Gateway to the Twelve Apostles.
The small town of Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road is the main gateway to the Twelve Apostles. Somewhat historic, it lies just west of the famous rock formations and the rugged coast of the beautiful Port Campbell National Park that they reside in.
Port Campbell itself is a lovely little town—village might be more appropriate—with a tiny beach and green all around. Lying a few hours' drive from Melbourne and with a community of just 600, it is certainly worth a stop, and you can even holiday here as there are good tourist facilities and several worthy hotels like the Southern Ocean Motor Inn.
Think laidback cafés and seafood restaurants with views of the sea and local bakeries and cute boutiques all hemmed in by higher ground and nature. The town has a small wharf, good for fishing, and from here you can get on a fishing tour, explore the famous stacks by boat or take in a dive trip.
The Twelve Apostles are the main attraction here, just a few minutes' drive to the east of town via the Great Ocean Road. You can park up and explore this stretch of eye-popping coast, which is sheer cliffs for the most part, or take to the skies with 12 Apostles Helicopters for better views.
The cutest beach in this area is at Loch Ard Gorge, which has amazing wraparound, 70-metre high cliffs and is like something out of the Mediterranean. You can walk down to this beach from a car park. For wide open seascapes, visit the Gibson Steps slightly farther on.
There is also a wildlife park in the area and the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery back inland from town. The drive from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road is about four hours. The alternative is to go along the Princes Highway via Colac, which should shave off an hour.