Victoria’s legendary 12 Apostles is a popular destination many travellers flock to, but did you know the coast (and hinterland) offer many more natural heroes? Be sure to add Geelong, The Bellarine and other stops along the Great Ocean Road to your itinerary for some other incredible nature experiences and views.
Road tripping is one of the best ways to uncover all these hidden gems. It’s everyone’s favourite holiday at the moment and it’s easy to work out why. It’s so simple to hop on a plane for a short flight within Australia, pick up a hire car and start your holiday within hours just a short drive out of Melbourne.
From there, the choice is yours! Travel at your own pace, stopping frequently at the many towns and villages along the way. When you get to your next destination, there’s nothing better than stretching your legs by embarking on a walk to explore some magnificent natural gems in the area.
With spring just around the corner, now is a great time to start planning your road trip in Victoria. Here are some tips for first-timers or those revisiting and looking for new places to explore coastal strolls and bush walks.
Head straight out of Melbourne for about an hour to find Brisbane Ranges National Park. Located west of Geelong and just on the doorstep of Avalon Airport, Brisbane Ranges National Park is home to Victoria’s richest wildflower habitat.
Divided by rock gullies, this low range of mountains is the perfect place for picnics, camping and bushwalking. No matter if you’re a seasoned hiker or prefer leisurely walks, you can choose between well established short trails, such as the one hour return Wadawurrung Walk to longer multi-day hikes, such as the Burchell Trail which is a three-day hike for those who are seeking a little more adventure.
Tucked just inside the entrance to Port Phillip on the Bellarine Peninsula is the historic seaside town of Queenscliff. Take a wander here to admire the heritage streetscape filled with quaint cottages, galleries, a variety of shops and imposing churches backed by a modern waterfront setting.
Railway enthusiasts will love the heritage train collection, which travels on 15 kilometres of track between Queenscliff and Drysdale while military buffs can explore Fort Queenscliff, a 19th-century artillery fort and the Maritime Museum.
Much loved by holidaymakers, Point Lonsdale is the picture of tranquillity with calm waters lapping a sheltered bay beach and a surf break on a calm day. Connecting the Bass Straight to Port Phillip Bay is ‘The Rip’ – a notorious and treacherous stretch of water. It’s here where the historic Point Lonsdale lighthouse stands out against the landscape to guide ships through the seas.
There is no shortage of walks in the area, all with amazing views and the fresh smell of sea breeze. One of the most beautiful walks in the area is the Point Lonsdale Coastal Trail or even sweetly named Lovers Walk.
If you’re just passing through, be sure to walk up the Point Lonsdale Pier to observe the mighty power of the waves crashing through The Rip and see the ships passing by.
At the start of the Great Ocean Road region is the world class Surf Coast Walk. This 44 kilometre multi-use trail is very accessible with 12 distinctive trails to choose from suitable for nature lovers, trail walkers or those who wish to immerse themselves in nature.
The trail starts at Australia’s surfing capital Torquay, and passes through the iconic Bells Beach, Anglesea, and Aireys Inlet, finishing at Fairhaven. Some highlights include:
So whether you take an hour, a day, or a week, enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds at your own pace.
Tower Hill rises steeply on the landscape between Warrnambool and Port Fairy. Look at the layers here, and you’ll quickly realise this is an enormous volcanic crater believed to have erupted over 30,000 years ago.
Pack your daypack and take a walk through the Tower Hill Nature Reserve to experience the beauty of Australian bush and get up close and personal with the local wildlife, including koalas, kangaroos, and emus. Springtime adds a splash of colour to the area with an abundance of wildflowers in bloom.
The visitor centre, managed by the Worn Gundidj Aboriginal Cooperative, offers guided walks and a two-hour culture and nature tour to explain the local Aboriginal culture and bush tucker.
With so many beautiful destinations to explore in Geelong, The Bellarine and the Great Ocean Road, it can be hard figuring out where to start!
Take this quiz to figure out which road trip would suit you best, and you could go into the draw to win a dream Road Trip experience, which includes return flights from your capital city, car hire, accommodation and experiences to suit you valued up to $5000. The winner will be announced on October 26th 2022.