Watching the sunset somewhere on the Great Ocean Road is a must for any road trip enthusiast in Victoria. The incredible coastal drive has some stunning viewpoints, beaches and rock formations which offer dramatic light changes with the rising and setting sun. Over a number of different trips down this iconic road, I’ve been out endless times at sunrise and sunset chasing the best light. If you’re looking for the best sunset spots on the Great Ocean Road, I’ve got you covered in this post.
I’m breaking down the eight best places to be for sunset and/or sunrise on the surf coast in south west Victoria. From the famous spots like the 12 Apostles to lesser known lookouts like Marriner’s Lookout in Apollo Bay, grab whatever photography gear you have and head to these epic spots for a memorable way to end the day.
Location: 7km from Torquay
Access: Sealed road to car park and multiple boardwalk lookout spots available
Bells Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Australia. And it’s not for sunsets. The world class surf beach is best known for being home to the oldest surfing competition in the world, the Rip Curl Pro, with a number of breaks along the coast just outside of Torquay.
While you might go to Bells to surf, the various viewing platforms and boardwalks are actually one of the best sunset spots on the Great Ocean Road. There’s plenty of car parking available at a few different surf access points, with the main viewing platform over Bells Beach, plus other boardwalk viewpoints at Winki Pop and Southside.
At sunset time, the golden light is really beautiful, plus the addition of having surfers in your frame makes it a quintessential Great Ocean Road sunset spot. Sunrise is also a great option, with less people except some early morning surfers.
Location: 13km from Torquay
Access: Sealed road to car park and boardwalk to lookout
Probably one of my favourite sunset spots on the Great Ocean Road, Point Addis is a protected marine national park just south of Torquay. The beautiful point is known for its crumbling cliffs, surf breaks and spectacular views of the surf coast in both directions.
There is a short boardwalk and and viewing platform at the very end of the point. This is a stunning spot to be for sunset, with the incredible colours of the sky over the ocean. It’s also a bit quieter than other sunset spots on this list as it’s a bit outside of town.
You can walk down to the beach at Point Addis, which gets pretty busy on summer days but is almost empty come dusk. Point Addis is also connected with Bells Beach on the Surf Coast Walk, if you fancy a long wander late in the day. The trail between the two beaches is 8km and offers beautiful scenery all the way.
Location: George Street in Lorne
Access: Sealed road from town centre with car park available
Widely considered to be one of the best views of the Great Ocean Road, Teddy’s Lookout is high above Lorne town. It’s easily accessible by driving to the end of George Street, where you’ll find a carpark. It’s a short walk from the car park to the viewing platforms.
Teddy’s Lookout offers sweeping views over the coastal road below. You can see down to the mouth of the Saint George River and the Great Ocean Road skirting around the coastline. I thought it was definitely the best spot to get a nice view of the road.
There are actually two viewing platforms. The first one you come to on the path is higher up, but you can also walk down a little further to the lower platform which offers a better view of the river and valley. The platforms are actually part of a walk that you can do from Lorne town or from the carpark at the bottom on the mouth of the river, but most people simply drive there to save the effort.
It’s ideal for both sunset or sunrise, when you’ll likely have it all to yourself.
Apollo Bay beach
Location: Apollo Bay
Access: Long sandy bay with many car parks and beach access points
While you could easily watch the sunset from any of the Great Ocean Road town beaches, I personally liked Apollo Bay the most. Out of all the main town foreshore areas, Apollo Bay was often the quietest and most laidback. The long sandy bay curves right around the coast, with plenty of car parks and access points.
There’s also a trail that skirts along the beach for most of the bay, which makes for a nice walk or run. But at sunset time, the best place to be is at the far southern end of the bay, near the coastal reserve and boat ramp.
Another beautiful spot is the next bay along at Marengo. I was staying at the Marengo Caravan Park and the sunset from the rocks just below was incredible. The beach there is also a really nice place to swim and walk.
Location: Marriner’s Lookout Road in Apollo Bay
Access: A short drive from town to a carpark and easy 10-minute walk to viewpoint
Marriner’s Lookout is far lesser known than Teddy’s Lookout, but it offers an incredible view over Apollo Bay, especially at sunset. You can find it by taking Marriner’s Lookout Road which is the first road on your right as you come into Apollo Bay town. At the top of the road is a car park from where you’ll have to walk the 350m or so to the hilltop viewpoint.
