Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay mark the division between the western and eastern coasts of the Australian state of Victoria . The two coasts, even if they are only a few hundred kilometers apart, seem to belong to two completely different worlds. A trip along the west coast and in particular along the Great Ocean Road is an unforgettable experience.
The Great Ocean Road, which is 240 km long, was built around 1920 to link coastal towns together. The road begins in the town of Torquay about 100 km south-west of Melbourne. Here the waves of the ocean are suitable for surfing, the centers of Bells Beach and Jan Juc are two of the most popular surf resorts in the world, here every year around Easter week the best surfers gather for spectacular competition. The road continues south until it reaches the town of Lorne, one of the most frequented seaside resorts by the inhabitants of Melbourne, a paradise for water sports and fishing.
Beyond the town of Lorne, the most spectacular stretch of road begins, crosses Apollo Bay and enters the Otway Ranges National Park, where the rainforest reaches down to the sea. In the Melba Gully State Park at night, thousands of fireflies transform night into day. An interesting stop is the Cape Otway lighthouse, built in 1846 to try to reduce shipwrecks, along this coast, known as the Shipwreck Coast, with over 80 ship wrecks.
When the road returns to the coast, you reach the Port Campbell National Park, here the coastline is formed by a breathtaking chain of rocky cliffs, the cliffs rise to over 60 meters high above the sea. Shortly afterwards the famous “Twelve Apostles” appear, the natural wonder of this stretch of coast: 12 huge limestone pillars that emerge majestically from the waves of the sea, and reach heights of 85 meters. Particularly beautiful is the view of the Twelve Apostles at sunrise or sunset, when they rapidly change color with the rising or setting of the sun.
Near the Twelve Apostles, among the towns of Princetown, Port Campbell, Peterborough and Allansford are other natural wonders. Among these, 5 kilometers west of Princetown is the Gibsons Steps, where an 86-step stairway leads to the beach below, with rock faces rising 70 meters and where the huge Gog and rock formations are located. Magog. While 3 km east of Port Campbell is the so-called Grotto, a geological formation created by the water that has corroded the limestone.
Beyond the town of Port Campbell, 6 km to the west, is the Arch (The Arch), a rocky structure that gives its best when the sea is rough and the waves break all around. Just one kilometer to the west is the “London Bridge” or “London Arch”, a rock formation partially collapsed in 1990, but still very fascinating, just beyond is Loch Ard Gorge, a small opening to the open sea, between the cliffs. At 2 km from Peterborough opens the Bay of Martyrs an ideal place to admire the breathtaking cliffs of the nearby Bay of Islands, which are particularly beautiful at sunset when the islands and the Massacre Point are backlit by sunlight.
Along the Great Ocean Road, the history of the fishing villages and seaports of Victoria is also relived: in the past, Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland were home to large merchant ships and whaling ships. Today the whale is a protected species, and in the winter months (from June to September) the whales approach the coast, in Logan Beach, there is a platform created specifically to admire them, normally they approach up to 100 meters from the coast.