Where: Otways, south-west Victoria
What: stunning coastal scenery, surfing, beaches, seaside towns, temperate rainforest, local produce, food & wine
It's one of the best known roads in Australia, perhaps the world. As a local who's holidayed down there since I can remember, there's a tendency to get a bit blase'about it and to bemoan how it's become 'overrun' by tourists. An end-to-end trip, however, will obliterate such thoughts-nothing can ruin the natural splendor of this coast. It truly is a special ride, and if you haven't experienced this part of the world before, you won't forget it in a hurry.
The road can be divided roughly into three parts:
- Warrnambool to Princetown (87km)-a mainly flat ride along the limestone coast of Port Campbell National Park, famous for the Twelve Apostles and a number of other hugely spectacular rock formations.
- Princetown to Apollo Bay (76km)-a very hilly ride through rainforest and the town of Lavers Hill, with a flat bit in the middle through the pastoral region of the Aire River Valley.
- Apollo Bay to Geelong (102km)-a winding, undulating and spectacular ride along the surf coast. The road hugs the coast pretty closely, passing many charming hamlets and surf beaches.
Some other notes on the ride:
- Between Anglesea and Waurn Ponds the traffic gets pretty heavy but there's always a good shoulder to ride on. This part is really about punching out the miles to get home.
- The ride follows the A1 (Princes Highway) for the first 12km from Warrnambool, but again, this isn't a bad road to ride on. Traffic is ok and there's a shoulder for most of it.
- If you want to avoid the A1 you can take the bridge across the river (Hopkins Point Rd) and follow some farm roads until you reach the Great Ocean Road. It's quite nice but involves some gravel riding.
- The prevailing winds are from the west, so it's best done starting from Warrnambool.
Probably the best known attraction along the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles, but there is so much to do and see that it's best just to visit the official tourist info website: http://www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au/
During peak holiday times (summer holidays, long weekends, etc) the traffic can be very heavy and a lot of accommodation is booked out. During the winter the weather is often pretty wild. Outside of these you can find times when the weather is ok and there isn't too much traffic.
V-line runs three services a day between Melbourne and Warrnambool, and a service every hour or so between Waurn Ponds and Melbourne.
- Download GPX Track file of this route
- Overview map (free)
- Port Campbell National Park map (free)
- Great Otway National Park-western sheet (free)
- Great Otway National Park-eastern sheet (free)
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Disclaimer: should you choose to cycle this route, you do so at your own risk. Although all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure its accuracy at the time of writing, Adventure Cycling Victoria cannot guarantee that the information herein is 100% correct. The information published is meant as a guide only, and should be combined with your own due diligence and planning. Adventure Cycling Victoria and its contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individuals following this route.