# O is for The Great Ocean Road.
I know this fabulous heritage listed Aussie road begins with a G however we are going to concentrate on the Ocean part of the name. One could use any number of superlatives to describe this Great, Grand, Beautiful, Scenic, Amazing, Historic Ocean Road which is noted for the breathtaking views of the ocean it affords. The Great Ocean Road snakes along the Victorian coastline for 243 km, hugging sandstone and limestone cliffs, passing by forests, popular seaside locations and offering breathtakingly beautiful views of the wild expanse of ocean between the southern coastline of Australia and Antarctica.
The Great Ocean Road begins at Torquay and finishes around Port Fairy.
We flew from Brisbane to Melbourne and hired a car to drive, via The Great Ocean Road, from Melbourne to Adelaide. Like many icons in Australia, the Great Ocean Road has a story which is woven into the history of our wonderful nation. It is actually Australia’s largest and permanent war memorial, built by returned servicemen in honour of those who died fighting in World War 1.
The construction of the road was at times literally hewn out of rock using only picks, shovels and horse-drawn carts; there was no heavy machinery to help – but for the returned servicemen it was an opportunity of employment and a chance to rebuild their lives as well as a perpetual remembrance to the so many of their countrymen who did not come home.
The road is testament to the resilience of the human spirit as well as to the paradox that such ocean cleansing beauty can rise from the absolutely horrific experiences of war. The Great Ocean Road is a feat of engineering and a salute to blood, sweat, tears and toil. The road was officially opened in 1932 and is one of the best driving experiences not only in Australia but in the World.
Of course a drive along the Great Ocean Road is not complete without a visit to the Port Campbell National Park from where one can view the 12 Apostles, although there are presently only 8 standing. The apostles are limestone pillars that were once connected to the mainland cliffs but have been carved from the ocean and winds into tall pillars. They are another of those iconic images of Australia. I recall the whipping winds as we stood on the viewing platform and understood why this section of coast is known as the Shipwreck Coast.
Australia is an island nation and we are surrounded by oceans and seas; the Pacific, Southern and Indian oceans as well as the Timor, Tasman and Coral Seas. So one can find coastal routes all over the country and they are indeed beautiful but Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is one not to be missed.