Must-see Great Ocean Road attractions and experiences

Discover the Great Ocean Road as it meanders along the Southern Ocean from Geelong to Portland.

The Great Ocean Road is an iconic scenic route that extends 253 kilometres and offers magnificent views of the ocean, beach and coastal towns.

Along your journey you can surf on worldclass waves at Bells Beach, climb the oldest lighthouse in Australia and gaze upon geological formations carved out by time.

You also won’t want to miss the Twelve Apostles. Perhaps the most iconic image of all, they are limestone cliffs that rise out of the ocean.

Hiking enthusiasts can enjoy the Great Ocean Walk, while wildlife lovers can see kangaroos, koalas and even whales swimming along the coast.

Before you set out on this journey, check below for information about some of the places where you can stop and indulge in enthralling activities.

Top Great Ocean Road attractions


Marvel at the Twelve Apostles (before it’s too late)

The Twelve Apostles are a marvel to beyond. To put it simply, they are giant rock stacks in the Southern Ocean and are arguable the main tourist attraction of Port Campbell National Park.

They were formed by erosion and originally were twelve, hence the name. However years of wear have seen four fall into the ocean, so today only eight remain.

You can reach the Twelve Apostles in about four hours from Melbourne, or can opt to hike to it over a day.

Visit during sunrise or sunset for the best views and smaller crowds.


Gaze on waterfalls in Great Otway National Park

Great Otway National Park stretches over 1,000 square kilometres and features many hidden waterfalls and cascades.

You can camp or fall asleep under the starry sky in any of the 15 campsites in the park. You can also enjoy hiking, horse riding, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, snorkelling, rafting and surfing.


Take a hike along the Great Ocean Walk

White-sand beaches and rocky coasts make the Great Ocean Walk a must for trekking enthusiasts.

The approximately 100-kilometre long hiking trail starts at Apollo Bay and ends at Glenample, meandering through several national parks.

If you're planning to taking on the entire route, you should plan eight days to do so. Along the way, there are seven campsites where you can pitch your tent for the night. Organised day-walks are also available.


Catch sea views from Cape Otway Lightstation

Cape Otway Lightstation is the oldest lighthouse in Australia and has been warning ships away from the dangerous coastline since 1848.

The top of the lighthouse is 90 metres above sea level giving you a good view of the waves as they crash on the rocky coast below. If you are travelling between June and October, you may also catch sight of whales off the coast.


Walk the crater rim at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve

Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve is the oldest state park in Victoria, dating back to 1892. It's 15 kilometres from the town of Warrnambool and is surrounded by a green crater which is a animal paradise.

Within it you'll likely find koalas, emus, kangaroos and many bird species. There are five routes around the crater, each lasting about half an hour.

A number of multi-day guided tours take you to Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve.


Surf Bells Beach

The surfing elite meets every year at Bells Beach for the oldest surfing competition in the world: the Rip Curl Pro.

Renowned for its power curve waves, it's a mecca for avid surfers. Though, keen beans shouldn't be dissuaded as the beach offers a little something for everybody.


Snap pictures of the landmarks at Port Campbell National Park, including London Bridge

Port Campbell National Park is known not only for the Twelve Apostles but for other rock formations including London Arch and Loch Ard Gorge, too.

It's also famous for the number of shipwrecks, including the sinking of the Loch Ard, which is how Loch Ard Gorge got its name.

London Arch donned its name after the top of the arch collapsed. Before the collapse, it was known as London Bridge due to its similarity with the real thing in England. Numerous tours take you through Port Campbell and the mentioned attractions.


Relax in Lorne

Lorne is one of the most charming villages in Australia. Sporting a Mediterranean air, it's located a few kilometres from Great Otway National Park and attracts thousands of tourists yearly.

You can’t leave Lorne without visiting Teddy's Lookout. From here are fabulous views of the ocean and surrounding forests.

You should also stop at Cinema Point, which is the highest point on the Great Ocean Road and located 10 kilometres southeast of Lorne.


Learn to surf in Torquay

Torquay is the official starting point of the Great Ocean Road. You can find all kinds of sunny beaches here, but this picturesque holiday town is most famous for the surfing beaches that surround it.

Surfing, snorkelling, fishing, windsurfing and relaxing at a local spa are just some popular pastimes in a city that has been attracting tourists since the 19th century. If you have time to spare, visit the Surf World Surfing Museum.


Capture the best view from above on a helicopter tour

Take a helicopter tour from as far off as Melbourne for the amazing opportunity to see the Shipwreck Coast and the Twelve Apostles from the air.

Enjoy unrivalled views of the Great Ocean Road winding along the coast and passing through green cliffs.

Depending on which tour you opt for, you could fly over the Bay of Islands, the London Arch or the Cape Otway Lightstation.

Deals on attractions found on the Great Ocean Road

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Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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