forge from the cliff-top will amaze all visitors.
If there are rougher seas, the crashing waves will be a sight to behold.
You can walk down a set of stairs and enjoy the naturally enclosed beach or even go for a swim.
Loch Ard Gorge is just a short 3-5 minute drive from the 12 Apostles and is also generally included as part of most Great Ocean Road tours.
18. London Arch
Once known as the London Bridge, this now partially collapsed archway is a coastal wonder, located about 30 minutes from 12 Apostles.
The mid section collapsed due to natural causes in 1990, leaving 2 tourists stranded on the other side of the cliff structure.
Fortunately they were rescued and no one was harmed.
The London Arch is now another common stop for Great Ocean Road tours.
19. The Grotto
The Grotto is an unusual geological formation created when sinkholes in the cliff collided with the eroded cliff line.
It’s gradually formed into an archway and still resembles a cave somewhat.
Located about 13 minutes from 12 Apostles, you’ll find a convenient staircase leading visitors to the Grotto where there’s a small rock wall, blocking unsuspected waves.
20. The Arch
Located just 15 minutes from the 12 Apostles, the impressive Arch, standing eight metres high is best viewed in spectacular rough seas.
A walkway descends towards a viewing platform where you can see the waves crashing into the arch rock formation.
Learn about Australia’s surfing culture in famous Torquay, the start of the Great Ocean Road.
It is the hometown of both Rip Curl and Quicksilver.
Many visitors go to Torquay to learn how to surf.
Alternatively, you could enjoy a casual walk along the coast or relax on the beach.
Queenscliff is famed for its historic town centre.
It features Victorian-era constriction and is well known for fine dining and interesting art galleries.
To learn more about the area, visit the Queenscliff Historical Museum or Queenscliff Maritime Museum.
You can also explore the region on a casual cycling tour through beautiful vineyards and farms.
23. Barwon Park Mansion
Barwon Park Mansion is a majestic 42-room bluestone mansion.
It is a true relic of the past and a must see on the Great Ocean Road trek.
The mansion will take you back to the lawns of colonial England.
24. Cape Otway Lightstation
Mainland Australia’s oldest lighthouse, 90 metres above the sea, provides both jaw-dropping views to day visitors and the unique experience of a few nights spent inside the Lighthouse Keeper’s cottage.
For those visiting during the day, this is a great place to enjoy a picnic lunch or pause for a short break on your way to the 12 Apostles.
Make sure you climb the lighthouse and get a bird’s eye view of the stunning coastline.
There are a lot of ways to experience the Great Ocean Road, and it is entirely up to you to decide that.
Many visitors, particularly the ones who choose to travel with tour guides, make their way along all (or part) of the Great Ocean Road in just one day, while others take as long as two to three weeks experiencing each aspect of it.
In the end, it depends on the kind of experience you’re looking to get on the Great Ocean Road, what you’d like to see and your time limits.
This comes down to the situation and personal preference of each visitor.
It is certainly recommended that those driving the Great Ocean Road travel from East to West, that is, from Torquay onwards.
This direction will allow drivers to park on the left side of the road, allowing them to stop more easily at viewpoints and to admire the many lookouts along the road.
Best time to visit Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is busiest during summer which is from December to February.
This might not be noticeable along the road, but it can cause shortages in accommodation and overcrowding at specific attractions leading to lock outs.
Driving vs Touring
There are a number of tour companies offering Great Ocean Road tours, and many of these are perfect for first time visitors, especially non-drivers.
That being said, there is a freedom of self-driving that many past visitors have appreciated, or wished they had.
The ability to stop at any time, and to make changes to an itinerary at each different section of the Great Ocean Road is worthwhile, particularly if inclement weather of overcrowding means one location isn’t at its best.
However, it is a long road to navigate and many do get lost as they turn off the main road.
If you’d prefer a local expert to guide you through this amazing spectacle, join an organised tour to see the Great Ocean Road.