Australia is the home of the road trip, it’s a fact. Each year thousands of visitors drive around the country, exploring the many different landscapes. There’s the classic East Coast roadie; from Melbourne all the way up to the tropics of Cairns in far north Queensland. Or for the discerning adventurer, there’s the uninhabitable outback right in the middle.
One such journey, albeit not as extreme or time-consuming, is the Great Ocean Road- considered by some to be the finest stretch of asphalt in the world. Skirting the stunning coast of southern Victoria from Anglesea to Warrnambool, The Great Ocean Road is a 244km must-do trip if you find yourself with a few days to spare in Melbourne.
How to travel on the Great Ocean Road
There are a few different options when it comes to mode of transport. If you’re travelling alone or short on time, you could book on to a guided tour which will show you the highlights and leave you to enjoy a stress-free trip without any of the planning or headaches.
But for a more immersive experience, hire a car and take it slow. Allow yourself plenty of time to stop off at the numerous spectacular beaches along the way, or hike inland in search of waterfalls and beautiful dense bush. Having the freedom to travel at your own pace will also give you the chance to escape the crowds when the coaches full of selfie stick-wielding Asians inevitably pull up and ruin your vibe (and Instagram post).
You can spend as little or as long as you please on TGOR. We’ve driven the route twice now; the first time taking 3 days and most recently choosing to slow it down and spend 5 days. To be honest, 5 days is overkill, but we were in no rush and wanted to revisit the popular 12 apostles at sunrise the next day (overcast fail, but oh well). You can easily do the whole thing in 2 days if you’re pushed for time.
Must see bits
The whole journey is incredible but there are a few spots you shouldn’t miss along the way. Every good guide book will tell you where to go and what to see but here we’ve listed a few of our favourites.
Torquay and Bells Beach
Technically not actually on The Great Ocean Road, Torquay and Bells Beach get loads of good waves if the swell is good. Even if you don’t surf, it’s a nice spot to stop and watch the waves.
Split Point Lighthouse is the first proper attraction along the route. You can take a guided tour to the top or just take the five-minute stroll along the boardwalk to stretch your legs and get a photo.
Just outside Lorne, Erskine Falls is a 30-metre cascading waterfall set in beautiful Aussie bush. Walk down the steep steps to the bottom of the falls but try and arrive early to beat the crowds!
Without doubt, the most famous attraction along the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles (unfortunately now only 8 due to erosion). It marks the start of the Shipwreck Coast where limestone cliffs and sea stacks line the coast which sits just off the Port Campbell National Park. Don’t forget to stop at Gibson’s Steps or The London Arch further on too.
Where should I sleep on The Great Ocean Road?
You can also choose where, and how to sleep. Camping is the best and most authentic option but if camping isn’t your vibe, there are an abundance of hotels and motels along the route to suit every traveller and budget. Download the Campermate app to find all camp sites as well as top attractions and things to do.
Where to go after the Great Ocean Road?
When you arrive in Port Fairy there isn’t much else to see heading west unless you’re carrying on to Adelaide. If returning to Melbourne, you can either drive back the same way along the coast or head inland towards The Grampians. Both times I have driven the route, I visited The Grampians and would highly recommend doing so. There are loads of great hikes and some world class climbing in the area.