The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243 km stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia, between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. The road was built between the years of 1919 and 1932 by returned soldiers and is dedicated to the soldiers who are sacrificed in World War I. The Great Ocean Road also happens to be the world’s largest war memorial.
Dubbed as one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, the Great Ocean Road winds through various terrains and brings you through several prominent landmarks which includes the Twelve Apostles limestone stack formation. From observing native wildlife in their natural elements to exploring the lush greenery or simply soaking up the panoramic views from the various lookout points, there’s plenty to choose for for everyone, especially for outdoor enthusiasts.
To get you started, here are a few of our favourites along the Great Ocean Road:
The London Arch is an offshore natural arch formation in Port Campbell National Park, Australia and has been a significant tourist attraction along the Great Ocean Road. Over a gradual course of erosion, the stack eventually formed a complete double-span natural bridge. Unfortunately, the iconic London Bridge collapsed in 1990, and left two tourists stranded on the outer span and had to be rescued by a police helicopter. The formation has been known as the London Arch ever since its collapse. If you’d like to catch some Little Penguins making their way home, it is advisable to visit the rock formation towards the end of the day.
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge is also a part of Port Campbell National Park and is located approximately three minutes’ drive west of The Twelve Apostles. The stairs at the lookout allows visitors to access the beach as well as the eastern side of the gorge. To help visitors get acquainted with the history of the area, there are several plaques and a small museum that visitors can visit. The gorge has been named after the clipper ship Loch Ard, which was beached on the nearby Muttonbird Island in 1878 as it was approaching the end of a three-month journey from England to Melbourne.
Apart from the area’s rich maritime history, the gorge has also served as the filming location for several productions such as the 1982 The Pirate Movie as well as the 1999 TV series Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Twelve Apostles & Gibson Steps
The harsh and extreme weather conditions from the Southern Ocean gradually eroded the soft limestone to form caves in the cliffs which eventually became arches that collapsed, leaving rock stacks up to a height of 45m. Today, we refer to these limestone stacks as the Twelve Apostles.
Probably the most iconic attraction along the Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. The close proximity of the limestone stacks has made the site a popular tourist attraction. At the present moment, there are only eight Apostles left after the ninth one collapsed in 2005. In spite of that, the name remains largely significant in the Australian tourism industry.
Located about 2 minutes drive from The Twelve Apostles, the Gibson Steps are an area of cliffs on the south coast of Australia. Gibson Steps refers to the 86 steps staircase which leads people down to the stretch of beach at the bottom of the 70m high cliffs. When on the beach, be amazed by the giant limestone stacks Gog and Magog rising above the seas.
Embarking on a short drive to the top end of George Street located at the back of Lorne would bring you to the scenic Teddy’s Lookout. Take in the beautiful coastal views of the surf breaking into the mount of Saint George River alongside the surrounding rainforest-covered gorge and witness how the river winds through fern-covered valleys. Teddy’s Lookout is without a doubt the go-to spot for capturing amazing shots of the Great Ocean Road.
The official start of the Great Ocean Road is 103km from the Melbourne CBD and is approximately 1h 17min away by driving.