The Great Ocean Road is one of the top trips to take when you are in Australia and it’s easy to see why. Miles upon miles of beautiful coastline stretches down from Melbourne all the way to Adelaide, though most people pick the most popular stretch of road to take. You can pick and choose how much you want to do which is great. We chose to do the three-day route which is a perfect time length for the trip. You still see lots but you’re not cramming in everything too tightly. Of course, you could spend anything up to two or three weeks on the coast, but there are only so many beaches you can see in a row and still appreciate the beauty of them.
The Great Ocean Road – Day One
Start you trip from Melbourne, capital of Victoria. There’s still a fair bit of driving along the way to Apollo Bay but you can take quite a few breaks on the way. Your first stop must be at the little surf town of Torquay – one of the best places to surf. Torquay is beautiful and it actually feels so Australian.
Then drive on to Apollo Bay which is the destination for your first night. The scenery is stunning and the road winds its way down south hugging the coast so you’re never short on beautiful landscapes to admire on the way. Apollo Bay is one of the main spots to stop at and one of the bigger towns on the route. The town is actually pretty small and more of a stopover for families. Nonetheless you will be able to have dinner there and set out to find a local bar.
At this point it might be good to interject with a note on accommodation. If you are travelling with limited funds remember that it’s illegal to sleep overnight in cars! There are approximately 140 hotels in town, from budget ones at 30$ to more luxury ones at 250$ per night.
🏨 Our picks for Hotels at Apollo Bay
Here is what we recommend depending on your budget:
- Best High budget hotel : Seafarers Getaway
- Best mid-range hotel : Sandpiper Hotel Apollo Bay
- Backpackers Hostel : Apollo Bay Backpackers
The Great Ocean Road – Day Two
Day two is the big sight-seeing day as it will include Cape Otway and the 12 Apostles which is the most famous part of the route.
First off- definitely go to Cape Otway! It’s a detour off the main route but well worth it. As you drive down the road keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of koalas. Or more accurately keep your eyes peeled for the group of tourists who are standing and pointing at them. It’s amazing to see them in the wild and as they don’t move very fast, or at all really. You can take as many pictures you can until you have the perfect Instagram-worthy one. The koalas are so cute and you can get really close to them so we’d definitely recommend doing it. Also at the end of the road is a nice lighthouse. You can go inside and right to the top of it and get a great view of the coast.
Then continue on to the 12 Apostles – a misleading name if ever there was one. The name relates to the standing stacks of rock in the ocean that were cut off from the mainland. But there’s only five there now. The best place to view them is from the little beach to the left of them. You can access it by walking down the steps beside the cliff. It’s worth going to the official viewpoint as well to take some photos. And there’s a handy shop selling ice creams down the road so you have snacks sorted too.
After this go to see the Bay of Islands. It is even better than the 12 Apostles. The best time to go is at sunset as the whole bay looks like it’s going up in fire. You can sit on the beach and watch the sun go down. Another great picnic spot amongst the thousands on the route.
Your destination for the second night will be Port Fairy which is an absolutely gorgeous seaside town. The next day you can visit some cafes and boutique shops and checked out the surf on the beach. It’s a great town for a little wander.
The Great Ocean Road – Day Three
For the last day you can decide to go back through the Grampian National Park even though in hindsight it is quite ambitious. There’s only so much sight-seeing you can take in over a few days. The Grampians are very different landscape-wise to the Great Ocean Road which will definitely be a nice change. Do the walk to a waterfall at Halls Gap.
Otherwise, you can decide to take a bit more time to explore the GOR. The scenery is gorgeous, there are loads to do on the way and seeing some local animals in the wild will really seal the deal. It’s called ‘Great’ for a very good reason!
Great Ocean Road – Practical Infos
How to get there
Rent a vehicle
For car rentals: www.airportrentals.com
Author: Zoë Bradley