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Great Ocean Road Attractions: The Musts, Shoulds And Coulds


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Cathe Schaffner



The Great Ocean Road in Australia is one of the most iconic and breathtaking coastal drives in the world. Stretching along the coast of Victoria for 243 kilometers (151 miles), this scenic road trip offers stunning views of the rugged coastline, pristine beaches, verdant rainforests, and spectacular rock formations. Whether you’re a nature lover, adventure seeker, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, the Great Ocean Road has something to offer for everyone.


One of the greatest highlights of this road trip is the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks rising majestically from the Southern Ocean. These towering rock formations, with their rugged beauty, provide a jaw-dropping backdrop for memorable photos and are a must-see attraction for any visitor to the Great Ocean Road.


Aside from the Twelve Apostles, the Great Ocean Road is also home to an array of other natural wonders and cultural landmarks. From picturesque coastal towns to ancient rainforests, there are plenty of attractions to explore along the way. This road trip allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Australian landscape while discovering hidden gems and experiencing the laid-back coastal lifestyle.


Throughout this article, we will highlight the must-see attractions, should-visit destinations, and could-consider stops along the Great Ocean Road. Whether you have a limited time frame or an extended trip, we will help you prioritize your itinerary to ensure you make the most of your journey along this spectacular coastal route.


So buckle up, roll down the windows, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure as we take you on a virtual tour of the musts, shoulds, and coulds of the Great Ocean Road!


The Must-See Attractions on Great Ocean Road

When traveling along the Great Ocean Road, there are several must-see attractions that simply cannot be missed. These iconic landmarks and natural wonders are the highlights of the journey, offering breathtaking vistas and awe-inspiring experiences. Here are some of the top must-see attractions on the Great Ocean Road:

  1. The Twelve Apostles: This collection of limestone stacks is the most famous attraction on the Great Ocean Road. Witness the magnificence of these towering formations as they rise dramatically from the Southern Ocean. Sunset and sunrise are particularly stunning times to visit.
  2. Loch Ard Gorge: Named after the shipwreck Loch Ard, this gorge boasts sheer cliffs, sandy beaches, and fascinating rock formations. Take a stroll along the trails, explore the caves, and learn about the intriguing maritime history of the area.
  3. Gibson Steps: Descend down to the beach via the Gibson Steps for an up-close encounter with the dramatic cliff faces and enormous offshore stacks. This is a unique vantage point, allowing you to appreciate the immense scale of the coastline.
  4. The Otways: Venture into the lush rainforests of the Great Otway National Park, where you’ll find towering ferns, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. This is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in nature and go on scenic hikes.
  5. London Arch: Formally known as London Bridge, this natural archway stands as a testament to the power of erosion. Take a stroll along the viewing platform and marvel at the unique geological formations.
  6. The Grotto: Explore this limestone sinkhole turned sea cave, where you’ll witness the mesmerizing turquoise waters and intricate rock formations. The Grotto is an enchanting spot for photography and reflection.
  7. Bells Beach: Known as one of Australia’s best surf breaks, Bells Beach is a paradise for surfers and beach lovers. Situated near the town of Torquay, it offers breathtaking coastal views and the chance to watch skilled surfers ride the waves.

These must-see attractions ensure that you experience the incredible beauty and natural wonders that the Great Ocean Road is renowned for. With stunning coastal cliffs, pristine beaches, and unique geological formations, these destinations will leave you in awe of the raw power and magnificence of nature.


The Should-Visit Attractions on Great Ocean Road

While the must-see attractions on the Great Ocean Road are undoubtedly the highlights, there are also several should-visit destinations that offer a different perspective and unique experiences. These attractions provide additional opportunities to explore the diverse landscapes and immerse yourself in the local culture. Here are some of the should-visit attractions on the Great Ocean Road:

