The Great Ocean Road is located in southern Victoria on the east coast of Australia. It reminds us of the scenic drive along the Sunshine Coast in Canada. They are so much alike. But the Great Ocean Road is more dramatic with lots of curves and spins, giving the drive a zest of adventurism.
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic road trips in Australia, somewhat epic. Those who want to conquer the entire journey point to point must clear out three days of their week schedule before setting off. But it’s all worth it!
While setting out on a self-driving trip is a top call for adventurous travelers, but given how windy and tiring it is, we decided to join a guided tour to take in as much information about all the iconic stops along the way as without feeling dreary.
In this Great Ocean Road travel guide, we give you a sneak peek of the most beautiful attractions, where to stay, and what to expect before hopping on your car!
What’s So Special about the Great Ocean Road?
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world. It’s known for the dramatic Twelve Apostles rock stacks dotted on the big blue sea. And while they are definitely a highlight, there is so much more to enjoy along the way.
As the name suggests, the enormous road trip reveals so much about this part of Australia. From the beaches, waterfalls, lighthouses, to wooded areas, limestone formations, and wild habitats. Embarking on a road trip along the Great Ocean Road is a great way to decompress and cleanse your mind from the digital buzzes. And that’s the biggest reason why we enjoyed it so much.
What Can You Do Along the Great Ocean Road?
Some of you will like to take on a hike, surf, ride a helicopter, and take in all the best food spots which is the most beloved thing to do on the Great Ocean Road for foodies.
Where Does the Great Ocean Road Start and Finish?
The Great Ocean Road starts at Torquay, heading westbound to Allansford near Warrnambool, the largest city along the road, marking the end of this epic trip. The entire road lasts for a whopping length of 243 kilometers.
Can You Drive the Great Ocean Road?
Yes. We suggest spending at least two nights on the road if you like to take on this incredible trip by yourself. But please note that it’s very windy, with lots of curves and turns. So only get in the car if you’re ready and confident with your fitness level!
If you can’t drive or only have one day available, signing up for a day trip to Great Ocean Road is a wise move. The tour we signed up for started in Melbourne with a local guide. The best thing about joining a guided tour is time management. You don’t have to worry about missing out on any attraction. Plus, you’ll learn a lot more than self-driving. And you won’t end up wearing out since you’re not the driver yourself.
The Coolest Stops and Attractions along the Great Ocean Road
Bells Beach and Torquay Bay
The first leg takes you about two hours from Melbourne to Apollo Bay. This is where you encounter Bells Beach and Torquay Bay which are popular surfing spots with perfect wind and huge waves.
If you come in April, stop by to see the surfers braving the waves in the Curl Pro surfing competition from a vantage point.
While the Great Ocean Road may start all the way from Torquay, the Memorial Arch marks its official starting point. You only need a few minutes to stop here for great photo-ops and learn about all the insightful details and Importance of the construction of the road.
Cape Patton Lookout Point
Soaking in the stunning seascape over Apollo Bay from the Cape Patton Lookout Point completely cleaned our minds. The promontory also becomes a popular site to spot whales at the right time of the year and swirling wild seas.
Along the road from this section is plenty of places to spend your nights at some pretty coastal towns. You can stay in Wongarra where you can rest up at one of the houses and farms along the coast. 15 minutes away from Wongarra is the town of Apollo Bay with a quiet location. Staying at one of the ocean-view cottages perched upon the cliffside is wonderfully tranquil. And falling fast asleep to the sound of the crashing waves is worth every penny.
Great Otway National Park
We loved the serenity and the calmness at Great Otway National Park so much that we didn’t even want to leave! It is part of an Aboriginal cultural landscape so lots of respect for the tradition and culture go a long way. This is one of the best attractions on the Great Ocean Road that you can spend hours exploring.
From the windswept coastlines and breathtaking waterfalls to the mystic, shaded forests and the Otway Lightstation’s history – you name it! The Great Otway National Park also beckons hordes of ardent surfers and wildlife lovers. We loved the cute koala bears. The moment when they are with their young is the icing on the cake.
Cape Otway Light Station
If time allows, you can linger here for up to three hours. The limelight of the visit is definitely the 11 am history talk. The extensive grounds have so much to offer beyond the lighthouse as you learn the history of the area and the lighthouse itself rooted in 1848.
The history talk turned the site into an impeccable attraction to walk around. The climb to the top is a chance to work your core before you end up with some delicious scones at the café.
The Twelve Apostles are some of the most talked-about attractions along the Great Ocean Road. The iconic rock stacks jutting out from the cliff and piercing through the sky make it a must-visit place that reveals the beauty of the road at its finest.
If you’re part of the tour, you will learn about how the erosion of the limestone cliffs from the stormy Southern Ocean led to the quirky, dramatic cliffs that change color when sunrise and sunset approach.
Loch Ard Gorge
The Loch Ard Gorge is part of Port Campbell National Park. Reaching Loch Ard Gorge from the Twelve Apostles only takes a few minutes to drive. Together with the Twelve Apostles’ formation, Loch Ard Gorge once again defines the beauty of the striking cliffs. Strolling along the edge of the gorge is pure joy. And walking down the steps onto the beautiful beach is totally doable.
London Bridge is one of the best places along the Great Ocean Road. We loved the gorgeous sweeping vista over Mutton Bird Island and The Razorback from afar. The soaring waves slapping the foot of the bridge make it even more exciting to unwind. And the mashup with the light blue water against the big blue sky creates some of the most brilliant scenes to look at.
Cap Off: Is the Great Ocean Road Worth It?
A road trip has a lot more to do with planning than you imagine. And things go beyond normal expectations for an epic journey like the Great Ocean Road. A one-day trip is possible, but it’s worth taking a few days off from work. Stop in the places that interest you the most if you can’t make time for all attractions. It’s always worth keeping some extra time for spontaneous breaks. Now you have a pocket travel guide to peruse before starting on this scenic drive. If you think your friends are looking for a guide like this, please share this article and spread the word!