Wandering around GOR, by locals, you will probably be suggested to nature attraction rather than urban life. Due to its location is right at the bank of the sea, GOR hide several spots your local mate maybe never tell you about. Once again, places that I will recommend you to come is mostly outdoor trip. Some of them are means to National Parks and nature reserves. For further understanding, here listed bellows some of interesting places with uncommon description :
1. The Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles is a name of location at nearly seashore which is depicted as limestone with unique rock formation. These massive limestone structures towering for approximately 45 metres above the sea level and were formed some 20 million years ago as the sea gradually eroded the soft craggy limestone cliffs. There are only eight of the twelve apostles remaining (the rest have fallen) and forming the backdrop are these magnificent cliffs up to 70 metres high.
2. Gibson Steps
Just down the road from the Twelve Apostles, there are Gibson Steps. Walk down these steps to the beach for a close-up view. Here you can experience a new perspective on the power of the waves and the height of the rocks. You can even touch the rocks and feel how easy they crumble away. Take time to watch the water crashing around the base of the limestone stacks to understand the true power of the ocean and how it’s constantly shaping our earth. One thing you need to remember. Keep on your mind that tidal wave comes in fast. Please don’t take too distant walk to the beach corner or you may walk wet on the way back
3. Loch Ard Gorge
Driving to the west direction from the Twelve Apostles in few minutes, there is Loch Ard Gorge with is amazing panorama. It was one of the most stunning beaches on the Great Ocean Road. Loch Ard Gorge granted its name from English ship that went sink nearby Muttonbird Island after sailing for three month journey from England to Melbourne. You can take walk down the stair at the beach and sitting on the sand. Loch Ard Gorge is actually a concave shaped narrow beach with rock cliffs flanking adjacent.
4. London Arch (London Bridge)
London Arch is another rock formation that got its shape by gradually formed by erosion process. Its original form was a complete double-span and attached to the mainland. The arch connection that is closer to the shoreline, collapsed unexpectedly in 1990, leaving two tourists stranded on the outer part until they were rescued by a helicopter. Sounds creepy story to tell. Locals don’t recommend putting this location in your Great Ocean Road itinerary. Before it was collapse, the arch was known as London Bridge since the shape resembles to the original London Bridge.
5. The Grotto
The Grotto is basically a tunnel like rock formation. From certain position, you can step down the cliff manually (there is no stair down anyway), walk the path and look through the tunnel toward visible sea. Before reaching the tunnel’s end, a small pool is on your way. It is seemingly you can take a dip in the shallow pool while admiring the tide.
6. The Arch
Another arch near the seashore is The Arch itself. It is actually a naturally shapped rock formation which the construction is more like a stone bridge with approximately 8 metres high. Right at the bottom of the arch, wave is smashing its cliff, creating more dramatic panorama if you try to get picture from the other side of the cliff. To be more challenging, find the path to the top of the arch, sitting on it, and ask your friend to take photograph.
7. Walks in Port Campbell National Park
In Port Campbell National Park, you can find many nature attractions beside the 12 apostles. Coming here and plan to have short period of sits may be acceptable. But, we don’t guarantee you will do so. Some locals say that once visitor said they will just spend an hour, it was actually a day. Port Campbell has many things to offer such as cliff top tracks, gorges, beach walks and stories of shipwrecks to discover. For better visit, you can do it yourself in leisure time and in purpose. Taking bus tour may not giving you much in favor. Port Campbell is more than an hour stay. Try to appreciate yourself in such quality time with the nature.
8. Bay of Islands
Picturing the 12 apostles may be quite worthy for you. But it is not the only rising rock emerge from the water body near the shore. Bay of Islands, give you almost the same pleasure if you are rock formation’s fan. Despite its location is a bit farther and take minutes, Peterborough offers you such magical panorama of the Bay of Island and Bay of Martyr. Compare to the 12 apostles, Bay of Island sounds to be a place that can equalize.