  1. Apollo Bay: This charming coastal town is nestled between the lush Otway Ranges and the sparkling ocean. Stroll along its picturesque main street, indulge in fresh seafood, or relax on the sandy beaches. Apollo Bay also serves as a gateway to the Great Otway National Park.
  2. Port Campbell: Located near the Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell is a quaint seaside village with a rich maritime history. Take a walk along the harbor, sample local cuisine, and learn about the fascinating tales of shipwrecks that have occurred in the area.
  3. Maits Rest Rainforest Walk: This short but enchanting rainforest walk is perfect for nature lovers. Wander through the ancient rainforest, marvel at the towering trees, and listen to the sounds of birdsong. The peaceful and serene atmosphere makes it a great place to unwind.
  4. Cape Otway Lightstation: Situated at the southernmost point of the Great Ocean Road, the Cape Otway Lightstation offers panoramic views of the rugged coastline. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for a breathtaking vantage point and learn about the region’s maritime history.
  5. Split Point Lighthouse: Located in the coastal town of Aireys Inlet, the Split Point Lighthouse is another iconic landmark along the Great Ocean Road. Explore the surrounding cliffs, enjoy panoramic views of the ocean, and take a guided tour of the lighthouse.
  6. Bay of Islands: This collection of towering limestone stacks and arches rivals the Twelve Apostles in beauty, yet it is often less crowded. The Bay of Islands offers a serene and awe-inspiring coastal experience, perfect for those seeking tranquility.
  7. Anglesea Golf Club: If you’re a golf enthusiast, consider a round of golf at the Anglesea Golf Club. This picturesque course offers stunning ocean views, rolling dunes, and a challenging layout amidst native flora and fauna.

These should-visit attractions along the Great Ocean Road provide a delightful blend of natural beauty, coastal charm, and cultural exploration. From exploring rainforests to observing historic lighthouses, these destinations offer a unique and memorable experience that complements the must-see attractions and ensures a well-rounded journey along this iconic road trip route.


The Could-Consider Attractions on Great Ocean Road

While the must-see and should-visit attractions on the Great Ocean Road are the main highlights, there are also some lesser-known gems that could be interesting to consider during your journey. These could-consider attractions offer a chance to delve deeper into the local culture, try unique activities, and explore off-the-beaten-path destinations. Here are a few could-consider attractions on the Great Ocean Road:

  1. Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park: Located near Anglesea, this wildlife park is home to a variety of native Australian animals. Get up close and personal with kangaroos, koalas, and other fascinating wildlife species. You can even hand-feed some of the animals.
  2. Picnic at Memorial Arch: Stop by the iconic Memorial Arch, which marks the entrance to the Great Ocean Road, and enjoy a picnic at the nearby grassy park. Take in the stunning views and learn about the significance of the arch as a tribute to the World War I servicemen who constructed the road.
  3. Surf Lessons at Torquay: Torquay is the birthplace of iconic surf brands and boasts some of the best surf breaks in Australia. If you’ve ever wanted to try surfing, consider taking a lesson from one of the local surf schools and catch your first wave on this legendary coastline.
  4. Warrnambool Whale Watching: If you’re visiting during the winter months (June – September), you might spot southern right whales along the coast near Warrnambool. Join a whale-watching tour for the chance to see these majestic creatures up close as they migrate to warmer waters.
  5. Indulge in Local Cuisine: Along the Great Ocean Road, you’ll find numerous cafes, restaurants, and local food producers offering delicious treats. Sample fresh seafood, artisan chocolates, regional wines, and farm-fresh produce to savor the flavors of the region.
  6. Historic Shipwreck Discovery: Explore the Shipwreck Coast Discovery Center in Warrnambool to learn about the treacherous history of shipwrecks along the coastline. Discover the stories behind the more than 180 wrecks that have occurred in these waters.
  7. Beach Exploration: Take some time to simply relax and unwind on the pristine beaches dotted along the Great Ocean Road. Whether you’re sunbathing, swimming, or enjoying a leisurely stroll, the beautiful coastline offers endless opportunities to enjoy the sand, sun, and surf.

These could-consider attractions are great options if you have extra time and want to delve deeper into the culture, nature, and activities along the Great Ocean Road. From wildlife encounters to unique culinary experiences, these attractions provide a chance to discover hidden treasures and create lasting memories during your road trip.



The Great Ocean Road is undoubtedly a road trip of a lifetime, offering breathtaking coastal scenery, iconic landmarks, and a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Australia’s southern coast. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a blend of both, this scenic route has something for everyone.


From the must-see attractions like the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge to the should-visit destinations like Apollo Bay and Port Campbell, each stop along the Great Ocean Road presents its own unique charm and beauty. The rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and ancient rainforests create a mesmerizing backdrop that will leave you in awe at every turn.


And let’s not forget the could-consider attractions, the hidden gems that offer a chance to explore the local culture, try unique experiences, and venture off the beaten path. These lesser-known destinations provide an opportunity to discover more about the history, wildlife, and culinary delights of the region.


Ultimately, the Great Ocean Road is a journey that will leave an indelible mark on your travel memories. So, take your time, savor each breathtaking view, and embrace the laid-back coastal lifestyle that this iconic road trip offers.


Whether you’re embarking on a short getaway or a longer adventure, the Great Ocean Road is a destination that should not be missed. So, strap in, hit the road, and let the beauty of the Australian coast unfold before you as you embark on an unforgettable road trip along the Great Ocean Road!