Great Ocean Road Travel Guide

Great Ocean Road

Images of the 12 Apostles are frequently used to advertise the Great Ocean Road but scarcely 20 kilometres of a total 240 kilometres looks anything like picture above, and are used as bait to attract vast numbers of visitors along the Great Ocean Road. The “must see” status of this small section of coast has led to some visitors visiting the 12 Apostles on a hectic day trips, and unfortunately they miss out on the other aspects of the Great Ocean Road.

Some Basic Facts

The Great Ocean Road is a scenic coastal drive which starts at Torquay and depending on which tourist web site you believe, ends at either Apollo Bay, Port Campbell or Warrnambool. The road winds through farming land, small seaside communities, patches of rain forest and for the first 100 kilometres the road hugs the coastline.
From Apollo Bay it heads inland through the Otways rain forest passing through Lavers Hill and then onto Princetown and the 12 Apostles where it rejoins the coast and for the next 20 kilometres there are numerous lookout points which take in the splendid panorama’s which adorn so many local tourist brochures.
After passing through Port Campbell and Peterborough the road bears inland through the dairying country of the Western district and regains the coast again at Warrnambool
The majority of the towns and villages along the Great Ocean Road, places such as Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Lorne and Apollo Bay are holiday locations where visitors come to relax by the sea and are not known for their scenery, and most visitors who holiday in these places tend to visit scenic waterfalls and secluded spots in the Otways rain forest.

Gibsons Steps

Access to sea level views of the 12 Apostles are via a series of steps cut into the cliffs by the owner of Glenample station, Hugh Gibson in the late 1880's. Glenample and the Gibson family became well known after the wreck of the sailing ship Lochard

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Glenample Homestead

An attempt in the 1990's by Parks Victoria to turn the historic Glenample homestead into an interpretive centre failed due to lack of support.
Currently there are moves to reopen the site.

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12 Apostles Kiosk

This small cafe at the 12 Apostles visitor centre was the cause of very costly, nine year legal battle between the local shire council and Parks Victoria.

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Major Towns

Lorne

As early as the 1880’s Lorne became known for the pristine beauty of the local Otways rainforest and for its coastal scenery, it attracted many early tourists, including Rudyard Kipling who visited Lorne in 1891. The opening of the first section of the Great Ocean Road bought vehicle access to Lorne and with them the first surge of tourists.
Since motor cars at the time were very expensive, the first tourists tended to be quite prosperous and within a short time Lorne became the fashionable seaside town to visit. Today the cars and fashions have changed but Lorne is still Victoria’s chic seaside resort with boutique shopping and resort style accommodation.

Port Campbell

Lonely Planet once described Port Campbell as a windswept village with one pub and a few take away food places that catered to passing tourists, and while this might sound very mean spirited it is probably an accurate description of the town.
Port Campbell’s best attribute is that it lies in the middle of about 30 kilometres of spectacular coastline and the vast majority of tourists don’t come too see the town, they are there to visit the local scenery.

Apollo Bay

Up until the 1980’s only a trickle of tourists made their way to Apollo Bay, however improvements in the Great Ocean Road and better cars and a more affluent life style kick started Apollo bay during the 1990’s with developers opening up subdivisions and lots of Melbourne investors started building holiday homes in the town. Sometimes described as a cheap alternative to Lorne, Apollo Bay offers similar attractions with its wide sandy beaches and being surrounded by the Otways rainforest.

Main Attractions

Cape Otway

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Otways Fly

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Rainforest

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Main Ecvents

Apollo Bay Music Festival

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Ocean Road Marathon

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Queenscliffe Music Festival

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Loch Ard Motor InnPort Campbell

Prime location in Port Campbell
Mid Price

Located in the centre of Port Campbell, the Loch Ard Motor Inn has a range of motels suites and family style apartments all with their own private balconies. The Loch Ard has a full range of guest facilities including Wireless Broadband Internet

AVG/NIGHT$120 BOOK NOW

Flashpackers Port Campbell

Best Backpacker Accommodation
Economy

Motel style accommodation at Backpacker prices - and upmarket backpacker style accommodation in the centre of Port Campbell. Close to shops and restaurants, clean, cheerful and friendly accommodation for travellers, families or small groups travelling on a budget.

AVG/NIGHT$120 BOOK NOW

Butterfly Farm Port Campbell Rd

Our best value B & B
485 reviews

Butterfly Farm Bed and Breakfast is a lovingly restored Edwardian country homestead situated on the Great Ocean Road a few minutes drive from Peterborough. An ideal base for touring the Great Ocean Rd.

AVG/NIGHT$110 BOOK NOW

The Grand Central Cobden

Best choice for centred touring
485 reviews

Historic hotel, carefully restored to its former glory with 7 individually styled suites, each with private ensuite bathrooms. Double and family suites ( some with 2 person spas), dining room catering for up to 16 people and separate guest lounge and bar .

AVG/NIGHT$110 BOOK NOW
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Great Ocean Road Travel Info

Getting Here

The Great Ocean Road has no rail or air passenger services but has a good coach service that runs under the control of the Victorian rail network, which provides through private contractors, coach and bus services along the length of the Great Ocean Road. There is daily coach service from Geelong to Apollo Bay which runs four coaches per day during weekdays and two coach services on weekends. The trip takes about 2 and a half hours from the Geelong station and stops at all the major towns along the road. There is a also a coach service that runs from Warrnambool to Apollo Bay, three times per week ( Monday-Wednesday-Friday) and it links up with the midday Geelong coach providing a complete Geelong to Warrnambool (or vice versa) service along the Great Ocean Road on these three days.

Local Travel

The majority of the towns along the Great Ocean Road are quite small and because of their size and the fact that most visitors travelling along the Great Ocean Road do so in their own car, it means there is little demand for a taxi service or public transport. Some of the larger towns such as Lorne and Apollo Bay do have a taxi service but usually just one operator with a single car. Travellers who plan on travelling along the Great Ocean Road without their own transport need to check their accommodation ( or destination ) is within walking distance of the bus stops.

Tours

There are numerous tour operators operating along the Great Ocean Road with a large number of these being aerial services providing scenic flights over the popular sections of the road. They are mostly helicopter based operators but there are still some operators using fixed wing aircraft. Scenic flights on fixed wing aircraft are usually cheaper but they are usually out of the way as they need an airstrip to operate from. The are also quite a number of fishing and scenic cruise operators who provide a sea level perspective of the coastline.