February 13, 2020 / By Oceana Setaysha
Travelling along the Great Ocean Road at any time of the day is positively stunning, but there are some times when it becomes magical. For me, those times are sunrise and sunset. There’s something so incredible about being awake to see the sun rise up above the horizon, or watching it sink down at the end of the day. The golden light and beautiful colours make sunrise and sunset not only amazing times to experience new locations, but also to photograph them. If you are visiting the Great Ocean Road and want to build into your trip an amazing sunrise or sunset that will make your jaw drop, these are 5 of my favourite places to go.
Twelve Apostles (sunrise or sunset)
For those who don' t know - the Twelve Apostles are enormous rock stacks standing sentinel in the ocean just off Victoria’s coastline. Crafted by the movement of the sea, and constant erosion over millions of years, some of the stacks are over 40 metres high. They are one of the most popular attractions on the Great Ocean Road, and during the day the lookout is often packed with people.
Sunset is by far the most beautiful time to see the Twelve Apostles, as the sinking sun creates beautiful colour on the rocks. Of course many people plan their day around being at the Twelve Apostles at sunset, so sunrise is actually preferable if you want to avoid the crowds. Get there well before sunrise to secure a spot, and watch your day start in magnificence.
Marriner’s Lookout (sunrise)
There’s a hill behind Apollo Bay that offers some of the most beautiful views over this coastal township, and also happens to be the best place to see an Apollo Bay sunrise. It’s called Marriner’s Lookout (yes, really spelt like that), and you can get there via a long walk along the beach and up a steep hill, or a short drive from the town.
The path from the carpark is easy to see and access, but if you’re heading up before dawn you might want to bring a torch. In the daylight hours, hang gliders often launch from Marriner’s Lookout, which gives you an idea of just how windy it can get up there, so rug up! The rising sun bathes Apollo Bay in soft pink morning light, and standing up there looking over it all, it’s hard not to feel awed at the beauty of Mother Nature.
Cape Otway Light Station (sunrise or sunset)
The Cape Otway Light Station is one of the Great Ocean Road’s icons, and for good reason. It’s considered Australia’s most important lighthouse, established in 1848 and is still standing strong 90 metres above the ocean, although it no longer guides ships to safety. There is an entry fee to see the lighthouse, and that means that in order to see a sunrise or sunset here you will need to pay to stay in the on-site accommodation.
While not cheap, the accommodation options are located in historic buildings within the site, and are an experience all on their own. Plus, you’ll only share your sunrise and sunset with only those who have stayed on-site as well, so it’s not crowded.
Loch Ard Gorge (sunset)
Situated just minutes from the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge is easily among the top attractions along the Great Ocean Road. Part of the Port Campbell National Park, Loch Ard Gorge happens to be a stunning place to watch the sunset if the Twelve Apostles is too much of a crowd. The gorge is named after a ship that ran aground in the region, whose lone two survivors washed up in the gorge.
The sunset lights up the sand and the surrounding walls of the gorge, perfectly contrasting the beautiful hues of the ocean. You can stand high or wander down to the sane to see the views and have a peek in the cave where the survivors took shelter after their ordeal. Truly not a sight to miss.
The Grotto (sunrise or sunset)
Half blowhole, half archway, with just a bit of cave thrown in for good measure, The Grotto is often missed as people traverse the most popular destinations along the Great Ocean Road. Located about 9km to the west of Port Campbell, the Grotto is yet another geological formation resulting from coastal erosion. With both upper and lower views from two platforms, the unique rock formation might not be big, but that doesn’t mean it won’t impress.
This is particularly true at sunrise and sunset, when the Grotto puts on a special show. Catch a little sliver of the rising or falling sun through the formations archway, watching for the reflecting colours and light off the inside rock pools. Stunning!
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