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Motorcycle Paradise

Australia's best motorcycle roads. Great Ocean Road

This post is quite old and needs updating however there are many ride reports online now for it so I shall just say it remains a bucket list ride I think for any Aussie however if you are visiting Australia from overseas then I would suggest to not focus on this road and to ride the country roads of Australia visiting the gold rush towns and unique Australian landscapes. This is a nice ride and as far as Australian ocean drives go it is good however if you have ridden ocean roads elsewhere like highway 1 California or coastal roads in Italy or Croatia for example then this is not quite in the same league.
This is Australia's most well known scenic drive and is a road every rider has probably thought about visiting at some point. Built by returned soldiers to honor fallen mates this is the largest war memorial in the world. I was told many times it was overrated but that's rubbish it is a superb road and a wonderful ride
ocean1 (1)
On a fine day like I encountered the views are wonderful, something really uplifting.
The road follows the ocean at first and later into the countryside a little and a mountain range before returning to the ocean. It has plenty of corners of all kinds and is well surfaced. I heard alot about this road before I got here but much of what I was told was incorrect IMO. People told me to be careful of the gravel on corners however I saw very little. The only small issue I will agree on is the speed limits in some parts are modest, a lot of 70 kph sections and you probably need a little extra pace than that to make it enjoyable as the road is well surveyed. But then there are a lot of other popular roads with these sorts of low speed limits now in Australia. Some people just cant stand the idea of another person having a tiny bit of enjoyment in their life. Make your own call here as you would do elsewhere.
There are a higher number of tourist vehicles and caravans, but there is also heaps of places to overtake and lots of slow lanes for them to pull over which everyone did for me. There is a lookout point every few K as well which clears the way for you as well - nice!

The ocean hugging part of the road is the first section, after that you have some scenic country side where the road flows well and then you will enjoy a hilly section with nice sweepers and some gentle rise and fall. Unfortunately I forgot to capture this section in photos as I was distracted by the police radar operating in the area.
After Lavers Hill is a superb mountain range section with lots of tight twists and turns as good as they come and some faster curves either side and on to the 12 apostles area its all good all the way.
One thing that makes this and the Great Alpine Road and Oxley H-way so good is their length. There are many good rides/roads around but only a few that are a great for nearly 200km's.

The Great Ocean Road is well worth the effort to go to one day. Its a truly beautiful part of Australia. I wish I had allowed more time to explore it in more depth - good excuse to go again some day.


  1. I'm turning green...with envy....lucky bastard!

  2. It was even better then these pictures suggest as most of my shots were a bit off on the day - with the exception of the first and last above. Stunning place to ride a motorcycle.

  3. What you got told about gravel on corners is actually true. It all depends on how the weather has been. The road was built during the depression as employment for returned soldiers, and is cut out of cliffs. These cliffs erode, and rain, wind and the coastal weather barrage can cause gravel, dirt,mud and ROCKS to be loosened and end up on the road.
    My father knew a car that had a cow land on the bonnet decades ago! There also some decreasing radius corners. It's a magnificent riding road, one of the best, but more than one bike has gone over the edge.
    Respect this road, and love it.

  4. Yep, I've done it - I'm an excellent pillion passenger - on the back of a 1400 cc harley, fantastic ride, all the way there and back. The best.

  5. I'm a Canadian who was in Australia recently on business and decided to extend my stay and do a little motorcycle touring.
    My main destination was the 12 Apostles and the Great Ocean Road and I wasn't disappointed. Awesome stretch of highway and very scenic.
    I also did the Great Alpine Road and the Snowy Mountain Highway on the way back to Sydney.
    I'd checked this site prior to leaving and it was invaluable in planning my trip.

    Thanks for the info and I really enjoyed my stay in Oz. The roads were excellent and among the best I've ever ridden. Even on the Australia Day long weekend, there was very little traffic. Had a bit of trouble finding a motel on the Saturday. I wanted to stay in Bairnsdale but ended up at Milawa, up near Wangaratta. Bit of a long day but very rewarding.

    Steve from Toronto, Canada

  6. Thanks everyone for your comments, much appreciated. I agree it is a road to take care on, as Peter mentioned above and also looking out for people and vehicles sightseeing. I wish I had some more photos of the mountain sections after the coast as this area was also nice.

  7. I'm going to be in Melbourne for my Dad's 80th next January (from the US). I'd love to do some touring but don't think I'll be there long enough to make it worth shipping my motorbike. Any suggestions on rental options (or tours)?

