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The Great Ocean Road drive itineraries from Melbourne

Sort out your road trip day-by-day, including accommodation and activities, quickly and easily.

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Being only 243 kilometres long, the Great Ocean Road, which hugs the Victorian coastline from Torquay to Allansford, has all the makings of an unforgettable road trip.

It could last one day or you could stretch it out for a week if you choose to drive all the way to Adelaide. We've outlined itineraries to suit short and long Great Ocean Road road trips including highlights, accommodation and activities to get stuck into along the way.

Great Ocean Road driving overview

  • How long is the Great Ocean Road?: The official driving route from Torquay to Allansford is 243 kilometres.
  • How long does it take to drive the Great Ocean Road? Without stops, the drive takes 3 hours and 45 minutes. We recommend at least 2 days to see all the sights.
  • What should I do on the Great Ocean Road? Highlights include The Twelve Apostles, Bells Beach, Teddys Lookout (Lorne), Marriner's Lookout (Apollo Bay), Cape Otway Lightstation, London Arch, The Grotto, Bay of Islands, Gibson Steps and Loch Ard Gorge.
  • When's the best time to do the drive? To avoid the crowds, road trip over winter from June to August. It's the rainiest season but comes with the chance to go whale watching. Alternatively, travel during spring or autumn for clearer skies and off-peak prices.
  • Is the drive safe: Yes, the road is sealed and well-maintained. If you're renting a car consider purchasing car hire excess insurance.

Great Ocean Road day trip

Day trips from Melbourne can take 14 hours, so start your day off early and swap drivers often.

By completing the trip in a day you'll still be able to take in all the highlights, but you may have to forgo some highlights and time-consuming experiences. This can include surfing in Torquay or touring Cape Otway Light Station.

Many who tackle this drive in a day finish at the Twelve Apostles, which isn't the official end of the Great Ocean Road. This is the trip we've outlined below.

the Twelve Apostles located between Princetown and Port Campbell in the Coastal Ward of the privince Victoria in the Port-Campbell-National Park.

Great Ocean Road one-day itinerary

  • Distance: 507km / 7 hours roundtrip
  • Route: Melbourne-Twelve Apostles return, via B100 (Great Ocean Road)
  • Highlights: Torquay, Bells Beach, Lorne, Apollo Bay, Cape Otway National Park, Gibson Steps and the Twelve Apostles.

Day 1

  • Distance: 507km
  • Approx. drive time: 7 hours

Melbourne to Twelve Apostles, return

  • Start in Melbourne at first daylight and drive to Torquay, which is the entrance to the Great Ocean Road.
  • Take a quick stop at Torquay for brekky before heading west along the coastline, past Anglesea and Lorne and on to Apollo Bay.
  • Take in a lunch at Apollo Bay then drive through Cape Otway National Park before heading to the Twelve Apostles in the early afternoon.
  • Spend time at the Twelve Apostles and Gibson Steps and return home along the Princess Highway .

Great Ocean Road


2 days – Great Ocean Road itinerary

Over a weekend you can drive the Great Ocean Road while taking in some hikes around Lorne, Cape Otway and the Twelve Apostles. A good halfway point is Apollo Bay or Cape Otway National Park.

You can then start up bright and early the next day to see the Twelve Apostles at sunrise or just after when it's still relatively uncrowded.

A view of the Great Ocean Road from Teddy's Lookout in Lorne, Victoria

Great Ocean Road itinerary 2 days

  • Distance: 593km / 8 hours roundtrip
  • Route: Melbourne-Allansford via B100, return via Ballarat
  • Highlights: Torquay, Angelsea Lookout, Teddy's Lookout, Cape Otway National Park, Gibson Steps, 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, Port Campbell and Ballarat.
  • Stay at: Apollo Bay Waterfront Motor Inn

Day 1

  • Distance: 196km
  • Approx. drive time: 3 hours

Melbourne to Port Campbell

  • Drive from Melbourne to Torquay, the official entrance to the Great Ocean Road.
  • Follow the coastline/B100 west stopping at Torquay for a quick dip into the water or a quick surfing lesson.
  • Next visit Anglesea Lookout, Teddy's Lookout in Lorne and Cape Otway Lightstation for ocean views.
  • Finish your day at Apollo Bay, staying at Apollo Bay Waterfront Motor Inn

Footpath Leading To Cape Otway Lighthouse


Day 2

  • Distance: 374km
  • Approx. drive time: 5 hours

Apollo Bay to Port Campbell to Melbourne via Ballarat

  • Wake up early and head toward the Gibson Steps and Twelve Apostles for sunrise. If you're not an early riser, try to head here as early in the day as possible as tour groups arrive in the afternoon.
  • Continue following the coastline west toward the Bay of Islands and Loch Ard Gorge.
  • Have a feed in Port Campbell's Sow and Piglets Brewery before turning back to Melbourne.
  • To return, welcome a change of scenery and detour through Ballarat. Here you can jump into another kind of road adventure in a V8 buggy.

