With the help of Go West guide Chris R, who is an avid photographer, we have put together a Photographers Guide to the Great Ocean Road. Whether you are a seasoned professional, or just getting started, we hope you can find some useful tips and suggestions for capturing the incredible scenery of this iconic destination. Below are our prime photography locations and our best tips to getting ‘that’ shot.
The Surf Coast
The Surf Coast is where the Great Ocean Road winds its way along the cliffs, from Anglesea to Apollo Bay. Stop in at the lookouts for dramatic scenery and a chance to capture the road contrasting with the cliffs and the ocean. Or head to the beaches where the waves and surfers make a great backdrop.
Our top locations and tips:
- Visit the Torquay Back Beach to get an elevated view of the waves and local surfers
- The Memorial Arch at Eastern View is a must-visit on the Ocean Road, stop in at the carpark where there a re viewing platforms for the best views of the arch and the road
- Kennett River is a great place for wildlife photography – the best place to see koalas and native birds including cockatoos, parrots and kookaburras
- There is an endless choice of lookouts along the coast, but Cumberland River is a favourite for capturing the road, the beach and coastal views
Great Otway National Park
The Great Otway National Park includes areas of cool climate rainforest, with tree ferns, towering eucalyptus trees and flowing streams. Known as the Green Coast, is a great opportunity to set off along the trails to capture light streaming through the trees, and the lush green surroundings.
Our top tips:
- Pick one of the trails and look closely around you as you walk – you’ll find a lot of detail in just a small area
- Look for moss and fungus on the trees, or use the contrasting lines of fallen logs and branches
- Watch for water drops on the ferns or light shining through the canopy above
- Try some Long Exposure shots of the streams amongst the still ferns
Port Campbell National Park
The Port Campbell National Park is home to incredible lookouts and beaches bordered by towering limestone cliffs. The 12 Apostles Lookout provides the most famous view, but it’s worth visiting other locations as well; you’ll quickly realise you are spoilt for choice!
Our top tips:
- Timing and lighting makes a big difference on this coastline. Try alternative lookouts to get both silhouettes of the rock formations and direct light bringing out the layers of colours
- Visit the 12 Apostles Lookout for sunset and make sure you stay a little while after – the light at this time of day is incredible
- Don’t wish the clouds away – they can add a lot to the photos and will provide the best colour after sunset
Smart phone or Camera?
Smart phones come well equipped these days, and with plenty of filters and after-effects that can be added on the spot. With that said, the Great Ocean Road provides endless photo opportunities and a camera with interchangeable lenses will allow you to capture the motion of waves, close-ups of ferns, and incredible panoramas. It will also give you a significantly better quality image.
- For beginners, remember the basics such as using the grid for the rule of thirds and straight horizons, try to get something else in the photo as well as the subject to give some perspective
- For professionals, consider downloading an app such as PhotoPills to plan your photos and make sure you are in the right place at the right time, and don’t forget your tripod
Smart phone tips:
- Play around with the features on your particular phone – use the grid, lock in contrast and after-effects including filters and long exposure
- Make sure you have a short cut to your camera on your phone, so you won’t miss any great photo opportunities on your trip
Many areas on the Great Ocean Road, including trails and lookouts, have safety barriers. Please remember the importance of remaining safe, even when trying to take that perfect shot… Respect the barriers that have been put in place by Parks Victoria – they are there for your safety and to protect our beautiful environment.
Other useful information to help you plan your visit to the Great Ocean Road:
- Guide to the Great Ocean Road
- Guide to being eco-friendly on the Great Ocean Road
- To see more of Chris’ photos, follow @budgewana on Instagram
- Check out our Monthly Guest Photo Competition, for photos taken on our tours