Veer from the main road and you'll find plenty of adventurous, relaxing and delicious experiences – here are some of our favourites.
Time for a Great Ocean Road trip...
Torquay is where it all begins: where the Southern Ocean meets soaring clifftops and perfect beaches. Surfers from around the world hit the swell at Bells Beach, while yoga fans seek their Vinyasa Flow against the sound of crashing waves. It’s a laidback place: thongs are not just accepted at cafés and restaurants; they’re encouraged. Renew your senses of wellness with a spa experience. One Spa Day Spa at RACV Resort Torquay (1 Great Ocean Rd) offers a Hammam bathing therapy session that includes a heavily salted Floatation Pool.
If the school holidays are looming and you’re looking for a little beach time with the kids, the region is a playground for the whole family. Anglesea offers the kind of entry-level adventure that gives children a taste for the outdoors. Ride bikes through lush bushland, book a surf lesson, or kick back and watch the kangaroos gather for a lazy evening out on the golf course. Or you can hit the beach with fish and chips and brave the rambunctious seagulls. Further down the road you’ll find Warrnambool, where whales drift by in a breathtaking display. Just off the beach, Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground (97 Merri St) is a paradise for kids – 20 hectares of slides, flying foxes, a maze, mini-golf and boat rides.
There’s plenty to discover on a romantic getaway, solo escape, or weekend with friends in the region. Lorne attracts lovers for hand-in-hand walks along the pier at sunset, swims under Erskine Falls, or fine wine and a night in at one of many luxe accommodation options. Further along the road, the tranquil fishing town of Apollo Bay is nestled between the foothills of the Otways and the ocean waves. The experience here is an authentic one, with a village atmosphere and a reputation for pier-to-plate seafood. La Bimba (125 Great Ocean Rd) is renowned for serving up the freshest offerings from the sea and it is hard to pass on their seafood paella. For everything artisan, Port Fairy is the place. Known for its annual folk festival, Port Fairy is a hub of inspiration and creative talent, with art galleries hidden inside heritage buildings. Get your coffee take away and get exploring.