Great Ocean Road
TOWN SEARCH
Great-Ocean-Road

Museums, History and Heritage

Stay Connected

Connect

Stay connected with us through Facebook and Twitter. We'll keep you updated with events, information and special offers throughout the region.

Not Now Connect

Museums, History & Heritage

Much of the region's maritime history and heritage is still visible in the lighthouses that dominate the landscape at various points along the road.  In Queenscliff the Maritime Museum celebrates the town's background in the marine industry with fantastic displays. 

Also in Queenscliff, Fort Queenscliff is an interesting look at a still functioning Australian Defence Force facility that was initially built on the cliff overlooking the Rip to protect ships during the gold rush of the 1800's.

Torquay's position as the capital of the international surf industry makes the local museum 'Surfworld' ideally placed to deliver a historic look at the origins of surfing and the phenomenon it has become.

Geelong grew on the back of the sheep, and the 1800's bluestone building in the centre of town that now houses the National Wool Museum was initially a woolstore facility.  The wool industry in Geelong was built around the need for wool grown in the surrounding districts to be processed and shipped internationally from the docks on Corio Bay.  Also in Geelong, the Ford Discovery Centre is an interactive museum profiling the history of Ford in Geelong as well as giving a behind the scenes look at the design, engineering and manufacturing processes in the automobile industry.

Across the broader region, there are several National Trust properties open to the public that give an indication of early life in the region.  There are also a range of interpretive historic sites, such as the old mill site at Triplet Falls and guided heritage walks in towns such as Queenscliff.

Historic means of transport in the region have been preserved by the Bellarine Railway, with their steam hauled engines still running on weekends and holidays and also powering The Blues Train - a moving, progressive concert on board.

Highlights

Wye River Heritage Walk

The Wye River Heritage Walk takes visitors back to an era when the area was best known as a timber harvesting region. It details the historic cutting, milling and transport of timber in the Otways.

Lorne Heritage Buildings

The Grand Pacific Hotel The Grand Pacific Hotel was built in the 1870’s as one of the first hotels along the Great Ocean Road. Victoria's Lieutenant-Governor declared the Great Ocean Road officially open at a ceremony near Lorne's Grand Pacific Hotel, the site where the project's first survey peg had also been hammered into the ground 14 years before. The Pier became a new focal point for the town’s people, especially after 1879 when Henry Gwynne built the impressive three-storey Grand Pacific Hotel. Henry Gwynne suffered a serious blow-out of costs during construction and the estimated $12,000 ended up costing $24,000. Opening day for the hotel was January 1880, and Cobb and Co Coaches provided a special express service for early guests. Originally it was accessed only by sea with superb views in one of the most unique settings on the coast, opposite the Lorne pier. It has been fully restored and now offers all modern services in a classic restored building. Erskine House Erskine House is of significant historical importance as the oldest guesthouse in Victoria and has been in continuous operation for 136 years. These days, the guesthouse is under redevelopment and is now known as Mantra Erskine on the Beach. Cora Lynn Lorne had two hotels and fifteen guesthouses in its heyday. The Cora Lynn was one of the last early guesthouses still to be seen after crossing the bridge. During 1998 the former Cora Lynn guest house was developed into 26 units. The two large statues are named Cora and Lynn. These statues were made by Graeme Wilkie from Qdos. The name Cora-Lynn came from a gentlemen by the name of “Hunt” who had a property in Deans Marsh named Cora-Lynn.

