Australia’s Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s great scenic routes, offering dazzling views of awesome seascapes and rocks. Most tourists head from Torquay, west of Melbourne.
It’s a long drive to your first stop, Apollo Bay. Take the time to enjoy brunch at a cafe and wander the beach. Then it’s on to Great Otway National Park to walk to some of its famous waterfalls. As you go deeper into the rainforest, you’ll be surprised at the contrast between it and the dry earthy tones of the sea cliffs. Some of the most spectacular waterfalls in Otway include the amazing Hopetoun Falls and Erskine Falls.
Next stop is the Gibson Steps, which you can climb down to the beach for a ground-level view of the true stars of the Great Ocean Road: the Twelve Apostles. These are huge limestone stacks that rise up out of the waters off the shore. Many of the original stacks have crumbled from erosion, leaving only eight standing as the sea batters them with every tide.
Drive along for a few minutes and you can stop at an observation deck to see the Apostles in all their glory. Linger a bit until night and you can even see the bright stars of the Milky Way.
Next day, head on to see Loch Ard Gorge, which showcases the beautiful yellow-red colors of the beach here. Cliffs surround the beach like a lobster’s pincers and the beach itself is a sandy red. There are some easy walks with access to better views of the cliffs.
Finally, one of the best sights is the Grotto — part rock pools, part arch, part cave, but magical from almost any angle. (T)