Things to Do on the Great Ocean Road Victoria Australia
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Great Ocean Road
What is it about the Great Ocean Road you wonder? Well, if you are given the opportunity to drive it, you wind in and out, up and down the hairpin bends, along the cliff edge and coast with views of the ocean. It’s 243 km long and starts at Torquay and ends at Allansford.
Ships were wrecked along this rugged coast, most notably at Loch Ard Gorge. You’ll find shipwreck stories, limestone sea stacks, the 12 Apostles, steps and boarded walks, beaches, surf beaches, rainforests, ocean views, villages, towns, glow worms, Californian Redwoods, lighthouses, waterfalls, coves, clifftop lookouts, treetop walks, wildlife, sharks, whales, rips, unstable clifftops, and strong currents.
The Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung Peoples are the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters in the Great Ocean Road area.
Best Things to Do Great Ocean Road
- The Twelve Apostles
- Loch Ard Gorge
- London Bridge
- Glow Worms in the Otways
- Childers Cove
- Californian Redwoods in the Otways
- The Grotto
- Bay of Islands
- Torquay, Bells, and Jan Juc Beaches
- Towns and Villages on the Great Ocean Road
The Twelve Apostles
Great Ocean Road Trip
On the way back to Melbourne from Warrnambool, you can make a detour along the Great Ocean Road.
You can stop at London Bridge in Peterborough. It's near Port Campbell, Victoria, Australia.
And you can make the trip from Melbourne to Warrnambool.
The last time I was here, the walk along the landmass to London Bridge was still intact. But in 1990, the arch to London Bridge collapsed into the ocean. So, the gap was formed.
Overhead, a helicopter flew around. It was likely laden with tourists, visitors, photographers, and the like. So that, they could glimpse, photograph, and video the view from above. You can book tours with the 12 Apostles Helicopters.
The waves rock in and out along the beach. Water swirled and lapped against the cliff around London Bridge.
Have you experienced London Bridge and the Great Ocean Road?
Great Ocean Road Twelve Apostles
and the Viewing Platform
Tours & Day Trips
1 Great Ocean Road Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles have become a major attraction in Victoria.
In the 1980s, I remember we pulled up alongside the Great Ocean Road. Then, we walked out on the cliff face to see the Twelve Apostles.
Now, you will find a visitor center, car park, buses, and helicopter pad. You walk on a structured walkway that goes through a tunnel under the Great Ocean Road. And, it leads you to the viewing platform.
How Many Twelve Apostles Are There?
You can see six of the Apostles from there. Well, you might think, where's the rest? There are seven and not Twelve Apostles.
I'm not sure how they got their name. Nor, how many there have been.
In any case, so far In the 21st Century, two have fallen into the ocean. Which left seven remainings. This means, when I was there in the 1980s, there were probably 9.
They are limestone stacks standing in the ocean along the coast. It makes you aware of the strength of nature, the ocean, currents, and winds.
And, the vulnerability of the seven stacks that remain.
What Is the Best Time of Day to See the Twelve Apostles
At the viewing platform, you will find the best time is in the hour before sunset and sunset.
You can see the colors of the sunset light up the sky. And, it glows along the cliffs and the Twelve Apostles.
They are found in the Port Campbell National Park. Learn more about the Twelve Apostles
Can You Do Great Ocean Road In One Day?
Yes, you can do Great Ocean Road in one day. You won't experience everything, but you can do the highlights.
I knew tourists had been flying into Avalon Airport specifically to visit the Great Ocean Road. What I heard they were transported in buses down the highway to the Great Ocean Road for the day and flew out again that night.
Recently, I found out, cruises were docking in Melbourne. And, these tourists were doing the same thing, going by bus for the day. Then, they sailed out the same night for the next port.
Walk through the tunnel under the Great Ocean Road
Walk to the Viewing Platform at the Twelve Apostles
Take photos with the seascape in the background at the Viewing Platform
2 Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge is known for its shipwrecks. In 1878, the “Loch Ard’, a clipper ship, ran aground near Mutton Bird Island where 2 survived and 19 lost their lives.
Loch Ard Gorge was carved into a towering sandstone cliff about 17 million years ago. From the viewing platform, looking downwards you can view The Razorback.
