The Great Ocean Road is an iconic tourist destination in Victoria, Australia. Renowned for being one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world, millions of people head to the famed region to experience its awesomeness every year. If you have not been there yet, you don’t know what you are missing. Read on to find out at least 5 reasons why you have to visit the Great Ocean Road for your next trip Down Under, because “there’s nothing like Australia”!
1. Get up close to native wildlife
Instead of heading to the wildlife parks in Australia where you need to pay a fee to get in touch with native wildlife, you can get up close to native wildlife, such as wild kangaroos, wallabies and koalas, for free in this region! Be sure to open your eyes wide as you drive through the popular Bells Beach near the towns of Torquay and Jan Juc to get to the Memorial Arch. Who knows, you may just spot a mob of wild kangaroos feeding on the vast grassfield like in the photo above. In the popular beach town of Lorne and by the Kenneth River, you will also be able to find many beautiful native birds roaming freely in the area. Look up to the numerous tall eucalyptus trees carefully and it’s highly likely you will find a handful of wild koalas perched on the trees, either sleeping or feeding on eucalyptus leaves.
2. Pay tribute to the WWI soldiers for the construction of this Australian National Heritage
Built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932, the Great Ocean Road is the world’s largest war memorial dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I (WWI). The 243-kilometre (151-mile) long stretch of road is an Australian National Heritage, built along the southeastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. To create employment opportunities for the WWI returned servicemen, the government initiated the construction of the Great Ocean Road then. The Memorial Arch was then built as a tribute to these soldiers and it provides a great photo-taking opportunity for visitors entering the beautiful beach town of Lorne. By the arch, you will also find a commemorative sculpture that was commissioned and placed on the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the road. Learn more about the great efforts put in by these soldiers through the informative signboards alongside the sculpture, so that you can appreciate the beauty of this great road even more.
3. Sneak preview of the stunning offshore stacks at Gibson Steps
As you drive towards the hottest tourist spot along the Great Ocean Road at Port Campbell National Park, do make a stop at Gibson Steps. The name Gibson Steps refers to the long flight of stairs leading down to a long stretch of scenic beach. It is believed the steps were first carved into the cliff possibly by the original Kirrae Whurrong inhabitants and later maintained by a local settler, Hugh Gibson. The 86 steps on the staircase may prove to be a challenge on the climb back up for some, but the view on the beach is really breathtaking, so it’s definitely worth climbing! You will also find two offshore stacks that look like the prominent Twelve Apostles at the nearby Port Campbell National Park, but they do not belong to the same family. Nonetheless, these stacks, known locally as Gog and Magog, serve as a sneak preview of the marvellous Twelve Apostles that you will be viewing shortly!
4. The magnificent and photogenic Twelve Apostles
The most photographed landmark along the Great Ocean Road is none other than the magnificent Twelve Apostles at Port Campbell National Park. This extraordinary collection of wave-sculpted rock formations is well-known to travellers around the world, and it is probably the most-photographed site in the entire region. Regardless of the angle of your photos, these offshore rock formations simply look awesome! No wonder you can see all the visitors taking out their camera devices trying to snap beautiful pictures of the breathtaking scenery everywhere on the main viewing platform.
Did you know that there are only seven rock stacks that comprise the Twelve Apostles? Six are on display in the classic view enjoyed by millions of people over the years, with the seventh located several metres away from the corner of the main viewing platform. Take your time to count the rock stacks and immerse in the natural beauty of Mother Nature!
5. More natural beauty to be discovered in the national park than just Twelve Apostles
Don’t just stop at Twelve Apostles and think you are done at the Great Ocean Road. In fact, there are several other natural beautiful formations in the Port Campbell National Park, such as the Loch Ard Gorge, Island Arch and the London Bridge. These alluring nature sites are visible examples of the erosion process in action. For example, in June 2009, a large section of the iconic Island Arch rock formation on Victoria’s west coast succumbed to the elements and crumbled into the sea, thus what you can see today is the remains of the Island Arch. You will also be able to read about the history of these amazing rock formations through the detailed signboards on the viewing platform, and understand the sad history behind these nature sites, such as the Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge.
Amazing road journey that you should experience at least once in your lifetime
The Great Ocean Road is a marvellous region where you can spend at least a day exploring the amazing works of nature and witness how human action over the decades has disrupted the eco-system. Marvel at the stunning coastal views as you drive along this great road constructed by the WWI returned servicemen and appreciate the efforts made by the local government to maintain and conserve the region. Before the continual erosion process eradicates the beautiful natural rock formations completely, embark on this amazing road trip. Hurry before it is too late or you may regret it in future!
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