My 3 day itinerary for driving the Great Ocean Road
Driving the Great Ocean Road is a fantastic experience. No wonder it is known as one of the best known and spectacular stretches of road in Australia. It is a 243 km (151 miles) long and winds along some of the best coastline of Victoria. Starting at Torquay you pass through some great beach-side towns and pass some of the most scenic pieces of shoreline that Australia has to offer.
It was built after the war between 1919 and 1932 to provide many of the returned soldiers with a job. The road is dedicated to the soldiers killed during the war and those who built it.
I have travelled along the Great Ocean Road a number of times. I usually take around 3-4 days to experience most of what it has to offer. Be prepared to be hopping in and out of your car as there are loads of places that you need to walk to to see and don’t forget your camera.
Accommodation is available but to ensure I don’t miss out I mostly book accommodation before I go. I use my trusted friends of HotelsCombined and/or Booking.com to find a place to stay. I use to stay in hostels and would use Hostel World to find a hostel but I like my creature comforts nowadays.
Here’s my suggested itinerary.
Leave Melbourne and head to my first stop, the seaside town of Torquay. Torquay is at the east end of the Great Ocean Road and is a quaint town with great beaches, coffee shops and a vibrant beach-side atmosphere. It is also home to the Australian National Surfing Museum to get you in the mood for the next stop, Bells Beach.
Bells Beach is made famous every year at Easter time when the world’s best surfers arrive to ride the Bells Beach waves. You too could see the world’s best if you want to fight the crowds. If not, the beach is accessed by steep stairs so I hope you are feeling fit?
Me at Bells Beach
From Bells Beach follow the signs to Anglesea then to Aireys Inlet, both seaside towns with coffee shops, shops, beaches and beautiful scenery and on to Lorne.
Lorne is another beachside town and is a very popular surfing spot. Lorne has a well-known arts community and has a gallery and sculpture park. Head up to Teddy’s Lookout which provides sweeping views over the town and along the coast. Take a drive in to the state park to visit Erskine Falls. Set amidst a rainforest with ferns and Bell Birds take the walk to the beautiful waterfall.
Leaving Lorne after lunch follow the coastal road through small towns of Separation Creek, Wye River, and Kennett River before reaching Apollo Bay, another beachside town. Head to the hilltop Mariners Lookout for panoramic views over the ocean.
Head into the Otway National Park which is home to a 57-mile hiking trail, forest, waterfalls, native wildlife, you may see many koalas in the trees, extensive Aboriginal history, dinosaur fossils and maybe climb to the top of the Cape Otway Lighthouse. Maybe enjoy some lunch in the lighthouse café before taking the long and windy drive to the Twelve Apostles National Park. This is a must see stop with spectacular coastline. You may want to take a helicopter ride to truly appreciate the area.
Not far from the Twelve Apostles is Loch Ord Gorge where you can walk along the platforms and down to the beach to discover about the shipwrecks along this part of the coast. Very, very interesting part of The Great Ocean Road. Leaving the Gorge drive through Port Campbell and on to London Bridge. London Bridge is a natural arch which unfortunately due to erosion has now been separated from mainland Australia. Spectacular all the same.
From London Bridge some travellers take roads back to Melbourne or you can continue to Warnambool. Warnambool is known for its whale sightings and is also home to Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village which explores the area’s seafaring history. There is a large collection of items from shipwrecks including the famous peacock.
I am really glad I drove the Great Ocean Road, but after 3 days of windy roads I was very pleased to see a straight road.
About the Author: Sharyn McCullum has travelled the world extensively and currently calls Melbourne home. She is developing a number of websites and blogs and is enjoying travelling to different places in Australia with her family.