Travelling along the Great Ocean Road is an incredible bucket-list-worthy journey that everyone visiting Australia should experience. One of the Great Ocean Road’s most iconic landmarks is the Great Ocean Road Sign. It serves as an iconic welcome for all those looking to explore and experience this magnificent mix of coastal views and marvellous natural scenery.
The Great Ocean Road itself was built by soldiers and servicemen between 1919 and 1932 in memory of all those who lost their lives during the First World War. This remarkable feat was advocated by Engineer W.T. McConnack, an honorary engineer, and the Country Roads Board of Victoria, connecting isolated settlements along this stretch of coast into one continuous highway – transforming it from a rough bush track into today’s vital transport link admired throughout Australia and beyond!
Where is the Great Ocean Road Sign Located?
The Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch, often referred to as the Great Ocean Road Sign, is located near the town of Eastern View, situated between Aireys Inlet and Lorne in Victoria. This iconic arch serves as a recognizable landmark and is often considered the starting or ending point for journeys along the Great Ocean Road.
The Evolution of the Great Ocean Road Sign
This iconic structure is now on its fourth rendition after being damaged by disasters such as the huge bush fire during the 1983 Ash Wednesday tragedy. The original arch was made of wood, however, it was replaced with a more permanent structure in 1973. The newer arch is made of steel and wood, and it has become an iconic symbol associated with the Great Ocean Road.
Navigating to the Great Ocean Road Sign
The Great Ocean Road Sign marks the symbolic starting point of the Great Ocean Road. Getting there is pretty straightforward.
Directions from Melbourne
Melbourne is the most common starting point for a journey to the iconic Great Ocean Road Sign. The trip will take around 1 hour and 50 minutes. Begin by travelling west on the M1 and exit south of Geelong towards Torquay. The time travel to the Great Ocean Road sign from Melbourne totals 130 km.
Directions from Torquay
The town of Torquay is the official start of the Great Ocean Road. To get to the Great Ocean Road Sign from Torquay, head west on the Great Ocean Road for about 30 kilometres until you reach the Great Ocean Road Arch Sign near Eastern View.
Directions from Warrnambool
Warrnambool is one of the last towns on the Great Ocean Road. To reach the Great Ocean Road Sign from Warrnambool, head east on the B100 (Princes Highway) for around 160 km until you reach the iconic Great Ocean Road Arch Sign, easily visible from the road.
Directions from Allansford
The last town on the westward route along the Great Ocean Road is Allansford. To get to the Great Ocean Road Sign, you’ll have to drive about 200 km east along the Great Ocean Road. The drive will take you around 3 to 4 hours, depending on stops and traffic through the towns along the way.
What Can You Do at the Great Ocean Road Sign
At the iconic Great Ocean Road Sign, snap stunning shots of the sign. At The Memorial Arch visitors can find out more about its history through information boards that showcase what efforts were made by returned soldiers while constructing this famous landmark path along Australia’s coastline.
Planning Your Visit
The Great Ocean Road Sign is open at all hours. All you have to do is drive there, park and go see it. However, the best time to visit is during the week and outside of the peak tourist season from December to January when it’s a little less crowded.
If you’d like to get the sign for yourself, visit an hour or so before sunset and after sunrise, or during the day when there are likely to be fewer other visitors.
Parking near the sign
The Memorial Arch at the Great Ocean Road is adjacent to a free parking lot, just off Aireys Inlet. The famous Pole House, the most photographed house on the Great Ocean Road, stands on the coast side of this car park and can be seen from here. Should you find that there’s no available space in the main area, you may pull into Eastern View or the Sprout Creek surface lot which are also nearby for some short walking distance until you reach the iconic Great Ocean Road Sign.
How to get the best photos at the Great Ocean Road Sign
To capture stunning photographs at the Great Ocean Road Sign, timing is key. Aim to be at the location at least 30 minutes before sunrise to catch the colours of dawn and get on the time early.
The exact times of sunrise and sunset vary throughout the year, so checking a reliable source for specific times during your visit is advisable. Arriving early not only ensures optimal lighting conditions but also allows you to secure a prime vantage point and avoid crowds. Different seasons may offer unique atmospheric conditions, such as dramatic clouds or vibrant foliage, further enhancing the visual appeal of your Great Ocean Road Sign photos.
Top 5 Photo Opportunities on the Great Ocean Road
Along the Great Ocean Road, there are several magnificent vistas and breathtaking sights that one must not miss out on.
Undoubtedly the most iconic feature, the Twelve Apostles are colossal limestone stacks rising majestically from the Southern Ocean. Sunset and sunrise illuminate these natural wonders, casting a warm glow and creating a mesmerising scene that’s perfect for capturing dramatic silhouettes.
These giant rock formations and the pristine beach below create a dramatic seascape. The Gibson Steps offer a unique perspective of the rugged coastline, allowing you to capture the sheer scale of the cliffs against the vastness of the ocean.
