With so much to do in and around Bells Beach during the Rip Curl Pro, you'll need to use your time wisely. Make sure you allow for plenty of time to explore this unforgettable piece of Victoria.
Most adventures lead to the 12 Apostles. Whether you want to get active, linger over a coffee in a beachside cafe, taste wines in acclaimed vineyards, or explore dramatic scenery, you can do it all along the Great Ocean Road. Stop in at towns like Lorne and Torquay, Apollo Bay and Anglesea, and get to know Geelong. And when you've seen and done it all, make tracks to Melbourne and soak up the city's laneway lifestyle, green spaces, independent boutiques and packed events calendar.
Follow these recommendations to make the most out of your time in Victoria.
Bells Beach is the epicenter of Australia's surf culture, which is documented in detail at Torquay's Surfworld Museum. When the Rip Curl Pro action is over you can return to Bells Beach to ride a wave in homage of the competition. If your surfing experience extends no further than applauding from ashore, take a lesson.
On the Road
While driving a stretch of the Great Ocean Road itself is a rite of passage, you can also take the opportunity to plan ahead, park the car and set off on the Great Ocean Walk for the most up-close experience of the famous coastal scenery. Whether you walk or drive, you'll be taking in irresistible beaches, rainforests, and of course the iconic 12 Apostles.
The Great Ocean Road is dotted with tiny resort towns. Be sure to stop off as often as you can on your way along the road to discover the laid back surf culture, rich maritime history, fine food and wine, sophisticated seaside lifestyles and rugged shipwreck tales. Wherever you stop, you're guaranteed astonishing scenery.
After the adrenaline rush of a day of world-class surfing, there's no better way to celebrate than with a visit to one of the region's many culinary hotspots. The mesmerising natural beauty of the Great Ocean Road is matched only by the fine food and wine you'll encounter along the way, with the delectable regional produce a true local hero.
Why settle for one or two, when you can take a vinous tour across the entire region? Boasting a climate that sits someway between Bordeaux and Burgundy in France, the Bellarine Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road region have long been a haven for Victorian wine-makers. So take a few days to discover the many varietals on offer - from cool climate favourites like pinot noir and pinot gris to rich shiraz and crisp riesling.
Out and About
Keep the excitement of the Rip Curl Pro going strong by following up the surfing action with an adventure of your own. Dive deep into the tempting waters of the Great Ocean Road's coastline, or tackle the hairpin turns and steep ascents on two wheels. Play golf alongside resident kangaroos or investigate the region's most extreme sports options for a real thrill.
With the sounds of the waves breaking along Bells Beach still ringing in your ears it's time to swap the beach for the city and experience a few frenetic days in Melbourne. Find pop-up shops and hidden bars down bluestone laneways, snap the colourful street art, get caffeinated in hip cafes, take in some live music at an iconic venue and catch a game of Aussie Rule footy at the revered MCG.
The Great Ocean Road is a two-hour drive from the heart of Melbourne with dual lane highway conditions for most of the journey and excellent signposting. For over 400 kilometres, from Torquay to Nelson on the South Australian border, the Great Ocean Road provides some of the most impressive coastal scenery in Australia.
To get to the Rip Curl Pro, travel via the M1 freeway towards Geelong. Take the A10 exit off the M1 and continue. The A10 (Princes Highway) becomes the B100 (Surf Coast Highway). Follow the signs to Torquay and on to Bells Beach.
V/Line runs frequent train services from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to Geelong. V/Line coach services operate from Geelong via the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay and Warrnambool. For detailed information on timetables and costs contact V/Line.
Ferry services operate between Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula and Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula.
Watch the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach live April 17 - 27 on Worldsurfleague.com, App and Facebook.