Great Ocean Road, a scenic road trip in Australia

Twelve Apostles Australia on the great ocean road
Twelve Apostles on the Ocean Great Road

Great Ocean Road is a well-known name for a lot of travelers around the world because it is the road that no one wants to miss when traveling to Australia. It is one of the most gorgeous roads in the country and very appreciated by locals and tourists. Many say that it is one of the most spectacular coastal roads in the world!

Where is Great Ocean Road located?

You can drive the Great Ocean Road or highway B100 (its official name) in Victoria state in southern Australia, not too far from Melbourne.

More precisely, Great Ocean Road itself starts in the town of Torquay, a seaside resort, and goes all the way to the city of Warrnambool 3 hours away from Melbourne.

You can locate the road on the map just below:

Enlarge the map

Facts about Great Ocean Road:

Road description:

Great Ocean Road is a two-lane (one each way) road running along the southwest coast of Victoria and stretching for roughly 240 kilometers (150 miles).

This itinerary is on the to-do list of many travelers and road trippers in Australia. Even though the itinerary itself is not that long and can be done easily in one day but there are a lot of things to see and to stop by so consider spending more time to enjoy the road. Indeed this road gives a huge variety of activities for everyone to enjoy! Hikes, surfing, wildlife spotting, there will be something you’ll love. Plan a few days to fully appreciate what the road has to offer!

The road starts 100 kilometers (60 miles) away from Melbourne, and the speed limit along Great Ocean Road varies from 80 km/h to 100 km/h (50mph to 60mph).

Great Ocean Road is in perfect condition and relatively easy to drive, so don’t get distracted by the magnificent coastal scenery. The road is popular among cyclists, so be careful.

In high season or on weekends, there can be a lot of people on that road. Better choose a weekday or come there earlier in the morning! And remember, summer in the Southern Hemisphere starts in December!

Moreover, Great Ocean Road has been declared Australia’s National Heritage in 2011 so you really can’t miss it if you visit the area.

What is Great Ocean Road’s history?

The construction of the Great Ocean Road was first planned after the end of World War I. Before that, the southwest coast of the state of Victoria was only accessible by sea or tiny paths. The road was intended to become a link between isolated villages on the coast.

The construction started in 1919 and the road was built by soldiers returning from war, helping to prevent an imminent unemployment problem in sparsely populated areas. Approximately 3,000 soldiers worked on the construction that lasted for 13 years. Workers slept in camps set up next to the road they were building. In fact, the construction was not easy, some of the workers died building the road.

The road finally opened in November 1932 and became a monument to all the soldiers who lost their lives during World War I. Since then, the road has been continuously renovated and improved over the years to make it more secure and easy to drive.

Great Ocean Road itinerary

Most travelers reach Great Ocean Road from Melbourne. In fact, the road is located just one hour southeast of Melbourne, making it ideal for a day out. However, you can also dedicate several days of your vacation to explore the area.

To get to the starting point of Great Ocean Road, Torquay, travel from Melbourne city onto the Westgate Freeway. Follow the road to Geelong’s ring road and at the roundabout after passing Geelong take the Torquay exit on your left. Then, follow the signs to Torquay. In Torquay, it is very easy to find the beginning of Great Ocean Road.

Also, if you are planning to go all the way to Adelaide, you can drive the Corkscrew road. Another great road is the Eyre Highway in Western Australia or the Grand Pacific Drive.

You visualize how to get there on this map of the drive:

What to do along Great Ocean Road?

The area around Great Ocean Road is very popular for travelers because there are heaps of things to do and discover.

Along the road, there will be a lot of viewpoints for you to enjoy the imposing nature landscapes. Here’s a list of sightings or places you can visit and things you can do while road tripping:

  • Torquay is a great coastal town known for surfing. Torquay is home to the Australian National Surf Museum. Also, famous brands such as Rip Curl or Quicksilver started in Torquay so there are a few factory shops where you can find these brands discounted.
  • Beaches. As the road borders the ocean, there are great beaches all along the way. Some of the most beautiful and popular are: Bells Beach, Logan’s Beach, Anglesea Beach, or Lorne Beach.
  • The Twelve Apostles. These are rock formations located along the coast, created as a result of the erosion of cliffs by the force of the wind and the sea over millions of years. Although they are called the Twelve Apostles, today there are only eight rock formations still standing.
  • Waterfalls. You can’t go on a road trip along Great Ocean Road without paying a visit to a few of the many waterfalls in the area. Here are some of the most worthy to see: Erskine Falls, Straw Falls, Henderson Falls, or Triplet Falls.

There are a lot of things to see and visit along the way. Therefore, the article would be too long if we would list them all. However, you can always discover amazing places by following the signs by the road and checking the official website. You can easily find some accommodations on your way or in you are on a RV you can stay at the famous Lorne caravan park.

Great Ocean Road in Australia
Great Ocean Road

A preview of the drive:

If you are planning your road trip to Great Ocean Road, you should definitely watch this video to have an idea of the most scenic places on your drive:

Is Great Ocean Road open?

The drive is usually always open all year around.

While driving, don’t forget basic security rules. Also, look out for animal hazards, pull over to let faster traffic pass if you’re driving slowly.

Additionally, there is much traffic in the summer here, so you should always be careful and watch your speed.

In fact, it is one of the most scenic drives on the Australian coast, as well as the Black Spur Drive as a forest drive.

So, Great Ocean Road is one of the best excursions to do in Australia. This famous road runs through one of the most iconic parts of all of Australia. You can’t miss the opportunity to drive this road if you are traveling in the area.

Pictures credits: DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Discover our other roads in Oceania: click here or see our road map!