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Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is a 240-km Australian National Heritage-listed route along the southeastern coast. The Great Ocean Road connects Torquay and Allansford, Victoria, offering stunning views and historic significance.

The Great Ocean Road was built by returning soldiers from World War I between 1919 and 1932 and is dedicated to soldiers who died during World War I. The road is the largest war memorial in the world.

The Great Ocean Road starts at Torquay and travels westward to finish at Allansford near Warrnambool, the largest city along the road. The road is in two lanes (one in each direction) and is covered by a speed limit changing between 50 km per hour and 100 km per hour.

The road is considered a tourist attraction in the area, in which much of the road hugs the coastline known as the Surf Coast, between Torquay and Cape Otway, and the Shipwreck Coast further west of Cape Otway, providing visibility of the Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean.

The road traverses rainforests, as well as beaches and cliffs composed of limestone and sandstone, which is susceptible to erosion.

The road travels via Anglesea, Lorne, Apollo Bay, and Port Campbell, the latter being notable for its natural limestone and sandstone rock formations including Loch Ard Gorge, The Grotto, London Arch (formerly London Bridge), and The Twelve Apostles

At the stretch of the Great Ocean Road nearer to Geelong, the road meanders along the coast, with tall, almost-vertical cliffs on the other side of it. Road signs put up along the road warn motorists of possible rockfalls, which have occurred before.

In 2011, the road was added to the Australian National Heritage List.

In December 2020, legislation went into effect to legally protect the Great Ocean Road.


The Great Ocean Road was first planned towards the end of World War I.

At the time, the rugged southwest coast of Victoria was accessible only by sea or rough bush track. It was envisaged that the road would connect isolated settlements on the coast, and become a vital transport link for the timber industry and tourism.

Surveying for the road, tentatively titled the South Coast Road, started in 1918 – with the road suggested to travel from Barwon Heads, follow the coast west around Cape Otway, and end near Warrnambool.

In 1918, the Great Ocean Road Trust was formed as a private company, under the helm of president Howard Hitchcock.

The company managed to secure £81,000 in capital from private subscription and borrowing, with Hitchcock himself contributing £3000. The money would be repaid by charging drivers a toll until the debt was cleared, and the road would then be gifted to the state.

Construction of the road began on 19 September 1919.

Approximately 3,000 returned servicemen worked on the project, which was a war memorial for fellow servicemen killed in World War I. An advanced survey team progressed through dense scrub at a rate of approximately 3 km a month.

Construction was mostly done by hand, using explosives, picks and shovels, wheelbarrows, and some small machinery, and was at times perilous, with several workers being killed. The final sections along steep coastal cliffs were the most difficult to work on.

The Great Ocean Road route: A coastal adventure like no other

The Great Ocean Road is a legendary Australian road trip.

Embark on a journey along the captivating Great Ocean Road, a scenic coastal drive that winds through stunning landscapes, iconic landmarks, and charming towns. Discover must-see stops and attractions along the way in this comprehensive guide.

The Great Ocean Road offers breathtaking coastal views, unique rock formations, and charming seaside towns. Stretching along the southeastern coast of Victoria, this iconic route is a must-do for travelers seeking a blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences.

This route will take you through the key stops and attractions along the Great Ocean Road, ensuring you make the most of your journey.

Starting Point: Torquay

Kickstart your Great Ocean Road adventure in Torquay, known as the surfing capital of Australia.

Visit the Australian National Surfing Museum to learn about the country’s surfing history and culture. Don’t forget to catch some waves at Bells Beach, famous for its massive swells and world-class surfing competitions.

Breathtaking Lorne

As you continue along the coast, you’ll reach the charming town of Lorne. Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Lorne Pier, enjoy a swim at Loutit Bay, and explore the art galleries and boutiques that line the streets.

Apollo Bay: A Seaside Haven

Next on your journey is Apollo Bay, a tranquil coastal town nestled between the ocean and the lush Otway Ranges. Indulge in fresh seafood, explore the Great Otway National Park, and take in the stunning views from Marriners Lookout.

The Twelve Apostles: A Natural Wonder

One of the most iconic highlights of the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles. These majestic limestone stacks rising from the Southern Ocean create a truly awe-inspiring sight. Witness a breathtaking sunset or sunrise for a magical experience.

Loch Ard Gorge and Shipwreck Coast

Explore the dramatic coastline further by visiting Loch Ard Gorge, named after a ship that met its fate here in 1878. Discover the history of shipwrecks along the Shipwreck Coast and marvel at the stunning rock formations, including the Razorback and London Arch.

Warrnambool: Whales and Maritime Heritage

Reach Warrnambool and experience the thrill of whale watching (seasonal). Visit the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village to step back in time and learn about the area’s maritime history. Take a stroll along the promenade and enjoy the picturesque views of Lady Bay.

Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve

Immerse yourself in indigenous culture and wildlife at the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. This volcanic crater offers the chance to see kangaroos, emus, and koalas in their natural habitat. Join an Aboriginal guided tour to gain deeper insights into the area’s cultural heritage.

Port Fairy: Historic Charm

Continue to Port Fairy, a beautifully preserved historic town with quaint cottages and a charming harbor. Explore Griffiths Island, home to a colony of shearwater birds, and soak in the town’s artistic and cultural vibe.

Portland and Cape Bridgewater

Visit the city of Portland, known for its maritime history and beautiful botanical gardens. A short drive away is Cape Bridgewater, where you can witness the awe-inspiring Petrified Forest, blowholes, and the highest coastal cliffs in Victoria.

Conclusion: A Journey to Remember

The Great Ocean Road is an adventure that promises stunning coastal landscapes, unique geological formations, and a glimpse into Australia’s rich history and culture. As you traverse this iconic route, you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime.

From surfing beaches to rugged cliffs, and charming towns to remarkable wildlife, the Great Ocean Road offers an unparalleled experience that showcases the natural beauty and diversity of Australia’s southeastern coast.

So, pack your bags, hit the road, and let the Great Ocean Road reveal its wonders to you.

Embark on a journey along the captivating Great Ocean Road, a scenic coastal drive that winds through stunning landscapes, iconic landmarks, and charming towns. Discover must-see stops and attractions along the way in this comprehensive guide.

Marathons & Cycling events

Great Ocean Road Marathon

A 45 km section of the Great Ocean Road, between Lorne and Apollo Bay, is the location of the annual “Great Ocean Road Marathon”. First run in 2005, the marathon is part of the Great Ocean Road Running Festival.

Cycling Events

Wiggle Amy’s Gran Fondo cycling event is held in September and uses the section between Lorne and Skenes Creek.

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    Welcome to our comprehensive guide to traveling in Australia. Whether you're planning your first trip or are a seasoned traveler, our site offers the latest information on the country's top destinations, unique wildlife, rich culture, and stunning landscapes. We provide expert advice, travel tips, and personalized itineraries to help you make the most of your Australian adventure. Join us on a journey to discover the best of this amazing country and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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