I'm going to Melbourne with a friend in January and we want to take a few days out of our trip to drive along the Great Ocean Road! What are the must-see stops along this route? Looking for beautiful scenery, charming towns, and suggestions for great restaurants (especially ones with good vegetarian options) and wineries.
All good answers above. As a Great Ocean Road local I'd also throw in Bells Beach, Torquay (technically Jan Juc), which is a world famous surf spot. They host the Rip Curl Pro during Easter, and get famous surfers from all over the world. Unfortunately not the set location for the classic movie Point Break.
Another great location is Aireys Inlet, which is a beautiful small coastal town. It also has a famous lighthouse that was used for the filming of the kids show Round the Twist (but i don't think that was big in the States).
There's plenty more spots. We'll be down the coast over the Summer, hit us up for more info if you want.
Don't miss Lorne. It's by far my favorite spot along the Great Ocean Road and it hash good dining options. Of course you have to see the 12 Apostles, just stunning. I'd also recommend the Otway Fly Treetop Walk (it's a bit out of the way, but so worth it). Be prepared for a lot of winding roads, with sometimes not great visibility around bends - so drive carefully, and don't forget Australia drives on the opposite side of the road to US! I don't want to get your hopes up, but you'll probably be lucky enough to see a koala or two in the wild, so keep your eye out/up! Have fun!
We did a 10 day road tour which included the GOR. For us the highlights were as follows:
Tower Hill Reserve - technically past the GOR, but worth the extra distance. An old volcano crater. Beautiful cliffs and views and guaranteed to spy koalas, emu and roos. Spend the night in Port Fairy from here. Lovely town.
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Apollo Bay is a terrific spot and has some of the best food on the Great Ocean Road. You're going in peak period so be prepared for lots of traffic and lots of people. Chris's Beacon Point Restaurant & Villas restaurant at Beacon Point is a treat. The food's great (but can be a little expensive) and although it can get pretty crowded, the service always seems to be fairly prompt.