Starting 100km south west of Melbourne the Great Ocean Road traces the spectacular coastline of Victoria's south-west. Completed in 1932, and recognised as one of the world's most scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road stretches for over 300 kilometres, from Torquay, just south of Geelong, to Warrnambool [LINK]
Beyond the popular surfing town of Torquay, the Great Ocean Road features the beautiful contrast of the ocean beaches on one side and the forests and mountains of the Otway Ranges on the other as it passes through Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay. The Otway Ranges stretch from Anglesea to Cape Otway and offer beautiful hills, waterfalls, excellent walking tracks and picnic spots. At Apollo Bay the Great Ocean Road leaves the coast and winds through the rainforest of Cape Otway.
Each of the coastal townships has a unique feeling of its own ? from the surf headquarters of Torquay to the sleepy town of Apollo Bay. The Bell?s Beach Surf Classic attracts surfing legends from all over the world to compete in the annual Easter surf contest. Bellarine Peninsula
Bellarine (Balla Wein) means the "place one rests on the elbow". How true! This is what you will see in summer, when the population of the Peninsula swells as visitors enjoy the numerous bay and surf beaches and relaxed lifestyle.
Bounded on all sides by water; bay, ocean and river, there is never a shortage of things to do on the Bellarine Peninsula. Even better, everything is within easy driving distance.
Lovely country properties exist across the Peninsula between the towns and holiday resorts dotted around the coastline. The rolling hills and dales create beautiful rural vistas and still support agriculture. The Bellarine Peninsula is home to numerous fine vineyards.
At the southeastern end of the Bellarine Peninsula are the historic and popular beach resort towns of Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale. Watch the ships as they navigate the notorious Rip at Port Phillip Heads. Soak up the historic maritime atmosphere of these seaside resort towns that have been popular since the late 19th century. Stroll the shops, art galleries, and indulge in fine dining.
Further east Ocean Grove faces Barwon Heads across the Barwon River, where many residents have made their sea change. Swim at one of the safest surf beaches in Victoria, but make sure you only swim between the flags of a patrolled beach. Where else but Ocean Grove can you go to a horse race meeting at the beach.
Drysdale and Clifton Springs are steeped in the history of the settlement of the Peninsula. The discovery of mineral springs ensured Clifton Springs popularity in the late 1880's as a holiday resort. At Drysdale, named for one of the Lady squatters, you can still see many historic buildings; the courthouse is home to the museum of the Bellarine Historical Society.
You will see magnificent views of Corio Bay, the You Yangs and Melbourne's skyline (not to be missed at night) as you drive from Drysdale, towards Portarlington. On the way, you pass one of the early properties now known as Spray Farm. Portarlington's original Grand Hotel is still in business, and the town remains a popular seaside destination. You can walk in Batman's footsteps at Indented Heads where the Port Phillip Association began the colonization of Melbourne and for that matter Victoria. Continue along the coastline and you find beautiful and peaceful St. Leonards.
Continue east from the Bellarine Peninsula, along the coast, and you discover the breathtaking Surfcoast and Great Ocean Road. Here you can visit the famous Bell's Beach, a Mecca for surfers. Also east, to the bayside you find the City of Geelong with its unique history and attractions all of its own.