Great Ocean Road
of the more attractive and watery parts of the Great Ocean Road
which in fact doesn't spend a great deal of time beside the
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Great Ocean Road stretches from
Torquay - one of Melbourne's little suburban seaside resorts
- 200kms (125mls) west to Portland, though some drivers turn
off a little earlier at Warrnambool, heading back to Melbourne
via the Grampian Highlands and Ballarat, while others continue
on to Adelaide, though the distance there is considerable and
views en route few.
The Great Ocean Road was deliberately designed by the Victoria
state government to be one of the world's greatest driving experiences
and is certainly a successful marketing exercise though
many would argue that GOR doesn't make it into the world's top
roads, not compared to, for example, the USA's Route 12 through the Grand Circle Canyon area or Pacific Coast
Highway, South Africa's Garden Route, Scotland's
Highlands or a dozen other classic routes around the world.
The problem is mainly that the road doesn't actually spend that
much time cruising attractively beside the ocean and even the
famous Twelve Apostles sea stacks are barely visible without
a walk (not that there's anything wrong with a good leg stretch
after hours at the wheel).
Fundamentally, to enjoy The Great Ocean Road you need to plan
interesting diversions on the way, park and walk, park and surf,
whatever. Just don't expect the road itself to provide endless
entertainment, it ain't going to happen that way.
Golf Course complete with loafing caddies. Click here for more Australia
of the more surprising aspects of driving the Great Ocean Road
is the amount of wildlife that is visible if you keep your eyes
open. Kangaroos on this golf course are well known, but wallabies
standing dumbly beside the road chewing the cud, koalas hanging
like fat furry fruit in roadside eucalypts (with intellects
about equal to a ripe apricot), parrots, cockatoos and many
other birds are a pleasant distraction from the substantial
distances this drive requires.
hire car or a tour bus is probably the best way to travel this
road as some parts are lengthy, hilly, and/or dull, making biking,
for example, butt-grinding work, while public transport does
not provide buses running the whole route and changes can be
big time wasters.
Personal transport also allows the visitor more freedom to stop
and take the necessary pictures as well as get in a bit of surfing,
hill-walking, forest trekking, whale watching (in season) or
koala digesting his lunch a couple of metres above the Great
koalas are the only critter with a brain that does not fit snugly
into its skull.
Since they more or less predator-free up a gum
tree and eucalyptus leaves are highly toxic, nature decided
to focus on digestion at the expense of intelligence, shrinking
the brain down to a walnut surrounded by jelly and giving them
slow reactions and a dozy 'thousand-yard stare' in the process.
early section of GOR offers some spectacularly good surf beaches,
including perhaps Australia's best waves at Bell's Beach, near
Torquay, while kangaroos can be spotted on Anglesea's golf course.
Koalas can be seen in the trees beside the road between Lorne
and Apollo Bay, and Great Otway National Park provides some
great hikes, treetop walkways and animal viewing.
The Twelve Apostles viewing platforms and walkways will be busy
with tourists and may be less stunning than expected - unless
you take time to walk down to the beach and see the stacks from
looking for a feed from a guest house above the GOR. More Great Ocean Road Pictures.
Great Ocean Walk
is also available to dedicated hikers, running from Apollo Bay
to the Twelve Apostles and taking about a week for the whole
length, though just walking smaller sections is also an option.
There are camp sites en route.
Also on offer are the Surf Coast Walk and Great South West Walk.
Great Ocean Rd images later divide into two parts, one section
showing the route back to Melbourne, the other continuing on