The Great Ocean Road, along the southern coast of Victoria, is an Australian National Heritage listed structure. It was built by returned servicemen between the First and Second World Wars and dedicated to their fallen comrades. At the time of its completion, it was widely regarded as being the largest war memorial in the world.
From those beginnings, the road has become one of the most iconic ocean drives anywhere. It covers 243 spectacular kms (151 miles) between Torquay and Allansford. Along the way there are activities to suit most tastes. You can do a spot of bush walking through the remnant pockets of rainforest and the dense eucalypt forests. Keep your eyes open for koalas and other native wildlife! There are also mountain biking and canoeing opportunities for the more athletically inclined. Surfing fans can take in the world-class surf at Bells Beach and other surfing spots. Or you can enjoy the food, culture and heritage on offer in the many museums, galleries and historic towns along the route.
If you choose to stay in your car you can still enjoy the delights of superb Southern Ocean views when the road ventures along the coast in places. From sheer limestone cliffs to crashing waves, isolated beaches and lighthouses on the Shipwreck Coast, this is a memorable piece of Australian coastline. Watch out for the 12 Apostles and enjoy the Great Otway National Park.
As the road meanders inland, you’ll pass lush dairy farms, heath lands and eucalypt forests. There are also remnant pockets of rainforest, quiet seaside towns and plenty of culinary delights. Stock up on provisions at cellar doors and local farms. Fresh food doesn’t come any fresher!
At the end of the road, depending on whether you’ve gone from east to west, or west to east, you can continue on to South Australia and beyond. Or head on up the coast to take in yet another grand coastal drive in the Grand Pacific Drive. Or even just turn around and take one of the many alternative routes back to whence you started.