No trip to Victoria is complete without taking a drive down the Great Ocean Road.
The small surf town of Torquay marks the start of the Great Ocean Road. One of the quieter towns along the road there are plenty of outlet stores selling surf brands – Billabong, Roxy, Ripcurl – at a discounted price. If you’re a surfer, head just outside the city to the famed Bells Beach. Well known for the RipCurl Pro hosted each Easter some of the best swells in Victoria can be found.
As you enter Aireys Inlet watch for the signs marking the way to the Split Point Lighthouse. The short circular hiking trails take you for a walk along the cliffs before relaxing in Willows Tea House for a delicious brunch or homemade cake.
Situated in the foothills of Great Otway National Park and the last large town before the Twelve Apostles take some time to rest in Apollo Bay. Grab some fish & chips from The Apollo Bay Seafood Café and head across the street to the beach to enjoy your lunch.
The winding drive through Great Otaway National Park is stunning but if you are up for an adventure head to the Otway Fly for a tree top adventure.
The weathered limestone stacks rising from the Southern Ocean are one of the countries most popular sites - the Twelve Apostles. The best time of day seems to be late afternoon, towards sunset. The crowds will have dispersed and it’s a beautiful sight to watch the setting sun go down behind the Twelve Apostles.
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Explore the Great Ocean Road
If you’ve traveled down California’s Highway 1, you know just how breathtaking a dramatic coastal drive can be. Take that, multiply it by a few times, and you have the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. The easiest way to see the sites along the road is with a tour that leaves from Melbourne. Outback Billy leads small-group, all-day tours that depart from the city center, hit all the highlights, and avoid the big tourist buses.
After an early pickup downtown, your guide will whisk you to Surf Coast Beach, an idyllic spot for a walk on the sand and some morning tea and cookies. Next, you’ll stop at Memorial Arch, which recognizes the soldiers who died during World War I. The road itself was constructed by some 3,000 returned servicemen. As you continue, you’ll take another break to search for wild koalas lounging in eucalyptus trees and feed parrots out of your hand. For lunch the tour stops in Apollo Bay, where a restaurant meal is included. I suggest grabbing a creamy treat at the award-winning Dooley’s Ice Cream afterward. You can sample such unique flavors as licorice, honeycomb, and even Vegemite.
The real highlights start in the late afternoon when you take a rainforest walk and then continue to the 12 Apostles, a series of imposing rock formations that jut out of the Southern Ocean along the coast. You’ll then take a steep staircase down to Loch Ard Gorge, where you can dip your toes in the cool water and look out to the famous London Bridge, a large sandstone arch. The day is long and jam-packed, but the evening journey back to Melbourne is the perfect time to listen to some Aussie tunes and catch a few winks.