Stretching from Torquay, near Geelong, the 300-kilometre “journey of a lifetime” snakes past cliffs, waterfalls, rainforests – and a great array of golf courses, where you can drive … and chip and putt in style.
On the Bellarine Peninsula at the mouth of its eponymous river, the first stop is Barwon Heads, just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne. There’s something unique about this golf village by the sea with its enviable choice of nationally rated courses.
Nestled among the coastal dunes you will find Barwon Heads Golf Club. The magnificent clubhouse, listed by the National Trust and Heritage Victoria, is famed for its ambience and old world charm, causing some to dub it the St Andrews of the Bellarine. It is a clubhouse designed for all seasons – open fires and fine food and wine to match the quality of the fairways.
A few kilometres down the road you will discover Barwon Heads Golf Resort at 13th Beach. The resort offers two championship 18-hole courses. The Beach Course is a true links style course while the Creek Course was designed by British golfing great Nick Faldo and is a parkland golfing experience.
The facility has a modern clubhouse, golf academy and driving range with stylish onsite, self-contained accommodation.
The Bellarine is also home to The Bellarine Taste Trail – a touring route of cellar doors, local providores, dining and accommodation experiences waiting for you.
Torquay is the next stop. Aside from its world renowned beaches, surf culture and retail therapy you will find The Sands, designed by Stuart Appleby.
The course staged its first official PGA tournament in January 2011, the Surf Coast Knockout. It features some very challenging bunkers, natural hazards and a lakes system.
And while you are praising yourself for getting round under 70, just remember the course record is 63, set early in 2010 by 15-year-old local Ben Eccles. If that makes you feel bad, spare a thought for his father. Ben first beat him when he was just 13.
Anglesea’s golf course is renowned for its resident population of Eastern Grey kangaroos, making it a favourite with overseas visitors who want to combine a round a golf with seeing Australia’s national symbol.
All these great courses are merely the tip of the golfing iceberg along the Great Ocean Road.
There are also golf clubs located at Curlewis, Lonsdale, St Leonards, Portarlington, Lorne and Apollo Bay.
A nine-hole course overlooking the bay next to the local Fisherman’s Co-Op, the Apollo Bay course is the only one in the world where you can buy a crayfish mid-round.
Whichever course you choose to experience, be sure to take a break and soak up the stunning natural environment of this part of the world.
You are absolutely spoilt for choice by beaches, waterfalls and by walks.
And if other family members want something else to do, well the Great Ocean Road can accommodate them too.
How about slipping and sliding at Adventure Park on The Bellarine, Victoria’s first water theme park?
Or walking among the treetops at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, with their new Zipline experience for thrill seekers?
Whether you’re driving to see the sights, or driving for show, the Great Ocean Road is always at the fore when it comes to providing something for everyone.
Visit www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au for more information.