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History & heritage

Great Ocean Road

  • Port Fairy Lighthouse, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Tread in the footsteps of the past of the Great Ocean Road region. Learn about local Aboriginal history and sacred sites, visit maritime museums, lighthouses and shipwrecks, and drive the famous World War I memorial – the Great Ocean Road.

Aboriginal history
Learn about the heritage of western Victoria's Gunditjmara people. Walk and talk with a local guide, see native wildlife or have the opportunity to sample bush foods of the area. Visit Lake Condah near Heywood, a permanent Aboriginal village exploding the myth that all Indigenous people of Australia were nomadic. Get an Aboriginal perspective on flora, fauna, volcanic land formations, bush survival and traditional medicinal practices at Tower Hill State Game Reserve.

Seafaring days
Discover the tragic shipwreck history of Victoria's southern coast. Visit shipwreck sites along the rugged coastline, delve into local lore at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, and visit historic lighthouses. Learn about the tragedy of the Loch Ard Shipwreck near Port Campbell in 1878, one of the most infamous of Victoria's shipwrecks. Explore the beaches on foot along the iconic Great Ocean Walk.

From shipwrecks to surf legends. Spend a day exploring the Australian National Surfing Museum in Victoria's surf capital of Torquay. Check out the development of boards through the decades, see film clips of the greats in action, and experience the impact surf culture has had on the Australian way of life.

Heritage buildings
Wander through beautifully preserved historic buildings that capture the region's colourful past at towns such as Port Fairy and Portland. Charming National Trust-classified homes, modest cottages and stately buildings are everywhere you look in Port Fairy, while Portland, Victoria's first European settlement, is an old and charming place on the edge of a harbour that was once busier than Melbourne.

Ode to the Great Ocean Road
See how 3000 World War I returned soldiers conquered difficult terrain and extreme weather to build this remarkable road. The Great Ocean Road Story is a permanent exhibition housed in the Lorne Visitor Centre – a memorial to Australia's diggers, and a celebration of a project that united the region's coastal towns.