Virtual Tour of the Great Ocean Road

Virtual Tour of the Great Ocean Road

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 04/28/2020

Reading time: 6 mins

With travel at a standstill at the moment, we can only dream of the amazing locations to visit along the Great Ocean Road. So dream away with our Great Ocean Road virtual tour!

The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s best coastal drives, taking in amazing pristine beaches, verdant rainforest and dramatic ocean scenery. While you may not be able to visit in person at the moment, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore from the security of your sofa.

  • Memorial Arch

    Departing from Melbourne, we’ll head out towards Geelong to explore the extraordinary beaches and stunning scenery of the Great Ocean Road. After passing through the charming seaside towns of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet, we arrive at the Memorial Arch. The grand wooden structure commemorates the returned services men who helped build the Great Ocean Road after the first World War. The current monument is the third to be constructed after the second was destroyed in the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983. A plaque and sculpture on the car park side of the arch were unveiled in 1997 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Great Ocean Road.

  • Wildlife Spotting

    Keep your eyes peeled as you travel along the Great Ocean Road to spot some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife including kangaroos, koalas, echidnas and wallabies. Make a stop at some of the smaller towns east of Apollo Bay, including Kennett River, and turn your gaze upwards to the eucalypt canopies. Hopefully, you can observe some koalas as they snooze in the tree branches or much on their favourite food, eucalyptus leaves. They usually hang out in the forks of the trees, where they use the thick cartilage in their bottoms to wedge themselves in and stop themselves from falling.

  • Cape Patton Lookout

    Get ready you virtual camera ready to capture the incredible views at Cape Patton Lookout! The lookout point, 80 metres above sea-level, offers unobstructed views of the ocean and the Great Ocean Road as it stretched out towards Apollo Bay. During the construction of the Great Ocean Road, a ship carrying beer and spirits ran aground in the nearby waters. Legend has it that when the boozy cargo washed ashore it was given to the road workers who became so drunk that work on the road ceased for two weeks.

  • Apollo Bay

    Enjoy a delicious virtual lunch stop at Apollo Bay, a small township along the Great Ocean Road with food options to satisfy all tastes. The town was established by European settlers in the latter half of the 1800s, and was mostly accessed by boat until constructions of the Great Ocean Road was completed. The town is now a popular holiday spot where you can enjoy all sorts of water sports, from swimming to surfing, fishing and diving, or stay dry and explore the nearby Otway rainforest. During the months of winter and spring, southern right whales can be spotted in the area as they use the sheltered waters of the bay to bear their calves.

  • Maits Rest Rainforest Walk

    Head inland and explore the lush green forest of the Great Otway National Park at Maits Rest. The easy 30-minute walk takes you through the ancient rainforest of towering myrtle beech trees and leafy tree ferns. If you’re lucky you might see the carnivorous Otway black snail or a long-nosed potoroo as is snuffles about in the leaf litter searching for food.

  • Gibson Steps

    One look at the wild waters of the Southern Ocean will make it obvious how this section of the Great Ocean Road got its name the Shipwreck Coast. Over 600 shipwrecks lie on the ocean floor in these parts as cargo and passenger ships were often undone by the treacherous waters and rocky surrounds. Stop at Gibson Steps where you can observe the power of the Southern Ocean as it batters the coast, creating and shaping the limestone stacks and beaches. From the lookout, you can enjoy the view of Gog and Magog, two limestone stacks that are not part of the 12 Apostles. Or you can descend the 86 steps, cut into the cliff by early settler Hugh Gibson, for an impressive beach level view of the stacks and towering cliff.

  • The 12 Apostles

    And now for the highlight in this virtual tour – the 12 Apostles. The iconic limestone withstand the constant pounding of the powerful waves to rise out of the Southern Ocean, but for how long? The coastline here is being constantly shaped by the wind, rain and waves.  The 12 Apostles have formed over millions of years of erosion since the oceans retreated and the cliffs were exposed. First caves are formed as the softer parts of the cliffs are eroded away, leading to arches which eventually collapse and leave only the stacks standing. Slowly but surely, even these stacks are eroded by the elements until eventually they too crumble. Where there were once eight stacks, only seven remain after one fell down in 2005.

    The 12 Apostles were originally knowns as the Sow and Piglets, with Muttonbird Island the sow and the other stacks dotting the coast as the piglets. Around 1960 the name was changed to the 12 Apostles, even though there were only ever eight stacks, to encourage tourism. The area is now a popular attraction for travellers to Melbourne and the local area, which you can visit on a day trip or longer stay. Sunset is a spectacular time to visit to witness the magical change of colours as the sun sinks behind the horizon. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some of the local little penguins as they make their way ashore to bed down in their burrows on the beach.

  • Loch Ard Gorge

    As the tour of the Great Ocean Road comes to an end, there is one more amazing stop before the journey back to Melbourne. Loch Ard Gorge is a stunning spot where you can view the impressive coastal cliffs from viewpoints gazing out to the ocean and descend the steps to the hidden beach to feel the sand between your toes. The beach is named after a boat that was wrecked on nearby Mutton Bird Island in 1878. Two survivors, Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael, made it to the relative safety of the secluded beach where they stayed the night before Tom went to get help the following day from a nearby farm.

And so with the sounds of the waves crashing on Loch Ard Gorge beach still ringing in our ears, we head back to Melbourne. While this has been fun, nothing beats visiting this amazing area in real life, so we hope to see you on one of our Great Ocean Road tours soon!

Related article: How Far are the 12 Apostles from Melbourne?

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.