With so much inspiration to be found in the wild rainforests, crashing waves and quaint villages on the Great Ocean Road, it’s no wonder so many artists and creatives call this beautiful place home. From indie galleries to epic silo art and a pop-up sculpture park, these are some of our favourite spots to inject a little art and culture into your trip.
Located right on the Great Ocean Road as it winds through Aireys Inlet, you can’t miss Eagles Nest Fine Art Gallery’s playful purple and orange sculpture welcoming art lovers inside. The gallery displays pieces from more than 100 local Surf Coast and regional Victorian artists. Admire the collection of paintings, glass art, sculptures, ceramics, prints and jewellery, and check out the current exhibitions.
Every two years, art fans flock to the Lorne foreshore to see creativity take over the beach town. Across three weeks this free outdoor art event celebrates some of the best Australian and international sculptors. Sixteen artists have been commissioned to make their mark on Lorne. Head down to the foreshore in March to see the sculpture trail and enjoy live music, dancing and workshops.
In the heart of Warrnambool you’ll find an impressive little art gallery that’s free to visit. Known to locals as WAG, the gallery has been inspiring audiences for more than a century. The collection includes paintings spanning back to the 1800’s, Indigenous artefacts and contemporary works. The art extends outside to the building facade, visit WAG right now and you’ll see vivid splashes of neon paint.
The best art isn’t always found on a gallery wall. Pick up a map from Warrnambool’s Visitor Information Centre at Flagstaff Hill and see Warrnambool’s thriving art scene in action as it bursts out onto the city streets. The self-guided tour hits all the local street art spots, but this isn’t your run of the mill graffiti. We’re talking giant murals, interactive art, an adorable seal sculpture and even a painted maze.
Incredibly realistic oil paintings of birds and other Australian wildlife adorn the walls of this gallery. Bay of Whales is owned by local artist Brett Jarrett, who created the space as a studio and gallery to showcase his world class paintings. Nestled on the bay between Port Fairy and Portland in the little village of Narrawong, Bay of Whales boasts panoramic ocean views. Linger over a drink in the Coffee Shop on weekends and soak it all in.
This volunteer-run community arts organisation is a space for artists to gather and create. Julia Street includes a retail outlet for artists’ works, a workshop space and artist accommodation. Browse the shop for locally made treasures like intricate crocheted clothing, mixed media canvases and hand-dyed silk. Or time your visit to attend one of the creative workshops held here.
Venture inland to Lismore, where the town’s water tower has been transformed by an epic mural featuring larger-than-life local wildlife. The mural features two dancing brolgas, with native plants blooming around them. You can also spot sheep which represent the town’s wool industry. A must-visit stop on the Australian Silo Art Trail, the tower was painted by Warrnambool artist Jimmi Buscombe in February 2020.
The picturesque little village of Gellibrand is home to this eclectic gallery filled with local designs. Deb Gartland, fine art photographer and owner of the gallery, has curated an assortment of artwork, jewellery and photography (including her own) to fill the gift shop. You can also take a workshop or stay the night in the two bedroom self-contained accommodation that’s attached to the gallery.
Inside Apollo Bay’s heritage town hall is an artist-run space where you can discover new local talent. Arts Inc supports emerging artists by offering an affordable space for them to exhibit their work. The application process maintains a high standard to this gallery, so you can expect gorgeous displays and unique exhibits.
The team behind Red Rock are passionate about bringing the arts to the small farming town of Cororooke, just outside Colac. Housed in an old church that has been beautifully refurbished, Red Rock celebrates the visual and performing arts. See diverse works from local and international artists, both established and emerging. Or catch a live show in the Carolyn Theatre.
Art comes in many forms at this Lorne gallery. In the Skies Art & Music is part art gallery, part studio and part store selling oodles of art supplies, homewares and even records. Peruse the art exhibits then browse the collection of old and new vinyl, pick up some handmade ceramics or take home a new houseplant.
Stop for lunch and a browse at Port Fairy’s lovely Limestone Gallery. Surrounded by gardens, this contemporary art gallery is the perfect spot to sit and contemplate. Limestone displays modern sculpture and handmade ceramics alongside paintings and prints by talented local artists. Look out for pieces by resident artist Meg Finnegan then head to the onsite cafe for a coffee or bite to eat.
Inspired to come and visit us? Let the Great Ocean Road be your muse as you roam and explore our shores and hinterland.
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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.