TOWNS ALONG THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
The Great Ocean Road Australia is one of the most iconic stretches of road in the world. This coastal road is home to quintessential Aussie towns like Apollo Bay, and Port Campbell, as well as the Great Otway National Park and Bells Beach.
The laid back beach towns along the Great Ocean Road have something special to offer everyone. From gourmet food to interactive nature experiences to sandy beaches, and natural wonders like the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, the Great Ocean Road has something for every kind of traveler. Whether you’ve only got time for a quick weekend road trip along the coast or are taking your time to explore this region of Australia, you won’t be disappointed.
Located less than 100-kilometers south of Melbourne, Torquay is the first of several towns along the Great Ocean Road Victoria. Torquay is Australia’s quintessential surf town and home to a lively entertainment and culinary scene.
Torquay has earned its reputation as Melbourners’ favorite weekend getaway for good reason. In town, you’ll find several hip breweries, cafes and restaurants, and one-of-a-kind boutiques.
No trip to Torquay is complete without a visit to Bells Beach down the road. This famous beach is known for having some of the best surfing in the world, and is home to Rip Curl Pro, the longest-running surf competition in the world. Even if you don’t surf, a visit to Bells Beach is well-worth it just to watch the pros catching waves from the cliff-top carpark.
Flanked by the Anglesea River, the quaint town of Anglesea is one of the beach towns along the Great Ocean Road. This charming town attracts nature enthusiasts and leisure lovers alike. Explore the town’s beaches, including local hotspots like Anglesea Beach, which is perfect for basking in the sun or going for a swim. If surfing is more your thing, head to Anglesea Surf Beach to catch some waves. It’s one of the best spots along the coast to learn to surf.
Experience the Anglesea River by renting a kayak, canoe, or paddle-board. You’ll get to see the region’s beauty up close, and get some awesome views along the way. To view kangaroos in the wild, head to the Anglesea Golf Club for a round of golf. The grounds happen to be home to nearly 300 grey kangaroos, which means you’re chances of seeing one up close are pretty high.
Home to the Aireys Inlet lighthouse, this town is popular amongst holidaymakers and surfers. Unlike other towns along the Great Ocean Road, like Torquay or Lorne, Aireys Inlet has remained less-commercialized and embodies the laid-back Aussie lifestyle. The town and offers everything you expect from Great Ocean Road towns, including sandy beaches, great surf, and excellent food.
It’s easy to spend a few days around Aireys Inlet given the huge range of outdoor activities. This Great Ocean Road town offers mountain biking, swimming, surfing, horseback riding, canoeing, fishing, and more. Take the time to go for a walk along the coast Aireys Inlet, Victoria, where you can take in ocean vistas.
A cosmopolitan beach town is just 2-hours from Melbourne, Lorne is situated alongside Louttit Bay, backed by the Great Otway National Park. When it comes to Great Ocean Road towns, Lorne is the ideal place to stay while you explore the coast of Victoria Australia. The town’s main street is packed with cozy cafes, restaurants, and shops, and looks out onto the foreshore lined with palms.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy in Lorne year-round. Enjoy an ocean swim at Main Lorne Beach, try your hand at surfing, or enjoy the sunset coast view at Teddy’s Lookout. Lorne is also famous for its waterfalls. There are more than 10 within the Lorne region, such as Erskine Falls and Cora Lynn Cascades. If you prefer a more leisurely pace, head to the Lorne Golf Club, or enjoying a local spa treatment.
KENNETT RIVER AND WYE RIVER
The ultimate stop for up-close encounters with some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife. Kennett River and Wye River are two tiny towns along the Great Ocean Road just 6-km down from one another. The area is known for their high-populations of Australian animals like Koalas, and colorful birds such as Cockatoos, King Parrots, Eastern Rosellas, and Kookaburras.
The Kennett River Koala Walk is arguably the best way to experience seeing koalas up-close and personal in their natural habitat – sleeping and hanging out in the eucalyptus forests. Next, explore the Cumberland River trail, which takes you through a lush-valley past waterfalls, or visit Cape Patton Lookout Point for some of the best views in this region of the Great Ocean Road.
