Great Ocean Road, VIC, Australia

Strap in to enjoy a 151 mile road trip along Victoria’s southern coast. Great Ocean Road is Australia’s most scenic drive and among the best in the world. This travel guide and interactive map shows you the best route, the prettiest scenery and the recommend places to exit your car to be awed and amazed. Now start your engine and go!

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1 Surfers at Torquay Surf Beach in Torquay on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Your Great Ocean Road adventure begins at Torquay, a coastal town of 10,000 people located 65 miles southwest of Melbourne. Arrive in the evening so you can get an early start the next morning on your scenic drive. Before sunset, park at the end of Surf Beach Drive and watch the action at Torquay Surf Beach. You will quickly see why Torquay is called the Surfing Capital of Australia. In the upper right corner is Rocky Point Lookout, a great place for panoramic views of Torquay Point and the Bass Strait.

Torquay Surf Beach, The Esplanade, Torquay VIC 3228, Australia
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2 Famous Surfing Beaches in Torquay on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Torquay is synonymous with surfing … some boarders call it legendary. The wave action along Bells Beach and this neighbor, Winkipop, have been featured in classic films such as Point Break and The Endless Summer. Since 1962, Torquay has hosted the world’s longest running surf competition. In 1969, this town became the origin for Rip Curl and Quicksilver, two of the best surfing retailers. This proud surfing heritage is on display at Surf World Museum. Even if you are not a surfer, you will be impressed with the golden hue of the coastline near sunrise.

90 Bells Beach Rd, Bells Beach VIC 3228, Australia
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3 Point Roadknight near Anglesea on Great Ocean Road, Australia

If you have lots of time to savor the Great Ocean Road’s scenery, consider hiking or biking the 27 mile Surf Coast Walk from Torquay to Anglesea and onto Aireys Inlet, the three main towns of Surf Coast Shire. Too far? Then select from about a dozen, 1.25 to 2 mile stretches of the trail. You will be rewarded with stunning views like this one of Point Roadknight near Anglesea, a community of 2,500 people. These dramatic cliffs form a crescent-shaped headland encircling Roadknight Bay, an inlet of Bass Strait.

Melba Parade & Seventh Ave, Anglesea VIC 3230, Australia
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4 Point Addis Marine National Park near Anglesea on Great Ocean Road, Australia

A quick detour down Melba Parade brings you to a boat ramp, the sailing facilities of Anglesea Motor Yacht Club and the windswept serenity of Point Roadknight Beach. This is also part of Point Addis Marine National Park. The 11,000 acre marine sanctuary starts near Bells Beach in Torquay and stretches along the coast for 6.5 miles to about here. The reserve also protects 3.5 miles into the sea. Beneath the active waves are schools of colorful fish, dolphins and seals plus sponge gardens. Divers enjoy the underwater exploration of Ingoldsby Reef.

Point Roadknight Beach Carpark, Anglesea VIC 3230, Australia
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5 Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet on Great Ocean Road, Australia

A visual highlight of Aireys Inlet – a seaside hamlet of 800 people along the Great Ocean Road – is Split Point Lighthouse. The 217 foot, cylindrical tower was built on a 230 foot cliff near Eagle Rock Lookout in 1891 and automated in 1919. Affectionately known by locals as White Queen or White Lady, her red beacon is visible 18 miles into Bass Strait. Despite the loaming thunderstorm, these people were excited to take a tour, including climbing the 132 stairs to the light’s observation deck.

24 Federal St, Aireys Inlet VIC 3231, Australia
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6 Aireys Inlet Beach on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Most tourists to Aireys Inlet only visit the lighthouse or stretch their legs along the Cliff Top Walk or Lighthouse Precinct Walk before resuming their drive on the Great Ocean Road. That is perfect. It allows you to treasure this exquisite Aireys Inlet Beach in solitude. Defining this 1,640 stretch of rock-strewn sand is an eroding red bluff and sandstone formations created by millenniums of waves and wind. At low tide, rock pools form and become a haven for tiny sea creatures. This gorgeous seascape is not visible from the parking lot at the end of Eagle Rock Parade. It unfolds after walking a short distance and around a large, rust-colored pinnacle at the end of a headland. The beach is part of the Lorne-Queenscliff Coastal Reserve.

Reserve Rd & Inlet Cres, Aireys Inlet VIC 3231, Australia
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7 Table Rock at Aireys Inlet Beach on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Nature has carved two prominent limestone and basalt structures along Aireys Inlet Beach. These male Australian darters are drying their wings on top of Table Rock. Nearby is Eagle Rock, a tall volcanic stack. Surrounding their base is hormosira banksii. This slimy brown seaweed endemic to Australasia is commonly called Neptune’s necklace or Neptune’s pearls. These coastal waters are included in the 42 acre Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary.

