Planning a Great Ocean Road trip? These are some of the best pit stops along the way.
Half the fun of a road trip is stopping to take in the tastes, and you’re spoilt for choice in the sandy surroundings of the Great Ocean Road.
Whether you’re one for discovering new eateries and distilleries or uncovering kid-friendly cafes and Sunday sessions, there’s a stop to please every passenger along the wondrous winding road.
Get your buzz back and refuel with a cuppa just across the road from the surf shops. Mikro’s small-batch specialty coffee is roasted in-house at the Surf Coast Highway cafe, and is quickly becoming a dominant bean throughout eateries along the Great Ocean Road. The sourdough toasties are worth a look, too.
Translating as ‘togetherness’, Samesyn encourages us to connect over food. Settle in and let head chef Graham Jefferies (of Tulip in Geelong) pamper your palates with his contemporary Australian menu. Choose from an ever-changing offering that might include cured fish, pickled green strawberries and beach herbs. Or leave it in Graham’s hands and go for the tasting menu.
RACV Torquay Resort
Swing life away at RACV’s stunning Surf Coast hideaway. As well as an 18-hole golf course designed by former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, the majestic Torquay resort – voted the eighth-best Australian luxury hotel in the 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards – is also home to award-winning Number One restaurant, myriad casual eateries and bars, and the rejuvenating One Spa retreat. Ideally located at the start of the Great Ocean Road, it is the perfect base for summer exploring. RACV members receive 25 per cent off accommodation or you can choose from a range of summer escape deals and gourmet getaways.
Pull in here for your exclusive Great Ocean Road wine tasting. It’s the only vineyard located on the stretch, and the perfect green setting to switch over to a Surf Coast pace. You’ll walk away with local surf cred, too, with wines named after popular surrounding surf breaks. Stop in on a Sunday for an acoustic live music session.
Last One Inn
For when you’re after a bite or beers – or both. This new eatery turns back the clock to the good old summer days, with retro thickshakes, ice-creams and flame-grilled burgers. Take a seat and take in the views over the Anglesea River while the little ones explore the outdoor play area.
Pop this hidden gem into your Google Maps or you’ll likely miss it. Housed in the Anglesea Surf Life Saving Club, the eatery is tucked away in the cliffs overlooking the surf beach. Bookings are essential, with chef Matt Germanchis (of Pei Modern and MoVida) and partner Gemma Gange (of Pei Modern and Stokehouse) serving up an in-demand and daily-changing coastal European menu reminiscent of sun-soaked Mediterranean days.
The Captain of Aireys
Moreish wood-fired pizza, local wines and beers await just down the road from the Aireys Inlet Lighthouse. There are all the classics, plus summery stars such as the lemon and garlic prawn with fresh chilli and feta or sweet potato with spinach, goats cheese and walnuts. Walk it off with a trip to the iconic lighthouse afterwards.
Great Ocean Road Gin
Time for a tipple? Head into the tasting room to explore the small-batch craft gin featuring botanicals and ingredients from the Great Ocean Road and Surf Coast. Think kelp, salt bush, coast daisy, local honey and gums. If time allows, nestle into a shady spot in the gin garden.
HAH Lorne Beach
Nurture and nourish with a gathering of the good stuff. Pick a seaside seat then pick from buddha bowls, super smoothies, matcha and raw cakes. Filling your tummy is only one way to fuel your body here. HAH Lorne Beach encourages you to get moving and explore the area by offering bike, surfboard and stand-up paddleboard hire.
Settle in for a serving of the state’s best Spanish flavours on the coast. Head to the ground floor of the Lorne Hotel for the seaside version of Melbourne’s much-loved MoVida. Enjoy an intimate meal in the dining room, beeline to the bar for the region’s top drops and pick up gourmet supplies to go at the wine shop and provedore.
Great Ocean Road Brewhouse
Be greeted by more than 100 brews at this craft beer haven. Choose a spot in the beer garden for stellar ocean views or drop into the tasting room behind the brewhouse. The dog-friendly space has beer and wine tastings, produce platters bursting with local fare and plenty of insider secrets about the beer-making process.