GASTRONOMICAL delights along the Great Ocean Road have been trumpeted by one of the world’s best-selling travel guides.
The latest edition of the Lonely Planet Victorian guide has listed the road as the state’s top holiday experience, with Timboon, Warrnambool and Port Fairy singled out as must-see attractions.
The Great Ocean Road surpassed Melbourne’s sporting attractions, the Grampians, Wilson’s Promontory and urban cafe culture to claim the mantle.
Corangamite Shire mayor Chris O’Connor said the number one placing confirmed what many south-west residents already knew.
He said independent adjudication from a well-regarded travel guide would attract more interstate and international visitors.
“It’s fabulous to be recognised in that way,” Cr O’Connor said. “Lonely Planet is probably the most read travel book in Australia and has a fair bit of a following overseas too. When the region is mentioned at the top of the list, visitors tend to think to themselves ‘I really should find the time to drive along the Great Ocean Road’ because you really have to plan the journey if you’re from overseas.”
The Victorian edition splits the south-west into two sections — one focused on the Great Ocean Road and the other on the Grampians and Central Goldfields.
While every edition has included coastal landmarks such as the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, gourmet food and wine attractions are also high on its Great Ocean Road agenda.
“The area’s whiskey distillery, ice-cream, dairy farms, wineries and Belgian chocolatier now form a tourist route for a day’s indulgence on local produce,” the Lonely Planet guide states.
Further along the tourist route, four pages of the guide are devoted to Warrnambool with Flagstaff Hill, Lady Bay, Cheeseworld and the city art gallery singled out as must-see attractions.
A range of the city’s pubs and restaurants are also praised.
Portland, Nelson and Dunkeld all gain mentions although major centres such as Hamilton, Colac and Camperdown were omitted.
“Originally a whaling and sealing station, now booming as a major regional commercial and whale-watching centre.”
“Port Fairy retains its historic 19th-century charm with a relaxed, salty feel ... with colourful fishing boats and wide tree-lined streets.”
“It’s one of the few places where you’ll spot wild emus, kangaroos and koalas hanging out together.”
“It’s a friendly spot with some great budget accommodation options which make for an ideal spot to debrief after the Twelve Apostles.”
“Despite its colonial history and architecture, for a town its size, blue-collared Portland lacks a real drawcard.”
“The stunning four-kilometre arc of Bridgewater Bay is perhaps one of Australia’s finest stretches of white-sand surf beach.”
“Dunkeld has a couple of cafes in the main street and a number of holiday cottages dotted around the region.”
“This coastline is particularly beautiful, rugged and historically treacherous for passing ships.”
“Tiny Nelson is the last vestige of civilisation before the South Australian border — just a general store, a pub and a handful of accommodation places.”