Couple walking down the beach at the Twelve Apostles.


3 days – Great Ocean Road itinerary

The beauty of a three day trip is that you can really spend the time at those sleepy beach towns at the beginning of the trip.

They're often overlooked by tourists speeding to reach the landmark Twelve Apostles. But they offer stunning views, friendly locals and rainforest hikes that very much could rival those pillars.

A woman on a viewpoint looking down the beach and the cliff with the Ocean in the background at Bells Beach near Torquay along the Great Ocean Road in Australia, Victoria, South Pacific

Great Ocean Road itinerary 3 days

  • Distance: 733km / 10 hours roundtrip
  • Route: Melbourne-Port Fairy via B100, return via B120 and B140
  • Highlights: Torquay, Bells Beach, Lorne, Apollo Bay, Cape Otway National Park, Cape Otway Lightstation, Gibson Steps, Twelve Apostles, London Arch, Bay of Islands, Allansford, Warmambool and Port Fairy.
  • Stay at: Phoenix Apartments in Lorne and in Port Campbell.

Day 1

  • Distance: 152km
  • Approx. drive time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Melbourne to Lorne

  • Start in Melbourne and drive down to Torquay, catching a surf break at Bells Beach.
  • Continue on to the sleepy coastal town of Lorne and explore its many arts and crafts stores.
  • Stay overnight in Lorne at Phoenix Apartments.

Bells Beach, the spiritual home of Australian surfing.


Day 2

  • Distance: 159km
  • Approx. drive time: 3 hours

Lorne to Port Campbell

  • Head to Apollo Bay where you can taste the local cuisine or ride horseback along the shore.
  • Visit Cape Otway and its famous lighthouse or go on a quick treetop adventure.
  • Catch the Twelve Apostles in time for sunset and stay overnight in Port Campbell at Portside Motel.

Cape Otway, Australia


Day 3

  • Distance: 404km
  • Approx. drive time: 5 hours

Port Campbell to Melbourne

  • Spend the morning gazing on the natural beauty of London Arch and Bay of Islands.
  • Complete the Great Ocean Road with a happy snap in Allansford of its memorial arch.
  • Continue on to Warrnambool for its federation homesteads.
  • Kick back in Port Fairy with its lighthouses and nature reserves.
  • Head back to Melbourne via the B120 and B140 highways.

The Bay of islands on the Great Ocean road in Victoria, Australia


4 days – Great Ocean Road itinerary

Go above and beyond the Great Ocean Road and explore Greater Victoria.

Dedicate the first two days to that beautiful stretch of Victorian coastline and then play it differenty by heading inland to Mount Gambier in South Australia for more active adventure.

Mount Gambier in Victoria.

Great Ocean Road itinerary 4 days

  • Distance: 955km / 12 hours roundtrip
  • Route: Melbourne to Mount Gambier via Great Ocean Road
  • Highlights: Torquay, Lorne, Apollo Bay, Twelve Apostles, Bay of Fires, Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Mount Gambier.
  • Stay at: Phoenix Apartments in Lorne, in Princetown and Golden Chain Tower Motor Inn in Mount Gambier.

Day 1

  • Distance: 152km
  • Approx. drive time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Melbourne to Lorne/Fairhaven

  • Start in Melbourne and drive to Torquay and Bells Beach to soak up the sun.
  • Continue on to Lorne and explore its boutiques. Don't forget to catch that Insta shot from Teddy's Lookout.
  • Stay overnight in Lorne at Phoenix Apartments or go for broke and drive back east for 20 minutes to spend the evening in Fairhaven's Pole House.

5-day option: Add a day in Anglesea to see the coast by mountain bike.

Lorne, Victoria


Day 2

  • Distance: 140km
  • Approx. drive time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Lorne to Princetown

  • Have brekky in Lorne, take in the view from Anglesea Lookout then head to Apollo Bay to ride horseback along the shore.
  • Spend the time to explore Cape Otway's rainforest trails and drive down to its famous lighthouse.
  • Park it for the evening in Princetown at Twelve Apostles Cottages.

