Difference between revisions of "Great Ocean Road"
Revision as of 08:55, 12 September 2010
The Great Ocean Road  is more than a road – it represents a coastal region of south-west Victoria, Australia, running from Bellarine Peninsula near Geelong to Portland near the border with South Australia. The Great Ocean Road was built as a work project for veterans returning from World War I and was completed in 1932. The core of the Great Ocean Road, highway B100 from Torquay to Allansford near Warrnambool, runs for 243 kilometres.
One of the most scenic parts of the road is the stretch between Port Campbell and Peterborough. This is the section contained by Port Campbell National Park and has the major rock formations.
Coastal towns in order from east to west, with driving distance from Torquay:
Inland towns in the region include:
The Great Ocean Road is a fantastic drive, not only for the scenery, but also for the winding cliff top roads. A lot of motoring enthusiasts travel the road for the sheer excitement of feeling the corners and having fun.
Most visitors start from Melbourne, which is 95 kilometers away from Torquay. Instead of Melbourne's main airport, fly into Avalon Airport near Geelong, which is much closer to the start of the road. There is car hire there, and it is regularly serviced by Jetstar  and, soon, Tiger Airways.
V/Line  buses run from Geelong along the Great Ocean Road as far as Apollo Bay three times a day M-F and twice a day Sa-Su. On Friday a bus continues from Apollo Bay to Warrnambool. There are also daily V/Line trains to Warrnambool, but they travel inland.
Car offers the most flexibility for seeing the area. Coach tours are also easily available.
There are many sights to see away from the townships, and along the coast. Getting to them by general public transport would be difficult.
There are so many pullouts and sights, that you can fall into a yet another spectacular vista fatigue, when driving the road. Is it worth pulling off the road for another cliff drop, another gorge, or another arch? Make sure you plan your trip, so you can skip some attractions if you need to, but don't miss the truly amazing ones.
At it simplest, you won't need an itinerary, or even a map to drive the Great Ocean Road. Start at Geelong or Warrnambool and follow the signs. The western end of the route starts at Torquay, 22km from Geelong. The sights are well signposted off the road, as well as nearby attractions. Information boards exist at all signts and attractions. The road is well developed for tourism, has regular information, food, fuel and accommodation.
Its possible to drive the length of the road, and see the main attractions in a day's driving. Two days will allow you to see just about all of the coastal sights and towns, if that is what you want to do. Consider three days or longer if you want to stay longer at some towns, and do some walks, relaxation, or other recreation.
If starting from Melbourne, remember that it's almost 100 km to the start of the Great Ocean Road at Torquay and another 264 km back from Warrnambool along the inland Princes Highway. This translates to a minimum of 600 km to get there, drive the road from end to end and come back, and doing this in one day doesn't leave much time for sightseeing — spending at least two-three days is a much better idea.
Walk. Many of the natural features have surrounding walks, but there are developed paths for longer walks.
Helicopter scenic flights are available at the visitors center at the Twelve Apostles, near Port Campbell. There are also some Great places to go Mountain Biking in the back of Apollo Bay around Forest and the Otway National Park. There is 1 tour company that offer 5-7 Day tours based out of Apollo bay. Australia By Bike  tours include all accommodation, meals and transfers from Melbourne.
Port Campbell has many cafes and restaurants and it is the only place to get food near the Port Campbell National Park.
Some of the beaches along the road have dangerous currents, observe local signs, and seek local advice about the best places to swim.
There are few overtaking lanes on the Great Ocean Road, rather turnouts for slower vehicles. If a faster vehicle catches up to you, be considerate and pull over at the next turn out. Frustration causes accidents, let faster vehicles past. If you catch up to a slower vehicle, stay back at a safe distance and wait for the other vehicle to pull over in the next slow vehicle turn out. Don't tailgate.
The speed limit along the Great Ocean Road is 80km/h to 100km/h. In towns, the speed limit is 50km/h to 70km/h.
Given the volume of traffic that can traverse the Great Ocean Road, especially weekends and holidays, don't assume that it will be a quick trip. Allow yourself plenty of time to see everything so that you may enjoy your drive.