It’s Time for a Great Ocean Road Trip!

The Great Ocean Road is regarded as one of Australia’s most scenic drives. Built by returned servicemen from WWI, it is also technically the longest war memorial in the world.  The Great Ocean Road stretches along Victoria’s coast for 665 kilometres or 415 miles. A straight drive from end to end will take you around 9.5 hours, running from Torquay to Port Fairy. But the stops along the way make this drive a multi-day trip. If you are starting from Melbourne, the drive  to Torquay will take just over an hour. 

The Great Ocean Road is a must-drive experience if you have the chance, with locals, Australian’s and international travellers all enjoying the experience every year. Here we’re going to take you along the Great Ocean Road and highlight the best points to stop along the way. 

Be prepared!

The Great Ocean Road is drivable all year, but most regard late summer to be the best time to experience the journey when the weather is clear, but not too hot. One of the big questions is, how much time do you need to experience the Great Ocean Road?  There is no simple answer but will depend on how much time you can set aside to explore.  A minimum of two days is recommended, but you could spend well over a week if you stopped and took your time. There are a range of hotels, motels, and Airbnbs dotted within the coastal towns that are connected by the Great Ocean Road. 

Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne

The trip begins in Torquay, one of the surf capitals of Australia and home to Victoria’s best surfing beaches. Stop in at the Australian National Surfing Museum to fill up on surf culture with the largest surfing and beach museum in the world. Located next door is the Torquay Information Centre, where you will find everything you need to know about the town, its beaches and lighthouse. The first stretch of the drive from Torquay has a number of places to stop; Anglesea and Lorne are the two largest towns on the first leg, with golf courses, hotels, pristine beaches, coastal lookouts, cliffs, rock pools and of course, fish and chips. 

Apollo Bay and Great Otway National Park

Once you arrive at Apollo Bay, you will be at around the halfway point of the drive, close to the bottom-most part of the western cape. From Apollo Bay, you will head into one of the highlights of the drive, and Victorian nature in general, Great Otway National Park. The Great Ocean Road carves the borders of the park, with Lighthouse Road the main route to take you further into the park. It is certainly worth the detour to experience the stunning coastline of the park, filled with ancient forests, stunning beaches and rocky cliffs. The park is home to the largest flowering tree in the world, the Mountain Ash, which dominates the tops of the forest canopy. Walk the many hiking trails to run into some of our most famous native species, from koalas to wallabies, grey kangaroos, penguins, hundreds of species of bird and the ever-elusive platypus (for the best chance to see one, search the creeks at either dawn or dusk as the platypus is a crepuscular animal, meaning it sleeps outside these hours). 

The park is open to 4WD vehicles with formed roads open unless seasonal closures apply (also another reason late summer is the best time to experience the drive). On the coast, you will find the Cape Otway Lightstation, the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Australian mainland. Built in 1848, the lighthouse sits above a 90m cliff. The lighthouse is nicknamed the beacon of hope as it was the first site many migrants saw arriving by ship to Australia.

Port Campbell and the Twelve Apostles

Once you have finished enjoying the Great Otway National Park, it’s time to head back up to the Great Ocean Road and head west for the final leg of the journey. We are moving on from one icon to another! Port Campbell National Park is home to the iconic Twelve Apostles rock formation. Take the Gibson Steps down to the beach and enjoy the iconic site from ground level. Head west to Port Campbell for something to eat and, depending on the time of day, somewhere to spend the night.

Warrnambool and Port Fairy

From Port Campbell,  drive up the coast to Warrnambool. Home to botanic gardens, art galleries, golf courses and more, it is the largest city on the drive and is full of history. From Warrnambool to Port Fairy, it is just 25-minutes, the last section of the trip. With Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve full of native animals, the Merrijig Inn (Victoria’s oldest inn), restaurants, art galleries, beaches and ocean tours, it is a fitting final destination on the Great Ocean Road Trip. 

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