Reserve Rd & Inlet Cres, Aireys Inlet VIC 3231, Australia
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8 Memorial Arch in Eastern View on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Great Ocean Road was carved out of 151 miles of rugged coastline of Southeast Australia from 1919 until 1932 by 3,000 servicemen after returning from World War I. Howard Hitchcock raised the funds for the project and became known as “Father of the Road.” Memorial Arch marks the location of the former Grassy Creek tollgate where travelers paid to use the road from 1922 until 1936. It is also a tribute to the workers who built the world’s longest war memorial plus the 60,000 Australian soldiers killed and another 160,000 wounded during WWI. The bronze “The Diggers” sculpture by Julie Squires was added in 2007.

725 Great Ocean Rd, Eastern View VIC 3231, Australia
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9 Elevated Coastal View from Big Hill on Great Ocean Road, Australia

The elevated view of the coastline at Big Hill is spectacular. It was also one of the most challenging stretches of the Great Ocean Road to construct. During 1920, about 150 men toiled with pick axes and shovels to clear the seemingly unsurmountable obstacles resulting in a single-lane road. Traffic was restricted to one-way at different times of the day until the road was widened in 1934. Big Hill is still very remote. Only about 30 people live in the area.

Car Park, Big Hill VIC 3231, Australia
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10 North Lorne Beach in Lorne on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Lorne has about 1,100 residents so it is not very big. But finding a place to park in town center can be tricky, especially on weekends and at the height of summer season when 10,000 tourists can be visiting. So, if you just want to stretch your legs, maybe let the kids run wild after using the public toilet and then have a scenic picnic, North Lorne Beach is for you. The .8 mile stretch of sand facing Louttit Bay makes the perfect pit stop

Great Ocean Rd & Doble Street, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
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11 Lorne Beach in Lorne on Great Ocean Road, Australia

The biggest summer-time attraction in Lorne is this .75 mile beach. Enjoy a meal, cocktail and conversation along the foreshore at the Lorne Beach Pavilion. This is also a popular spot for swimmers because incoming waves are buffered by Point Grey seen in the background. For your safely, it is patrolled by the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club. If you prefer fresh water, then take the family to the pool, gym and spa at Lorne Sea Baths. Parallel to Lorne Beach is Shipwreck Trail, an easy one-mile shoreline path. This is only one of 23 walks featured in Lorne. You can get a map with descriptions at the Lorne Visitors Centre. The handout also annotates the locations of nearby waterfalls.

Lorne Beach Pavilion, 81 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
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12 Retailers in Lorne on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Lorne is a resort town and art community. The stores cater primarily to drive-by tourists and surfers plus campers headed towards the quarter-million-acre Great Otway National Park. The boutique shops hug the west side of Mountjoy Parade, Lorne’s equivalent of Main Street. On the opposite side are parks, playgrounds, greenspaces and Lorne Beach. The township was formed and named in 1871, the same year John Campbell, the Marquees of Lorne and later Governor General of Canada, married Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter.

138 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
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13 Grand Pacific Hotel in Lorne on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Grand Pacific Hotel is one of two hotels in Lorne. Other accommodations are offered by about 170 B&Bs, cottages and apartments. But this Victorian era façade is worthy of the name Grand. Henry Gwynn was the proprietary when it opened on Point Grey in 1880. The earliest guests arrived by sea or Cobb and Company coaches until the Great Ocean Road reached Lorne in 1922.

268 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
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14 Lorne Pier in Lorne on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Lorne Pier jets out into Louttit Bay, named after Captain Louttit. His schooner Will Watch was forced into these waters during a huge storm in 1841. Eight years later, the first settler arrived. The logger William Lindsay called the surrounding area Louttit Bay until the township was renamed Lorne in 1871. As the timber industry grew, a pier was built in 1879 to accommodate ships. Soon cranes were added to service an influx of fishing boats. Much of that activity has dissipated. But you can hook salmon, barracuda and squid by tossing a line off this pier built in 2007. Or if you want a guaranteed fresh catch, order seafood at the Lorne Pier Restaurant.

Lorne Pier, Mountjoy Parade, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
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15 Exhilarating Scenic Drive near Lorne on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Over five million people annually drive along the Great Ocean Road. Superlatives fail to explain the experience of winding along incredible coastlines, marveling at stunning rock formations, weaving beneath canopies of thick forests and visiting quaint seaside towns. Great Ocean Road is justifiably ranked among the top drives in the world. You can travel the 151 miles of Highway Route B100 in one day. However, savoring the scenery warrants far more time. The best advice is to start in Torquay and head west towards Warrnambool because most of the turn-offs, lookout points and shoreline will be on your left (the same direction you drive in Australia).

