Enjoy Looking and Feeling Amazing in Torquay and Great Ocean Road VIC

Torquay

surfing and beach culture museum

Australian National Surfing Museum

Torquay is a seaside resort in Victoria, Australia, which faces Bass Strait, 21 km south of Geelong and is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. It is bordered on the west by Spring Creek and its coastal features include Point Danger and Zeally Bay.

Dose up on surf culture at Torquay, the home of Bells Beach and birthplace of iconic brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver. The official start point of the Great Ocean Road, Torquay is Victoria’s surfing and beach worship capital. Visit over Easter and see the world’s best surfers compete in the mighty Rip Curl Pro.Holiday with the family and splash about on one of the protected beaches. If you prefer the action of the surging surf, nearby Jan Juc is a little wilder, and experienced surfers can tackle the big swells of Bells Beach. This world-famous beach is the venue for the Rip Curl Pro, one of the most sought after titles on the World Championship Tour.

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While at its busiest in the hot summer months, Torquay is a year-round destination offering more than just amazing surf. Capture the spirit of surf culture with a visit to the Surf World Surfing Museum with pictures and hands-on displays. Stroll along sandy beaches beneath towering cliffs or take fine views of the coast from vantage points along the Surf Coast Walk. Don’t be afraid of the name, snorkelling around Point Danger Marine Sanctuary is a great way to see some of the diversity of the area’s underwater inhabitants.

Aireys Inlet

split point lighthouse vic

See the breathtaking views

Aireys Inlet is a small coastal inlet and town located on the Great Ocean Road, southwest of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Aireys Inlet is located between Anglesea and Lorne, and joined with Fairhaven to the west. Many surfers holiday in Aireys Inlet to take advantage of the popular Fairhaven beach. As the inclination of the beach can change dramatically between years, the surf is regarded as unpredictable. Swimmers should take note there is a strong rip current.

Painkalac Creek, which separates Aireys Inlet from Fairhaven, forms a salt lake or inlet behind the sand dunes before it cuts through to the ocean. Due to low water levels in the inlet it is not often that the inlet breaks through.There is also a horseshoe-shaped reef at Step Beach which forms an excellent swimming hole at low tide. The towns main attraction, the Split Point Lighthouse overlooks the inlet. The lighthouse has made Aireys Inlet an icon along the Great Ocean Road

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Travel a few kilometres west to the main surf beach of Fairhaven, which is patrolled through the summer months. Bust out the surfboard, enjoy a swim with the kids, or venture into the nearby coves of Sandy Gully and Step Beach where you can explore the rock pools or try a spot of snorkelling. Inlet beach, with its grassy slopes and picnic area is perfect for those with little kids, although the beach is not patrolled.

Walking opportunities abound in Aireys Inlet with the Surf Coast Walk, the Cliff Top Walk and the Lighthouse Precinct Walk all within easy reach. Take in stunning views of the coastline on the Cliff Top Walk and discover the fascinating surf culture, abundant native wildlife and coastal forests along the Surf Coast Walk. And keep your eye out for whales in season.

Lorne

Feel the fine mist from the cascading water

Erskine Falls

Lorne is a seaside town on Louttit Bay in Victoria, Australia. It is situated about the Erskine River and is a popular destination on the Great Ocean Road tourist route. Your first stop has to be the Lorne surf beach, the only patrolled beach in town. Cool off in the sparkling waters of Loutit Bay or take a stroll up to Shelley Beach to explore the rock pools.

The nearby Great Otway National Park is a nature lover’s playground with misty waterfalls, giant ferns and ancient forest. Discover the Erskine Falls cascading into a beautiful fern gully, one of ten waterfalls within ten minutes of town. Hit the Surf Coast Walk to see the rich ochre cliffs of Bells Beach and the leafy green eucalypts lining the coast of Bass Strait. For a test of mind and body, visit in May for the Great Ocean Road Marathon, one of the world’s most visually spectacular runs.

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Whether you’re staying overnight or just passing through, take time out to wander down Lorne’s main shopping strip filled with boutique gift stores, cellars, eateries and galleries. Relax with a latte at a sidewalk cafe, picnic under the trees on the foreshore, or dine on freshly caught seafood at a local restaurant. Boasting a spirited arts community, Lorne is home to the Lorne Festival of The Performing Arts and the popular Falls Music and Arts Festival, which has hosted the likes of Iggy Pop, Courtney Barnett and Grandmaster Flash. Pop into Qdos Arts to check out changing exhibits and outdoor sculpture park, or visit in March for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale, when up to 40 works are exhibited along the foreshore.

