One of the most well-known travel routes in Australia is the Great Ocean Road. It leads travellers past world-class surfing spots, through little areas of rainforest and serene seaside communities, and underneath tree canopies home to koalas. It provides views of the Southern Ocean’s thundering waves as well as dairy farms, heathland, and high limestone cliffs.
To truly escape the crowds, seek out the solitary beaches, lighthouses, and dense eucalyptus forests of the Otway hinterlands between the towns. Instead of travelling directly to the Great Ocean Road, you can take the long, leisurely route around the Bellarine Peninsula, stopping in lovely Queenscliff and wineries along the way. This route departs from Geelong.
tourists from Melbourne on short trips rush into the region and depart in less than 12 hours, but ideally, you’d stay for at least a week.
The Twelve Apostles serve as an appropriate capstone to the voyage because they are the most recognisable sight and enduring image for the majority of Great Ocean Road travellers. These impressively protruding granite stacks look as though the retreating headland has left them in the hands of the sea. From a network of viewing platforms dotted around the clifftops and connected by timber boardwalks, only the seven Apostles are visible today.
The Twelve Apostles Visitor Center, which is more of a kiosk and restrooms than an information centre, has pedestrian access to the viewing platforms from the parking lot via a tunnel that runs beneath the Great Ocean Road. The Great Ocean Road is a four-hour trip from Melbourne, or if you prefer more time to explore the area, Port Campbell is only a 10-minute drive away.
The best time to visit is sunset, not only for optimum photographic opportunities and to beat the tour buses but also to see little penguins returning ashore. Sightings vary, but generally the penguins arrive 20 to 40 minutes after sunset. They can be spotted from about 197ft (60m) away, so you’ll need binoculars, which can be borrowed from the Port Campbell Visitor Centre.
Cape Otway Lightstation
Cape Otway Lightstation, the oldest surviving lighthouse on Australian soil, was erected in 1848 by more than 40 stonemasons without the use of mortar. The observation deck offers breathtaking coastal views, and the Telegraph Station features informative exhibits about the 250 km (1859) undersea telegraph cable link with Tasmania. It’s a large complex with a lot to see, including Aboriginal cultural sites and a radar bunker constructed during World War II to monitor potential Japanese threats.
The Gadubanud people are the original stewards of the Otway region, and the lighthouse precinct’s superb Meeting Hut wuurn provides a wonderful summary of their history and traditions (Aboriginal shelter). To attend one of the daily bush-tucker talks, which typically occur at midday and 3pm, arrive early.
Apollo Bay is 21 kilometres away from the Lighthouse Rd turn-off, which travels 12 kilometres down to the lighthouse via a lovely stretch of stunning rainforest. There is a cafe nearby, and lodging is available at the lighthouse keeper’s cottages.
Purchasing tickets online is a little less expensive.