Pounding seas and fierce winds have sculpted the Bay of Islands coastline over thousands of years. Standing on a clifftop puts you front and centre in one of Australia’s most impressive and evolving natural sights. The scale is awe-inspiring – towering rock stacks, arches and islands carved from the cliffs by rain, wind and ocean.
Uncrowded and uncomplicated, this quiet cove offers wonderful seascapes in peaceful isolation. It’s easy to reach and easy to love –refreshing sea and surf, majestic Iimestone stacks and multi-hued limestone cliffs. Chill out and fill your soul with fresh salty air. Wander the beach and enjoy the rare coupling of seclusion and awe at nature’s powerful beauty.
Ralph Illidge Sanctuary
A special place to get up close with some of our quirkiest and quaintest native creatures, including the long-nosed Potoroo, the Powerful Owl, the Rufous Bristlebird and the White Goshawk. Everything abounds in this 40-acre volunteer-managed sanctuary: walking tracks criss-cross the bushland, native flora thrives and rare wildlife finds refuge. Pack a picnic and immerse yourself in stunning natural surrounds.
Hopkins Falls are a sight to behold in any season, and a dream location for painters or picnickers. At an impressive 90 metres across, they are Victoria’s widest falls. In winter or after heavy rainfall, the water tumbles wildly down over the rocks. And, for a few days each summer, you can witness baby eels migrating upstream and over the falls.
Tower Hill State Game Reserve
Discover the mystery and majesty of an ancient volcanic landscape. Nestled in a dormant volcanic crater, this wildlife haven showcases enthralling local indigenous culture, authentic Aussie bushland and eye-popping scenery. Commune with nature in a landscape brimming with iconic native birds and creatures including emus, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, black swans, wedge-tail eagles, magpie geese and reptiles.
Belfast Coastal Reserve
Fringing the coast from Warrnambool to Port Fairy, this reserve offers surprises at every turn – rocky reefs, sandy beaches, coastal dunes, salt marshes, estuaries and rare creatures such as the Orange-bellied Parrot. Wander and keep watch for wild things thriving here: on the beach, Victoria’s largest population of Hooded Plovers, and in the ocean, southern right whales and dolphins.
Nature’s glory – the daily sunset arrival of tens of thousands of mutton birds (or short-tailed shearwaters) is an unforgettable sight. Each year, the birds journey from the northern hemisphere to raise their young on Griffiths Island. Take position on the viewing platform between late September and mid-April and watch swarming birds return to their island burrows at dusk.
Come for the remarkable views of rocky, limestone cliffs and stay for the wonder of ancient sacred land. With Aboriginal cultural sites this area is part of the traditional homelands of the Peek wurrung speakers and has spiritual connections with Deen Maar (Lady Julia Percy Island). For many thousands of years indigenous people gathered here for ceremony and feasting.
Relax and recharge in a diversity hotspot. This extensive wetlands system features a host of habitats: freshwater meadows, tracts of reeds, semi-permanent saline marshes and saltmarsh communities. Birdlife teems all around. While away an afternoon wandering the walking trail, bird-watching and soaking up spectacular views of Lake Yambuk, Lady Julia Percy Island and the Southern Ocean.
Budj Bim National Park
Imagine the powerful ancestral forces that created this rich cultural landscape. Stand on a crater rim to ogle scenic Lake Surprise. Pack a torch and pick your way through the darkness of a prehistoric tunnel cave. Explore an ancient lava canal and settle into the stillness and await the sights and sounds of parrots, honeyeaters, kookaburras, hawks or eagles.
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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.