Apollo Bay

great ocean road brewhouse

Beer Garden, Food and Craft Beer

Apollo Bay is a coastal town in southwestern Victoria, Australia. It is situated on the eastern side of Cape Otway, along the edge of the Barham River and on the Great Ocean Road, in the Colac Otway Shire. It is now a tourist destination, though it is smaller and quieter than other nearby places such as Lorne. It is also host to the annual Apollo Bay Music Festival and the Great Ocean Sports Festival.

Swim, dive, surf and paddle out in the pristine coastal waters. Take a dip at the beach, climb aboard a surfboard or kayak, and get up close to local seal colonies. Anglers have plenty on offer too, with a deep-sea fishing adventure at the top of the list. For the landlubbers, there are sunset beach rides on horseback, gift shops, galleries and teahouses along with countless culinary delights to choose from. Fishing is an important local industry so seafood is always on the menu at the local cafes and restaurants. For dinner with ocean views, try Chris’s at Beacon Point, which sits high in the hills overlooking the sea. Got a taste for fine seafood? Visit in February for the Apollo Bay Seafood Festival.

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Spot native wildlife such as glow worms at Melba Gully, go in search of the elusive platypus at serene Lake Elizabeth, or take a walk through nearby Kennett River and watch out for sleepy koalas in the trees. Visit in May and be a part of the excitement of the Great Ocean Road Marathon, one of the most spectacular foot races in the world. With panoramic views of the Southern Ocean, this challenging run attracts participants from across Australia and across the globe.

Winchelsea

Barwon Park Mansion

Event venue in Winchelsea

Winchelsea is a town in Victoria, Australia. Most of the town is located in the Surf Coast Shire local government area, with a small section part of the Shire of Colac Otway. Winchelsea is located on the Barwon River 115 km south-west of Melbourne and close to Geelong (37 km north-east). The town has an Australian Rules football team competing in the Geelong & District Football League.

The Winchelsea Golf Club is located between Lorne Road and Lauders Lane. The course is popular with locals and tourists alike.

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Colac

Old Beechy Rail Trail

Bike riding in Colac

Colac is a small city in the Western District of Victoria, Australia, approximately 150 kilometres south-west of Melbourne on the southern shore of Lake Colac and the surrounding volcanic plains, approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) inland from Bass Strait. Colac is the largest city in and administrative centre of the Colac Otway Shire.

Immerse yourself in the serenity of the Otways with its towering trees and dense fern glades. Camp out under the stars, bushwalk to cascading waterfalls and stunning beaches, or head to the calm waters and eerie landscapes of Lake Elizabeth in search of the elusive platypus.Stretch the legs on one of the local rail trails. Run, walk or cycle along the Old Beechy Rail Trail that runs through the Otway Ranges from Colac to Beech Forest or hit the Forrest Tiger Rail Trail for pastoral landscapes, temperate rainforest and historic sites. For something a little closer, take a stroll along the 1.2-kilometre track through Colac’s Botanic Gardens.

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For the mountain bikers, nearby Forrest boasts some of the finest mountain biking trails in the state.Enjoy a little retail therapy while wandering the streets of Colac. Browse country gift shops and specialty stores, stock up at community markets and cool off in the beautiful botanic gardens.

Camperdown

Camperdown Main street

Clocktower

Camperdown is a historically significant rural town in southwestern Victoria, Australia, 190 kilometres (120 mi) west of the state capital, Melbourne. Climb to the top of Mt Leura and Mt Sugarloaf and take in 360-degree views of the coastal ranges and rolling western plains. Volcanic activity has shaped much of the surrounding landscape, leaving a legacy of cones, lakes and craters to explore.

Keen fisher-folk will enjoy the chance to snag a few trout or chinook salmon at the many nearby lakes and streams. For a dose of fresh country air, climb aboard your bike and head along the Camperdown Timboon Rail Trail to take in rolling green pastures, lakes, historic trestle bridges and pristine bushland

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With a growing reputation for fine local produce and gourmet treats, the region now attracts foodies from across the state. Bring your basket and traverse the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail to sample everything from whiskey, cheese and wine to yoghurt, strawberries and craft beer.

