The Great Ocean Road Scenic Drive is known as one of the most spectacular driving routes in the world and is an iconic Australian destination. The road begins at Torquay which is about 100km (62 miles) from Melbourne and stretches for 243km (150 miles) where it end at Allansford.
The road was built by World War I veterans from 1919 to 1932 and is the world’s longest war memorial. The construction involves around 3000 ex-soldiers that worked in extreme weather conditions using explosives, picks and shovels to carve the road into the cliff sides while camping in the Australian bush.
The road was officially opened in November 1932 and was formally named the Great Ocean Road in 1936 when the State Government acquired the road and abolished all tolls.
The road hugs the coastline and passes through charming towns like Anglesea and Apollos Bay which make for nice places to stop for breaks but the primary attractions are the stunning ocean views and the beaches along the southern coast of Australia.
The top attraction which most visitors want to see are the unusual rock formations called the “Twelve Apostles”. Named for the twelve (12) huge rock towers that stand in the surf just a short distance from the coastal cliffs. More information on the Twelve Apostles is provided at the end of the post with a link to my previous post.
Some lesser known rock formations that can be seen on the Great Ocean Road are the Arch, Razorback, London Bridge and Loch Ard. These sites may not be as famous as the Twelve Apostles but they are equally impressive. Photos of these are shown below and more information on these sites is provided at the end of the post with a link to my previous post.
Other interesting attractions that are worth visiting are the Split Point Lighthouse and an area where thousands of rocks have been stacked into small cairns. The stacked rock site is the largest concentration of cairns that I have seen and it was a fun place for some nice photos. Links to my previous posts on these two sites are also provided at the end of this post.
One of the other popular attractions along the Great Ocean Road is the Great Otway National Park which is home to some of Australia’s most iconic animals. The photo below is of the drive through Great Otway National Park.
Driving the Great Ocean Road can be done on a day trip from Melbourne but it would not leave much time to really experience how impressive the rock formations are and to truly enjoy the beauty of this scenic drive!
The Great Ocean Road Scenic Drive truly is a beautiful drive. There is a stunning sight around every bend and turn. There are many places to pull over and spend a few minutes doing nothing but enjoying the beauty of the scenery.
Places like the Twelve Apostles, the Arch, the Razorback, London Bridge and Loch Ard deserve more than a few minutes. These are places that should not be rushed.
My Great Ocean Drive trip was for two days. I stopped to see the Twelve Apostles on the first day, spent the night in Port Campbell and then stopped to see the Twelve Apostles again on my way back to Melbourne. This sight was so dramatic that I wanted to see it again because I felt that I might not get another chance to see it in the future.
Most tourist take a daytrip tour from Melbourne which will let you see the highlights of the road but I recommend doing a 2 day self-drive tour which will allow you to stop as often as you like and stay as long as you want before moving on to the next stop.