The Great Ocean Road in Australia is one of the most popular road trips in the world. Drive along the coastline and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. See the incredible Gibson Steps and Twelve Apostles. Spot kangaroos, koalas, emus, and surf at iconic surf beaches. This article will take you from Melbourne to Tower Hill, and gives you advice on where to stop for a great view, and which parks to visit. The Great Ocean Road is not a long drive, but it’s great to spread it across a few days so that you can really relax and take your time! If you take the time to explore each destination, you can appreciate the rich natural environments, the lively restaurants and take swims at unique locations. Besides the three day itinerary, this article also includes five Great Ocean Road Tours.
The Great Ocean Road Driving Itinerary
1. Start of the Great Ocean Road: Melbourne to Torquay
This itinerary starts in Melbourne, one of Australia’s best cities. You can rent (or buy) a camper or car in Melbourne and start the road trip of your life! Your first stop during the road trip is Torquay, where you will also spent your first night: the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. It’s not a long drive from Melbourne to Torquay; about 1 and a half hour. Torquay is a place for surfing and the birthplace of the well-known surf brands Quicksilver and Rip Curl. It’s not a surprise you can find some excellent beaches here. Go for some surfing yourself, or relax and stroll along the beaches. Be sure to visit the famous Bells Beach, which has the international reputation as one of Australia’s best surf beaches. If you don’t like surfing, you can still enjoy some swimming or watch others catching waves.
2. Day two of the Great Ocean Road: From Torquay to Cape Otway
After taking a dip at one of the beaches in Torquay in the morning, you will have a short 50-minute drive to Lorne. This is a great place for a delicious lunch or to relax once again at the beach. After your time-out, you have to start driving again, this time to the last stop at the day: Cape Otway. It’s really worth the visit and an amazing place to spent another night. You can camp at a camping site, or get a permit and camp in the Great Otway National Park. Here you can admire the rainforest and see native animals, such as kangaroos, koalas and more. Take a tour to the Cape Otway Light station and you can even spent the night in the historical keepers’ cottages.
3. Day three of The Great Ocean Road: From Cape Otway to Tower Hill
After waking up in Cape Otway, be ready to face some of the most amazing sceneries that the Great Ocean Road has to offer. The Gibson Steps are 86 steps that guide you to the beach, carved out into the rocks by Hugh Gibson (hence the name Gibson Steps). Watch the incredible two vertical rocks, nicknamed Gog and Magog, standing out in the ocean. Unfortunately, you are not always allowed to walk down those famous steps, as the waves can get rough. It’s easy to park your car at the Gibson Steps car park, and from there on you can also walk to the Twelve Apostles, which is just one kilometer away.
The Twelve Apostles will make you forget the rocks at the Gibson Steps immediately. Watch the impressive rock stacks that stand in the Southern Ocean, apart from the coastline. The rocks are created by the constant erosion of the limestone cliffs that began 10 million years ago. Drive up to Tower Hill to spent your last night at the Great Ocean Road. During the day you can visit the first National Park of Australia, the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve where you can bump into kangaroos, koalas, emus and much more! Take some food with you and enjoy a picnic at one of the tables, and be sure not to let any emus eat your food, as it’s not healthy for them! They will try to steal it though.
That was the three day itinerary for the Great Ocean Road. You can decide to drive back to Melbourne along the same route and experience the Great Ocean Road again, or you can drive inlands, which will be a bit faster; around 3 hours.
Great Ocean Road Tours
Perhaps you don’t have a car, or maybe you just want to meet fellow travellers. There are plenty of fun Great Ocean Tours you can choose from! Below you can find some great tours from Get Your Guide. Click the links for prices and availability.
1. Great Ocean Road Day Tour from Melbourne
Go on this award-winning full-day trip from Melbourne with a small, personalised eco tour. The highlights of this tour are: koala sightings at Kennett River, enchanting rainforest walk in the Great Otway National Park and an optional helicopter ride over the Shipwreck Coast. Of course the tour also includes the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Gibson Steps.
2. Australia’s Great Ocean Road & 12 Apostles Full-Day Tour
This tour is held in a small personalised coach and includes a local drives/guide! Some of the highlights are: a stop at Torquay for morning tea, koala spotting, walking through a rainforest and driving through Lorne and Apollo Bay. The tour also includes the Twelve Apostles, Gibson Steps and Loch Ard Gorge.
3. Great Ocean Road Sunset Tour from Melbourne
Watch the beautiful sunset at the Twelve Apostles during this Great Ocean Road Sunset Tour from Melbourne. During this tour you can enjoy amazing coastal panoramas as you drive along the Great Ocean Road. Next to the visit to the Twelve Apostles during sunset, you’ll also visit Loch Ard Gorge and learn about the shipwreck survival.
4. Great Ocean Road & Rainforest
Did you know that next to an amazing coastline, there are also ancient rainforest at the Great Ocean Road? With this full-day tour you visit Otway Rainforest with a 30-minute guided walk straight into the heart of the rainforest. A large portion of the day will also be spent at the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Gibson Steps.
5. Great Ocean Road, Philip Island & Melbourne Attraction Pass
Combine multiple popular attractions together and book this Melbourne Combo with the Great Ocean Road and Philip Island. This tour includes all the entrance fees, a informative tour guide, two times a real Australian barbecue. The tour is two days, but doesn’t include an overnight accommodation.
Hopefully you have a very fun time during your visit at the Great Ocean Road! If you have any questions feel free to e-mail us or leave a comment below.
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I’ve totally been wanting to do this trip but had no idea how long it would take. Appreciated this itinerary to tell me everything, definitely will be using this in the future!
Looks like a great route! Never been but its on the list for one day 😉