Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch

The Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch is one of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks, a hallmark sight for any traveller visiting the southern coast of the land down under.

This iconic archway pays homage to the thousands of hardworking soldiers who, amid World War I, constructed the Great Ocean Road with their bare hands. Indeed, this archway is a lasting testimony to their unrelenting courage, devotion to their duty, and unwavering loyalty to their country.

Make sure to include The Memorial Arch at Eastern View on your Great Ocean Road itinerary.

History of the Memorial Arch

The Great Ocean Road is an iconic 243-kilometre stretch of road that winds along the south coast of Victoria and is one of the world’s most scenic drives. But the road is more than just a beautiful drive. Its inception was a tribute to the returned soldiers who served their nation during the First World War, making it the world’s largest war memorial.

In 1919, the Great Ocean Road construction began as a way to employ returned soldiers. It was a challenging task that took over a decade, with many soldiers enduring hard labour to make it happen.

To honour the sacrifices made by these soldiers, the Great Ocean Road Eastern View Memorial Arch was erected in 1939. This Arch serves as a reminder of the history and the contributions these brave men made, and it stands as a tribute to their hard work, dedication, and service to Australia.

The current memorial Arch is the fourth that has been constructed. Initially, it functioned as one of the original toll points where commuters were charged to recover the building expenditures. Once the road construction debts were repaid, the toll point was dismantled and replaced with the second version, primarily constructed using timber.

This timber version was destroyed in the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfire. A third version was then built, mostly made of metal, to prevent it from being destroyed in case of another fire.

This version of the Arch was unappealing, and a truck intentionally or unintentionally crashed into it, causing its destruction. The fourth version, which still stands today, was constructed to replace it. The famous Great Ocean Road sign on top of the Memorial Arch is still the original sign built.

Wade and Dani standing under the Memorial Arch sign that reads Great Ocean Road. Dani has one foot on the floor and one up high, Wade and dani have their arms up

Where exactly is the Eastern View Memorial Arch located?

The Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch is located at Eastern View, approximately 90 minutes drive from Melbourne.

The start of the Great Ocean Road is often mistaken to be the Memorial Arch, but it begins slightly over 30 kilometres to the east in Torquay.

How to get to the famous Great Ocean Road Sign?

Getting to the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch is easy, right off the highway. We strongly recommend having a car to visit not only the Memorial Arch but to drive the whole Great Ocean Road itinerary. If you don’t have a car, you can hire one here.

The Arch is visible from the road, and a small car park is on the ocean side. It is a short drive past the famous pole house and Airey’s inlet.

Looking towards the east, you can see Split Point Lighthouse from here. On a clear day, you can also see Lorne towards the other direction, approximately 15 minutes away, by driving on the Great Ocean Road.

For those who prefer not to drive, several tour companies offer trips to the Arch and other attractions along the Great Ocean Road.

You can find our favourite tours below:

Make sure you book in advance and make the memorial arch part of your journey.

On the south side of the Arch, there is a sculpture of two men working on the road. Additionally, there are commemorative plaques for the arches that were built and for the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the road’s opening. An information board is also located in this area.

Wade and Dani standing under the Memorial Arch sign that reads Great Ocean Road. Wade has Dani in his lap like a baby

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Memorial Arch is a must-visit attraction for anyone travelling along the Great Ocean Road.

This beautiful archway is a testament to the bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers who built the road and is a fitting tribute to their memory.

With its easy accessibility and stunning views, the Memorial Arch is a perfect spot for a photo op and a moment of reflection on the road’s rich history.