The Great Ocean Road is very much an activity-inducing type of place, although you can also just while away time and relax as the road provides the perfect setting for this. The beaches and countryside are king here and there is amazing surf and walking potential, while several useful towns dot the route as a base for hotels and things to do at the Great Ocean Road.
Beaches run right along the Surf Coast, including the world famous Bells Beach, which generates huge waves in autumn and plays host to big surf competitions. There are quieter beaches and bays, often situated by the main towns of the region, as well as the prominent, rugged shoreline of the Twelve Apostles, the main attraction. You can do this on your own or get on a tour, including scenic flights.
National parks feature amid the expansive Otway Forest mainly and include the Great Otway National Park. It occupies part of Cape Otway in the extreme south and is a diverse place with beautiful flora, waterfalls and walking trails. The Great Ocean Walk from Apollo Bay cuts through here, while nearby is the Otway Treetop Walk and the lofty Cape Otway Lightstation.
Wildlife is ever present, running wild and protected in places like Tower Hill Reserve. Expect to see kangaroos, emus, koalas and all sorts of birds here. Oftentimes, you can get right into nature from these places, including from popular Lorne, Apollo Bay and Warrnambool. Many of these towns also have some heritage on display and Port Fairy is as quaint as they come.
All towns have hotels, some of which are fairly luxurious with spas, though you can also find day spas for a quick massage. Shopping for local handicrafts is a pastime and surf apparel is widely available, especially in Torquay. Visitors are also taken aback by the café scene and excellent seafood restaurants here.
The best time for things to do at the Great Ocean Road is early autumn or late spring to avoid the tourist crowds, though bear in mind the main surf beaches fill up around Easter for the big swells and competitions. Summers are stunning and it’s less humid than in Melbourne.