Reading time: 5 mins
Time of visit: February 2021
An iconic drive along the Southern border of Australia on the Great Ocean Road has pretty much become a mandated attraction on every tourist’s bucket-list visiting Victoria. Extending from Torquay to Nelson (disputed if it ends in Allansford, but why not see it all while you’re here?) for a stretch of over 400 Kilometres along the coast, there are a few must-do spots you simply cannot return without visiting. The itinerary here is a 2 day road trip on the Great Ocean Road with first stop at Apollo Bay and next one at Warrnambool. We continued on to Grampians, a story for another day/blog. You can return to Melbourne from Nelson, which is a 4-5 hour drive back or drive on to Adelaide too depending on your itinerary.
After a 90 minute drive from Melbourne, your first photo worthy stop is point Addis or Bells Beach which can easily be missed on the road as no sign posts lead you here. It is needless to say every traveller has access to a map on their device, so finding your way will be easy.
Memorial Arch at Eastern View
You cannot miss the memorial arch, also a war memorial, on your way even if you wanted to. You can make a stop here for some clicks, but the small parking lot gets real full very easily on holidays.
This is possibly one of the most picturesque viewpoints on the road with views you can’t take your eyes off of. If you are here, Erskine falls is not too far away from here, and has a strenuous climb downhill to get to the falls for a reasonably good view of the waterfalls.
Cape Otway Lighthouse
This lighthouse is a short deviation from the great Ocean road and the oldest surviving lighthouse on mainland Australia housing remains and stories from world war 2 apart from amazing views from the lighthouse balcony.
Further on, an hour away from Cape Otway, very close to the 12 Apostles, make sure you don’t miss Gibson’s steps which leads you down a staircase to the beach up close with one of the apostle-like structures (but not considered one of the 12 apostles).
The Twelve Apostles
A kilometre further, is one of the most popular natural landmarks of Australia, caused by ongoing erosion of limestone structures. And no, they are not twelve in number, the name’s a myth. They were 9 in number originally before one collapsed in 2005 and it’s only a matter of time before more collapse and only remnants are left behind!
Loch Ard Gorge
Another stunning location a few minutes away from 12 apostles that is worth wetting your feet in.
A natural bridge formed from erosion of the ocean and continuing to do so that could in fact fall one day!
Bay of Islands
Astounding ocean views and a perfect place for sunset, as are all the locations starting from Gibson’s steps.
- All these locations are best visited as early in the morning as possible before the sun casts a shadow on these structures mid-noon onwards. Sunset with silhouettes of these picturesque structures is wonderful as well.
- There are plenty more walks and stops on this road if you have the time and energy to go on. I’ve mentioned the best ones you shouldn’t miss if you are short of time.
- Having a rental car and an overnight stay at Apollo Bay can let you visit these places leisurely and without tiring yourself out.
- Public holidays can mean traffic jams, lack of parking spots and having to miss a few spots due to the crowd.