Cycle Victoria, Road Ride, Apollo Bay to Lorne: The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road was constructed over 13 years employing nearly 3000 returned soldiers from the First World War as a memorial to all Victorian soldiers. It was muted at the time as becoming the finest ocean road in the world. It’s a must do for cyclists, even though sharing the road with cars is a problem. The roller coaster ride contributes to the exhilaration of the magnificent views and there are inviting beaches all the way along to take a dip or just sit and feel free from daily cares.
The Great Ocean Road is an iconic tourist road winding along the rugged south western coast of Victoria. It is undulating, hardly ever straight and has significant climbs, although none of them are agonisingly steep. The road verge is largely narrow, but in some places it’s non existent . Prevailing winds from the south west , which can be pretty mean, might determine which direction you take on this route. However, the easiest section of road lies between Apollo Bay and Wongarra and this is why Apollo Bay has been chosen as the starting point.
The traffic along the road varies from steady to heavy depending on the time of day and time of year. The best time to go out is early in the day.
Lorne and Apollo Bay are 67 and 110 kilometres respectively south west of Geelong on the Great Ocean Road. VicRoads Maps Apollo Bay 519: N4 A and Lorne 528:G8 .
Food and Drink
Both resort towns have ample services, cafes, shops and accommodation to meet most needs except in peak times such as Easter.
Rather than doing any side trips, which invariably go up and up, riders may choose to only undertake part of the ride, stopping in Kennett or Wye rivers, which are both approximately midway between Apollo Bay and Lorne.
The easiest way to do this trip is to ride from Apollo Bay to Kennett River and return before the traffic and wind builds up. There are two hills before Kennett River, but you can relax on the beach before heading back. The last 10 kilometres is the easiest, so even strong head winds should not take away from a truly spectacular ride. You can start the ride at either Apollo Bay or Lorne, or for that matter, any where along the route depending on where you are staying, how far you want to go and of course, what the weather is doing.
The start at Apollo Bay takes you from the tourist information centre eastward out through the town along the coast. Through to Skenes Creek the road is relatively flat and straight. After Skenes Creek the road starts to become hillier and twisted until about the 16 kilometre mark where it kicks up to the first significant climb to the lookout at Cape Patton. This is a good place for a stop to enjoy the fantastic view back along the coast to Apollo Bay. The ride then flies down into Grey River across the bridge and then another climb before descending into Kennett River.
Here you will find toilets, a general store and a beautiful beach. This is half way for a turn around and also half way to Lorne if you continue. The onward journey takes you up shorter climbs with the road twisting around the cliffs until you again come down to shore level at Wye River where you will find the local hotel offering refreshments as well as another beautiful beach. Beyond Wye River the ride rolls along until you meet the largest climb of the ride at around the 33 kilometre mark.
What goes up must come down and so do you; to Cumberland River where you will find a caravan park with kiosk and amenities set beside a beautiful beach. The last stretch to Lorne is more of the same until you turn the headland past the famous pier and coast down into the town. The ride finishes at the tourist information centre at the end of the shopping area.
- 0.0 The ride commences in the tourist information centre car park opposite Hardy St.
- 0.1 Leaving the car park, turn right onto the Great Ocean Rd.
- 5.5 You come into Skenes Creek where you will find amenities on the foreshore.
- 15.6 If you want to take a stroll, visit the Carisbrooke Falls approximately 1km from the road.
- 17.5 You have arrived at the Cape Patton lookout at the crest of the first major climb. Stop and enjoy the views.
- 22.5 The road comes down into Kennett River where the store will provide you with refreshments. Take a rest on the beach.
- 27.6 You come around the headland and down into Wye River where you will find a hotel and public amenities.
- 37.0 After the last significant climb you might want to stop at Cumberland River. Take a walk up to the falls or a dip in the river or ocean.
- 42.9 You crest the headland and turn for the downhill run to the finish in Lorne.
- 44.4 Turn right into the tourist information centre car park.
- 44.5 The ride finishes in the car park.
44.751 km / 27.807 mi
888 m / 2,915 ft
881 m / 2,891 ft
87 m / 287 ft