Surf Coast Car Tour

Touring the Great Ocean Road between Torquay and Kennett River you will visit idyllic beaches, take in the breathtaking coastal views from the imposing red ochre limestone cliffs, travel through ironbark forests and heathlands and venture into the damp eucalypt forests where scenic waterfalls tumble into fern-filled gullies.

At times the Great Ocean Road is literally carved into the near-vertical cliffs as it climbs to more than 100 metres above the blue-green sea and the views of forested hills plunging into the Southern Ocean are unforgettable. 

While you’re taking in the sights and sounds you’ll learn about the Wathaurong Aboriginal inhabitants of the region and see traces of a sustainable way of life that existed for thousands of years. As well you’ll discover the maritime history and early European settlement of this coast, including the building of the Great Ocean Road - the world’s largest war memorial.

You can choose between a picnic or barbecue lunch overlooking the Southern Ocean or in the forests of the Otway Ranges.

As well as taking you into dramatic coastal and forest environments along the Great Ocean Road, opportunities to observe native wildlife will occur throughout the day. Kangaroos and wallabies can be observed in the heathlands and eucalypt forests. We will hear and see a range of birdlife including rosellas, kookaburras and some of the smaller forest birds such as robins and fan-tails. We may even see majestic wedge-tailed eagles soaring on thermals. Along the coast we may observe shore-birds and seals, while whales are regularly spotted between May and October.

We will finish the day observing koalas at close range, browsing on the tough eucalypt leaves in the woodlands around Kennett River. 

Dates

This tour can be taken throughout the year, with different experiences depending on the season and prevailing weather. The most settled weather – with warm temperatures and low rainfall - generally occurs in February and March. Summer is the best beach weather, but it is also the busiest time of year with heavy traffic, particularly on weekends. The high temperatures and strong northerly winds that create perfect beach (and surf) conditions can also be ideal for bushfires that can restrict travel.  The region has great appeal in winter, with wild weather pounding the coast and waterfalls at their best. Whales can be spotted between May and October. Wildflowers are best during late winter and spring.

 

Contact us for more information on these small group guided tours and to discuss a time and date that suits you best. Subject to availability, we may be able to arrange private tours on alternative dates, including weekends, and we are always happy to look at customising the itinerary to meet your interests.

All scheduled small group trips will be confirmed and guaranteed by Around The Sun at least 56 days before the trip commences. However, if at 56 days prior to departure there are insufficient bookings to cover the cost of running the trip we reserve the right to cancel the trip. Anyone who has already made a booking will be given the choice to receive a full refund, to transfer their booking to another trip, or to continue on the trip with fewer passengers but at a higher price.

Departures for private, customised trips are fully guaranteed. Contact us for quotes and information on private, customised trips.

Full Itinerary

This is a full-day tour – about 9 hours between pick-up and delivery to your accommodation on the Surf Coast.

We begin our tour at the start of the Great Ocean Road in Torquay. On route to Fairhaven, we travel through an area dominated by ironbark forests and heathlands, visit idyllic beaches and take in the breathtaking coastal views from the imposing red ochre limestone cliffs. You will learn about the Wathaurong Aboriginal inhabitants of the region and see traces of a sustainable way of life that existed for thousands of years while visiting some of the places frequented by William Buckley, an escaped convict, who spent 32 years living and travelling with the Wathaurong people in the early 19th century. At Aireys Inlet Lighthouse, which stands at dramatic Split Point, you will learn about the maritime history and early European settlement of this coast. 

At Eastern View we will visit the Memorial Arch - built to commemorate the World War I veterans who built the Great Ocean Road to honour their fallen comrades.  The landscape changes dramatically here as the limestone cliffs give way to the harder, more resistant grey sandstone and the Great Ocean Road is literally carved into the near-vertical cliffs as it climbs to more than 100 metres above the blue-green sea. Travelling on to Lorne the views of forested hills plunging into the Southern Ocean are unforgettable. 

Reaching Lorne we can choose between a picnic or barbecue lunch overlooking Louttit Bay, where the eucalypt trees literally overhang the beach, or we can venture into the surrounding lush forest for the quintessential Australian bush experience, complete with Kookaburras who will steal your barbecue lunch if you are not wary. After lunch we will take a short exhilarating walk to a nearby waterfall that plunges into a scenic fern-filled gully.