It’s a great grassy spot for a picnic, and is also a popular place for hang gliders to take off from, so you might be lucky to see that too.
Location: Red Johanna Road, near Glenaire, 44km west of Apollo Bay
Access: Mostly sealed road off the Great Ocean Road, but good dirt road into the main car park and campground area
I’m slightly obsessed with Johanna Beach. There’s just something about this remote surf beach that keeps dragging me back time after time. It’s located 44km from Apollo Bay, just off the Great Ocean Road. You can access it by taking Red Johanna Road which passes by farms to reach the beach.
It’s a popular surf spot that is known for its particularly wild breaks. Only experienced surfers tend to head out and tackle some of the waves, but it’s fun to watch. There is a campground down the road to the left of the first car park, with unpowered bush camping available through Parks Victoria.
It’s definitely worth camping there because it means that you can enjoy both sunrise and sunset easily enough. There are a couple of lookout platforms to check out. The first one is at the main car park area when you drive in. Walk towards the beach and it will be up on your right. The second one is down near the campground and again on your right as you walk towards the beach.
I personally prefer the lookout near the campground for both sunset and sunrise, but it’s up to you. It’s probably my favourite place to be, with the light against the wild waves offering quite a unique picture.
Johanna Beach is also on the Great Ocean Walk. The hike-in campground is high up on the hill above the beach, accessed by a trail on your right at the first car park area. This campground offers one of the best views, and while it’s reserved for walkers only, you can still head up there for sunset if you want a higher viewpoint.
Location: In Port Campbell National Park on the Great Ocean Road, 12km east of Port Campbell town
Access: Small car park with beach access and viewing platform
While it’s right next door to the more famous 12 Apostles, Gibson Steps and Gibson Beach are worth a stop on the Great Ocean Road. Gibson Steps is a beautiful lookout with a boardwalk platform accessed just from the car park. You can see a couple of incredible limestone stacks which make up the 12 Apostles.
However, perhaps the most unique part about this lookout is that you can also climb down the stairs to the beach and admire the cliffs and rock formations from ground level. This provides a whole different perspective of the 12 Apostles and the beach is an absolutely stunning spot in itself.
At sunrise and sunset, you can admire the lighting on the free standing rocks without the crowd that usually converges at the 12 Apostles lookouts.
Location: In Port Campbell National Park on the Great Ocean Road, 11km east of Port Campbell town
Access: Large car park and visitor centre, with walking trail and boardwalk to various lookouts
The famous Twelve Apostles. The incredible limestone stacks that are stranded out to sea off the coast are widely considered to be Victoria’s top tourist attraction. There certainly aren’t 12 anymore, but these unique rock formations draw thousands of people every week and it’s one of the must see sights on the Great Ocean Road.
The two best times to see the Twelve Apostles are sunrise and sunset. There is a loop boardwalk that takes you out to a few different viewpoints, with different angles and heights offering unique perspectives. While it’s ideal to see the apostles at both sunrise and sunset, unless you’re staying in Port Campbell nearby it can be a challenge.
At sunset, the sun is usually setting behind the main 12 Apostles on the right of the viewing platform. While sunrise usually comes up somewhere behind the coastline which you can’t actually see. But it’s the lighting on the limestone stacks which makes for the best photographs.
As you take the boardwalk down to the viewing areas, the first viewpoint platform offers a closer look at the main 12 Apostles, which is the most famous image. However, if you continue along and out to the little point, you can get a nice view of the limestone stacks in both directions, including down to Gibson Beach.
It’s definitely ideal to get there at least 30 minutes before sunrise or sunset if you want to scope out the best spot and avoid the mad rush of crowds. Try and visit from April until September (outside of school holidays and weekends), as there are far fewer people when compared to summer.
Where to stay on the Great Ocean Road
The long drive on the Great Ocean Road stretches for 243km, with many towns along the way. You an opt for bed and breakfast style accommodation or try some of the plentiful campgrounds scattered along the coast and in the Otways. Convenient towns to base yourself in while exploring the Great Ocean Road include: Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Campbell.
I’ve rounded up the 12 most unique properties to stay on the Great Ocean Road, for the perfect trip down the coastal road.
Or, if you’re going to be road tripping with a camping setup or van, then you can check out my 15 best campgrounds on the Great Ocean Road to start planning your itinerary.