Australia’s Best Reason to Road Trip: The Great Ocean RoadAustralia, Featured, Road Trips — By Lost Girls on March 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm
The Great Ocean Road along Australia’s southeastern coast is the Aussie’s answer to California’s Pacific Coast Highway. The Great Ocean Road stretches for 151 miles (243km) between the cities Torquay and Warrnambool in the state of Victoria. An Australian National Heritage, the Great Ocean Road was built by World War I veterans from 1919 to 1932, and is the world’s largest war memorial, dedicated to the fallen soldiers of World War I. The Great Ocean Road attracts great numbers of tourists, while offering spectacular vistas, featured landmarks and a wide variety of natural diversity.
The closest city to fly into to embark upon your legendary road trip is Melbourne. After sorting out your car rental, you will want to get on the road to Torquay, to start enjoying one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. Upon arriving in Torquay, the starting point of the Great Ocean Road, you will be greeted by the birthplace of two of the world’s most iconic beachwear brands- Quicksilver and Rip Curl. It comes as no surprise that Torquay is one of Australia’s most cherished surfing locales. Stop at one of the many beaches and hit the waves, or do some snorkeling if you prefer. After visiting Torquay, the next major destination that beckons is Lorne.
Lorne boasts a unique combination of stunning, natural beauty and a relaxing Mediterranean vibe. Foremost among Lorne’s natural assets is The Otways. Immerse yourself in The Otways and what is Australia’s best rainforest environment, overflowing with ancient trees, lush plant life and abundant ferns. While in The Otways make a point of seeing the spectacular waterfalls and cascades before retiring for the day. At night, unwind on Lorne’s main shopping strip. Between seafood restaurants, sidewalk cafes, boutiques and cellars, there’s a diversion that appeals to everyone.
About halfway along the Great Ocean Road is Apollo Bay. The paradise of Apollo Bay gives nature lovers every imaginable activity to take advantage of. A few miles out of town in the valleys, you will find rainforests, petrified forests, waterfalls, streams and broad swaths of green flora dominating the landscape. In contrast, Apollo Bay’s seaside grants water sports lovers every possible activity: fishing, boating, swimming, diving and surfing.
Further along the route, a visit to the Great Ocean Road is not complete without seeing the famous 12 Apostles. Located in Port Campbell National Park, visitors can see the majesty of the 12 Apostles. Climbing out of the surf like sentinels of Australia’s shorelines, the splendor of these rock stacks can’t be denied. The commanding presence of the rock formations, caused by millennia of wave erosion, draws over 2 million visitors annually.
Finally, not far from Port Campbell is Warrnambool. Warrnambool sits along the famed Shipwreck Coast, and gives visitors a glimpse into the maritime history of Victoria. A visit to the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village uncovers the cultural reliance on the sea for generations of locals. From June to October, Logans Beach changes into a must visit. The area becomes Victoria’s Southern Right Whale nursery, and viewing platforms sit on the beach to observe the whales only a few yards from shore. For those to who prefer to see the indigenous fauna, go to Tower Hill State Game Reserve. Here, alongside an extinct volcano, trekkers can see emus, koalas, kangaroos and a variety of waterbirds.
There’s no better place to escape the world and get lost in enchantment than the Great Ocean Road. Besides the fabulous sensation of freedom cruising the winding road, waves crashing alongside and sea spray spritzing the car, there’s an abundance of activities for all tastes: beaches, wine, surfing, spas, golf, cycling, scuba diving, horse riding, camping, music and much more. Don’t waste any time taking care of your car hire needs, book your flight to Melbourne and set off on an Australian adventure of a lifetime.
Adam Miezio is a freelance writer and independent journalist residing in Dunedin, Florida. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, after receiving his master’s degree in speech and communication, he lived in Seville and Madrid, Spain for four years. A philomath, and avid writer, he’s always planning his next adventure to a new destination.