The Pacific Coast Highway and Route 66 in the United States may be iconic road trip routes by now, but nothing beats the 243-kilometer Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia for scenic coastal road trips that feature surf spots, limestone cliffs, rock formations, and forests.
Great Ocean Road tips:
1. Apollo Bay
Apollo Bay is a beautiful seaside village found near the Great Otway National Park. It is great for those who need their daily doses of Vitamin Sea because it is a prime spot for surfing and kayaking. You can also charter a boat for deep sea fishing and to interact with local sea colonies.
Even those who prefer being on dry land will appreciate the great ocean views from restaurants on hills overlooking the Southern Ocean. Apollo Bay is also a great jump-off point to exploring a nearby forest that offers waterfalls, lush fern gullies, and fresh air.
2. Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles are limestone stacks — vertical columns created by erosion — in Port Campbell National Park that are a testament to the wonder of nature. Only eight of the original twelve stacks are still standing but the limestone formations, which rise 45 meters above the roiling surf of the Southern Ocean and have stark limestone cliffs, have left many speechless and in awe.
Best viewed before sunrise or at dusk, the Twelve Apostles is served by the Twelve Apostles Center, which has cultural heritage stories about the place as well as shelter and washrooms.
Port Cambell National Park also has other rock formations to gaze at, including the London Arch (it was called the London Bridge, until part of it collapsed from erosion) and the Gibson Steps, which lead down the cliff and onto the beach.
3. Ocean Grove
Ocean Grove is a popular tourist spot and with the wineries, beaches, and golf courses in town, it is easy to understand why. The town has a shopping district where you can pick up art by local artists and a nature reserve nearby makes for a relaxed afternoon surrounded by trees and local wildlife.
The beach, which meets the mouth of the Barwon River, is also a good place for a relaxing walk punctuated by dips in the ocean. Barwon Heads, at the mouth of the Barwon River has quiet beaches, quaint cafes, and golf for those who want to do some time on the links.
For those who like wine, Oakdene is a nearby homestead that has been standing since the 1920s and has now been restored.
It has a restaurant, a winery, and accommodations. Banks Road Vineyard is another winery in Ocean Grove where you can enjoy lunch and light drinks amidst the vineyard of this heirloom winery.
4. Bells Beach
Bells Beach is the setting for the 1991 film “Point Break” and is home of the Rip Curl Pro Surf and Music Festival, which began in 1961 and is the longest-running surfing competition in the world. Waves from the Southern Ocean slow down and build up as they approach the reefs in the shallows to create great curls.
All this with the high cliffs in the background make for a great surfing experience. Even those who are not inclined to hang ten can enjoy Bells Beach as there are many great views along the cliff.
Lorne, known more for its Mediterranean vibe and its active art community, is a more laidback and homey place for those looking for a quiet spot with a fresh sea breeze and beautiful white beaches. There are ten waterfalls within minutes from town, including the Erskine Falls, which cascade into an enchanted fern gully.
The banks of the Cumberland River and the cliff overlooking Loutit Bay are great places for strolls for those who want to take in the fresh air and the breathtaking view.
Lorne Pier also offers fishing for those who want seaside relaxation. You might catch trevally, whiting, or barracuda, which may or may not be a bad thing, depending on whether you want to catch your own dinner, or just cast your line and snooze.
Visa application to Australia
Usually the temporary tourist visa is valid for 1 year and for each entry travelers can stay up to 3 months in Australia.
When you make the visa application to Australia, please make sure you fill in the application form exactly according to your passport, otherwise the visa can be invalid.
Visa to Australia is electronic and it is linked to your passport. After your application get approved, you just need to show your passport at the airport.