Travel Australia: Coastal Drives - Great Ocean Road

For the intrepid traveller or those simply looking for a relaxing getaway, touring Australia by car offers many unique opportunities to appreciate the incredible scenery and explore an amazingly diverse continent, all whilst travelling at your own pace. If you think your personal vehicle is not up to the journey, whether for reasons of comfort or for fear it may break down, it may be worth considering vehicle hire for the purpose of your journey. Due to the abundance of rental car operators in major cities, particularly in Sydney, competition generally helps keeps pricing competitive, making them sensible starting locations, although it is best to spend some time shopping around and getting a few quotes. Watch out for hidden extras that are not in the quoted price, additional taxes and fees that are applied at the time of hire but that are rarely, if ever, mentioned until the transaction process. Demand will naturally be heavy during peak holiday periods, for instance during the Easter and Christmas breaks. Booking in advance will certainly help avoid last minute price hikes and ensure that the correct vehicle for your needs will be available. The last thing you need for your rental is an older vehicle that will more than likely just cause problems, so do your research, find a reputable car hire company (in Sydney) and book as early as you’re able. This will ensure that not only is a vehicle available, but you will not have to worry about last minute price hikes, hidden extras or old/ill-used vehicles. With these administrative details out of the way you can now concentrate on the more imperative features of your journey, such as the destination...! Although considering the topic of discussion, perhaps the path you take is of more import than where it leads. With this in mind, there is one oft-mentioned road, assuredly with good reason, and that is the stunning ‘Great Ocean Road’. The road was built by ex-servicemen, the road was carved out of the Victorian coastline as a memorial to those who had fought and died in the war. Having been variously described as the most beautiful and picturesque coastline in Australia the 255 kilometre cliff-hugging sea-side drive from Torquay to Warrnambool does boast some spectacular scenery. Whilst most of the major attractions; including the Twelve Apostles, London Arch, and Loch Ard Gorge to mention a few, are at the western it is worth travelling the distance east, as you will be rewarded by some majestic panoramic vistas of the Southern Ocean. The road turns 80 in 2012, having been completed in 1932. Other top spots include surfing hot-spot Bells Beach, the historic villages of Queenscliff, Port Fairy and Portland, and resort towns such as Lorne, and Apollo Bay. In terms of coastal driving, it really doesn’t get better than this.