The Great Ocean Road, Australia
Nestled in the southern end of the Australian state of Victoria is the Great Ocean Road. It sprawls a good 243 kilometres from the east to the west and is the home to many famous tourist sights like the 12 Apostles, the London Arch (formerly London Bridge), the Loch Ard Gorge and many more.
The Great Ocean Road was built by returning soldiers after World War I as a memorial to their fallen brothers. It is an Australian National Heritage site and is the world’s largest war memorial. What’s more amazing is that before the road was built, some of the residential communities along this road could only be accessed by boat. Today, the Great Ocean Road is a popular attraction amongst locals and tourist alike and a definite must-see when visiting Australia.
Even though I have traversed this route three times before, the region’s beauty never fails to leave me in awe.
Starting Your Great Ocean Road Journey
We started our journey in the afternoon and drove along the coastal route which allowed us to feast our eyes on the sun setting behind the hills. To top it off, the waves crashing on the rocks created a lovely mist riding up the rolling hills of the Victorian coastline.
It was pretty late by the time we reached our accommodation and our hosts gave us a tip that only seasoned locals knew. They told us of a good spot to see glow worms! If you are game enough, grab a torch and head to Melba Gully at night. Go all the way down and head across two wooden bridges and wait for your eyes to adapt to the surroundings and prepare yourselves for an all natural light show!
The best time to see them is a on a moonless, starless night but be extremely cautious as it is very dark and the way can be slippery. You have been warned!
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The Twelve Apostles is probably the most famous attraction along the Great Ocean Road. These distinctive stone formations were likened to the twelve apostles in Christianity, hence the name. There were really ever nine of these limestone formations but one collapsed in 2012 and we are now left with eight.
Alas I was getting very hungry and grumpy despite having a visual feast. We decided that we had to hit the road and head back to Melbourne. My wife couldn’t get enough of the coast so we decided to take the same long way back and we were wonderfully surprised with a beautiful rainbow on the drive home.
TIP: You can take a simpler drive through Colac to Melbourne if you are short for time.
Although it was my third trip to the Great Ocean Road, I am certain that it will not be my last. The Great Ocean Road and its attractions never fail to delight no matter the time of the year. Be sure not to miss this wonderful route if you are visiting Melbourne!
Getting to the Great Ocean Road
The eastern end of the Great Ocean Road starts at Torquay which is about 100 kilometres southwest of Melbourne. Holidaymakers driving from Melbourne can take a scenic drive through the B100 starting in Torquay or the quicker inland A1 to Colac and then south towards Apollo Bay. The drive to the 12 Apostles takes about two hours and thirty minutes. Considering the amount of time you spend driving to and fro, I highly recommend that you allow at least 2 days for the trip to enjoy all that the region has to offer.
If you prefer not to drive there are many tour agencies running Great Ocean Road day tours that covers the main attractions along the route. You can even sign up for a helicopter ride at the 12 Apostles and get a bird’s eye view of the world famous limestone formations!
For those of you who have visited the Great Ocean Road, what other tips or tricks do you have for first time visitors? Share with us in the comments section below!