The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most epic road trips, and a visit to Victoria would not be complete without spending some time in the region. Pristine rainforest, native wildlife and a rugged coastline make this area one of the most naturally diverse places in the state. But as tourists, it’s important for us to be aware of the impacts our visit can have.
This article will share some tips to help you have a sustainable Great Ocean Road getaway!
Accommodation is a big part of travel, and choosing somewhere to stay that doesn’t have a negative impact on the local environment or community is an easy way to travel more sustainably.
Opting for small, locally owned accommodation options is a fantastic way to support the local community and economy, and ensures your tourist dollars are staying in the region. Luckily the Great Ocean Road has some fantastic boutique accommodations all over the region, and you won’t have any trouble finding a cute cottage, seaside suite or beach house.
In addition to choosing local stays, opting for accommodations that have initiatives in place to reduce their environmental impact is a great choice for our planet.
Sky Pods in Cape Otway offers off-grid pods and shipping containers. They are completely powered by solar panels, use water tanks and are energy rated to the highest level. Owners Maxwell and Lisa have planted over 65,000 trees on the 200-acre property, regenerating the former agricultural land and encouraging native wildlife to return.
Lorne Bush House is eco-certified by Ecotourism Australia and has both cottages and eco-retreat safari tents in the heart of the Otways rainforest. Their tents are low-impact, temporary structures and the entire property is a haven for local wildlife and birds.
Eating and drinking things grown, caught, made, or brewed around the Great Ocean Road is another thing you can do to reduce your impact. By opting for food and drinks local to the region, you are eliminating the carbon offsets associated with your food, as well as supporting local industry and businesses.
Plus, it’s fresh, tasty, and adds a great activity to your Great Ocean Road itinerary!
For the freshest seafood right from the source, head to the Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-Op for a delicious seafood platter overlooking the harbour. For something sweeter, the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie makes chocolate on-site. To stock up on all things cheese and charcuterie, pop into Tastes of the Region in Apollo Bay for the perfect picnic accompaniments. There is no shortage of good views to lay out your picnic blanket!
If you’re after a tasty tipple, the region is full of wineries, breweries and distilleries. Great Ocean Road Gin in Aireys Inlet uses local botanicals to create its range of gins. Or if you’re after a pint, Noodledoof Brewery in Koroit has a constantly evolving tap list, depending on the season.
Immersing yourself in the amazing nature of the Great Ocean Road is a highlight for most visitors to the region. The good news is, so many of the best activities to do in the area have a minimal impact on the environment.
Hiking, biking, surfing, and kayaking are all low-impact activities you can enjoy without damaging the pristine environment.
There are hiking trails all over the region, both along the coast and inland in the lush Otways. Some are easy strolls, others are multi-day treks. The Surf Coast Walk in Torquay offers a stunning trail along the coast, or head into the rainforest of the Otways to hunt out hidden waterfalls. Bike trails abound, and rentals are possible in the charming town of Port Fairy.
Surfing is part of the very fabric of the Great Ocean Road region, and there are breaks for beginners all the way up to pro surfers. If you’d prefer calmer waters, the estuaries and rivers of the region are the perfect places for a paddle. Anglesea Paddleboat and Canoe Hire rent out canoes on the Anglesea River.
The Wildlife Wonders sanctuary offers walking tours, giving visitors the chance to see native wildlife like koalas and kangaroos in their natural habitat. As well as learn more about the ecology and flora of the region. Your visit supports important conservation work in the Great Ocean Road region.
No matter where you’re travelling, there are some easy tips you can remember to ensure you are leaving a positive impact. Help to keep the Great Ocean Road beautiful!
Don’t litter – This goes without saying, but always dispose of any rubbish correctly. If you are picnicking in national parks, you may need to carry your rubbish out with you. Secure any loose items to avoid things blowing away in the wind, and be sure to check thoroughly around your area before leaving.
Pack reusables – Avoid single-use plastics by packing a reusable coffee cup, straw and cutlery. If you forget, opt to dine in instead, avoiding any waste!
Stick to trails – Natural areas have been designed specifically to minimise the impact on the environment, so stick to marked trails and boardwalks to protect the surrounding area.
Opt for biodegradable sunscreen – If you’re jumping in the beautiful waters of the Great Ocean Road, use a chemical-free sunscreen that won’t damage reef or marine life.
Don’t disturb plants or animals – Never approach or touch animals, on land or in the ocean. When you’re in areas with wildlife, try and be as quiet as possible to avoid disturbing them. Don’t take plants, flowers, shells or any other natural item from the area.
By making a conscious effort to travel more sustainably, you can enjoy the beautiful Great Ocean Road, knowing your trip is leaving a positive impact on the region!
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.