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Explore The Great Ocean Road

A Limestone Feature Near the Road
A Limestone Feature Near the Road
The Great Ocean Road is an Australian national heritage-listed 250km stretch of road along the south coast of Victoria between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. The road was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932. It was dedicated to the memory of the soldiers killed during World War I, making this road the world's largest war memorial. A unique Australian treasure, the Great Ocean Road offers travellers one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world and has to be the perfect destination for the self-drive campervan holiday.

Located on the shores of Port Phillip Bay, Geelong is the gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula and the famous Great Ocean Road. Wander along the stunning waterfront of Victoria's second largest city, past public artworks, landscaped gardens, ice-cream parlours and eateries. Explore the cities National Trust listed buildings, delve into the region's history at the National Wool Museum and take the kids for a ride on the wooden carousel. You might want to set aside a few days to enjoy the turquoise waters of the Bellarine Peninsula, or spend some time in picturesque Queenscliff before you set out on the road trip of a lifetime. The Bellarine Peninsula has been building a reputation as a food and wine destination; take the Bellarine Taste Trail to discover wineries, restaurants and cafes, boutique beers, fresh produce, goats' cheese, olive oil and seafood. Queenscliff attracts visitors who come for the heritage streetscapes, antique shops and top-notch fish and chips. It's a grand introduction to the Great Ocean Road.

The Torquay area is famous for its surf beaches, with Jan Juc and the world famous Bells Beach located on the town's south-west outskirts. Other popular beaches are Point Impossible Beach and Southside Beach. Many of the world's most famous surf companies have their home in Torquay, including Rip Curl and Quiksilver, as well as the Surf World Museum.

The stretch between Cape Otway to Port Fairy has been nicknamed 'Shipwreck Coast', and it has earned its named. It is here that you will find the unforgettable Apostles, limestone stacks which rise up from the ocean looking like ancient, crumbling walls and pillars. Take the time to investigate the local coastline, lookouts, wharves, and museums which will give you a greater insight into the stories of the many shipwrecks that have taken place off the coast. Along this stretch, Port Campbell is a dainty and picturesque town to visit, with campervan sites available at Port Campbell Holiday Park, located right on the beachfront. It is worthwhile to drive into the hinterland and enjoy the mountain views from your campervan as you head to the popular lookouts. Some of Australia's best temperate rainforest scenery is in the Great Otway National Park. A must-do experience is the Otway Fly Treetop Walkway; this is a 600 metre long and 30 metre high steel-structured treetop canopy walkway that takes you right into the treetops, with breathtaking views and abundant plant and birdlife. The park features rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, rock platforms and windswept heathland. In the north, the park features tall forests, ferny gullies, magnificent waterfalls and tranquil lakes. Back closer to shore, Cape Otway features a majestic old lighthouse which is worth the climb for panoramic views of the coastline.

Further along the coast, visit the Lower Glenelg National Park, which offers incredible camping grounds surrounded by towering trees. Take a tour and explore the beauty of the Princess Margaret Rose Cave, often referred as 'the jewel in the crown' of the park. River erosion and the trickle of rainwater have created some extraordinary caves in the region and the varied hues come from years of minerals and tannins washing down from soil above. You can also take a ride up the magnificent Glenelg River gorge, either by canoe or on a river cruise and gaze in awe at the stunning limestone cliffs as they glide by. Sixty kilometres of the river flows through the park, with one section displaying a 15 kilometre long limestone gorge with 50 metre high cliffs. For avid walkers, the Great Ocean Walk takes you through almost 100km of isolated coastline as well as along high cliffs and weaving into the forests further inland. You can start and stop along the trail which starts at Apollo Bay and finishes right near the Apostles. Allow one week to a fortnight to make the most of this incredible journey.

Allansford is the town at the end of this historic road. The Allansford Cheese World is proudly owned and operated by the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, where quality dairy products have been produced since 1888. The onsite museum has an extensive collection of farm implements and household items from everyday life in the early 1900's. Just a short drive from Allansford are the Hopkins Falls, located on the Hopkins River, with picnic areas and walking tracks.

With so many places to see and things to do you will need a few days in each spot and your campervan will give you the freedom to choose exactly how and when you experience the Great Ocean Road and its wonders. Don't forget to take your camera.

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