Across to the east, you can see Muttonbird Island. Then you look outwards to the Bass Strait.
Currently, access to the beach is closed, check Parks Vic for updates. And a blowhole platform is planned so look for more details.
Walk down the steps to Loch Ard Gorge
3 London Bridge
London Bridge lies north of Port Campbell. I stayed in a holiday camp at Port Campbell a long time ago. And, visited London Bridge and this area of the Great Ocean Road.
The Rock limestone formations are unstable. And as you can see part collapsed into the ocean. Which has made a big gap between the land and the part not attached to the mainland.
I think it’s interesting how the arch underneath gives the impression the two limestone stacks have created the shape of a bridge.
The section of London Bridge between the mainland collapsed and fell into the ocean. This is why it is unsafe.
WARNING: STAY INSIDE THE BARRIERS
1980s Flashback on the Great Ocean Road
Walkways, viewing platforms, and fences are in place. Read signage. You must not walk out on the ledge because it is fenced and unsafe.
Like London Bridge became unstable and a span fell into the ocean, cliffs can become unstable. In 2019, at Demons Bluff in Anglesea, there was a cliff collapse.
Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority have provided instructions in English and other languages for safety planning and to spread the message.
- Stay away from cliffs and caves
- Stick to established tracks
- See the signs and follow the guidance
- Share the word and warn others
Take Care, Observe Warning Signs of Danger, Monitor Weather Reports
- Deep Ocean Waters
- Wild Surf
- Powerful Currents
- Unstable Cliffs
- Unpatrolled Areas
- No Swimming in Unpatrolled areas
- No Swimming Signs
- Changes in the Environment
So, you must keep on the walkways. And, do not enter areas that have warning signs, are unsafe, and are closed.
You'll find the Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, and Loch Ard Gorge in the Port Campbell National Park
4 Glow Worms in the Otways
Oh, I do remember walking in the Otways after dark with the Glow Worms a long time ago.
If you are looking for something magical to do. Head inland to the mountains of the Otways to witness the tiny glow worms illuminating the dark caves and rainforests. It requires some effort and exploration to discover them.
5 Childers Cove
I found Childers Cove is not far from Warrnambool and Allansford and before Peterborough. But then it was a fair drive to the coast from the Great Ocean Road.
And then, it’s not far from where my granny was born in Panmure. As, Panmure is near Allansford. So, I can imagine my granny’s family went to the coves along here in the past. Because it was her grandfather that arrived in Victoria and settled in Panmure.
You’ll find stairs down to the beach and sea stacks are in the ocean.
Read the warning signs because there are no lifesaving services, submerged rocks, unstable cliffs, strong currents, and swimming is not advised.
I stopped for lunch here, some photography, and I was off because I knew I had a long drive on my Great Ocean Road trip. It was the first stop I was making on the way down from Allansford and Warrnambool along the Great Ocean Road.
Seascape at Childers Cove
6 Californian Redwoods in the Otways
Walking among the Californian Redwoods in the Otways is on my to do list. To walk and stand among these majestic 63 meters tall giant redwoods is an experience I want to do.
Is it something you want to do?
You’ll find them in the Otways National Park near the Great Ocean Road.
7 The Grotto
The Grotto is limestone of 10 to 20 million years old which was eroded from inland and the coast causing a depression that then became hollowed out.
Yes, I've definitely been to the Grotto. I remember thinking it was more like a blowhole. Maybe because we had visited the Grotto in winter when the conditions were wintery and the tide was high. Which means you cannot walk far to view because of the ocean conditions.
And, the walk is 700 metres there and back to the lookout platform of the Grotto. Going any further by stairs is dependent on the tide, ocean, and weather conditions. And also depends on your health and mobility.
Be aware of the warning signs which show slippery conditions on the boardwalk, no wheelchair access, and no drones, and you must stay on track.
8 Bay of Islands
Dotted in the Southern Ocean is a bunch of rock stacks, the Bay of Islands. I found the Bay of Islands near Peterborough. And, I walked along the designated walkway from the carpark and took photos from the lookouts.
See the Bay of Islands
9 Torquay, Bells, and Jan Juc Beaches
I spent many weekends driving down the freeway to Torquay, Bells, and Jan Juc Beaches in the summer. All beaches are surf beaches.
