If you live in Melbourne, then one of the most attractive and accessible destinations for a weekend away is the fabulous Great Ocean Road to the west of Geelong. This stunning stretch of road hugs the dramatic coastline from holiday hotspot Torquay, skimming down past the Great Otway National Park and passing along the Shipwreck Coast all the way to Warranambool. The 243 kilometre drive is dotted with lovely beachside towns and some of the most dramatic scenery that you’ll find anywhere in Australia, making it a wonderful place for family holidays, quiet getaways and romantic escapes.
One of the many attractions of this stunning slice of coast is that each of the seaside communities that lie along it’s coves and points have their own unique feel and things to do. Torquay has both family friendly beaches and something for those looking for surf and water sports, whilst nearby Bell’s Beach holds theworld famous Bells Beach Surf Classic each Easter for serious surfers. Lorne is a classy little town with a great café culture that fits well with its relaxing Mediterranean vibe. Apollo Bay has plenty of fun things to do like sea kayaking and deep-sea fishing and its restaurants are a great place to sample some of the excellent local seafood. This is also a good spot to base yourself for at least one night if you wish to see the famous 12 Apostles or head inland to the lovely Otway Ranges. Airey’s Inlet has beautiful rugged beaches and the historic Split Point Lighthouse and Port Fairy is a chocolate box pretty fishing village that combines old-world charm with fishing port bustle and abundant wildlife.
All this means that the Great Ocean Road is the perfect destination for a weekend away with the car, where you can drive from beach to café to boutique hotel to beach again as and when you wish. In fact, one of the best ways to get the most out of a few days break in this part of Victoria is to hire a classic convertible and cruise the beachside promenades and hairpin bends in style!
Another option is to think ahead and see the Great Ocean Road as a series of holiday opportunities, rather than a single trip. If you follow this approach, you might decide to stay in just the one location for your short break, explore that area thoroughly and save locations further along the route for another time.
And whilst travelling with no fixed schedule is great, if you’re only taking a weekend getaway, you’ll probably find it wiser to book your accommodation in advance, especially if you’re planning to travel during one of the peak holiday periods, like the school summer holidays. Holiday accommodation is abundant along the Great Ocean Road with everything from luxury hotels and swish serviced apartments to holiday rentals and campsites on offer and the various beach towns offer different places to stay which fit with their attractions and atmosphere.
The Great Ocean Road really is one of Australia’s best holiday destinations and even if you can only spare a weekend, it should be on your ‘to do’ list!