Terang

Local parish

Terang Church

Terang is a town in the Western District of Victoria, Australia. The town is in the Shire of Corangamite and on the Princes Highway 212 kilometres (132 mi) south west of the state’s capital, Melbourne. The town has an Australian Rules football team, Terang-Mortlake, playing in the Hampden Football League.

Terang has a horse racing club, the Terang & District Racing Club, which schedules around eight race meetings a year including the Terang Cup meeting in October. Terang Harness Racing Club conducts regular meetings at its racetrack in the town. Golfers play at the course of the Terang Golf Club on High Street.

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Terang College is a school, established in 1848 as Terang Primary School. It educates more than 400 students from Prep to Year 12. It has two campuses, one located on the western (Warrnambool) side of the town while the other is located near Cobden Road, on Strong Street. The western campus houses years Prep to Grade 4 while the Cobden Road Campus has Years 5 – 12.

 

Princetown

The Twelve Apostles victoria

Magnificent rock stacks

Princetown is a coastal village in Victoria, Australia, located on the Great Ocean Road, east of the Twelve Apostles, in the Corangamite Shire. Princetown is a small coastal village 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) east of Port Campbell in Victoria, Australia – located on the Great Ocean Road. It hosts a pub which doubles as a general store, a post office and some accommodation options. The hamlet provides access to beaches and the mouth of the Gellibrand River. At the 2006 census, Princetown district had a population of 459.

A river estuary and wetlands is adjacent to the township, with reed beds on the western branch of the estuary containing significant bird and plant life. Princetown is bounded on two sides by national parks, with the Port Campbell National Park extending north-westerly and the Great Otway National Park to the south-east. The Twelve Apostles rock formations are six kilometres to the west of Princetown, with the Gibson Steps also nearby. The Loch Ard Gorge is just past the Twelve Apostles, towards Port Campbell. In the other direction is Maits Rest Rainforest Walk.

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Timboon

Farmhouse cheese

Timboon Cheese

Timboon is a typical rural centre located in a rich dairy area where the production of milk, cheese and butter is still central to the local economy. It is known in the area for Timboon Fine Ice Cream and Timboon Farmhouse Cheese. The other major industries in the area are timber cutting and lime production and in recent times the boutique whisky at Timboon Railway Shed Distillery has attracted travellers. There are still substantial quarrying and lime kilns in the district. It is believed that the Timboon’s name comes from the local Aboriginal word ‘timboun’ which was a word used to describe pieces of rock used to open mussels.

The Timboon Flora and Fauna Reserve is located to the east of the Port Campbell Road with access off the Cooriemungle Road. It is a particularly beautiful tract of bush with walking tracks through this small section of undisturbed bushland. There is, according to their website, a long tradition of making whisky (most of it illegal) in the Timboon area. The Railway Shed Distillery is not only proud of its boutique whisky distillery and its liqueurs (Vanilla Vodka, Apple Liqueur, Strawberry Schnapps, Coffee Cream et al) but it is also the home of an excellent restaurant and is the starting point for the Camperdown-Timboon Rail Trail.

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Warrnambool

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village

Picturesque seaside city

Warrnambool is a city situated on Victoria’s far south-west coast between Port Fairy and Port Campbell. The coast around Warrnambool and down to Cape Otway is known as the Shipwreck Coast, due to the large number of water vessels that ran aground in the 1800s and early 1900s due to ferocious weather conditions and the rocky coastline. These days, Warrnambool is a popular tourist destination with an extensive commercial centre based around Liebig Street, Kepler Street, Koroit Street and Timor Street, separated from the ocean by coastal reserves and parkland. Historic buildings within the city centre include the post office (built in 1870), courthouse (1871) and Western Hotel (1869).

The Princes Highway through Warrnambool opens up into the grand boulevard of Raglan Parade, lined with Norfolk Pines within the wide central median strip. Warrnambool enjoys a good variety of coastal attractions. The main swimming beach is the patrolled sandy expanse of Bathing Beach, situated at the top of Lady Bay. Behind the beach is the 20 hectare Lake Pertobe Adventure Park with its playgrounds, fitness equipment, BBQs, a kiosk, and a large lake with footbridges, islands and paddle boats. At Logans Beach, adjacent to the mouth of the Hopkins River, is a whale viewing platform, making it one the region’s best observation points for these mammals during the calving season between June and September. Fishing is popular from the breakwater constructed at the western end of Lady Bay, while to the west of the breakwater are two islands, sheltered swimming areas at the sandy mouth of the Merri River, and the attractive rocky coastal features of Pickering Point and Thunder Point.

