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TORONTO — A beautiful city in its own right, Melbourne is also the gateway to several of Australia’s iconic experiences, including a spectacular coastal drive to see the 12 Apostles on Great Ocean Road.
Just two hours from the heart of Melbourne, with dual lane highway conditions for most of the journey and excellent signposting (there are train and ferry options too), the Great Ocean Road takes travellers from Torquay to Nelson on the South Australian border, all while offering up some of the most impressive coastal scenery in Australia.
The Great Ocean Road is a must-do for everyone who comes to Melbourne, whether they’re a first-time visitor or a return traveller. Here are a few tips for planning that perfect drive …
Discover the Great Ocean Road
As the Rip Curl Pro descends on Bells Beach, plan your trip to make the most of the Great Ocean Road that surrounds the surf break. It’s here that the world’s top ranked surfers carve up the waves every spring for the annual Rip Curl Pro surfing competition. Bells Beach is the epicentre of Australia’s surf culture. Adventurous travellers can surf the west coast of Victoria at beaches in the Great Ocean Road region, from the famed breaks of the Surf Coast to the wild waves beyond Discovery Bay.
The 12 Apostles
The towering limestone stacks known as the 12 Apostles are one of the most recognizable sights in Australia. Visitors will see them in all their splendor as they travel the Great Ocean Road.
While driving a stretch of the Great Ocean Road itself is a rite of passage, there’s also plenty of opportunity to park the car and set off on the Great Ocean Walk for the most up-close experience of the famous coastal scenery, including not just the iconic 12 Apostles but irresistible beaches and lush rainforest too.
The Great Ocean Road is dotted with tiny resort towns, welcoming hamlets and larger regional centres that all have their own distinct personalities.
Be sure to stop off as often as possible along the way to discover laid back surf culture, rich maritime history, fine food and wine, sophisticated seaside lifestyles and rugged shipwreck tales.
Wherever a pit-stop happens visitors are guaranteed astonishing scenery and lasting memories, with highlights including Lorne, Torquay and Geelong.
The natural beauty of the Great Ocean Road is matched only by the fine food and wine visitors will find along the way, with the delectable regional produce a true local hero. Local favourites include Chef Dan Hunter’s Brae and Chris’ Beacon Point Restaurant, where the sumptuous food does its best to rival the outstanding views of the water.
The Bellarine Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road region have long been a haven for Victorian wine-makers. Why settle for one or two, when you can take a vinous tour across the entire region? Visitors can take a few days to discover the many varietals on offer at vineyards including Jack Rabbit, Scotchman’s Hill and Pt Leo Estate.
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