Driving along the Great Ocean Road is a popular option that I would recommend to anyone visiting Victoria, Australia for the first time. It is well known for its surreal and charming sceneries and structures formed naturally from the waves. I was really amazed as I witnessed the blue oceans and the wonders of the sea with my naked eyes. If you’re thinking whether this suits your itinerary, just note that it is located about 2.5 hours away from Melbourne. You can consider doing just a day trip from the city! Otherwise, you can also stay overnight near the Grampians National Park and embark on one of the stunning trails there the next morning.

Driving along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria Australia

1. Gibson Steps

I visited the Great Ocean Road some time around early November and the weather was amazing then. It wasn’t too hot nor was it rainy. It was perfect to catch the ocean at its bluest and the sun at its brightest. As I started the drive from Melbourne City, the first stop that I got to was the Gibson Steps.

You can make your way down to the beach via the 86-step pathway and from there, admire the beauty of Gog and Magog. They are the nicknames of the tall limestone stacks rising out of the sea and the main point here. However, it was a great pity that time didn’t really allow me to take that walk down. It was also so windy that I was literally getting slapped by sand in my face. At least I managed to snap this beautiful bird-eye shot of the ocean? The ocean was so calming and beautiful. I can stand there all day just listening to the sound of the waves and the wind.

2. Twelve Apostles

Just a short drive down the great ocean road and you’ll see the 12 Apostles (though only 8 left now)! These pillars are made of limestone and were actually once connected to the mainland cliffs. Through Mother Nature’s energy over the past million years, waves and wind eroded the limestone cliffs. It first carved them into caves, then arches, and eventually into the tall pillars you see today. It is really a great sight to see, and a real geography class in person.

If you can, time your visit such that you arrive there at sunrise or sunset. You will be in awe as the pillars change colour from gloomy in shadow to a fabulous golden yellow under the sun.

3. Razorback

The Razorback is a very unique rock formation with details so clear you can literally see the impact of the waves on it. Spend a few minutes to just walk down this path and admire the details on the rock. I really like how the path was built so close to it too that it feels like you can almost reach it when you extend your hand. It was also such a large formation that somehow I couldn’t capture the full structure in one shot or find something good enough to share here in this post. Hence, the lack of a good photo of it alone T.T

This is also located really close to the Loch Ard Gorge that is just a few minutes away. If you have the time, embark on this trail that connects both structures and you can immerse yourself entirely in the beauty of this scenic route. The nearly 2km walk would take you about 30 minutes one-way. Aw man, I wished I had the time to do it then!!

4. Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge, a really beautiful coast that looks good from any angle. You can choose to walk along the beach and admire the sandstone cliffs up close. It was also the site of a famous shipwreck centuries ago, that went into the history of Australia. It even gave this Gorge its name! You can also explore several other short walks in this area including the Loch Ard cemetery where the victims of the shipwreck are buried at. You can choose between the following walks:

  • Geology Walk – Enjoy the shape the coastline on this easy self‐guided walk.
  • Shipwreck Walk – You can follow through on the tragic story of the Loch Ard shipwreck site to the cemetery.
  • Living on the Edge – This is an easy walk that encompasses the Mutton Bird Island viewing platform, Thunder Cave and Broken Head.

5. The Arch

The Arch is located at the bottom of the walkway and took me a few seconds to actually find it when on the path. You can choose to take a descend down the walkway to the platform where you can even catch the 12 Apostles from another angle. I just stayed at the top of the walkway and that was sufficient for me to get a good look of the Arch too (lazy me)! Also, try to visit this area in the afternoon when the sun is the strongest as that’s when you will be treated to an amazing view of the formation under the bright yellow sun. It gives it such a glow that completely highlights the beauty of the natural rock.

*Note that the Arch Day visitor area and lookouts are temporarily closed as of March 2022 🙁

6. London Bridge/ Arch

If you’re wondering why this is called the London Bridge when it does not connect to the mainland, that’s because the bridge collapsed and turned into the current London Arch. In January 1990, the middle section of the bridge collapsed into the ocean while there were still two tourists out there. They were cut off from the mainland from this collapse but fortunately there were no injuries. Phew! Just imagine that happening while you’re just happily sightseeing. So do be aware of your surroundings too when visiting the Great Ocean Road as the shoreline is always but gradually shifting from the continuous erosion of the waves and the weather. Who knows how the same structure will look like another century down the road!

7. The Grotto

The Grotto, Driving along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria Australia

The Grotto is one of the most picturesque structure out of all as I could get up close to it easily from the viewing platform. Just wait for your turn at the staircase that leads down to it, and you’ll be able to capture an awesome shot of yourself and the Grotto!

It was really peaceful there. Just take a moment to pause and admire the rock pools carved out of the limestone when at the viewing platform. The view that leads out into the vast ocean from the cave further highlights the beauty of this structure. I love the contrast between the strength of the strong waves out there with the serenity of the rock pools. If not for the queue of people waiting to capture their shot with it, I would have stood there longer than I did just to digest the moment even more.

What’s next?

So that’s about the end of my journey driving along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Hope you enjoyed it!

Thinking how you can fit this in your itinerary? Check out my 10D9N Travel Guide to Melbourne, Australia for the Nature Lover post here for a full itinerary. Otherwise, you can first stop by before the entrance of the Great Ocean Road to have breakfast or lunch, then make your drive down this road. I chose to continue the drive upwards to the Grampians National Park thereafter and continue exploring nature there the next morning. However, you can also choose to drive back to Melbourne City and take a break. You might even want to head down to Phillip Island the next day to catch the cute penguins in their natural habitat!

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