2300 Great Ocean Rd, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia
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16 Beaches near Apollo Bay on Great Ocean Road, Australia

About four miles before entering Apollo Bay from the west are two attractive stretches of sand worthy of a stopover. The first is Skenes Creek Beachfront Van Park. This has all of the amenities for travelers searching for an ideal place to pitch their tent or park their camper for an overnight along the shore of Bass Strait. The second is Shells Beach. The waves are choppier compared to the southern end of the beach in Apollo Bay. But you will encounter less people. What you will encounter is this rock formation resembling the washed-up skeleton of a pre-historic dinosaur. Does that personification seem fanciful? Maybe not. Just west of Cape Otway is Dinosaur Cove, a remote section of coast rich in fossils – including petrified dinosaurs – dating back 75 to 150 million years.

6090 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay VIC 3233, Australia
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17 Storefronts in Apollo Bay on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Apollo Bay is at the halfway point of your scenic drive. When it was founded in 1853 by European settlers – predominantly timber cutters – it was called Middleton. This town of 1,600 residents offers several attractions. The most popular are camping and hiking through the rainforest of The Otways. You will be thrilled by the wildlife, flora and abundant waterfalls. The Apollo Bay Information Centre on Collingwood Street (local name for the Great Ocean Drive) will be happy to help plan your adventure.

131 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay VIC 3233, Australia
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18 Apollo Bay Boat Harbour on Great Ocean Road, Australia

At the south end the 2.5 mile, crescent-shaped Main Beach fronting the town is Apollo Bay Boat Harbor. Anchored inside the modest, man-made breakwater are predominately sailboats. Most of them belong to the Apollo Bay Sailing Club or its members. The concrete path encircling the wharf is a relaxing place to chat with local fishermen. A few steps away are a fish shop, a golf course and an outlet for chartering a fishing excursion or sightseeing tour.

1 Trafalgar St, Apollo Bay VIC 3233, Australia
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19 Canopy of Trees near Apollo Bay on Great Ocean Road, Australia

After departing Apollo Bay, your journey leaves the coastline for about 21 miles until you reach Glenaire. Along the way, you will often drive beneath a canopy of trees. Notice how their tall trucks are bare. These giants branch only toward the top where they compete for sunlight. This makes them excellent candidates for timbering. You are experiencing a sliver of the Great Otway National Park, a quarter-million acre nature reserve which is part of the Otway Ranges.

Great Ocean Road & Lighthouse Rd, Cape Otway VIC 3233, Australia
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20 Ghost Forest near Cape Otway on Great Ocean Road, Australia

A recommended diversion from the Great Ocean Road is the seven mile drive down Lighthouse Road (C157) to Cape Otway. Along the way you will encounter this ghost forest. These are dead eucalyptus viminalis. Commonly called coastal manna gum trees, they are indigenous to southeast Australia including Tasmania and can reach a height above 130 feet. But they do not stand a chance against koalas. These fuzzy, adorable Australian critters love eating eucalypt leaves, often with devastating impact on the forests.

Lighthouse Rd & Blanket Bay Rd, Cape Otway, Victoria 3233, Australia
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21 Description of Cape Otway on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Cape Otway is at the southern tip of Victoria and the demarcation between the Southern Ocean and Bass Strait. Most of the land is also part of Great Otway National Park. It namesake is William Albany Otway. He was a revered British Vice-Admiral when this point was first explored by navigator James Grant in 1800. The attraction now is the historical park called Cape Otway Lighthouse. You can enjoy a self-guide tour through several mid-19th century buildings. An example is this Telegraph Station. It contained the country’s first underwater telegraph cable connected to Tasmania when it opened in 1859.

Cape Otway Lighthouse, Otway Lighthouse Rd, Cape Otway VIC 3233, Australia
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22 Cape Otway Lighthouse on Great Ocean Road, Australia

The main attraction on Cape Otway is this lighthouse, the oldest in mainland Australia. It was placed on top of an isolate, 295 foot coastal cliff in 1848. Its mission was to reduce the number of ships that sunk while threading “The Eye of the Needle.” Despite the Beacon of Hope’s powerful Fresnel lens, there were six more shipwrecks by the end of the 19th century. You can also visit the Head Lightkeeper’s Cottage and then have a snack of scones with coffee or tea at the former Assistant Keepers Quarters built in 1858.

