The Great Ocean Road is among the most spectacular coastal routes in the world. It covers 243 kilometres and can be found along the southeastern coast of Australia from Torquay to Warrnambool. It is a hotspot for both local and international tourists who come to explore the top Great Ocean Road attractions and everything else this scenic stretch has to offer.
Whether you like laid back coastal living, hiking, history, culture or something in between – there are Great Ocean Road attractions and activities to meet your needs.
Top 20 Attractions Along The Great Ocean Road
You’ll find a map of Great Ocean Road attractions is filled with awe-inspiring sights that will make you want to pack your bags and move to the area’s charming coastal towns. If you are taking a Great Ocean Roadtrip don’t miss these 20 attractions.
Located in Torquay, this stunning beach is among the most famous surf beaches in the world and one of the top Great Ocean Road attractions. If you are an avid surfer or just like to watch, you’ll love “Bells.”
Bells Beach experiences a powerful swell that rolls in over the shallow reef which is featured in the famous movie “Point Break”. The best surf conditions are from March to October and during the Easter period, Bells Beach hosts the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition where the best surfers in the world come to compete for the title of the Rip Curl Competition.
If you want to get in the water, this Great Ocean Road must-see attraction is suitable for intermediate and advanced surfers who aim to conquer the two right-hand point breaks out front of Bells Beach. However, for beginners there are numerous Great Ocean Road beaches nearby with gentler waves like Torquay Front Beach and Jan Juc Beach. Surf lessons aren’t hard to find in the area either.
Read Next: The Ultimate List of Things To Do in Torquay, Australia
Memorial Arch at Eastern View
The Great Ocean Road Memorial Archway is one of top attractions along the Southern Ocean. It is a popular place to stop to get a photo with the Great Ocean Road sign and tends to mark the beginning of the Great Ocean Road on map drawings. However, it was built as much more than a tourist attraction. It was constructed to commemorate the soldiers that built the Great Ocean Road after WW1.
It features a bronze sculpture that depicts some of the returned servicemen and also houses interpretive signage that gives more information about the history of the Great Ocean Road. You will find this arch just 5km west of Aireys Inlet, the cars that tend to line this section of the Great Ocean Road will let you know you’re near.
Teddys Lookout offers visitors the chance to enjoy sweeping views of the Southern Ocean, Saint George River and Hinterland converging into one. The lookout is known to have some of the most beautiful scenery along the Great Ocean Road and is a great place to stretch your legs.
You can find the multi-tiered lookout just minutes from the Great Ocean Road and the town of Lorne. From the Teddy’s Lookout car park it is a short walk along the newly-constructed walkway to the lookout. However, keep your eyes peeled as you go and you might just spot a sleeping Koala along the way.
Read Next: The Absolute Best Things to do in Lorne Australia
Kennett River Koala Walk
Kennett River can be found halfway between Lorne and Apollo Bay. Although tiny, it is one of the most popular stops on Great Ocean Road drives due to its large population of koalas which can often be seen slumbering in the trees.
Park just outside of the Kafe Koala or Grey River Picnic Area then walk along Grey River Road. It often won’t be long before you’ll spot these furballs sleeping in the trees. Vast eucalyptus forests dot Grey River Road and their leaves are a favourite food of koalas.
Although Kennett River is popularly known for its resident koalas, you can also see a significant population of colourful King Parrots and other native birds near the cafe. They hang out there because visitors like to feed them seed from the cafe. However, for the health of the birds, we urge you to simply look and not feed them or touch them.
Aireys Inlet Lighthouse
Aireys Inlet is an enchanting little seaside town that you must visit while in Australia. It has a relaxed vibe with lovely beaches and caves to explore. It also houses one of the Great Ocean Road’s must-see attractions – the Split Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse is a Great Ocean Road highlight and popularly known as the White Queen. It was built in 1891 and is still in operation today. It has also been featured in programs like Round the Twist, an Australian children’s show.
Guided tours to the top of Aireys Inlet Lighthouse give guests the opportunity to learn more about the history of the Great Ocean Road icon and to enjoy mesmerizing views of the Southern Ocean, it’s beaches and coastline.
