The Great Ocean Road – one of the greatest motorcycling roads in the world. Want James Bond style hillside roads? Got it. Want twisty forest roads? Got it. There’s pretty much everything any motorcyclist could want, and all within a short hop down the M1 from Melbourne.
For those that aren’t completely familiar, this is a road that, depending on the overall route taken, stretches out to over 200km. It’s easily combined with inroads from the Australian mainland, but the main attraction is the idyllic ocean-view lanes.
While it’s possible for a dedicated biker to do the whole shebang in one day, most opt for a more leisurely pace that can last three days. As you might imagine with such a pristine route, there are many attractions and side-stops along the way to elongate your journey.
Starting in Melbourne, this ride is one for the bucket list and is a perfect choice for the biker on a serious see-everything experience.
WHY SHOULD I RIDE IT?
Simply put, there’s everything you could want! Rookies might some of the more twisty parts challenging, but for a seasoned biker, the road features some amazing bends that getting right deliver a major dose of satisfaction. I’m a particular fan of the stretch between Lorne and Apollo Bay – the temptation to just do that section over and over is strong.
The road surface is generally good throughout, and if you pick your time of year well then getting dry tarmac shouldn’t be a challenge. Just watch out for damp patches as you wind through the Otway National Park.
If you’re into incorporating more than just tarmac into your road trip, it’s dotted with an enviable spread of Australian landmarks. With the vast majority of the route directly running along the coast, it’s a simple matter of hitting up the desirable backroads to dig into the mainland slightly.
HOW SHOULD I RIDE IT?
Simple – you can ride it how you want to. Day-trippers from Melbourne will probably want to consider an early start, aiming to pull into Apollo Bay around lunchtime. You’ll get the best (in our opinion) sections of road in, and can either head back the same route or head inland and join the A1 for a speedy route back.
If you’re looking for a longer trip, you can obviously make your own schedule up, but for most people, by the time you arrive in Port Cambell you’ll almost definitely be ready for a chilled beverage and calling it a day. If I were given three days and the ocean road, I’d most likely have an overnighter in Apollo Bay and spend a bit of time re-running our favourite bits and exploring some of the surrounding inroads.
What’s the best time of day/day of the week? Really depends on what suits you best, but the biggest variable with time is going to be traffic. Saturdays’ in the summer can be full of lunatics in hire cars and coaches taking corners at a pace you wouldn’t believe. You won’t have the freedom to enjoy the ride, and you’ll be too busy looking in your mirrors for the next tourist wagon. I’d suggest avoiding the worst by getting an early start mid-week.
Another word of warning on speed – take it easy. Not only can this road bite, speed is enforced with supreme efficiency.
Many riders return to the route year-on-year, altering their journey to hit up different spots along the way. There are a few highly recommended staples to get you started.
The Great Otway National Park is a must-see if your itinerary permits. Anyone into hiking will be in their element – it offers a 57-mile trail that contains rainforest land, waterfalls and captivating glimpses into Australia’s Aboriginal history.
The 12 Apostles are next on the checklist. They’re the most frequently cited attraction along the route and for good reason with the added bonus of a great selection of eateries and pit-stop opportunities nearby.
The Grampians National Park is another opportunity to soak in the enviable beauty of Australia’s wildlife and scenery, the park offers a stunning view as you ride along your route towards it.
There are more than a handful of reasons to ride The Great Ocean Road. The adventure awaits and along the way, you can create experience breath-taking scenery and make memories to last a lifetime.