Cape Otway Lighthouse, Otway Lighthouse Rd, Cape Otway VIC 3233, Australia
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23 Descending Gibson Steps near Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Get ready for a visual and physical adventure, your first inside of Port Campbell National Park. From an elevated platform near the Gibson Steps parking lot, you can admire the seascape embracing two rock stacks called Gog and Magog. Then begin descending this steep staircase. The 86 steps were first carved by the Kirrae Whurrong people. They were named after Scotland native Hugh Hamilton Gibson. He was an early settler who built the nearby Glenample Homestead in the late 1860s. He became famous in 1878 by sheltering the only two survivors of the 54 people who were shipwrecked aboard the British clipper Loch Ard.

Gibson Steps, Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia
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24 Gibson Steps Beach near Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Once you reach Gibson Steps Beach – a .75 mile stretch of golden sand – you are humbled by the 230 foot tall limestone cliffs. They are enormous and majestic. In front of you is the Southern Ocean, also called the Antarctic Ocean. These waters were first navigated and chartered by Captain James Cook in the late 18th century. The waves often look mild but are treacherous for swimming. If you are energetic, you can walk along the shoreline for about a mile to reach Twelve Apostles.

Gibson Steps, Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia
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25 Sea Stacks at Twelve Apostles near Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road, Australia

When approaching the Twelve Apostles Visitor Facility, you quickly discern from the parking lot full of tour buses and cars that you have arrived at Great Ocean Road’s most famous location. Now walk through a tunnel beneath the highway and stand on the first viewing platform. You will be awed by this vison of limestone sea stacks. The tallest one reaches 111 feet. Notice the smaller mounds in the foreground. These are stumps of collapsed rock columns and all that remains of former Apostles.

Great Ocean Rd & Booringa Rd, Princetown VIC 3269, Australia
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26 Boardwalk at Twelve Apostles near Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road, Australia

A wooden boardwalk hugs the top of the bluff at Twelve Apostles. The walkway provides spectacular and ever-changing panoramic views of the rock formations jutting from the sea. In case you are counting, you will only see eight stacks. Five have succumbed to the relentless waves of the Southern Ocean. Geologists believe the lifespan of a stack – starting as a cliff, evolving into a column and then crumbling – is about 600 years.

Great Ocean Rd & Booringa Rd, Princetown VIC 3269, Australia
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27 Castle Rock at Twelve Apostles near Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road, Australia

The sweeping expanse of Castle Rock is magnificent from a lookout at Twelve Apostles. This dramatic promontory is one of several seaside formations within the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park. The reserve covers 10.5 miles of coastline – both above and below the water – between Great Otway National Park to the east and the small town of Port Campbell in the west. Many of the remaining coastal turnouts along the Great Ocean Road are also part of Port Campbell National Park. These include Loch Ard Gorge, The Arch, London Bridge and The Grotto.

Great Ocean Rd & Booringa Rd, Princetown VIC 3269, Australia
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28 Castle Rock’s Turret at Twelve Apostles near Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road, Australia

As you walk along the trail on top of the 230 foot tall Castle Rock, you will understand how this golden headland got its name. Over millions of years, nature sculptured the tip of the limestone into a shape resembling the turret of a medieval castle.

Great Ocean Rd & Booringa Rd, Princetown VIC 3269, Australia
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29 Shipwreck Walk at Loch Ard Gorge near Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Loch Ard Gorge is your next amazing stop along the Great Ocean Road. From the air, this section of Shipwreck Coast looks like a zipper of inlets and promontories. This bluff forms a wall of the gorge as seen from Shipwreck Walk. About 640 vessels have met their demise along the 80 mile coastline. This location is named in memory of one of them. In 1878, the British three-mast vessel Loch Ard struck a reef at nearby Mutton Bird Island and sunk within minutes, killing 52 passengers and crew.

Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia
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30 Island Archway at Loch Ard Gorge near Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road, Australia

The Geology Walk starts to the left of the Loch Ard Gorge parking lot. Within about 650 feet you reach a viewing platform called the Tom and Eva Lookout. Its namesakes are Thomas Pearce and Eva Carmichael, the lone survivors of the Loch Ard shipwreck. In front of you was Island Archway. But why are there two pillars of stone here instead of an arch? Because Island Archway collapsed in 2009. Some folks now call them Tom and Eva.

Tom and Eva Lookout, Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia
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31 Geology Walk at Loch Ard Gorge near Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road, Australia

There is a network of paths at Loch Ard Gorge. The longest of two miles is Living on the Edge. You can easily spend two to three hours or more exploring them. If you are short on time or energy, follow Geology Walk. It is one of the easiest trails. And as you approach the circular path after walking 2,952 feet, you will agree the scenery from every lookout is gorgeous.

Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia
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32 Razorback at Loch Ard Gorge near Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road, Australia

At the end of Geology Walk is Razorback. It exemplifies coastal evolution. This massive limestone islet was carved away from the cliff by pounding surf. The point is cracking in two places, preparing to collapse and potentially form sea stacks. In the middle is an indentation. It may take hundreds of years, but eventually this will form a cave followed by an arch. Once that crumbles, huge rock columns will be created. This cycle has been repeated for 15 to 20 million years.

Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia
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33 The Arch near Port Campbell on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Continuing your westerly drive on the Great Ocean Road brings you to Port Campbell. The population of 600 people caters to tourists with accommodations (holiday parks, motor inns and rentable apartments) and delicious places to eat facing Campbell Bay. The first attraction west of town is The Arch. It is not visible from the car. However, the first viewing platform is easy to reach. The second requires a steep descent. It is worth it. That is when this impressive crescent of carved limestone best reveals itself. The formation assumes a golden hue at the end of the day.

The Arch Track & Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia
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34 London Arch near Peterborough on Great Ocean Road, Australia

This impressive islet just off shore was called London Bridge until 1990. Before mid-January of that year, it was a natural land bridge with two large arches and named after the famous British landmark. Tourists were thrilled when they walked across the span. Then the connective section and an arch unexpectedly collapsed. Two stranded tourists were airlifted to safety by a helicopter. After that, it was given the revised moniker of London Arch. This view unfolds less than 500 feet from the carpark.

London Bridge Rd & Great Ocean Rd, Peterborough VIC 3270, Australia
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35 London Arch Beach near Peterborough on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Most people visiting London Arch (previously London Bridge) never venture beyond the primary overlook. That is totally understandable. At this point in your Great Ocean Road adventure, you might be taking one remarkable rock formation after another a bit for granted. But consider following the path less traveled. On the left (east) of the main walkway is a narrow trail that winds down to this beach. The amphitheatric scenery is serene and sensational.

London Bridge Rd & Great Ocean Rd, Peterborough VIC 3270, Australia
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36 The Grotto Overlook near Peterborough on Great Ocean Road, Australia

The first viewing platform overlooking The Grotto provides an exhilarating panorama of this mystical site. In the center is a large limestone cavern. Encircling it are craggy bluffs defining a cove filled with aquamarine water. Then you notice the winding wooden staircase inviting you down. How can you resist?

The Grotto Track & Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia
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37 The Grotto Close Up near Peterborough on Great Ocean Road, Australia

When you reach a retaining wall at sea level, expect a crowd admiring this close up of The Grotto. This natural limestone arch is a thrilling portal to the open sea. At its base is a reflection pool plus white stones that have been crushed, rounded and smoothed by the Southern Ocean. The best time to experience The Grotto is late morning when the sun illuminates its gorgeous features.

The Grotto Track & Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia
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38 Bay of Martyrs near Peterborough on Great Ocean Road, Australia

The Bay of Martyrs Overlook is just west of Peterborough. When you arrive, you will be treated to this sweeping seascape accented with large, jagged boulders along the sand plus an isolated isle. Hikers enjoy the 2.5 mile coastal Cliff Top Walk, also called Bay of Martyrs Trail, that begins at the carpark. As pretty as this scenery is, it may have a dark past. According to legend, this is near where Karrae-Wurrong Aboriginal men were run off the cliff by European settlers. The massacre resulted in the name Bay of Martyrs.

Bay of Martyrs Carpark, Peterborough VIC 3270, Australia
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39 Bay of Islands Lookout near Peterborough on Great Ocean Road, Australia

At the Bay of Islands Lookout, two long fingers of limestone point towards an array of rock pillars seemingly adrift in the Southern Ocean. Despite how many incredible vistas you have appreciated during your Great Ocean Road drive, you will be impressed with this last one. This is a sample of the amazing scenery within the Bay of Islands Coastal Park. The reserve stretches for 20 miles from Peterborough to almost Warrnambool where your road trip along Victoria’s southern coast will come to an end.

Bay of Islands Track & Great Ocean Dr, Port Campbell VIC, Australia
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40 Bay of Islands Sea Stacks near Peterborough on Great Ocean Road, Australia

Linger before you leave the Bay of Islands Lookout. Savor the shape of these unique sea stacks. Imagine how this theater of nature has evolved for 20 million years. You will never forget your Great Ocean Road adventure. If you ever return, the experience will be different because the coast retreats about 6.5 feet a year. The waves, spray and wind will keep carving new scenery while destroying the old. The resulting artwork will always delight you.

Bay of Islands Track & Great Ocean Dr, Port Campbell VIC, Australia
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