The village of Apollo Bay is one of the Great Ocean Road towns known for its panoramic views and tasty seafood. Located midway along the Great Road, Apollo Bay is a great place to stay while exploring the region. In town, there are many restaurants, cafes and shops to choose from, beautiful accommodations, as well as unique spots like the retro cinema and Apollo Bay museum.
The Apollo Bay harbor is the center of action, where a number of commercial fishing boats operate, bringing in their daily catches. At low-tide, you can see unique marine life such as jellyfish and stringrays.
Apollo Bay Victoria Australia is also the starting point of the Great Ocean Walk, which goes all the way to the Twelve Apostles. This walk is great for avid hikers who want to get off the Great Ocean Road to take in the views up close.
Home to the oldest working lighthouse in Australia within the Otway National Park, Cape Otway is the perfect Great Ocean Road destination. The town is positioned at the southernmost point of the Great Ocean Road where the Southern Ocean and the Bass Strait meet. The landscape surrounding Cape Otway is packed with ancient rainforests, sandy beaches, and rugged limestone cliffs.
This remote area around Cape Otway is famous for being a wildlife haven, attracting animal lovers from around the world. There is a high population of koalas in the wild, as well as kangaroos, wallabies, and cockatoos!
Port Campbell is one of the quaint seaside towns along the Great Ocean Road. The village is close to many of the Great Ocean Road’s famous natural wonders overlooking the Southern Ocean, including the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and the London Bridge. These beautiful rock formations are just a quick drive from town, and offer some of the best views of the coast in all of Victoria Australia.
Besides being close to many of the Great Ocean Road’s most iconic landmarks, the town of Port Campbell is lined with colorful shops and restaurants to enjoy. Port Campbell Beach is just a few minutes walk from the town center, and offers some of the best family-friendly swimming along the Great Ocean Road.
One of the larger towns along the Great Ocean Road, Warrnambool is a great place to stay and take in the views along the coast of Victoria. The town is famous for its incredible ocean wildlife, which can often be spotted from many places around town. Logan’s Beach whale watching platform is a great spot to visit to see whales migrating through the Southern Ocean with their young. Thunder Point Coastal Reserve is another great spot on the coast to see penguins and Australian fur seals.
Besides marine life, Warrnambool is famous for its epic beaches, and rich Aboriginal history. Check out Point Ritchie, where you can learn about the Moyjil Aboriginal history that dates back tens of thousands of years.
Conveniently located inland between Apollo Bay and the 12 Apostles, Lavers Hill is a great spot to base yourself while you travel the Great Ocean Road region. The tiny town offers several cafes serving up fresh food, a tourist center, as well as unique accommodation options.
Lavers Hill is one of the best towns along the Great Ocean Road coast to immerse oneself in nature. Much of the town is surrounded by the Great Otway National Park, where you can go for a day-hike or visit local waterfalls like Beauchamp and Triplet Falls. Be sure to check out the Melba Gully, where you see glow worms at night. Other fun activities include a day-trip to the Twelve Apostles, just 30-minutes by car, or the Otway Fly Treetop Adventure, which combines treetop walks and ziplining for an unforgettable Great Ocean Road experience.
Port Fairy Australia is one of the Great Ocean Road towns known for its rich maritime history and local art scene. Situated at the end of the Great Ocean Road, one can easily spend several days here. Explore the town center, which is lined with well-preserved buildings from the 1800s, antique shops, art galleries, fine dining, and more.
Next, head down to the wharf where you can watch the local fishermen unload their catch. You can go for a guided boat tour along the coast, or follow one of the historic walking trails. Surfing is another popular activity here, attracting visitors from around the world.
Despite being a small city along the Great Ocean Road, Portland Victoria offers plenty to see and do. Stroll along the coastal bay and explore the bustling harbor where you can admire the large ships that visit from around the world, or simply take in the views. Visitors can also take a self-guided tour of the well-preserved heritage buildings scattered throughout town, and learn more about the region’s maritime history. Other popular activities including seal spotting at Cape Bridgewater and whale watching at Cape Nelson.
Portland is known in the Great Ocean Road area for its excellent seafood, so be sure to try a local catch at dinner. If seafood isn’t your thing, you’ll find lots of other great dining options in town.