Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most iconic coastal drives and let’s face it, every visitor has one thing on their mind as they navigate those twists and turns – and that’s the 12 Apostles. But there’s so much more to this staggeringly beautiful region. Here are 13 things to do when you’ve done the 12 (technically 8, but who’s counting?) Apostles…
1. Get a bird’s eye view of the Apostles and coast
The majestic limestone sea stacks look pretty darn special from the clifftop viewing platform at the 12 Apostles Visitor Facility, but they look even more splendiferous when viewed from the air. If you’ve ever dreamed of taking a helicopter flight, this could well be the time to splash out and strap in.
2. Take a surfing lesson at Bells Beach
Given the sublime coastal setting it should come as no surprise that surfing is big in this neck of the woods. Take a sandy stroll on Bells Beach – the hallowed site of the annual Rip Curl Pro, or better still, try getting upright yourself with a surfing lesson from Great Ocean Road Surf Tours.
3. Hit the Australian National Surfing Museum
Torquay is the region’s surfing capital and home to the Australian National Surfing Museum. Immerse yourself in the history of the sport that has become synonymous with Aussie coastal life. The Hall of Fame honours those who have made a significant contribution to the sport.
4. Step back in time at the Cape Otway Lightstation
The coastline along the Great Ocean Road can be very wild and woolly, as ships’ captains of the 19th and early 20th centuries could certainly attest. Australia’s oldest surviving mainland lighthouse, the Cape Otway Lightstation guided many mariners to safety over the years. Climb to the top of the tower for breathtaking views.
5. Follow the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail
The 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail is a decadently delicious day out for foodies with wheels. Drop in on local gourmet producers, including Berry World, Timboon Fine Icecream, Gorge Chocolates and Apostle Whey Cheese.
6. Tuck into a local legend
Fresh seafood is a staple along the Great Ocean Road, but the piscatorial pièce de résistance is the Apollo Bay Bakery’s legendary scallop pie. These flaky pastry cases encapsulating plump scallops in mornay sauce get rave reviews. Do yourself a flavour and tuck in.
More regional inspiration:
One-Day Getaways from Melbourne
Cycling the Mornington Peninsula
7. Go for a paddle of craft beers
But it’s not all about the food on the Great Ocean Road – the region also has a flourishing craft beer scene. Pay a visit to the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse in Apollo Bay and try a paddle of their Prickly Moses range. Highlights include the Summer Ale and Otway Stout.
8. Get a dose of café culture
Being this close to café capital Melbourne, you can of course expect great coffee along the Great Ocean Road. Cool cafes abound, particularly in and around Lorne. Moons Espresso Bar is a must-try for breakfast, while The Bottle of Milk and Swing Bridge Café are also excellent.
9. Explore the Otway Ranges by pedal power
Contrary to what the name implies, the Great Ocean Road actually offers access to all manner of stunning natural landscapes. Climb onto a power-assisted pushy with Otway E-Bikes and surrender yourself to the sublime natural nirvana that is the Otway Ranges.
10. Fly through the air with the greatest of ease
Looking for a different vantage of the age-old Otways? You’ll find it at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures. Go for a stroll above the forest canopy on the 25-metre high steel walkway, or channel your inner Tarzan on the 2.5-hour guided zipline tour!
11. Walk with dinosaurs at Maits Rest
OK, so the rainforest at Maits Rest in the Great Otway National Park isn’t quite that old, but it sure feels Jurassic. Stroll along the boardwalk amongst giant tree ferns and towering myrtle beeches. Only the sounds of babbling streams break the silence. Spellbinding!
12. Do the Great Ocean Walk
If driving the Great Ocean Road just isn’t enough – you can also walk it! Three, four and seven-day accommodated walks are available along the 104km Great Ocean Walk from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles.
13. Relax and rejuvenate with a spa package
And finally if all that activity has left you in need of a holiday from your holiday, head for the hills behind Torquay to the award-winning Saltair Spa. This stylish retreat offers a range of rejuvenating treatments. It feels fittingly ‘off the grid’.