The Great Ocean Road



The gateway to the Great Ocean Road lies just 46 mi/75 km southwest of Melbourne. Running 250 mi/400 km from the city of Geelong to the border of South Australia, the road hugs the contours of Victoria's rugged southwest coast: It provides one of Australia's—if not the world's—greatest and most inspiring coastal drives. From Torquay, near Geelong, to Nelson to the west, the road snakes past cliffs, scenic lookouts, waterfalls and rain forests.

Along with dramatic ocean views, the region is home to laid-back seaside towns and maritime villages, such as Port Fairy and Portland, where visitors can sample seafaring village life with the towns' fishing wharves, historic pubs and beautifully preserved colonial buildings. A number of ships from the 19th- and 20th centuries have foundered off the rugged coast, and their histories are recounted in many of the museums scattered throughout the region.

The star attraction, however, is the coastline. Buffeted by wild seas and fierce winds, the striking shore has been sculpted during the course of millions of years to form a series of arresting natural features. You can wander the boardwalks and paths to see the Twelve Apostles, breathtaking limestone rock stacks rising from the ocean, or stop to admire London Bridge, another ancient rock formation and one of Victoria's best-known landmarks.

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