Erskine Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park. It features a 30-metre drop and two lookout points where you can enjoy the mesmerizing views of the waterfall. You’ll find the upper lookout just a 5-minute walk from the car park. However to reach the lower lookout you’ll have to walk down about 240 steps to the base of the falls.
On a Great Ocean Road map of attractions, Erskine Falls is just a 9km drive from Lorne. However, if you are an adventure enthusiast and enjoy a river or ocean walk, you can take the 7.5km Erskine River Track from the town of Lorne. On this track, you will also pass by Splitter Falls and Straw Falls.
Read Next: The Top 10 Best Waterfalls Along the Great Ocean Road
Cape Otway Cape Station
Cape Otway Lighthouse is regarded as the oldest surviving lighthouse on mainland Australia and among the top places to visit on a Great Ocean Road trip. The lighthouse was constructed in 1848, and it is called the Beacon of Hope. It raises about 90m above the Bass Strait and has a fascinating history. If you have enough time, you can stay in the old lighthouse keeper’s house, too.
Also onsite of the Cape Otway Cape Station is a cafe, meeting hut, and other fascinating historical buildings such as the old telegraph station and World War 2 bunker. During the summer months the Cape Station offers a full schedule of programs that delve into Aboriginal culture, history, and more. If you visit during the winter you can offer spot whales just offshore of this Great Ocean Road attraction.
The Californian Redwoods are located along Aire Valley Road just off of the Great Ocean Road. If you fancy a packed lunch, they are one of the Great Ocean Road stops with picnic facilities.
The forest of giant trees was planted in 1939, on the banks of the Aire River and are unlike any other forested patch in the Great Otway National Park or along the Great Ocean Road. It offers enchanting scenery that will linger in your mind long after you have gone.
Especially since you can see the difference from the native wet forest located on the opposite bank of the Aire River. When it comes to Great Ocean Road attractions, the redwoods are not far from Hopetoun Falls and Beauchamp Falls, which you can also visit while in the area.
One of the top things to do along the Great Ocean Road while in Apollo Bay is to go on a short trek to Mariners Lookout. The lookout can be found on private property, but it is open to the public by a Great Ocean Road couple that made the route accessible. The lookout point is just 5 minutes from the car park and offers mind-blowing views of Apollo Bay and the Southern sea and her beaches.
To get to the lookout, you will drive about 10 minutes north from Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road and then turn into the Mariners Lookout Road. Don’t miss it at sunset!
Read Next: The Ultimate List of Things to Do in Apollo Bay Australia
Otway Treetop Walk
You’ll find the Otway Treetop Walk hidden in a canopy of temperate rain forest just north of the Great Ocean Road. The walk can be found about 47km from the town of Apollo Bay and consists of a series of suspended bridges dangling 25 metres up in the treetops. It is one of the most thrilling Great Ocean Road attractions there is!
Nature and adventure enthusiasts walk around the leafy crowns of the mountain ash, blackwood, and myrtle beech trees. One of the highlights of the whole Great Ocean Road experience is the spiral staircase which offers a 47m high lookout. From the lookout, you’ll enjoy picturesque views of the forest. Want to get your blood pumping even more? Join the Zipline Tour.
Gibson Steps are situated along the same beautiful stretch of Great Ocean Road coastline as the 12 Apostles, However, what makes them extra special is that, unlike at the 12 Apostles, you can descend to the beach via a narrow stairway. It has been carved into the cliffside.
Visiting the beach is among the top things to do on the Great Ocean Road since it gives you a unique perspective of the immensity of the monolith cliffs the highway is known for. It is not advisable to swim here because the beach has choppy waves but it is great for fishing, so you’ll often see Great Ocean Road locals on the beach with a rod in hand.
The parking lot is really small at Gibson Steps so we recommend you park your car at the 12 Apostles and the walk coastline to Gibson Steps via the 1 km section of the Great Ocean Walk which connects the two Great Ocean Road attractions.
Read Next: Everything You Need to Know About The Great Ocean Walk Australia
The 12 Apostles
The 12 Apostles is one of the most well known Great Ocean Road attractions and the highlight of most road trips. Located within Port Campbell National Park, just minutes from the town of Port Campbell, the 12 Apostles are a series of limestone stacks that rise out of the ocean. They are mesmerizing to watch.
