From Anglesea all the way to Peterborough the Otway Ranges rise abruptly out of Bass Strait, making some of the most spectacular scenery of any coastline around the world. Whilst beautiful, it is not easy riding country. This ride explores the Otways and the coast along a moderately challenging route. It shows off the rugged coastline; the forest country beside the Angahook State Forest with its attractive black trunked eucalypts and a short ride along the famous Great Ocean Road hugging the coast to finish.
This ride has a mixture of major and minor roads, made and unmade. Most significantly are the steep sections on an unstable surface heading inland from Aireys Inlet. You will at least need a hybrid with thicker tires.
The majority of this ride is on back roads. However, there is a small section on the Great Ocean Road where it curves around a headland. Riders should go single file on this section.
Aireys Inlet is 48 kilometers from Geelong on the Princes Highway turning onto Anglesea Road, which becomes the Great Ocean Road continuing through Anglesea. The start of the ride is in the car park at the shopping area, opposite the picnic area just before you come to the river. VicRoads Map: 525 E4.
Food and Drink
There is a café and milk bar in the shopping area and you can fill your water bottles over the road in the picnic reserve.
If you want a much more challenging ride, continue along the Bambra Road instead of turning left down the Old Coach Road. After Bambra, continue along Bambra Aireys Inlet Road until you come to the Winchelsea Deans Marsh Road. Turning left it will take you to Lorne and a ride back to Aireys Inlet along the Great Ocean Road.
The ride leaves the shopping center adjacent to the welcoming picnic ground opposite, which would be a nice place to wind down after the ride. The first stop on the ride is past a small wetland to the car park up near the famous Split Point lighthouse at the top of the cliffs. Ten shipwrecks prior to 1890 along the Surf Coast led to the construction of the lighthouse.
The builders had problems getting materials to the site. After the vessel carrying the supplies floundered on the coast during heavy weather, the stone was quarried locally at Lookout Hill and the ironbark timber was obtained close to the lighthouse. At the cliff top, you will find commanding views of the ocean and the Mornington Peninsula on a clear day. You could also take a walk along the cliff top from here to Sunnymead, Sandy Gully and Step Beach.
On the beach, you will find many small coves with rock pools. You can swim, surf, snorkel or just stroll along the beach. Right below the lighthouse is Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary, Leaving the coast you get onto dirt and some steep roads through to the back of the town and head into the bush along the Old Coach Road. There is some really beautiful bushland through here and some points where you can dismount and go for a walk. After short a time the road returns to civilization, but tempered by views out along the coast. You meet the Great Ocean Road at Moggs Creek quite near the creek and its estuary.
A stroll along this stunning beach would be well worth the effort of crossing the road. The road back through Fairhaven, whilst providing great views along the coast is narrow and a detour through the back streets cuts out a risky section of road. Back on the Great Ocean Road again, with a good shoulder, you cross over Painkalac Creek with the lighthouse standing on the headland framed against the sky; a beautiful sight to stop and take in. From here it’s not far back to the shops and the end of the ride.
- 0.0 Leaving the shopping center car park, turn left toward Anglesea and Geelong.
- 0.3 Turn right with care into River Rd following the signs to the lighthouse, passing by the small wetlands on your right.
- 0.5 Coming around the edge of the wetland turn left onto Lighthouse Rd.
- 0.7 Turn left at Federal St. If you want to inspect the lighthouse go to the right.
- 0.8 You turn around at the car park and head back to Lighthouse Rd after having a good look at the view across the cliffs and ocean.
- 0.9 Turn right down Eagle Rock Pde.
- 1.8 Turn right down Alice Rd. You can see that it all starts to get a bit hilly around here.
- 2.2 Turn right onto the Great Ocean Rd.
- 2.3 Leave the main road, heading straight along Gilbert St.
- 2.7 Turn left into gravelly Hopkins St.
- 3.2 At the T-intersection turn left into Pearse Rd.
- 3.3 Immediately turn right down Mc Conarchy Rd, the steepest section of the ride.
- 3.5 Turn right onto the Bambra Rd.
- 4.0 Turn left onto the Old Coach (Hartley) Rd and follow it through the bush until it returns to the coast.
- 7.9 Turn left at Old Neuk Rd.
- 8.0 Turn left onto the Great Ocean Rd at Moggs Creek.
- 9.6 At Fairhaven turn left onto the Yarringa Rd to avoid a narrow dangerous section of the Great Ocean Rd. Follow the road to the right when it becomes Lialeeta Rd.
- 11.2 Rejoin the Great Ocean Rd, turning left onto a better shoulder, riding down and over the Painkalac Creek into Aireys Inlet once again.
- 11.8 The ride finishes in the car park where you started.
11.857 km / 7.367 mi
153 m / 503 ft
154 m / 504 ft
69 m / 225 ft