Lorne History

The Surf Coast has a long Koori history with various Wathaurong tribe clans living in the area for tens of thousands of years. White settlement began in the mid-1800s and soon overwhelmed the indigenous population. Commercial and agricultural pursuits helped establish settlements along the coast, including Lorne, and inland. A brief history Prior to European settlement, the area was occupied by the Kolakngat Aborigines. Lorne is situated on a bay named after Captain Louttit, who sought shelter there in 1841 while supervising the retrieval of cargo from a nearby shipwreck. The coast was surveyed five years later in 1846. The first European settler was William Lindsay, a timber-cutter who began felling the area in 1849. The first telegraph arrived in 1859. Subdivision began in 1869 and in 1871 the town was named after the Marquis of Lorne from Argyleshire in Scotland on the occasion of his marriage to one of Queen Victoria's daughters. Rudyard Kipling In 1891 the area was visited by Rudyard Kipling who was inspired to write the poem Flowers, which included the line:"Buy my hot-wood clematis, Buy a frond of fern, Gathered where the Erskine leaps Down the road to Lorne." Kipling was one of the most popular writers in English, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was a British author and poet, born in India, and best known today for his children's books The Great Ocean Road connection By 1922 the Great Ocean Road was extended to Lorne, making the town much more accessible. The first passenger service to Geelong was established in 1924 and guesthouses began to appear after 1930. The Great Ocean Road which stretches along the South Eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Geelong, Lorne and Warrnambool is the world's biggest war memorial. It was built between World War I and World War II by returned servicemen in honour of their fallen comrades. The road took 16 years to build and it was all done by hand using picks, shovels and dynamite.

Cape Otway Lightstation

Cape Otway Lightstation is Australia's most important lighthouse. The Light established in 1848 is perched on towering sea cliffs 90 metres above where Bass Straight and Southern Ocean collide. Experience the thrill of stepping out onto the Lighthouse Balcony for awesome views, and hear the amazing history of tragic shipwrecks on this isolated and rugged coastline from the passionate Guides. Explore the historic Telegraph Station from 1859 and discover Australia's extraordinary secret war history from WW2. Appreciate and understand local Aboriginal Culture at the Aboriginal Cultural Site, with stories from local guides. Visitors can also enjoy bush tucker, spear throwing, painting and many other activities. Watch whales at play and soak up the natural beauty and atmosphere for a few hours or stay overnight in the unique, historic Lightkeepers accommodation. Ideally suited to families, groups, couples or friends. B&B or longer stays. Cape Otway Lightstation is an excellent location to base yourself, being a highlight of the Great Ocean Road and at the centre of the Great Ocean Walk. Fantastic fishing, swimming, waterfalls and walks are nearby. The Lightkeeper's Wife's Cafe offers coffee, homemade scones and local produce all made fresh on site. The Café is located in the original Assistant Lightkeeper's cottage, with a painting and photo gallery including fascinating historic audio stories of lightkeeper's wives and children. Free wifi and daily newspapers. Discover the coast on the Lightkeeper's Shipwreck Discovery Tour, running daily. Walk in the footsteps of lightkeepers along the Great Ocean Walk with experienced and knowledgeable local guides. Located a short drive off the Great Ocean Road, through serene forests where you are guaranteed to see koalas.
 

Where Can I Stay?

Use our accommodation
finder to find and book online.
 

What Can I Do?

Plan your perfect getaway
before leaving the house.
 

Where Can I Eat & Drink?

Plan and locate your eating
and drinking options.
 

What's On?

Discover all the exciting
events in our region.

Packages & Offers

Legendary Blues Train Weekend: Stay & Play, Save 50%

A unique musical experience! Toe tapping entertainment, cool drinks and a good laugh.

Seahaven Village - Taste of The Bellarine $495

Relax at stunning Barwon Heads Friday and Saturday night in a cosy 4.5 star one bedroom spa suite.

Barwon Heads Golf Club - Winter Escape with Free Golf

$240 per couple per night

Drive In + Chill Out at BIG4 Beacon Resort

Drive In + Chill Out at BIG4 Beacon Resort.

Twilight Cruise - Searoad Ferries

Take a stroll on the viewing decks, sample some of the regions finest produce, all in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge.

High Tea on the High Seas - Searoad Ferries

Experience High Tea on the High Seas in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge on board the Queenscliff Sorrento Ferry.

Girls Indulgence Getaway

Reboot your life with an indulgent Girl's Getaway.

Legendary Blues Train Weekend: Stay & Play, Save 50%

A unique musical experience! Toe tapping entertainment, cool drinks and a good laugh. Make a weekend of exploring Queenscliff with 2 nights’ accommodation at the award-winning BIG4 Beacon Resort including Blues Train tickets, return transfers to the event, buffet breakfast, 6pm checkout, local discounts and more.

