The great ocean road
The most legendary road – #47 great ocean road, australia
Victoria’s often storm-ravaged south coast may be inextricably linked to the Twelve Apostles, a series of spectacular rock formations surrounded by wild waves. But the experience of taking a road trip of nearly 250 km is surprisingly smooth.
The road from Torquay to Allansford (Allansford is 10 km from Warrnambool), built in the 1920s by Australian soldiers returning from World War I, offers breathtaking scenery, from rugged ocean cliffs to pristine surf beaches, but it also passes through a civilized part of rural Australia, a region rich in fresh produce farms, seafood and cool-climate wines.
For some people, of course, the Great Ocean Road is a destination in its own right, a rare opportunity to drive this road. Others come here to visit the beautiful Great Otway National Park or to explore Australia’s colorful 19th century maritime history, where more than 600 ships sank here.
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Famous for its magnificent coastal views, the Great Ocean Road is among Australia’s most scenic routes. Just under 100 km south of Melbourne, this route takes you from Torquay to Port Fairy along a remarkable coastline and through some of the best rainforests. The Great Ocean Road winds winding along cliffs from which you can see the eroded coastline formed by limestone cliffs, caves and rock columns rising from the sea. On the first stretch of the journey, powerful waves break against pristine beaches, an ideal environment for surfers. From the ocean, the road enters some of Australia’s most beautiful rainforests: the Great Otway National Park. Admire some of Australia’s finest rainforests, and enjoy its huge trees, waterfalls, ancient plants and lush ferns. A little further along the ocean road you can see how the iconic Twelve Apostles emerge directly from the sea. For the best views of this natural phenomenon, hike the Gibson Steps or the Lock Ard Gorge.
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The Great Ocean Road in Australia is one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world and one of the most important in the world. Lonely Planet’s epic drives of the world. Stretching 243 km along Australia’s southeast coast, it showcases some of the country’s most spectacular coastal scenery.
Day hikers can dash in and out of the area from Melbourne but, in a perfect world, visitors would spend several days exploring the coastal towns, clifftop vistas and natural parks.
London Bridge (also known as London Arch) was once a natural double-track viaduct connected to the mainland that visitors could walk across. However, in 1990, the span closest to the shore unexpectedly collapsed, leaving two visitors stranded on the outer span and requiring rescue by helicopter.
The 12 Apostles is the most iconic of all the attractions on the Great Ocean Road. Located near Port Campbell and within Port Campbell National Park, the giant limestone stacks rise 45 m above the tempestuous ocean below. Behind the eight remaining stacks (the others are said to have collapsed) are lines of towering cliffs 70 m high.
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The route was built between 1919 and 1932 following a variant terrain but that allows, when following it, to know extremely beautiful destinations of the Australian geography. If you like the sea and you like driving, the experience of driving along this road is unforgettable.
The Great Ocean Road starts in Torquay and ends in Allansford. It is a two-lane road with two lanes, one way and the other way, and cannot be driven at more than 80 km/h. It passes through rainforests, colonial towns and what interests us, a coastline dotted with beaches, cliffs and huge rocks of every possible shape. You keep stopping to take pictures.
Among the panoramic points over the sea the best are the Arco Island, which collapsed in 2009, the Grotto, the London Arch formerly known as the London Bridge, the Thunder Cave, Blowhole, and of course the so-called Twelve Apostles. These «apostles» are limestone columns that stand in the water above the shore of Port Campbell National Park.
They are very close together and have been formed by erosion: from cliffs to caves, from caves to arches that collapsed and left these 45 meter high columns at the end. Erosion is still at work and although there were never 12 but 9, one collapsed in 2005.