With its beautifully restored old mansions, Aboriginal culture, historic towns and a maritime history with many stories to be told, the Great Ocean Road is a place that is steeped in history that can be seen in its museums, galleries, heritage buildings and memorials. Wherever you are along the Great Ocean Road there is always something fascinating and interesting to be learned about the past years and olden days of this region.
It wasn’t until the year 1864 when it was decided upon that the state of Victoria was in need of a coastal road linking the many towns and villages but it didn’t actually come to fruition until 1914 as The Great Ocean Road Corridor Strategy was completed. It took nearly 20 years from planning to the completion to finish The Great Ocean Road and Lt. Governor Sir William Hill Irvine opened the road on the 26 November 1932. At first The Great Ocean Road was a toll road and would cost around 2 shillings and 6 pence per for the car and driver and 1 shilling and 6 pence for every other passenger.
The Great Ocean Road is a stretch of road the carries on over 232 kms from Geelong which is slightly inland to Queenscliff and through onto Port Fairy and includes towns and cities such as Anglesea, Lorne, Apollo Bay, Port Campbell, Warrnambool and Torquay. You can visit the shipwreck coast where there is said to be more than 180 sunken shipwrecks beneath the water level that line the coastline between Moonlight Head and Port Fairy, you can walk the Shipwreck Discovery Trail, dive the shipwreck sites and all along the highway you will come across signs that tell the stories of the maritime history. Visit Loch Ard Gorge and discover the history of Loch Ard which sunk in 1878 or there is wreck beach where you can still see two anchors that are still visible today. Each town holds many stories of the past, you wander through museums and galleries, take a guided tour with a local to learn about the history or set of on foot to discover it yourself.
Visit the lighthouses that dot the coastline that were finally constructed after so many shipwrecks occurred or take a tour through one of the many beautifully restored heritage buildings that tell many stories dating back to the colonial days and there are guided walks to learn about the Aboriginal cultural and Dreamtime and the unique lifestyles that they still continue on with today. The Great Ocean Road is jam packed full of history, whether it be to do with the construction of the second most desired holiday destination in the state, shipwrecks, Aboriginal culture or the rugged coastline like the Twelve Apostles and Bells Beach that has been formed over many many years by the winds and pounding rough seas.
The Great Ocean Road is place of many wonders and has a variety of stories and tales dating back hundreds of years. Take a tour or discover it all on a self guided walk, through the quaint towns and coastal communities, walk through the streets of the cities or set out on one of the many fascinating walks along the coastline to soak it all up. The history of the Great Ocean Road has shaped it to be what it is today!