Bells Beach is well known for its surfing and competitions. It's known as the Rip Curl Pro now and is an international event.
I've had surfing lessons at Torquay Beach and surfed there. And, that's the beach I've been to the most.
Oh, I had a flashback, we used to go to one of the beaches all the time for surfing. I'll need to look at the maps of the car parks to work it out.
10 Towns and Villages on the Great Ocean Road
Apollo Bay is a fishing village with a harbour and marina.
I've had a family holiday there. We rented a house together with families when the kids were young. We could walk down the driveway across the Great Ocean Road to the ocean.
I wore my wetsuit and we went surfing. Well, that didn't last long. One of the boys needed help. And, the others were further out. So, I performed my own surf and rescue. Oh my gosh, the water was so deep. So, I got him back to shore. And, that was it, I was done for the day.
It doesn't take much to end up in deep water in the ocean. It's so important to learn to swim in a country that is surrounded by water and has so many beaches.
I'd say gone are the days when you could pull your car up on the side of the coast. Pitch a tent and camp the night under the stars in Lorne. I suppose I can say I have camped in Lorne a few times.
It has had a complete revamp with a new vibe and moved up in class. But then, at the Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park, there's an Eco Safari Tent option. So sounds like things are changing again.
Aireys Inlet made it into the voting for the top 17 towns in Victoria's list. The town's lifestyle is known as the 'ocean meets bush'.
You can spot Aireys Inlet for its lighthouse, Split Point Lighthouse.
But what I can recall is the devastating Ash Wednesday Bushfires of 1983, Which was forty years ago. The name of the town and those fires remind me. Even though, on that day, there were more fires, it felt like my state was on fire.
For me, I remember, the black soot flying in the train windows. And, not knowing if you would get home because the train tracks were melting because it was so hot. When I did get home, the eerily skies from the grass fires. And, the alarm sounds going off.
That's why it's important to check the weather before heading out to the country.
Back in the day, it seemed like everyone had caravans and put them permanently in a caravan park. Then, they would go there regularly. Especially along all the foreshores around the bay and the coast. Now, I'll need to check what's happening cause it seems people move around more.
Check out the caravan parks and holiday parks now. They have cottages and cabins. At Torquay, there are also Glamping Tents and Glamping Pods.
Great Ocean Road Places to Visit and Things to Do
Things to See on the Great Ocean Road
Oh, you can see there are still more things to see and do for my post.
For some, I plan to go on road trips to get the details.
If you would like to be updated, subscribe to my list below.
- Murnane Bay
- Sandy Cove Mepunga
- Crofts Bay
- Bay of Martyrs
- Massacre Bay
- Worm Bay
- Halladale Point
- The Well
- Wild Dog Cove
- James Irvine Monument
- The Arch (closed, check for updates)
- Port Campbell
- Thunder Cove
- Island Arch Lookout
- Mutton Bird Lookout
- Tom and Eva Lookout
- The Razorback
- Gibson Steps (steps to the beach are closed)
- Wreck Beach
- Cape Otway
- Otway Fly Treetop Adventures
- Apollo Bay
- Aireys Inlet
- Memorial Arch at Eastern View
- Cheese World Museum, Allansford
- Apollo Bay Museum
- Australian National Surfing Museum, Torquay
Tours & Day Trips
- Great Ocean Road 1 Day Trip
- Great Ocean Road Tour
Victoria Travel Essentials
- Victoria can have bushfires, droughts, floods, strong winds, hot north winds, storms, dust storms, beaches with rips and strong currents and swells, and sharks
- Find out the VIC Weather and Warnings at BOM
- Check Parks Victoria and Forests and Reserves for alerts, closures, and safety planning before you go
- Check the Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans and Rules in VIC
- Flood and Storm affected Parks closed and partial closures
- Check for planned burns at Forest Fire Management
- Look up the beach information and conditions, at Beachsafe, and the app, for instance:
- If the beach is patrolled or unpatrolled, and if patrolled days and hours
- Current Temperature
- Find out details from Parks Victoria about safety planning, visitor guides, walks, places to see, things to do, issues, safety, wildlife, nature, facilities, opening hours,
- Look up information at Explore Outdoors about rules, bushfires, extreme weather, facilities, phone coverage, things to do in regions, activities like walks and picnics, and details and facilities regarding activities
- Find out information about the Goldfields Track
- Take water
- Find toilets
Where Are the Twelve Apostles?
