5 Must-See Stops Along Great Ocean Road
by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | March 26th, 2018
It's no wonder that Great Ocean Road was named one of the most scenic drives in the world. The captivating coastline, adorable wildlife, and tasty delights are enough to entice every traveler. Sure, you can always sign up for a tour and visit one attraction after the next with a large group of people, but I recommend renting a car and hitting the open road. Buckle up, throw on some tunes, and enjoy this awe-inspiring stretch of land and sea.
The Twelve Apostles
A trip to Great Ocean Road would not be complete without a stop at The Twelve Apostles. These breathtaking limestone stacks rise prominently out of the ocean and create a coastline unlike any other. Created millions of years ago by erosion and Mother Nature, the ever-changing Apostles are a constant reminder that this spectacular attraction will someday be non-existent. Only nine of the twelve stacks remain standing, so be sure to visit and soak up as much of this remarkable place as possible.
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge is one of the most fascinating places in all of Australia. Not only is it stunning but it also has an extremely interesting story. Back in 1878, a ship named Loch Ard crashed on a nearby island and only two of the fifty-four passengers survived, Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael. The two washed ashore on the now famous beach, and Tom bravely climbed out of the gorge and saved himself and Eva. The two large pillars at Loch Ard Gorge were named Tom and Eva, in memory of the survivors. During sunset, those pillars light up in a beautiful golden hue, creating quite a sight to see.
Koala Spotting at the Kennett River
If you're hoping to get a glimpse of a koala in the wild, then be sure to stop along the Kennett River. This region is known to have a high volume of koalas due to the abundance of eucalyptus, koala's main food source. Most of the koalas will be sleeping up in the trees when you visit, as they sleep around twenty hours a day. Please respect the animals and don't try to touch or interrupt them. Quietly view these adorable animals enjoying their lovely natural habitat.
Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
Chocolate lovers, rejoice! How does a fifteen acre property filled with homemade chocolates, candies, pastries, and ice creams sound? It sounded amazing to us, that's why we knew we had to stop by Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery during our GOR drive. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dessert, and even offer daily chocolate tastings. Be sure to visit their beautiful grounds, sample their delicious treats, and most likely leave with a large bag of goodies.
Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park
The Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park is a family owned animal sanctuary located about fifteen minutes from The Twelve Apostles. Get up-close with friendly kangaroos, emus, wallabies, dingo, and deer at this natural self-sustaining farm. Stop by and visit with the adorable animals and enjoy a homemade stone-baked pizza at the onsite cafe.
When to Visit: The best months to visit are February, March, October, and November. Considered the 'shoulder season', these months have nice weather, good prices, and low crowds. Even though most sights can be seen in one day, I recommend two to three days, so you can move at a more leisurely and enjoyable pace.
Where to Stay: There are tons of great places to stay along Great Ocean Road. If you want to be close to the main attractions, I recommend staying in Port Campbell. If you like surfing, Torquay is a great little town. Families like the well-rounded town of Lorne, and Apollo Bay is always a fan favorite. I always advise people to check the ever-handy TripAdvisor for lodging options.
Driving: The best big city to drive in from is Melbourne. It is an almost three hour journey from Melbourne to one of the furthest attractions, the 12 Apostles. It is a little over an hour from Melbourne to the nearest GOR town, Torquay.
*Note: Australians drive on the left side of the road.