One of the most stunning scenic coastal drives in the world, the 243-kilometre Great Ocean Road stretches from Torquay, just west of Melbourne, to Allansford, Victoria. Along the way, the road winds past some of Australia's most incredible natural landmarks – from pockets of lush rainforest to sharp limestone cliffs, sleepy seaside towns and incredible cultural attractions.
These attractions are all just an added bonus however. The real drawcard of this part of the world is undoubtedly the magnificent Southern Ocean – and this relatively short stretch of coastline is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.
Ready to take on the Great Ocean Road? There will be plenty of stunning sandy vistas vying for your attention, so make sure you don't miss the best spots. Follow our guide and explore the best beaches of the Great Ocean Road when you pick up a car hire in Melbourne.
The Great Ocean Road begins in Torquay and will be your first stop after leaving Melbourne. It’s one of the first beaches along the route and also one of the best – the sandy front beach at Torquay is popular with families, while nearby Fishermans Beach is the choice for boating, sailing and windsurfing. If you only have time to get a taste of the Great Ocean Road, a trip to Torquay will ensure you haven’t missed any essential experiences along the water.
Located near Torquay, Bells Beach is a bonafide surfer’s paradise. This impressive stretch of coastline is home to the longest-running professional surfing event in the world, held around Easter every year. The large ocean swells make it perfect for catching waves and, if you’re a newcomer, never fear – as the birthplace of brands such as Quicksilver and Rip Curl, there are plenty of surf shops in the area where you can get kitted out. Alternatively, fake it 'till you make it with some rental gear and a surf lesson and you'll be hanging ten with the locals in no time.
Less than 50km west of Torquay is Lorne, one of the most popular seaside towns on the Great Ocean Road. The wide beaches and soft sand are perfect for enjoying a day in the sunshine. The gentle waves on Loutit Bay are also safe for swimming and surfing, making it the ideal spot for a splash in the ocean.
The beautiful seaside village of Apollo Bay offers a little bit of everything. Miles of beautiful sandy beaches with gentle waves offer swimming, surfing and beachside horseback riding. From the shore there’s also the opportunity to kayak past the local seal colonies or head further out for some deep sea fishing. When you want a break from beachside pleasures, the stunning landscapes of the Great Otway National Park await. Apollo Bay is the perfect base for a couple of days of roaming, with famous sights such as the Twelve Apostles also nearby.
Warrnambool is one of the final stops along the Great Ocean Road and it doesn’t disappoint. The city has a number of popular beaches where you can stretch out and enjoy the sun, go swimming and try your hand at surfing. Lady Bay is the most popular of the bunch; it’s the main swimming, surfing and sailing beach in the city and close enough to the centre of town that you can enjoy the bars and restaurants as well.
Ready to sink your toes into the sand of the Great Ocean Road's best beaches? Start your adventure with a car rental in Melbourne today.