Australia is full of fabulous places of attraction, from the Great Barrier Reef to the majestic Uluru. However, nothing matches the grandeur of the Great Ocean Road. One of the most enchanting drives in Australia, the road stretches for an impressive 664 kilometers. Driving from Torquay across the iconic 12 Apostles to Port Fairy, it will take you three days of fun on the road.
About the Drive
Commencing from Melbourne, the drive is without stress, and you will cruise past towering cliffs, sprawling surf beaches, and pulsating rainforests. While on the road, you are going to see some of the most unusual animals in Australia – kangaroos, humpback whales, dingoes, wombats, and even cassowaries. There is so much for you to do along the way, from relaxing on a cliff at sunset to climbing mountains or hiking through forests.
Just as it was hinted in the sections above, the complete itinerary is three days, and each day of the drive will be described below.
Day One – Melbourne – Apollo Bay Section
On the first day, the goal is to cover the 187-km distance between Melbourne to Apollo Bay, and the drive is approximately three hours. Cruise from Melbourne, drive over the Westgate Bridge, and in one hour, you will be at Torquay.
In the drive’s initial section, you will follow National Highway One, which is a direct stretch. You can stop at a gas station located at Little River and eat or relax. You can also decide to stop along the way at Geelong, which is one of the biggest cities in Victoria.
Once you are energized, return to Highway One and follow the Great Ocean Road features. Drive via Torquay then Bells Beach or you can decide to head for Anglesea. This will take you about one and a half hours in all from the starting point in Melbourne.
Places to Stop on Day One and Things To Do:
- Torquay: Explore the National Surfing Museum and endless beaches.
- Bells Beach: Located not far from Torquay, enjoy the best of surfing. If you are lucky enough, you can also take part in the annual Rip Curl Classic Surf event. If you are interested in the event, you have to check and confirm ahead of time.
- Blazing Saddles: Excellent for equestrian activities.
- Memorial Arch: Ideal for breathtaking photos.
Day Two – Apollo Bay – Port Fairy Section
Refreshed and energetic, you head for the road on the second day. Driving from Apollo Bay, the Great Ocean Road will take you into the lovely Otway National Park with its outstandingly rich rainforest. From here, you branch to the Otway Fly Tree Top Walks in just about 60 minutes of drive. Back on the road, you will be dazed with the beautiful coastline as you head toward Port Campbell and its iconic 12 Apostles.
As you continue on the Great Ocean Road, you turn west towards Warrnambool, and then you drive in the direction of Port Fairy.
Places to Stop on Day Two and Things to Do:
- Otway Fly Tree Top Walk: Here, you can have all the fun you want at the longest and highest treetop canopy on earth.
- 12 Apostles: These are spectacular rock stacks that rise from the ocean and offer the most dramatic views on Victoria’s coastline.
- Gibsons Steps: Here is an excellent beach spot with its legendary 88 steps made on the limestone cliffs’ surface. As you climb the steps, you cannot but marvel at the majestic views of the 12 Apostles.
- Loch Ard Gorge cliffs.
- Bay of Islands
- Tower Hill State Game Reserve: This is located on your way towards Port Fairy and you can see some of the most iconic Australian animals here. These include kangaroos, emus, waterbirds, koalas, and so on.
Day Three – Port Fairy to Melbourne
Here is the final part of the itinerary, and it is from Port Fairy to Melbourne. You can start the day by doing some fishing, as that is what Port Fairy is legendary for. You can spend some time on the river or tour the historic sites.
At this point, all you need to do is to drive in the opposite direction on the Great Ocean Road. On your return leg, you can take more time to relish the experience at the selected spots and take as many photos as you so desire.
Taking the Inland Route via Colac
This will take three and a half hours and cover a distance of 288 kilometers. You can use this route to get to Warrnambool in the direction of Colac. If you choose this alternative, you can enjoy scented tea at Camperdown and some local beer when you reach Colac.
Colac is known for its excellent craft beer, and as you drive on, you can stop at Brae, not far from Birregurra, for some delicious meals. Moving from Birregura, you will emerge at Winchelsea and reach Melbourne in two hours, which wraps up your spectacular trip on the unforgettable Great Ocean Road in Australia.