If you thought your plans were big, wait until you see these Great Ocean Road itineraries.
The Great Ocean Road is one of those iconic drives that every tourist and local alike has to take at least once in their lives. Rife with pristine vistas and quiet towns, the road covers 243 kilometres of Victorian coastline between Torquay and Allansford, and features the Twelve Apostles, Bay of Islands and Bells Beach.
It’s one of the world’s largest war memorials and was built by returned World War I veterans in dedication to their fallen comrades. These days, it’s the road trip of a lifetime, which you can drive in part or in full. Whatever you decide, these Great Ocean Road trip ideas will set a benchmark and will leave you wanting more. You’re welcome.
How to see the Great Ocean Road
Many Great Ocean Road tours and activities can be booked on websites like Viator, Adrenaline and Red Balloon, or when available on discount sites like Groupon.
- Group or private tours
- Scenic flight or helicopter tour (customised or organised)
Compare Great Ocean Road tours
Here are a handful of popular and unique Great Ocean Road tours and activities.
|Tour||Length||Includions||Price||Where to book|
|Day tour with scenic flight to Twelve Apostles||1.5 hours||Return transfers from Melbourne, day tour along Great Ocean Road, lunch, guide and 15-minute scenic flight||$560 pp||Viator|
|1-day surf tour||1 day||Pick-up in Melbourne or Torquay, equipment, two lessons, coaching, lunch, snacks and refreshments||$125 pp||RedBalloon|
|Scenic flight (2-person minimum)||1 hour||Scenic flight from Barwon Heads Airport to the Twelve Apostles, Bells Beach, Anglesea and more with commentary||$420 pp||Adrenaline|
|Hop-on, hop-off tour||Flexible||Pick-up from Melbourne, transport, hop on and off along the route, lunch, park entry fees, snacks||$139 pp||Tourstogo|
|2-day Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island||2 days||Pick-up from Melbourne, ferry ride, food, dorm stay at Bells Beach, park entry fees and guide||$265 pp (more to upgrade)||Sightseeing Tours Australia|
|Great Ocean Road – small group tour from Melbourne||14.5 hours||Full-day tour including lunch, koala-spotting, national park and sights, small coach transfers from Melbourne||$135 pp||Viator|
|Skydiving||1 hour||Qualified instruction, safety briefing and equipment||$279 pp||Adrenaline|
|4-day Twelve Apostles walk||4 days||Transfers from Melbourne, three nights’ accommodation, scenic flight over Twelve Apostles, all meals and snacks||$2,125 pp||Viator|
Self-drive Great Ocean Road itinerary ideas
Thinking of driving it yourself? There are plenty of car hire services available at Melbourne Airport and in Melbourne city centre. Hot tip: booking online and ahead of time can save you heaps and also guarantees that a car in your budget will be available for you when you arrive.
There are a number of routes to suit different styles from surfing to hiking, but we prefer the simple tourist route because you’ll get to see it all.
Some of the main sites you'll want to tick off your list might include:
- Bells Beach
- Cape Otway Light Station
- The 12 Apostles
- Loch Ard Gorge
If you're starting in Melbourne, drive southwest to Torquay, which is the entrance to the Great Ocean Road and be sure to take a pic of the Great Ocean Memorial Arch. From there, hug the coast and stop by Bells Beach, Lorne, Cape Otway Lightstation on the first day and stay overnight in either Cape Otway or Princetown. On the second day drive over to the Twelve Apostles and Bay of Islands, staying around London Bridge.
Some top lookout points worth stopping by include; Angelsea Hill, Teddys Lookout (Lorne), Marriner’s Lookout (Apollo Bay), Cape Otway and the Twelve Apostles lookout platforms
If you have more time on your hands, you can drive north to the Grampians from here. If not, you can drive back along the coast or through Ballarat for a change of scenery.
Great Ocean Road Map
Top things to see along the Great Ocean Road
- Natural coastal attractions. The Great Ocean Road’s most famous attraction, the Twelve Apostles, is a group of limestone stacks spouting from the ocean. Tip: get here as early as you can to avoid the crowds. Another 15 minutes further along is must-see rock formation London Bridge, with the picturesque Loch Ard Gorge in between.
- Great Otway National Park. An area of rainforest and gorges dotted with waterfalls like the crashing Beauchamp Falls. There are plenty of opportunities for walking, camping, mountain biking and picnics, among other activities.
- Wildlife. The Great Ocean Road is full of koala-spotting hotspots, the most obvious being Kennett River. You’re also likely to come across wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas and all kinds of birds along the way.
- Coastal towns and villages. Ideal stopping points along the way or places to stay overnight. Look out for Apollo Bay for restaurants with a water view, historic fishing town Port Fairy, the popular holiday destination and arts community of Lorne, and Australia’s surf capital, Torquay.
- Surfing. Torquay is the capital of surf and Bells Beach hosts the Rip Curl Pro competition around Easter every year. You can also take a surfing lesson and visit the Australian National Surfing Museum.
- Food. The Great Ocean Road has its fair share of local produce and wineries. Being a coastal destination there is of course excellent seafood on offer. From markets to upmarket restaurants, taste locally grown fruits and don’t miss cheese and ice cream produced from the local dairy.
- Whale watching. A popular activity from May to September, there’s no shortage of lookout points along the Great Ocean Road.
- Walking. The Great Ocean Road’s 104 kilometres can be explored on short walks or day-long hikes. The adventurous can take on the whole route by foot in around a week by camping along the way. Tour operators can arrange transfer of your luggage.