As well as taking you into dramatic coastal and forest environments along the Great Ocean Road, opportunities to observe native wildlife will occur throughout the day. Kangaroos and wallabies can be observed in the heathlands and eucalypt forests. We will hear and see a range of birdlife including rosellas and some of the smaller forest birds such as robins and fan-tails. We may even see majestic wedge-tailed eagles soaring on thermals. Along the coast we may observe shore-birds and seals, while whales are regularly spotted along this coast between May and October. We will finish the day with the opportunity to observe koalas browsing on the tough eucalypt leaves in the woodlands around Kennett River. 

Price & Inclusions

Prices for this trip start at $250 per person. This price is based on a scheduled small group departure, off peak, with a minimum of seven passengers.  Departures at peak holiday periods may be more expensive. Contact Around The Sun to confirm the cost of specific trips.

The total price includes pick-up from and return to your accommodation in Geelong or on the Surf Coast, a picnic or BBQ lunch of local gourmet food, and drinking water, which is always carried in the vehicle.

Pick-ups from Melbourne airports or hotels can be arranged for an additional cost.

All scheduled small group trips will be confirmed and guaranteed by Around The Sun at least 56 days before the trip commences. However, if at 56 days prior to departure there are insufficient bookings to cover the cost of running the trip we reserve the right to cancel the trip. Anyone who has already made a booking will be given the choice to receive a full refund, to transfer their booking to another trip, or to continue on the trip with fewer passengers but at a higher price.

Departures for private, customised trips are fully guaranteed. Contact us for quotes and information on private, customised trips.

 

Surf Coast

The Great Ocean Road officially begins at Spring Creek, the boundary between Torquay and Jan Juc on the Surf Coast (100 kms from Melbourne). Although the road doesn’t meet the coast until Anglesea, it is a mistake to miss the section of coast between Torquay and Anglesea, because it has some of the best surf and coastal scenery in the world. The best way to enjoy the views is to take advantage of sections of the Surf Coast Walk, which follows the coast from Point Impossible (east of Torquay near Breamlea) to Fairhaven. 

 The Surf Coast can be divided into two sub-zones, with imposing red limestone cliffs from Torquay to Fairhaven, and hard grey sedimentary rocks from Eastern View on. The softer red stone has been undercut to create spectacular cliffs at places like Bells Beach, Point Addis and Split Point (Airey’s Inlet). Inland, the Otway Plains are dominated by dry eucalypt forests, grasslands and sandy heathlands. West of Eastern View as far as Apollo Bay, the harder grey sandstone has protected the foundations of the Otway Ranges, and near vertical cliffs plunge into the blue-green Southern Ocean. The higher rainfall in this area gives rise to wet eucalypt forests and temperate rainforests, with waterfalls plunging into fern-filled gullies as the creeks and rivers rush to the ocean.

Torquay is a thriving town and home to Surf City Plaza – where you find the largest and most impressive complex of surfing retailers anywhere in the world - and also the home of the Surf World Museum, dedicated to surfing and beach culture and housing the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame. It is forever linked to the surf industry because of its proximity to some outstanding surf breaks - none more famous than Bells Beach, home to the world’s oldest professional surfing contest. The big waves at Bells are not an everyday event, but there are many more surf beaches, often with more consistent breaks, along the coast. Pt Addis is arguably the most beautiful beach on the Surf Coast and there are some great walks in Ironbark Basin behind the cliffs.

Anglesea is where the Great Ocean Road meets the sea at the western end of some of the most magnificent coastal cliffs in Australia. This town has built a reputation as a centre for outdoor activity including mountain biking, surfing at one of the many local beaches, walking in the heathlands, fishing or canoeing on the Anglesea River or playing a round of golf amongst the kangaroos at the local course.

After Anglesea and Pt Roadknight, the road meets the coast and you get your first, literally breathtaking view down the coast past the Split Point lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. Known as the “White Queen”, the lighthouse overlooks Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary and can be seen wherever you are from Point Addis to Lorne. There are at least seven beaches within a 15-minute drive of Aireys Inlet and the six km stretch of beach from Aireys to Spout Creek at Eastern View is one of the finest in the world.

