Great Ocean Road Region - Warrnambool, VIC

Great Ocean Road Region

The Great Ocean Road is a 243 km stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Warrnambool. The road was constructed to provide work for returning soldiers and dedicated as a Memorial to those killed in the First World War. It is one of Australia's great scenic coastline drives.

The Road traces the coastline through the Surf Coast and Shipwreck Coast following the contours of Victoria's rugged south west coast and offering visitors one of Australia's greatest and most spectacular coastal drives. The road also traverses the fabulous Otway Ranges that plunge into the sea at Cape Otway, Western Victoria's southern most point.

Start your journey in Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula and discover beautiful beaches, great eateries, a fascinating heritage and an enormous range of recreational opportunities from fishing and golfing to diving and surfing. Take in the colourful and lively ambience of bayside Geelong, Victoria's second largest city, or visit quaint Queenscliff and discover the town's rich maritime history, excellent restaurants and heritage hotels.

Lesser known towns include Beech Forest, Apollo Bay and Johanna. Further inland is the beautiful Carlisle State Park. On the alternative Princess Highway route to Adelaide you will find the town of Colac on the shores of Lake Colac, located on a vast fertile volcanic plain. Lake Colac is the largest freshwater lake in Victoria. Here boating, swimming, water skiing and fishing are popular activities. Colac's Botanic Gardens extend along part of the foreshore of the lake.

Further eastward and on the coast lies the town of Warrnambool. This important regional centre was established in 1847 under orders from Superintendent La Trobe to provide a sea outlet for the farm products of the western district. Flagstaff Hill, Maritime Museum and Thunder Point Coastal Reserve are major attractions here.

Further inland is the important regional centre of Hamilton. Beneath the dunes west of Warrnambool may lie proof that Europeans sailed to the south eastern shores of Australia more than 250 years before Cook arrived in the Endeavour. It is said that underneath the dunes here lies the “mahogany” ship. At the western end of this region are the towns of Portland, Heywood, Portland Bay, Nelson Bay, Bridgewater Bay and Discovery Bay.


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Features

Facilities
Along the coast, seaside resort towns such as Lorne and Apollo Bay are the perfect base for a seaside escape. They offer stunning beaches and water sports as well as some of Australia's best rainforest scenery in the nearby Otway Ranges.

Great Ocean Road accommodation options range from basic camping through backpacker hostels, cottages, bed and breakfast motels/hotels, beachside, eco tourism accommodation and secluded forest retreats.

Discover the unique array of gourmet food and wine. There are two excellent wine regions, the Geelong wine region and the Henty wine region as well as some of regional Victoria's finest restaurants.
Attractions
One of the most visited stretches of the road is Port Campbell. Buffeted by wild seas and fierce winds, the coastline around Port Campbell has been sculpted over millions of years to form a series of striking rock stacks that rise out of the Southern Ocean. Known as the Twelve Apostles, they are one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Victoria as well as Lord Ard Gorge, Muttonbird Island, Sentinel Rock, the Arch and London Bridge. The stone stacks and pillars that rise straight out of the sea east of Port Campbell were once mainland cliff front. Many of them still host coastal heath plants, relics of their recent detachment. Today only 8 apostles remain. In the town of Camperdown be sure to see the fabulous Clock Tower.

You can take a ride through nature on the spectacular Great Ocean Road, which winds alongside the wild and windswept Southern Ocean from Geelong to Portland. This diverse and dramatic region takes in surf beaches, historic ports, whale lookouts, breathtaking mountain ranges, rainforests and national parks. See monster waves at Bells Beach and laze on the golden sands of Lorne. Visit an important Aboriginal site near Tower Hill or spot shipwrecks near the charming fishing village of Port Fairy. Of course, you can’t miss the Twelve Apostles - craggy limestone stacks rising majestically from the Southern Ocean.

Location

Warrnambool, VIC, 3280