Peterborough is a town that many have never heard of and time forgot. You’ll find it – and a simple kind of holiday – at the far end of southern Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.

It’s just west of the Twelve Apostles yet the hordes who flock to this drawcard rarely venture 20 minutes further down the road. If they did, they’d find Peterborough, a humble farming and fishing town about five hours from Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road, where majestic limestone cliffs erode into amazing shapes along the coast.

There’s little in the way of crowdpleasing attractions. Just a caravan park, pub, licensed grocer and general store that doubles as a post-office – and serves the best coffee in town. There’s spectacular golfing on the clifftop course; a path along those same cliffs leads to the Bay of Martyrs, where ocean spray casts scenery into soft focus, turning limestone pillars and rugged headlands into tricks of the imagination.

If you need somewhere to stay or someone to show you around, fifthgeneration farmer Cath Irvine’s your woman. She walks the coast most days and knows its secrets. The beach where local men skinny-dip before breakfast. The quicksilver mood of the light on the Southern Ocean. “It does something to your soul,” she says. “The smell and roar of the ocean is intoxicating.”

Peterborough, Victoria

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