The Great Ocean Road Trip, Australia
Don't be fooled into thinking the Great Ocean Road is just a strip of tarmac. Not only is this 151 mile road the world's longest war memorial, it is the backbone of Victoria and has the added bonus of being one of the greatest drives on the planet. The Great Ocean Road whips up a heady mix of natural wonders. Jaw-dropping sunsets, imposing cliffs, huge waves crashing against the points, Postcard picture villages, and elusive koala all feature in a day or two's drive. The mixture of sea salt and gum trees even gives the road itw own unique smell.
Road trips are as much a part of the Australian experience as snapping the sites in cities, and the B100 proves the philosophy that life is all about journeys, not destinations. It winds and snakes from sleepy Torquay to Warrnambool, starting from the rickety sign across the road. If you are driving from the Mornington Peninsula, take a ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff and pick up the Great Ocean Road from there. Forget the touristy glitz of the east coast; the Great Ocean Road is where savvy travellers start their assault of the 2.9m square mile continent.
The trip starts in Torquay, Australia's surfing capital, where you can get excellent lessons if it's your first time on a board. It's also worth stocking up on cheap surfing equipment and clothing from one of the many factory outlet shops. Then head to Bells Beach, the setting for the final scene of Point Break.
Just outside Torquay is the village of Lorne, with the Great Ocean Road Arch nearby. If you have time, stop for lunch at the Apollo Bay, a quiet fishing village where you can gorge on excellent and reasonably-priced crayfish.
Shortly after Apollo Bay the road drops into the 100,000 hectare Great Otway National Park, made up of tall wet forests, ancient rainforests, waterfalls, heathland and woodlands, all fringed by a spectacular rugged coastline. If you are really lucky you may spot a shy platypus on Lake Elizabeth.
Also part of the Great Otway National Park is Australia's most southern point, Cape Otway, which host Australia's most important lighthouse, 'Cape Otway Lightstation', established in 1848 on the sea cliffs 90m. This is also, where Bass Straight and Southern Ocean meet. Hangout here to learn about Australia's secret war history from World War 2 and learn about local Aboriginal Culture at the Aboriginal Cultural Site.
As the road begins to hug the coast once more, blowholes roar with spouting water and the sea boils around the cliff bases. This is Shipwreck Coast, so named from the ships and seamen that have perished on the shores. Into view come the Great Ocean Road's trump cards: the Twelve Apostles. These towering hunks of limestone stand majestically in the sea and are one of Australia's most spectacular sights.
Next stop is Warrnambool, a 19th century port famous among other things for the Southern Right Whales that visit nearby Logans Beach between June and September to give birth to their calves. The route ends at Port Fairy, still a working fishing port, featuring a rich array of colonial buildings. From here the rest of Australia begins but be warned, the state of Victoria will be difficult to beat.