9. Triplet Falls – Otways National Park
It seems that Aus has plenty of National Parks that spreading all over the continent. One of notorious is the Otway National Park that is considered to the the ancient realm. Triplet Falls is the heart of Otway National Park. Discovering it, you need to take walk among giant trees. It is literally a waterfall combined with rock formation that emerges as romantic spot along with fern surrounding. Beside open air National Park, here you can find different perspective of Aus through its tropical rainforest. Hiking toward Triplet Falls, consider upon your kids that the path maybe not easy for them.
10. Kennett River – Wild Koalas
As a national mascot beside kangaroo, koala can be found almost everywhere in the country. In Kennett River, you will see them in wildlife, perching on the branch of a tree. And exactly you will see them on sleeping mode. Watching ‘sleeping’ koala can also be done at Grey River Road or Otway Lighthouse Road. Perhaps GOR is not the only location popular to meet koala. But if you see one, then it will be yours. Considering you meet koala at its natural habitat, actually they are reserved under protection.
Situated nearly at the bank of the sea, Lorne is just another mesmerizing spot to have holiday with and a long stay. Surrounded by numerous great cafes, shopping boutiques and galleries, it is tranquil place to escape and have a rest for a while from crowds. The existence of Otway National Park adds the value of tourism destination. Lorne is only 140 kilometres south of Melbourne and this place swells with people over the Christmas holidays. Walking down on the beach become popular conduct. Also riding bicycle along seashore. Getting tired of need some rest. Having great coffee at Lorne Beach Pavilion or The Bottle of Milk will give you beside good taste of beverage, a direct sight to the sea.
12. Teddys Lookout
It is on your choice whether to walk or drive. Walking is more recommended. A 45 minutes walk down by the George Street toward behind the Lorne hill, there is Teddy’s Lookout. It is a narrow beach passed by main road. Here you can see the ocean right from the bank, but from the street. Enjoy spectacular sea ocean view with a picnic bag while sitting on the lawn nearby.
13. The Lorne –> Apollo Bay Drive
There is stretching road at GOR named Apollo Bay. Driving minutes from the town center, you will find such picturesque scenery where the region is combination between seashore and rock cliff formation. It is actually part of Great Otway National Park with rolling farmland at surrounding. Pacing over and get yourself blended with locals may give advantages for merely short acquaint.
14. Apollo Bay Eco Hostel
Apollo Bay is perfectly positioned about halfway along the Great Ocean Road. it is surrounded by Otway National Park and rolling acres of green farmland. The Apollo Bay Eco Hostel is an affordable place to stay particularly with your family. It is truly a gem, since architectural design is combination between contemporary construction, but lay in such small town and nearly remote area. It has home-like facility such as kitchen, lounge rooms, and rooftop deck. On the rooftop, you can see sunrise if getting up quite early. Visit GOR with group of travellers mate, the Apollo Bay is suitable since you can share cost with, and service here is self-drive.
15. Mariners Lookout – Apollo Bay
Mariners Lookout is actually a high land where you can directly stare at town down there, along with elongated seashore. In sunny day, it is perfect -but not really romantic- spot to tell your friend in home country that you were here. Spotting no cozy restaurant, we advise you to bring your own supplies. Hanging around with mates of spouse, coffees and cookies are enough. While with family, picnic bag is preferable for hours chill. Mariners Lookout is located at the northern end of the town.
16. Bells Beach
Seeking out surfing spot, Bells Beach may be the answer. It is considered to be one of Australia’s best surfing spots. Rip Curl annually hold pro surfing competition and become point break of folklore. At Bells, you will also see stunning cliff-face where it offers direct view to the shore while local surfers try to catch the wave. Bells Beach is seemingly dedicated to both amateur and professional surfers. And it becomes main attraction at GOC.
Tips for the Great Ocean Road Drive
- DON’T do the Great Ocean Road drive in one day. Visit all the rock formations and towns, walk on a beach and in the rainforest, see a waterfall and wildlife, sit at a lookout and be present.
- If you only have time to visit, spend the most in Port Campbell National Park.
- If you only drive in one direction, drive from Torquay to Warrnambool (East to West). That way you’ll be on the left side of the road closest to the ocean.
- Drive your own car instead of taking road tour.