GREAT OCEAN ROAD HAS BIG NATURE IN SPADES
One of the most well-known highlights of the Great Ocean Road is The Twelve Apostles. Situated in the Port Campbell National Park, the massive limestone structures that tower 45 metres above the tempestuous Southern Ocean, leave its visitors awe-struck in wonder at their size and beauty. Behind the eight remaining stacks (five have fallen since their discovery) are majestic cliffs, around 70 metres high.
Glorious at both dusk and dawn, the Twelve Apostles, by the forces of nature has gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs which became arches and when they collapsed, rock islands as high as 45 metres were left isolated from the shore.
The Great Otway National Park stretches from Torquay through to Princetown and up through the Otways hinterland towards Colac.
The park features rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, rock platforms and windswept heathland. In the north, the park features tall forests, ferny gullies, magnificent waterfalls and tranquil lakes.
Down south, the rainforest gives way to the ocean in dramatic fashion. Visit the turbulent meeting of the South Ocean and Bass straight at Cape Otway Lightstation, or seek out a sheltered beach for a day of sea play.
THE SOUTHERN OCEAN
The National Heritage listed Great Ocean Road hugs Victoria's western coastline and is your path to the spectacular views and theatrics of the Southern Ocean. The coast line is a tribute to the rhythmic relationship between water and land and often at its best in the eye of a storm.
Explore the changing colours, heights and landscapes from Torquay all the way to Portland and beyond.
Nature's drama is an ever changing performance.
The Port Campbell National Park ranges from Princetown to Peterborough. Photographs of these historic sites have long represented the Great Ocean Road. These include the Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, The Arch and the Grotto, to name a few. Take your time exploring these coastal lookouts and trails and learning their amazing historical stories.
With an international reputation as one of Australia’s best surf beaches, Bells Beach is an amazing spot – either in the water or out. There isn’t much ‘beach’ at Bells, it’s mostly a glorious cliff-face, and views from the cliff-top car park are spectacular – a great spot to watch local surfers out in the water.
There are several quality surfing spots in the precinct from Southside to Steps Reef. Every Easter Bells Beach hosts the international professional surfing community for the Rip Curl Pro event.
With its diverse terrain and coastal margin, the entire Great Ocean Road region is a natural for waterfalls. Typically they offer shady respite from summer days and walkable access through forested settings alive with sights and sounds of wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for a koala, echidna, wallaby, weird fungi, wildflowers and native birds.
The Great Ocean Road region is rich in Lakes & Rivers. These are a celebration of the rich volcanic history of the region and a chance to explore. Whether your passion is fishing, canoeing or picnicking, there is a body of water for you - each with its own character, distinctive setting and a raft of special experiences.
The volcanic history of the Great Ocean Road region has shaped the landscape. Explore the dormant volcanic craters and lakes. The mounts offer spectacular viewing and the lakes formed within the craters offer good fishing and water sports.
Mt Noorat, Australia's largest dry volcanic crater, was once a traditional meeting place for Aboriginal clans from around Western Victoria.
From Torquay to Portland and beyond there are literally hundreds of bay and ocean beaches to choose from, and they are magnificent all year round. In summer they act as a cool retreat, while in winter a wonderful backdrop to get away from the cities.
It may be tempting to jump in anywhere along the coast, but we advise it's best to look for the yellow and red beach flags. They signify that there are lifesavers around looking after you and your family, at patrolled beaches. You can help by swimming between the flags and being conscious of beach safety.
In a region that is best known for the pristine natural environment, there are loads of ways to get back to nature or have encounters with wildlife.
The natural environment is just as spectacular from the water, with world class snorkeling sites and an amazing diversity of marine life right along the coastline. Snorkel or kayak the marine sanctuaries throughout the region or dip a toe in the water at any of the beaches - this is nature at its dramatic best.
Port Campbell National Park
Port Campbell National Park is world famous for its extraordinary collection of wave-sculpted rock formations and the Twelve Apostles.
Bay of Islands Coastal Park
This coastal park has outstanding ocean views and geological features. Sheer cliffs and rock stacks dominate the bays, and heathlands display colourful spring wildflowers. Beaches are accessible at some points.
Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary
Just past Apollo Bay, off the world famous Great Ocean Road, Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary protects 12ha of ocean waters.
Mount Defiance Lookout
Mount Defiance is located on the Great Ocean Road near Cumberland River (between Lorne and Apollo Bay) A small pull out bay offers an opportunity for spectacular photography!
The Arches Marine Sanctuary
Just off the coast near Port Campbell, The Arches Marine Sanctuary protects a remarkable seascape. This area is known for the above water limestone landscape, however 19 to 25 metres...
Wilkin Flora and Fauna Reserve
For the nature lovers, Wilkin Flora and Fauna Reserve covers total of 3,600 hectares with four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive track access.