Australia is a big country with spectacular inland, coastal and wildlife views. If you find yourself traveling through the southern city of Melbourne, consider planning a day trip out to the Great Ocean Road. Roughly an hour and a half south of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road runs 151 miles along the coast, offering some of the most breathtaking views in all of Australia.
While the most famous among the Australian National Heritage site are The Twelve Apostles, almost every lookout and stopping point along the coastal stretch offers unparalleled natural views. Whether you rent a car and self-guide or join a guided tour, the views are unforgettable. Have your camera at the ready. For the perfect photo op, I’ve listed a few of the best Instagrammable views along the Great Ocean Road.
Great Ocean Road Memorial Archway
This view offers a warm welcome before you start your journey on the Great Ocean Road. The Memorial Arch is a perfect photo op to commemorate the start of your trip. The arch is a tribute to World War I servicemen who actually built the Great Ocean Road. While the arch itself has undergone several reconstructions (three to be exact), the original signs are still perched on top of the arch.
Bells Beach is one of Victoria’s most renowned surf beaches. The beach plays host to the annual Rip Curl Pro surf competition, one of Australia’s most renowned competitions held on Easter weekend. The dramatic cliffs and ocean swells offer exciting vantage points and epic photo ops.
Great Otway National Park
For a break from the coastal views, get lost in Great Otway National Park. The park features magnificent waterfalls, picturesque greenery and lush rainforests. While you’re there, keep an eye out for some of the tallest eucalyptus trees in Australia. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot some wallabies or koalas along your journey.
The Twelve Apostles
One of the most sought out destinations in Australia, The Twelve Apostles offers undeniably incredible views. The natural limestone pillars are estimated to attract over 1.7 million visitors annually. Extending roughly 147 feet high, withstanding years of ocean waves and high winds, the astounding views offer unforgettable photographs. Interestingly, there aren’t actually twelve pillars. There were only ever nine in total; one naturally collapsed in 2005, leaving eight standing proud today. Be sure to take your time and walk the entire loop to capture photos from various viewpoints.
The London Arch is a natural wonder existing due to erosion over time. Once a double-span bridge, the London Arch is a popular tourist stop along the Great Ocean Road. This site offers two viewing platforms to enjoy the scenery at various elevations. For the perfect photo lighting, coordinate your visit to the London Arch around sunrise or sunset.
Loch Ard Gorge
Named after Loch Ard, a ship that washed up on Muttonbird Island in the late 1800s, Loch Ard Gorge has a unique history. Two pillars that surround the gorge are named after the only two survivors of the shipwreck, Tom and Eva. First, enjoy the aerial view and then take the stairs down to the beach. Once on the beach, spend time exploring the coves and interesting history of Loch Ard Gorge.
Gibson steps offer guests even more exciting natural landscape views. Enjoy the coastal vista from the viewing platform or take the carved steps down to the beach. The beach is a popular fishing site but be sure to check the tide before heading down. Tides can often make the beach inaccessible. With your toes in the sand at Gibson Steps, snap a photo of the natural limestone sacks, crashing waves, or the cliffside staircase.
Australia’s Great Ocean Road is a memorable experience offering some of the most stunning natural wonders. Be sure to do your research and carefully plan your trip ahead of time to maximize your time along the winding road. Have your camera ready to capture lasting memories and enjoy the scenery. Did I miss anything? Share your favorite Great Ocean Road photos below.