Formerly known as London Bridge, this natural arch formation is a marvel to photograph. The arch frames the ocean in the background, and the changing hues of the sky during sunrise or sunset add a magical touch to your shots.
Loch Ard Gorge
A site steeped in maritime history, Loch Ard Gorge presents a captivating setting for photography. The sheer limestone cliffs surrounding the gorge, coupled with the turquoise waters, provide a striking contrast. The play of light during different times of the day enhances the beauty of this location.
Nestled along the Great Ocean Road, The Grotto is a captivating sea cave with a natural rock bridge. The interplay of light and shadows, especially during sunrise or sunset, enhances the intricate rock formations, making it a fantastic spot for creative and atmospheric photography.
Guided Tours and Experiences with Stop at Memorial Arch
For those looking to explore the Great Ocean Road under the leadership of an experienced tour operator, there are several tours which feature stops at the iconic Great Ocean Road Sign. Here are our top picks:
From Melbourne: Great Ocean Road Full-Day Sunset Tour
On this remarkable full-day sunset tour along the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne, you will get a less crowded experience as you explore landmarks like Memorial Arch, Loch Ard Gorge, and the iconic 12 Apostles. Travel in comfort on a 24-seater bus with free WiFi and a knowledgeable driver who will point out Victoria’s best sights.
The tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off, and an expert guide who will share stories and interesting information about the Great Ocean Road’s construction. Traverse Geelong, Lorne, and Apollo Bay marvel at wide beaches and the Otway Ranges. The last stop on the tour is the Shipwreck Coast’s Loch Ard Gorge, after which you will all head back to Melbourne together.
Ultimate Great Ocean Road Scenery, Gourmet Delights and 12 Apostles Day Trip
This ultimate full-day Great Ocean Road Day Trip from Melbourne will spoil you with breathtaking views, wildlife encounters, and culinary delights. Visit iconic sites like the 12 Apostles, Gibson Steps, Loch Ard Gorge, and a captivating rainforest. Indulge in barista coffee, chocolaterie treats, and lunch in a seaside town.
A comfortable air-conditioned bus will pick you up from your hotel while a fun and friendly guide will tell you interesting stories and tidbits about the sights and landmarks on the Great Ocean Road. The tour also includes a welcome drink, tastings at the chocolaterie, as well as all National Park permits. With a maximum group size of 24, this boutique tour ensures a personalised and unforgettable experience, with the option for an exhilarating 12 Apostles helicopter tour.
From Melbourne: Ultimate 2-Day Great Ocean Road Tour
If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, this 2-day tour gives you more time to explore the Great Ocean Road. Starting in Melbourne, the journey begins with a scenic drive from Torquay, where you can witness local surfers and enjoy morning tea. Discover landmarks like Split Point Lighthouse, the Memorial Arch, and Erskine Falls. Spend the night in Apollo Bay and start the second day with a rainforest walk.
Other highlights include visits to the iconic 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, checking out iconic surfing beaches, spotting wildlife like Kangaroos and Koalas and exploring the wonderful Apollo Bay. The tour will conveniently pick you up from your hotel in Melbourne.
Melbourne to Adelaide: 2-Day Overland Explorer Tour
Explore the Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park on a 2-day explorer tour from Melbourne to Adelaide. The tour will take you to iconic sites like Memorial Arch and Apollo Bay. Explore the Otway rainforest, marvel at the 12 Apostles, and take you past the Great Ocean Road to spend the night in the Grampians National Park.
Led by an expert guide, the tour also features kangaroo sightings in Halls Gap, panoramic views at Boroka Lookout, and a visit to the stunning Mackenzie Falls and learning about the cultures and traditions of the First Nations people. The tour includes a night’s accommodation in Halls Gap, all National Parks fees, a hearty breakfast, as well as guided bush walks.
Adelaide to Melbourne: 3-Day Ultimate Overland Journey
Experience the Great Ocean Road from a unique perspective, travelling the ‘other way around’ from Adelaide to Melbourne on this ultimate 3-day overland journey. More time means you can explore more places and stay a little longer. This less common route tends to be less crowded and lets you see iconic landmarks from a different angle.
Travel through the Adelaide Hills to the Grampians, explore Mackenzie Falls and scenic lookouts, hike to the Pinnacle lookout, visit the Tower Hill Conservation Reserve, and spend an evening in Warrnambool. After which you’ll venture along the Great Ocean Road, and discover landmarks like the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge before reaching bustling Melbourne.The journey includes a one-way transfer, two nights’ accommodation, breakfasts, dinner, National Park entry fees, a guided cultural bush walk, wildlife sightings, and an expert driver guide.
The iconic Memorial Arch, often referred to as the Great Ocean Road Sign marks the start or end) of a remarkable Great Ocean Road journey along the rugged south west coast of Victoria and has become a tourist attraction itself. It is a relatively short 2-hour drive south west of Melbourne, passing through Geelong and Torquay. If you are planning a trip along the Great Ocean Road, be sure to take a picture at the Great Ocean Road Sign.