Port Fairy

Griffiths island

Holiday in Port Fairy

Uncover history in every corner of this charming fishing village at the end of the Great Ocean Road. The last destination on Victoria’s famed Shipwreck Coast, Port Fairy boasts wide streets lined with nineteenth century cottages, great Norfolk pines and old stone churches. Join in the fun of the Port Fairy Folk Festival and buzzing local art scene, get active in the water, and see native animals in the wild, from southern right whales, seals and dolphins to wallabies, kangaroos and emus.

Take a walk down to the local port, one of the busiest fishing ports in Victoria, and watch as the fishermen unload their catch of crayfish and abalone. From the wharf you can head out to sea on a guided fishing trip or take a cruise out to the seal colony on Lady Julia Percy Island. Keep an eye out for breaching southern right whales off Port Fairy’s coast during the winter months, when the whales come in to mate and calve. Try something new in the water during the summer months. Join a surfing class or get the lowdown on stand up paddle boarding, one of the fastest growing water sports in the country.

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Slow it down with a round at Port Fairy’s links golf course, ranked number 31 on AusGolf magazine’s top 100 Australian courses. Test your skills on the famous par 5 at hole 12 and revel in the stunning ocean views.

Hamilton

Amazing collection of history

Sir Reginald Ansett Transport Museum

Hamilton is a major centre located in the south-west of Victoria, south of Horsham and north of the coastal towns of Portland and Port Fairy. Hamilton features attractive tree-lined streets and a commercial centre which is mainly confined to the areas around Thompson Street, Gray Street and Brown Street. Hamilton boasts a couple of impressive churches which can be found at “Church Hill” which is at the western end of Gray Street.

Hamilton offers a number of attractive parks, gardens and recreation areas. The 4 hectare Botanical Gardens were established in 1870 and feature a significant collection of pine and oak trees. There is also a rotunda, fountain, caretaker’s cottage and an animal enclosure. Apex Park, on the corner of the Glenelg Highway and Apex Drive, is a linear stretch of parkland along Grange Burn and has BBQ and picnic facilities as well as a preserved steam locomotive. The 221 hectare Community Parklands, located at the northern end of town, are an important recreation and conservation asset and include a sporting complex, lakes, and fields of native wildflowers.

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Other attractions in Hamilton include the Sir Reginald Ansett Transport Museum, located within one of the airline’s original hangars on the shores of Lake Hamilton. The Hamilton Pastoral Museum, accessed via Hiller Lane, displays historic farm machinery, horse drawn vehicles and other relics depicting early rural life in the area. The Big Wool Bales, on Coleraine Road, are a tribute to the local wool industry which regards Hamilton as the wool capital of the world. The Hamilton Art Gallery, in Brown Street, includes collections of paintings by Australian artists as well as ceramics, tapestries and relics from India, China and Japan.

 

Portland

Cape Nelson portland

Sunset at the coast’s southern tip

Portland is located on the far south-west coast of Victoria, mid-way between Port Fairy and the small town of Nelson which is adjacent to the state border with South Australia.

Portland was the site of Victoria’s first permanent settlement back in 1834, with the town quickly prospering due to fishing, pastoral and agricultural industries. Portland is the only deep-water sea port between Adelaide and Melbourne, making it a major centre for sea transport of goods and produce from the surrounding areas. A large sheltered harbour provides calm waters for a marina, wharves and shipping berths. One of Portland’s major industries is the Alcoa aluminium smelter which commenced operations in 1986.

Portland is a place of historic discovery with over 200 buildings within the town classified by the National Trust, many of which are constructed out of bluestone. The Portland Cable Tram offers visitors a scenic and informative journey through the foreshore, providing views along the coast and passing attractions such as Botanic Gardens, Portland Powerhouse Car Museum, Maritime Discovery Centre, Whalers Bluff Lighthouse, and the World War 2 Memorial Lookout Tower at Anderson Point. South of Portland is Cape Nelson which includes a 210 hectare state park bordering rugged cliffs with the Cape Nelson Lighthouse located on the coast’s southern tip.

 

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