This is the ultimate road trip, or shall I say the road trip of a lifetime. For many, driving the Great Ocean Road is a chance to see some of its most famed attractions – the Twelve Apostles, the Otway Lighthouse and Port Campbell National Park. For others, it’s the journey itself that is most rewarding – hitting the road, enjoying the freedom and liberty that comes with the long drive. The Great Ocean road makes a fantastic long weekend away, and you can now easily get cheap flights and car hire packages to make this an affordable trip. Although it helps if you live in Sydney.
243 kilometres and beyond
The Great Ocean Road is 243 kilometres of spectacular scenic coastline. Considered a true national treasure, the drive can be done in a day, but most travellers will prefer to take their time on this journey stopping off at various points of interest along the way. You can do the drive yourself or join one of the many tour buses that operate from Melbourne.
Ready to hit the road? Your journey starts from Melbourne where you’ll head down south to Torquay where we mark off 0 km. From here you’ll be heading for the coast, cruising your way westward towards Warrnambool. There are plenty of sights and attractions to visit not to mention the picturesque beauty of the scene – stay for an hour, a day – even a week! There is plenty of great friendly and cheap accommodation to check into as you check out some of these trip highlights:
Bells Beach (7 km) - a favourite among surfers and beach goers, Bells Beach was also the setting for the final scene of Point Break (although the movie was not actually filmed here). Bells hosts a number of notorious annual surf competitions and events including the Rip Curl Pro Surf and Music Festival every Easter.
Apollo Bay (90 km) - Travelling through Lorne (46 km), this quaint little tourist town is a great place to drop in for a spot lunch, a leisurely afternoon or overnight if you’re looking for last minute hotels. Apollo Bay is one of the easiest locations for finding hotels and accommodation. Chat with the friendly locals fishing on the pier or visit the many foreshore shops. Don’t forget to scope out the view from Marriners Lookout (90.7 km). Those brave and fit enough can continue their journey on foot, walking the 104 km of the Great Ocean Walk that will take you from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles.
Cape Otway (147 km) - driving through the scenic Otway National Park (114 km) , you’ll be heading for Cape Otway, home of the historic Cape Otway Lighthouse, the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Australian mainland. Offering stunning ocean views, you can imagine the first Europeans getting their first glimpse of Australian land as they approached their destination.
Port Campbell National Park (172 km) - koalas, kangaroo, penguins and Australian animal galore – this is also the place to see the Twelve Apostles (172.6 km) in all their breathtaking glory. Stay in nearby Port Campbell (179 km) or continue onwards for the home stretch.
Warrnambool (246 km) - you’ve made it – now bask in the experience. You can finish off your trip with a visit to the Loch Ard shipwreck in this maritime town. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the amazing southern right whales as they frolic in the nearby seas.
This is the official end of the Great Ocean Road, but for those who aren’t ready to stop off just yet – it’s only just the beginning. You can continue onward westward to Port Fairy (305 km), Portland (378) or even Adelaide (858 km).