Top 5 places to stop along Great Ocean Road

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Yeah, we have all done it, this iconic trip along the ocean. After doing this trip about 4 (or is it 5?) times in the last year, I’ve learnt some valuable lessons, and found the places to stop at. With that said, here are Klaus and Fritz’s top 5 places along the Great Ocean Road.

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1. The Roads

Yeah, we have to mention this. After all, it’s what it’s all about. Look at that name – Great Ocean Road. This wouldn’t be a proper list without it. Also, we’re adding it because the winding roads along the coast range from pretty to breathtaking, and that’s a pretty impressive range.

Drive, put on some good music (and of course, invite some good company) and just look out and take it all in. Except the person driving of course. For their sake, stop at one of the many lookouts so they have a chance to enjoy in the scenery. That will also give you the opportunity to snap some pictures that aren’t blurry from the car movement…

I’ve gone down this road plenty a times, on sunny hot summer days, or cold, stormy winter ones. It doesn’t really matter which weather it is, or the season, the road and the view are as stunning as always.

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Photo Credits: Angela Jia Zheng

2. Koalas!

For me, Great Ocean Road always has to include some koalas. You might be lucky enough to spot one or two from the actual coastal road, but we wouldn’t want you to simply rely on luck, would we? We’ve find a couple of places where you’ll be sure to spot more than just a koala or two. Our normal count when visiting these two spots are between 30-50. I know, crazy, right? My only issue is that you soon become spoilt with koala sightings and start being picky about how close they are. Geez, they’re all koalas and even if they’re a bit far away they’re still worth the look!

Grey River Road at Kennett River
Between Lorne and Apollo Bay, this spot is just off the coastal road. It will surely give you at least ten koala sightings. Just leave Great Ocean Road in Kennett River, and take the first road to the left (unsealed road, just after the entrance to the holiday park). If you’re up for a little walk, park your car and walk along the unsealed road. You’ll have to get all the way uphill and into the gum trees before you can start spotting them. If you’re more lazy, drive slowly upwards. I don’t necessarily recommend this though, as it’s harder to spot while driving compared to while walking.

On the road down to Otway Lighthouse
This place turned out to be an even bigger gold mine in terms of koala spottings. Leave the Great Ocean Road towards the Cape Otway Lighthouse (see more info about that part below) and drive about two thirds of the way down. When you reach the area where the trees are fairly bare, park the car and walk (be careful of traffic here!) and see what you can see. From our visits, you’ll see plenty koalas up until the cow crossing (the weird metal concoction over the road so they can’t pass) but not after that.

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Photo Credits: Angela Jia Zheng, Stina Evjan

3. 12 Apostles, Lord Arch Gorge and Bay of Islands

As with the roads, I have to mention the 12 Apostles. They’re kind of mandatory. So make a stop, hustle your way through the masses, because chances are it’ll be fairly busy. It pretty much always is. If you like what you see there’s plenty other lookouts to stop further north. We like stopping at Lord Arch Gorge and at Bay of Islands. To me, they’re as pretty as the 12 Apostles, but with fewer people and a closer proximity from the car park. Yeah, I said I was lazy, right?

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Photo Credits: Angela Jia Zheng

4. Cape Otway National Park

This place is around one of the koala spotting areas, mentioned under nr 2. Because the area is more than just a quick in-and-out-to-see-some-koalas, it’s a national park for goodness sake! There’s so many things to do here, that I’m getting a bit stressed just trying to pick a few. Just head on over to Parks Victoria’s website and check out all the stuff there instead. Safe to say, you’ll find something to your liking.

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5. Warrnambool Whale Watching

I have always dreamt about seeing whales and I was so disappointed that when we first moved to Australia, we got here just after the whale season. Oh well, there’s always another year coming and sure enough, we headed to Warrnambool last winter to spot ourselves some whales.

The Southern Right whales are leisurely big animals. The first sightings of these giants at Logans Beach in Warrnambool usually occurs in late May/early June, but it takes another month or so until they take up permanent residence there for the winter months.

What’s most exciting about this, for a spectator, is that they come really close to the shore – just within 100 meters or so. This means you can spot the whales from the viewing platform even without any binoculars, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is quite something. Even if it’s raining sideways, windy and incredibly cold. I know that from experience.

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Photo Credits: Angela Jia Zheng

Bonus: Port Fairy

Port Fairy is a little bit further than you’d normally go, at least for me. But if you have the time, we absolutely recommend you to prolong your visit a bit more and head on over there. It’s a little heritage town, with amazingly cute houses and unique pine trees all over. There’s also an adorable shearwater area, which is a preferred hangout for loads of birds, so if the thought of pelicans or other cool looking birds get you all excited, this is one spot you don’t want to miss.


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