    Thanks, kate

  8. I have a house in Apollo Bay on the GOR and ride a BMW R1200GS. I have done more kms on the GOR than any other road. Hazards include fallen rocks especially after rain, cyclists two or three abreast and/or in middle of road, traffic stopped in middle of carriageway due to echidna or koala bear crossing or just sitting, traffic stopped in middle of carriageway to take photos, oncoming traffic crossing white line, oncoming traffic on wrong side of road, springs creating water on road on rain free days, sunny cool mornings with moisture in shadows on corners, traffic crossing road from cliff side to lookout side without notice or indication, rear of buses crossing white line, sports bike riders overestimating machine and ability and overtaking unwisely (regular deaths - last was 3 weeks ago), police in marked and unmarked cars and bikes (BMWs at the moment), pedestrians and walkers/joggers near towns, vehicles parked in remarkably unsuitable places for reasons known only to them. Lorne to Apollo Bay is my favourite bit of riding. Roads off the GOR worth a look two e.g. Lorne to Deans Marsh, and Skenes Creek to Barwon Downs. With patience and timing, it's possible to ride the GOR without traffic immediately in front of you any time of the year. Enjoy it. John Langmead

  9. I'm going on Great Ocean Road on 4th of January with my family from overseas. I was thinking taking my bike but I'll be the only one riding so if someone is heading that way let me know. Irina

  10. I'd love to ride this again, perhaps next year I shall get down that way, depends on work as needs to be right time of year too, will see.

  11. Did the GOR april 08 on a new dyna fat bob I purchased in blacktown sydney via mount beuty the gap and bright it was 19 degrees temp and it was awsome a few cars and vans to pass, but would be better with no trafic, their were cops in the towns one of the many highlights on my way back to perth 4800km in 8 days

  12. These days in Australia we have to be on the lookout for police speed cameras and what not but still I think you can enjoy this road no problems as you need not go to fast.

    Sure there may be a chance of encountering a road hazard as mentioned above but then this applies to every road if you are a motorcyclist. Pedestrians, cars cutting corners, water run off, wildlife and damp in shadows are just some of the many dangers we riders need to be on the look out for whenever we ride.

  13. We are living in Singapore and will pick up a rental HD Ultra Classic late January. We originally planned on riding along the ocean up to Gold Coast and Brisbane, but after reading this we seriously think of turning South and ride the Great Ocan Road instead.
    Is there anybody out there that has done both rides and can reccomend which one over the other; Go North to Gold Coast/Brisbane or South to Melbourne/Great Ocan Road?

    Will appreciate opinion:-)


  14. Hi Erling. So are you starting in Sydney? The Pacific highway north to the Gold Coast can be a bit boring. Being a major highway it bypasses most towns and is route away from the actual ocean. If you were to ride north via the countryside there is a lot to see and enjoy.

    So despite living north near the Gold Coast myself I would ride south to the GOR if I had that choice. You could go inland to see the wide open countryside of Australia, however being January it may get very hot inland from the ocean (not steamy hot like Singapore but dry oppressive heat) so coastal and mountain roads will be cooler and more enjoyable then. Here is a route suggestion for you to consider. Regards IC.

  15. Hi IC,
    Thank you so much for the valuable feedback. Yes, we will start in Sydney on monday the 31st. We only have the bike for one week, but your suggested route looks very interesting and we should be able to manage that. I guess we can always go highway on the return to Sydney should we be limited on time towards the end of our week.

    You made our choise very easy; Sydney to GOR via the Great Alphine Road it is:-)

    I should not waste more of your time; but should you have any good suggestions of places/cities to stop and stay over during the trip that will also be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again for making our decision easy.

    Stay safe


  16. Round trip is too long for a week. I thought you would be doing one way rental with drop off at Melbourne (or Gold Coast) and fly back?

    If you can only do one week and return to Sydney (and want to do sightseeing in route) then here is another suggestion.Highlights imo are Kangaroo Valley, Bermagui seaside, the alpine roads from Jindabyne, Murray valley, Historic town of Beechworth, rural areas around Harden, Bathurst race track (free to ride), Blue Mountains area.

    Regards, IC.

  17. Me and my bro are doing this trip in early March. we are riding to Adelaide then onto Mildura Wagga and possibly Canberra and back to Vic on the boat and back home to Tasmania. I honestly can not wait :)

  18. A ride north before or afterwards to visit some historic towns would be a good combination with the GOR.


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