Despite the name of this Great Ocean Road attraction there are only 9 “apostles” left but they are beautiful nonetheless. Our favourite time of day at the 12 Apostles when the sunsets behind the rock formations. But for a really special view take a helicopter tour.
Read Next: Your Guide to Visiting the Twelve Apostles Australia
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge is one of the most picturesque places to visit along the Great Ocean Road. Located within Port Campbell National Park, not far from the Twelve Apostles, Loch and Gorge looks like something out of a storybook. It houses a smooth, pearlescent bay with an inlet of turquoise blue waves. Two yellow-washed cliff faces surround the gorge.
Loch Ard Gorge was the site of a shipwreck which you can read about at the plaques surrounding this Great Ocean Road site. However, we urge you to descend to the beach and not just take in the views from the lookout. You’re bound to feel small amongst the towering cliffs of the beach.
London Bridge is a magnificent offshore rock formation located close to Port Campbell. In 1990, the rock “bridge” fell away leaving a couple of tourists stranded atop but luckily no one was hurt.
As you might have guessed you can’t climb atop London Bridge any longer but it is an interesting stop nonetheless. You can head to the upper, western, or lower viewing platforms at London Bridge to enjoy scenic views of the Great Ocean Road area. If you visit at dusk, you’ll likely see little penguins coming ashore from a day at sea.
The Arch is located on the Great Ocean Road map of attractions, 6km west of Port Campbell. It is a naturally sculptured limestone arch that stands at 8m height.
It features two viewing platforms where you can hear the waves crashing into the rock formation, sculpting it further. It is best to come to this Great Ocean Road attraction in the afternoon when you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the formations as it is bathed in warm golden light.
The dramatic formation of the Grotto makes it one of the top things to do along the Great Ocean Road. It is also a serene area where you can enjoy the sea views and take in the natural landscapes.
You’ll have to take the wooded staircase down to the Grotto to see it up close. There you can find smooth boulders and serene rock pools inside the Grotto.
Childers Cove, along with Murnane’s Beach and Sandy Cove, are among the most beautiful hidden gems along the Great Ocean Road. If you are searching for what to see on the Great Ocean Road without the crowds, these clusters of beaches are the perfect place to go.
They offer tourists and Great Ocean Road locals mind-blowing seaside views and great swimming and hiking without the crowds.
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is some of the first scenery you’ll be treated to along Great Ocean Road if you are travelling the non-traditional route from Adelaide to Melbourne. The Bay of Islands looks like a miniature 12 Apostles, which features smaller limestone stacks in sheltered bays.
There are great walking tracks along the beaches and lots of places to pull off the Great Ocean Road highway.
Logan Beach Whale Watching Platform
Warrnambool is considered the main commercial center for the western end of the Great Ocean Road. It is a tourist hotspot during the summertime due to its sheltered beaches, excellent hiking and the nearby Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. However, what makes it extra special is its status as a hub for migrating whales in winter.
If you are lucky to visit the Logan Beach Whale Watching Platform from June to September, you will have a good chance to spotting mother whales with their calves just 200 metres from the coastline. Without a doubt watching these stunning gentle giants cavort in the sea from the Logan Beach viewing platforms is one of the best free things to do along the Great Ocean Road!
Read Next: The Best List of Things to Do in Warrnambool Australia
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum
The Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village is located in the scenic seaside city of Warrnambool along the Great Ocean Road. This museum is a living museum that gives insights into the maritime history of the Great Ocean Road region and is a great place to go with kids.
It is filled with an extensive collection of shipwrecks, stretched out over 10 hectares, and dotted with more than 40 buildings and vessels that you can explore. After sunset, the village comes alive to the sights and sounds of the dramatic Maritime Museum Sound and Laser Show.
The Great Ocean Road is considered to be one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the world. It consistently tops bucket lists for road trip enthusiasts and travellers around the world – and for good reason. The Great Ocean Road attractions are varied but equally spectacular! Although the drive does not cover the popular cities in the country, you will fall in love with the open spaces of the Otway National Park, majestic coastline views, rugged countryside, and friendly locals.