The Great Ocean Road is one of the world's best road trips – the sweeping curves and splendid scenery naturally lead its travellers to adopt a laid back, relaxing disposition. The entire stretch of the road, just short of 250 kilometres, can be traversed in less than a day, but adventurers and explorers tend to give themselves an extra day or three, so as not to rush the many great sightseeing opportunities on offer along its length.
Running from the Victorian towns of Torquay in the east and Allansford in the west, the Great Ocean Road passes several settlements along its route, and many established attractions. Those that have travelled the road previously wax lyrically about the journey, often choosing to take the ride again and again. The famous road promises an experience that simply must be had by anyone who has little spare time, a car, a camera and just the pure impetus to do something ranked highly on many a traveller's bucket list. With a hired vehicle from East Coast Car Rentals, enjoying everything that the Great Ocean Road surprises you with couldn't be easier.
The Great Ocean Road offers an almost infinite list of sights to see, places to go and things to do. It'd take a lifetime to see it all, so we've picked out some of the most impressive, quirky and downright brilliant sights and attractions for you, the intrepid motorist. Clearly signposted along its entirety, maps are optional for this journey, so you'll have no trouble in finding your way. Just be sure to drive with care, as the Great Ocean Road is, for the majority of its length, a narrow, winding path that snakes around cliff tops, often with only a small wooden barrier to halt the lackadaisical driver from plunging to the waiting waves below. Take it with caution, and prepare yourself for the fine Australian display that awaits.
The 12 Apostles
Quite possibly the most famous of all of the Great Ocean Road's attractions, The 12 Apostles are actually stacks of limestone rock carved into columns by the relentless sea. There has never actually been 12 'apostles' as such – only nine were initially known, but, in 2005, one of them decided that he'd had enough and collapsed. Viewed by thousands of visitors each year, seeing The 12 Apostles is an absolute priority on your trip. The nearby London Arch, which was a natural stone bridge before it too succumbed to the waves, is also worthy of your time.
The Dirty Angel
War memorials are a common sight in most towns across the world, a lasting tribute to those that died in the service of their country. Not many places, however, can boast a monument with such a compelling name. We won't go into specifics here, but the Dirty Angel, found in Warrnambool, towers high above a roundabout – standing alert, you might say. Best viewed from afar to create the necessary optical effect, The Dirty Angel is a happy mistake that the people of Warrnambool are rightly proud of.
Old Geelong Gaol
Old prisons are perennially intriguing buildings. The very nature of jails dictates that there will always be a fascinating story to tell, an absorbing history. The Old Geelong Gaol is no different – it contains the same crumbling cells and eerie corridors that any other disused prison might – but this one puts on a re-enactment execution of its most notorious criminals, using the original gallows. Creepy.
Take a break from the doom and gloom of the prison by heading on out to the golden sands of Bells Beach. It's the archetypal Australian beach – monstrous surfing waves, bounding kangaroos in the nearby grasslands and bronzed bikini bodies all combine for the quintessential Oz beach experience.