Footpath Leading To Cape Otway Lighthouse


Day 3

  • Distance: 270km
  • Approx. drive time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Princetown to Mount Gambier

  • Wake up in time for sunrise over the Twelve Apostles, walk the Gibson Steps and take snaps of Port Campbell National Park's treasures. These include Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch and Bay of Islands.
  • Complete the Great Ocean Road with a happy snap in Allansford of its memorial arch.
  • Continue on to Warrnambool for its federation homesteads.
  • Kick back in Port Fairy with its lighthouses and nature reserves before heading out to Mount Gambier for the evening.
  • Rest up at Golden Chain Tower Motor Inn.

Loch Ard Gorge on the Great Ocean Road, Australia, near the Twelve Apostles


Day 4

  • Distance: 424km
  • Approx. drive time: 5 hours

Mount Gambier to Melbourne

  • Explore Mount Gambier and its pristine landscape of limestone, sinkholes and crater lakes.
  • Head back to Melbourne.

5-day option: Spend the afternoon and 5th day in Coonawarra sipping this wine region's best tipples before heading back to Melbourne.

View of Valley Lake, Mount Gambier, South Australia


Melbourne to Adelaide road trip

With a week at your fingertips, it's possible to drive from Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road. If you make this journey, it's easiest to fly back to Melbourne as the quickest drive will still take you 8 hours.

We've outlined a one-way trip from Melbourne to Adelaide below. This can be done in reverse if driving from Adelaide.

McLaren Vale Vineyard

Melbourne to Adelaide Great Ocean Road self drive

Melbourne to Adelaide Great Ocean Road itinerary

Day 1

  • Distance: 199km
  • Approx. drive time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Melbourne to Apollo Bay

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Day 2

  • Distance: 115km
  • Approx. drive time: 2 hours

Apollo Bay to Port Campbell

  • Travel from Apollo Bay with a brief stop at Cape Otway, Port Campbell National Park and its highlights, including the Twelve Apostles.
  • Stay overnight in Port Campbell at Portside Motel.

two tourists looking at the 12 apostles on the great ocean road, Australia, at sunset


Day 3

  • Distance: 243km
  • Approx. drive time: 3 hours

Port Campbell to Mount Gambier

  • Complete the Great Ocean Road through Allansford, check out the Georgian-style homes at Port Fairy and continue on to Mount Gambier via the scenic route through Port Nelson State Park where cliffs crumble into blue waters.
  • Stay the night near Mount Gambier at Golden Chain Tower Motor Inn.

Mount Gambier, Australia


Day 4

  • Distance: 132km
  • Approx. drive time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Mount Gambier to Coonawarra

  • Explore the craters and sinkholes of Mount Gambier in the morning.
  • Walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs at Naracoorte Caves National Park in the afternoon.
  • Finish the day off with a wine at a local cellar door in Coonawarra.
  • Stay the night at Coonawarra Units.

Vineyard


Day 5

  • Distance: 393km
  • Approx. drive time: 4 hours 14 minutes

Coonawarra to Victor Harbor

  • Set your sights on the fishing port of Robe with its historical lookout, giant obelisk and conservation park.
  • Cross the Murray River by ferry into Victor Harbor and tuck in for the evening at Victor Harbor City Inn

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Day 6

  • Distance: 50km (not including Kangaroo Island)
  • Approx. drive time: 1 hour

Victor Harbor to McLaren Vale

  • Join a guided tour to Granite Island, home to the adorable little penguins, or take your trip one step further with a day trip to Kangaroo Island.
  • Drive up to McLaren Vale to wine and dine your way through your last evening.
  • Rest up at McLaren Vale Motel & Apartments.

kangaroo island


Day 7

  • Distance: 40km
  • Approx. drive time: 45 minutes

McLaren Vale to Adelaide

  • Spend the morning in McLaren Vale or head straight to Adelaide for a day in the big city.

Adelaide city centre and River Torrens

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Great Ocean Road camping

Camping grounds are abundant along the Great Ocean Road. This includes in and near Great Otway National Park, Otway Forest Park and Port Campbell National Park.

Many are hike-in camping spots that are stove-only. However, if you're driving you can check out the following powered caravan sites:

Prefer to tour? Let someone else drive and guide you with these top Great Ocean Road tours.

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