Published on 11th July 2016
by Dan Cunningham

A golden stretch of highway winding along the pine-studded surf coast – the appeal is pretty self-explanatory. In partnership with Visit Victoria, we take a trip down the Great Ocean Road.

The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most spectacular drives. From Torquay all the way to just shy of Warrnambool, this stretch of highway spans more than 200 kilometres, taking in lush escarpment and gourmet pit stops of every flavour. And those Southern Ocean views? They’re worth a million bucks. All you need is a decent set of wheels to enjoy them.

Construction on the road began in 1919, as a means for thousands of returned servicemen to earn a wage after World War I. They hand-carved and occasionally blasted the terrain between Lorne and Eastern View, finishing up in 1932 at Apollo Bay, the mouth of the Otways.

Today, the drive plays host to a different set: surfer-types set out for the waves at Bells Beach in summer, and kitted-out hikers head for the wilderness of Cape Otway when it’s cool. Then there are the sightseers, who flock to the Twelve Apostles all year round. While only eight of those towering limestone stacks remain visible above water, they’re just as iconic as ever.

An abundance of topnotch breweries, cellar doors and small artisan producers dot the surrounding hinterland – most of them less than an hour apart. There’s lots to cover, so why not stay a while? Spring for a fancy modular homestay on the Twelve Apostles Gourmet Trail, or pamper yourself at a world-class hotel with its own hot springs.

Welcome to The Great Ocean Road

EAT

You’ll find everything from artisanal produce pit stops to long wine-paired lunches along the food trails of the Great Ocean Road.

Pond Cafe

Cafe

A beachfront breakfast spot with a healthy, inventive menu.

La Bimba

Restaurant

The shining culinary star of Apollo Bay.

The Bottle of Milk

Restaurant

Featuring 25 different burgers.

DRINK

From the cold coastal climate to the volcanic soils at Tower Hill, nature is at play in the handcrafted hooch you’ll find along the Great Ocean Road.

Aireys Pub

Bar

When a pub is this big, it only makes sense to install a brewery in-house.

The Forrest Brewing Company

Bar

What better way to finish a bike ride than with a fresh beer?

Growlers

Bar

A laid-back pub with beach views and an outstanding beer garden.

DO

Discover astounding art in the streets and laneways of historic Warrnambool, or trek around Victoria’s largest dormant volcano. If you’re visiting in winter, there are whale-watching lookouts galore.

STAY

Between a modular home in the Timboon bush and a headland hotel boasting natural hot springs, the road is paved with luxury stays.