Lorne is one of the few places in Australia where you can have a sea-view and a northerly aspect at the same time, and it is one of the few coastal towns in Australia that is protected from the prevailing coastal winds. It’s a sheltered and beautiful spot with trees literally overhanging the beach. Tourism started early in Lorne, with the first guest house built in 1868, and is still meeting the needs of city people looking to shed their stress. The town hosts some of the most expensive real estate in Victoria and caters to the tourist with a big choice of cafes, restaurants and shops and a couple of art galleries. The thickly forested hills behind the town are home to many spectacular waterfalls and walks ranging from a leisurely stroll to a more strenuous walk through rock-strewn fern-filled gullies.

Cumberland River, a few km west of Lorne has a very secluded and special caravan park, in a beautiful river valley overlooked by Castle Rock. Jebbs Pool and Cumberland Falls are a short walk up the narrow river gorge.

The next towns to the west are Wye River and Kennett River. Both these small seaside hamlets began as timber towns which swell in summer as holidaymakers fill the holiday houses in the hills and camping grounds on the coast. Kennett River is most famous for the koalas that can nearly always be seen in the manna gums around town and up the Grey River Road.

There are cafes, restaurants, farm gate experiences and a range of accommodation options including bush camping, caravan parks, B&Bs and self-catering cabins along the coast and in and around the hinterland towns of Deans Marsh, Birregurra, Moriac and Winchelsea. Deans Marsh is probably best known for berry farms where you can pick and eat delicious berries. Birregurra is on the main Melbourne to Warrnambool train line and became a thriving town when the Birregurra to Forrest railway opened in 1891. There are several striking examples of 19th century architecture, including the carefully restored facades of Main Street, which now house a gourmet food store and a number of galleries, bookshops and cafes. Winchelsea, to the north of the Otways, was first settled in the 1830s when squatters took up grazing land on the fertile volcanic plains. There are a number of historic buildings in town and several substantial bluestone (basalt) homesteads in the region.

Along the Surf Coast there are great opportunities to experience a natural environment with abundant native birdlife and rare native animals. In the heathlands and eucalypt forests around Anglesea and Airey’s Inlet wildflowers, including rare orchids, put on a brilliant display during winter and spring and attract nectar feeding birds. Native fauna includes many small marsupials, like echidnas, bandicoots, and potoroos; and native placental mammals such as swamp rat and New Holland mouse. Wallabies and kangaroos are common throughout the region and koalas can be found in the dry sclerophyll forests around Kennett River. More than 80 species of birds inhabit the heathlands including the rare ground parrot and rufous bristlebird. In the forest areas the larger birds such as rosellas, currawongs and kookaburras are common as are some of the smaller forest birds such as robins and fan-tails. Majestic wedge-tailed eagles can be seen soaring on thermals. Shore-birds and seals can be observed along the coast and whales are regularly spotted between May and October. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you have any questions, please contact us. We have an enormous amount of experience – and we have expert operators on the ground in all our destinations.

If our small group guided tours don’t meet your needs we can create custom tours that are both private and customised to meet your wishes. Or perhaps you’d like us to arrange a self- guided driving tour for you.

Practicalities
Travelling in a luxury four-wheel-drive vehicle provides comfort, safety and good visibility, and there are regular short walks to places of interest.

Total walking time for the day is about two hours. If you would prefer, there is an option to spend more time walking.

You won’t need specialist walking gear, just comfortable, sturdy shoes and clothes and hat appropriate to the season – protection from wind and showers in winter and sun in summer.

Some sections of the tour are on winding roads, so take precautions if you suffer from motion sickness.

A picnic or BBQ lunch of local gourmet food is provided and drinking water is always carried in the vehicle.

All you need to worry about is getting the most enjoyment possible from your adventure! 

Surf Coast Tour

Days:1
Luxury:**** Four Star
Type of Tour:Small Group Guided Tour
Experience: Car Touring / Nature
Challenge: Easy
Cost: From $250

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