7 epic Great Ocean Road trip ideas

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.

Thinking of driving the Great Ocean Road? Scroll down for a detailed itinerary


1. Boutique Great Ocean Road (1 day)

When it comes to a road trip, the more personalised it is, the better. This boutique tour is a capped at a maximum of 11 people and is a one-day wonder that starts in Melbourne and features the Split Point Lighthouse, the Memorial Archway, Lorne, Teddy’s Lookout (easily one of the best lookouts on the road), Mount Defiance, Kennett River, Cape Patton, Apollo Bay, Ayre River wetlands, the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.

On the tour you’ll also have the opportunity to hike along the Great Ocean walking track for a picture-perfect view of the Twelve Apostles and down the Gibson Steps to the beach below.

All this in one day. Impressive, right?

Book the Boutique Great Ocean Road day tour here


2. Great Ocean Road - Grampians Adventure - Guided Motorcycle Tour (5 days)

Imagine screaming down this windy stretch on your very own Harley Davidson. That’s exactly what to expect from this EagleRider Australia tour.

Over five days you’ll see the best of the Great Ocean Road on two wheels as you travel between coast towns such as Lorne and Apollo Bay and soak in the sights of the Twelve Apostles, Gibson Steps, London Bridge, Perry’s Lookout, Port Campbell, Port Fairy, Robe and Sovereign Hill.

As you loop back to Melbourne, you’ll head inland to twist and turn your way through Hamilton and Halls Gap where rock formations and lookout points are guaranteed to catch your eye.

Book the Great Ocean Road Guided Motorcycle Tour here


3. Great Ocean Road Cooking Retreat (3 days)

Seeking an uber unique experience on the Great Ocean Road? You’ll be hard pressed to find one like this. Set over three days, this luxurious cooking class and lodge retreat getaway is perfect for a date or a special occasion.

On your plate is three days of delectable cuisine at the Lodge Kitchen, which is located minutes away from the Twelve Apostles. Included are two hands-on cooking classes, cheese and wine tastings, freshly baked treats to nibble on in the mornings and all the floor-to-ceiling glass windows you could ever need to soak in the tranquil atmosphere of the native forest that surrounds you.

Book the private Great Ocean Road Cooking Retreat here

4. Hummer Great Ocean Road Luxury Escape (1 day)

Now here’s a luxe ride you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. If you’re planning to go big this trip, this is where it’s at.

It’s a first class adventure that features luxury transport in a Hummer H3, a gourmet lunch, guided spirits and liqueurs tasting at a whisky distillery and a group no bigger than four people.

Plus, you'll still see the highlights of the iconic coastal drive, including the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Great Otway National Park.

Book the Hummer Great Ocean Road Luxury Escape


5. Private Great Ocean Road Helicopter Tour from Melbourne (1 day)

“Exclusive” is the word that comes to mind when reading about this private and personalised experience. This one’s ideal for those who don’t wish to do the drive or who simply don’t have enough time to do it.

Starting in Melbourne, you’ll be picked up from your hotel via limo or luxury SUV and escorted to your helicopter to fly over the spectacular landscape. Below, keep an eye out for the limestone stacks, the Twelve Apostles, Shipwreck Coast and Loch Ard Gorge.

To make sure you don’t miss out on all the on-ground fun, also included is a picnic just a stone’s throw from the Twelve Apostles.

Book the Great Ocean Road Private Helicopter Tour from Melbourne


6. Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park (3 days)

You may be thinking that this is “just another Great Ocean Road tour”, but you’d be wrong. What sets this three-day adventure apart is its dedication to providing you with a unique experience through the Grampians and Warrnambool National Parks.

After your first day driving along the Great Ocean Road and taking in the sights, you’ll stay overnight in a cosy country hostel in Warrnambool National Park. Over the second day, you can choose to bike ride, fish, boogie board or simply just explore inside the park. We recommend going whale spotting at Logan’s Beach or hiking up the extinct volcano Mount Rouse.

On the third day you’ll explore The Grampians, where the abundant array of flora and fauna is only matched by the spectacular views of from Boroka, The Jaws of Death and Reid lookouts.

Book the Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park tour


7. Great Ocean Road West-Melbourne to Adelaide (5 days)

If your motto for this journey is “go long” then make sure you do the full trek with this Melbourne to Adelaide tour. Starting in Melbourne, you’ll depart early for Torquay, the gateway to Great Ocean Road. By day’s end, you’ll have covered the most of it from the Lord Ard Gorge to the Twelve Apostles.

On day two you’ll continue on the drive, taking in all the sights before walking into Grampians National Park where you’ll stay the night. In the Grampians the following day, you’ll explore The Jaws of Death and MacKenzie Falls on foot before travelling to Mount Gambier to rest inside a refurbished prison. Then it’s onto Coorong National Park to gaze at its system of dunes, lagoons and wildlife before heading to Adelaide where your tour will end.

Book Great Ocean Road West-Melbourne to Adelaide tour

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

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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

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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