You'll find the Twelve Apostles off the Great Ocean Road in Princetown near Port Campbell on the coast of Victoria Australia.
They are in the west direction from Melbourne and further than Geelong.
The car park is on the opposite side of the road.
And you'll walk under the road through a tunnel to a viewing platform to see them.
They are in the Port Campbell National Park.
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Have you seen the 12 Apostles? Where would you like to visit on the Great Ocean Road?
The Great Ocean Road sounds exactly like the kind of coastal road we love to travel. We certainly had the Twelve Apostles on our travel wish list. But it was great to see that there was still so much more to see along the route. Such a great variety in outdoors sights.
Such fabulous scenery! I would love to take my time and do this trip in a campervan to really appreciate it. I see that you can just about manage it in a day, but why? I would want to do it justice!
Great photos! I can’t wait until we can travel again! Australia is actually part of our 5 year travel plans… tentatively scheduled for 2022!
Thank you Marianne. I hope you travel Australia in 2022. And, get to experience the Great Ocean Road.
Great information. I have never been there but this post really helps appreciate how much there is to do along the route! Thank you.
Thank you Denise. There’s such a variety of different activities and sights to see on the Great Ocean Road.
Jennifer, I had this drive planned last year when Covid hit. I was supposed to be in Australia last March and was soooo looking forward to it. I will pin this so I use it when I’m finally able to rebook.
Thank you Peggy. I hope it’s not too long before you get to travel the Great Ocean Road.
Thank you for breaking this down…I feel like I will get one shot at Australia and it’s very overwhelming.
You’re welcome Cindy. Let me know if I can be of assistance.
What a beautiful place to visit. I’d love to visit Australia. It’s on my visit list!
Thank you Cindy. Hope you travel Australia.
Australia is on the short list for sure! Thank you for the great ideas!
Thank you Cynthia. Hope you get the opportunity to visit Australia
I like finding tips about when the best time to visit is. Thank you
You’re welcome, Missy
We love exploring interesting places especially where we can wander at our own pace and map out excursions on our own! This looks intriguing!
Thank you Barbara. Yes, there’s plenty to choose from to make it unique for you.
Australia has always been on my wish list but now more than ever since I have been following along with you. Beautiful photos as always!
Thank you Michele. Hope it’s not to long before you can visit Australia.
I have wonderful friends who live in Peterborough. When we visit them, I’ll have to check out these other places too
Wow. That’ll be great to visit them and see the Great Ocean Road, Hera.
Yes, Please sign me up for this road trip! What a beautiful place!
Thank you Lisa. Hope you get to visit the Great Ocean Road.
The Great Ocean Road looks gorgeous. I hope to see it in person someday. You have to love beaches and the ocean!
Thank you Stacey. Hope you visit the Great Ocean Road to see the beaches and ocean.
This looks like an epic road trip! As soon as travel opens back up I would love to do this ASAP! Plus your pictures are amazing!
Thank you Sara. Hope you have the opportunity to visit Australia and the Great Ocean Road.
Very cool and gorgeous. Amazing scenery. Thanks.
Thank you Beth. You’re welcome.
Interesting – and beautiful! I’ve never heard of any of these sites before so thanks for sharing.
Thank you Pam. You’re welcome.
These are stunning images and would love to spend some time at all these stops!
Thank you kmf. Hope you have the opportunity to explore the Great Ocean Road.
Beautiful pictures. Australia is on our list of places to visit for sure and we like to explore.
Thank you Laura. Hope it’s not to long before you get to visit Australia.
Great photos and information for a stunning road trip!
Thank you, Kristine.
It is always interesting to return to a place you’ve visited years before and see it through new eyes. Look at what’s changed or remained the same. The 12 Apostles that are now seven. Beautiful area.
Thank you, Donna. Yes, that’s true. I want to visit the Great Ocean Road.
Stunning photograph. I love the contrast of the creamy cliffs with the jewel-coloured ocean. Your words complement the poicture so well too.
Thank You Trish for your comments.