The Great Ocean Road today is one of the major attractions from Melbourne and includes the Cape Otway National Park rainforest and wildlife experience with the coastal scenery of Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch and the Twelve Apostles.
Before The Great Ocean Road was built in the early 1900’s, the only access to the small coastal towns southwest of Melbourne was by ship or by bush track.
Things to do
- The Twelve Apostles
- Loch Ard Gorge
- The Shipwreck Coast
- Cape Otway
- Coastal Scenery
- Apollo Bay
History of The Great Ocean Road
On a dark night in June 1878, the sailing ship Loch Ard, after a 3 month trip from England, ran aground at Loch Ard Gorge, near the Twelve Apostles. Two of the 54 people aboard survived.
What is called “the Shipwreck Coast” had once again claimed a victim. There was no road to carry the news of the disaster to Melbourne. In 1919, three thousand servicemen returned from WW1 cut The Great Ocean Road from the coastline and cliffs between Lorne and Warrnambool using only explosives, picks and shovels and hand tools. It took three years to build and is a memorial to those who died in World War 1.
The Twelve Apostles
When you see the Twelve Apostles standing out in the surf, you appreciate the power of the ocean to carve away the land. The giant pillars of sandstone are all that is left after the water eroded the coast into arches.
After these collapsed, only the pillars were left. From the Interpretation Centre, the clifftop boardwalks take you safely to viewing points for views of all the stages of the process.
Midway between between Lorne and Warrnambool, Apollo Bay (Population just over 1,100) is a holiday and fishing village that is the best place to stay if you are spending more time than on a day tour from Melbourne.
Just 2 hours drive from the city, Apollo Bay gives you absolute water frontage accommodation and the friendly feel of Aussies rather than just tourists. Mix with the locals and stay awhile. Also visit the Cape Otway National Park for a great wildlife experience.
Map of the Great Ocean Road
Zoom in and out for an interactive map of Great Ocean Road