Only $487 per couple.

Phone: 1800 351 152 or visit BIG4 Beacon Resort for more information.
 

Seahaven Village - Taste of The Bellarine $495

Relax at stunning Barwon Heads Friday and Saturday night in a cosy 4.5 star one bedroom spa suite. Enjoy fabulous bonuses including:

  • A $70 dinner voucher
  • Welcome pack including wine, chocolates and a breakfast basket
Stay between Sunday and Thursday nights and receive THREE nights accommodation for the same price.

T: 03 5254 1066
 

Barwon Heads Golf Club - Winter Escape with Free Golf

This winter, guests who book a standard room at our normal Bed and Breakfast rate play golf for free. Want an even better reason to take a break? The Club is rated one of Australia’s Top 10 public access courses.

From $240 per room per night.
($120 p/p twin share)

  • Accommodation in a standard room with ensuite at Barwon Heads Golf Club
  • Fully cooked breakfast
  • A complimentary round of golf each person (normally up to $85 each).

Address: Golf Links Rd, Barwon Heads, Victoria 3227

To book:

Phone: 03 5255 6255
Fax: 03 5255 6266
Website: www.bhgc.com.au
Email: reservations@bhgc.com.au

T&C's: Valid Sunday to Thursday inclusive. 1st June to 31 August 2014. Dress requirements apply on course and in the clubhouse.
 

Drive In + Chill Out at BIG4 Beacon Resort

$317 for 2 adults & up to 2 children (save 60%)

  • 2 nights in a Lonsdale Villa
  • Unlimited Mountain Bike Hire
  • Unlimited DVD Hire
  • A daily Espresso Coffee or Hot Chocolate per person
  • A bottle of local wine
  • Free Daily Kids Activities
  • An extra Long Late Check-out to 6.00pm

Plus get two LI'TYA Deep Ocean Renewal Facials for the price of 1 at the resort's Mud Day Spa (save $120)

And there's plenty of indoor fun at the resort with an indoor heated swimming pool and 8-seater spa, an indoor toddler playroom and a games room. Add another layer of clothing and there's even more to explore outside! BIG4 Beacon Resort is the ideal base to check out Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale.

Phone 1800 351 152 or Book Online.

Terms and Conditions: Offer expires on 31/08/2014

 

Twilight Cruise - Searoad Ferries

Take a stroll on the viewing decks and find the best spot to capture the setting sun. Sample some of the regions finest artisan products from both the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas. Enjoy a regional produce platter with an award winning wine, locally made ale or cider, all in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge.

$35.00 per person (includes return sailing between Sorrento and Queenscliff)

Every Friday and Saturday from April to December
4pm sailing from Sorrento
5pm sailing from Queenscliff

To book visit www.searoad.com.au or contact 03 5258 3244

 

High Tea on the High Seas - Searoad Ferries

Experience High Tea on the High Seas in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge on board the Queenscliff Sorrento Ferry.
Enjoy table service in elegant surroundings, exquisite food, quality tea and real coffee!

$40.00 per person and includes immediate return travel on the same ferry for a leisurely experience.

Every Sunday from February to November
12pm sailing from Sorrento
3pm sailing from Queenscliff.

To book visit www.searoad.com.au or contact 03 5258 3244

 

Girls Indulgence Getaway

Reboot your life with an indulgent Girl's Getaway. When life gets a little overwhelming, an escape with your best friends can be the best way to share some uninterrupted catch up time, a little relaxation and, of course, some well-deserved indulgence on looking after you.

$798 is for 4 people ($199.50 per person) and includes:

  • 2 nights accommodation at Beacon Resort in a Curlewis Villa
  • A Food Purveyor "Little Extra" Hamper (special treats from our region including jams, chocolates, tapenade and much much more)
  • 1 x bottle of Jack Rabbit Sparkling
  • 4 x 60 minute relaxation massages in our day spa
  • Return transfers to a venue of choice (within 3225 postcode area during your stay)
  • Unlimited DVD Hire
  • 12 noon check-out

This offer is valid until the 20th December 2014; No further discounts apply; Some exclusion periods to apply; Package is subject to availability at the time of booking.