Between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford on the south-eastern coast of Australia lies 243 kilometres of the Great Ocean Road, which is a renowned Australian National Heritage. Known as the world’s largest war memorial, the road was built between 1919 and 1932 by returning soldiers of World War I in memory of those soldiers who were killed in the war.
The Great Ocean Road runs through various terrain and provides access to some of the prominent landmarks in Australia including the famous limestone stack formations called the Twelve Apostles.
Chairman of Country Roads Board, William Calder, first planned the Great Ocean Road at the end of World War I and asked the State War Council for funds to make the returning soldiers work on it in sparsely populated areas in the Western District. It was initially titled as South Coast Road for a road that was suggested to travel from Barwon Heads and end near Warmambool. The Great Ocean Road Trust was formed in 1918 as a private company and 81,000 pound was managed from private subscription and borrowing. President Howard Hitchcock himself contributed 3,000 pound. It was planned to charge drivers a toll until the debt was cleared. Thereafter the road would be gifted to the state.
The Great Ocean Road Visitor Information Centre is located on the foreshore in Apollo Bay and offers complete information including accommodation options and attractions to visitors. It also offers free Wi-Fi, free visitor car parking, all terrain wheel chair, large selection of locally crafted products, maps and souvenirs. Visitors can also collect discounted tickets for Otway Fly and Cape Otway Light station.
Address: 100 Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay
Phone: 1300 OTWAYS (689 297)
The Great Ocean Road Visitor Information Centre opens daily from 9am – 5pm, excluding Christmas Day.
Great Ocean Walk
Visitors can indulge into ‘mild to wild’ walk on the Great Ocean Road that is around 100 km between the Apollo Bay and 12 Apostles. The surface of walking stretch is mostly compacted earth, but some sections of sand, sealed or fine gravel, can be found on the way. The journey is free but fee is applied for camping.
Visitors can also take shorter options like a 10 km stretch from Blanket Bay to Cape Otway.
The Great Ocean Walk was opened in 2004.
Great Ocean Road Marathon
The annual Great Ocean Road Marathon started in 2005 and in 2011 the current marathon record of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 42 seconds was set by James Kipkelwon of Kenya. The marathon route is 45 kilometre section between Lorne and Apollo Bay.
How To Reach
The Great Ocean Road is a 90-minute drive from Melbourne’s city centre, about 197 kilometres away. It is an easy drive along cliff tops, surf beaches and lush rainforest. It is suggested to take enough time to stop at lookouts and watch out for koalas, kangaroos and even whales.
The Great Ocean Road travels via Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Lorne, Wye River, Kennett River, Apollo Bay, Lavers Hill, Port Campbell and Peterborough.