One of the most iconic road trips to do in Australia is along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243km stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia. If you decide to road trip down this coastline you will pass cute seaside villages (perfect for surfing), beautiful tranquil forests and waterfalls (keep your eyes open for wild koalas!) and incredible coastal landforms such as the twelve apostles. In this article I will detail the Great Ocean Road Main Attractions, as well as some hidden gems!
These must see places make up an ideal two or three day itinerary and you will need a car to see them all.
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How to get around the Great Ocean Road
The most common way to visit the Great Ocean Road is to hire a car and take a road trip from Melbourne all the way to the Twelve Apostles, this gives you the flexibility to stop exactly where you want and make your own itinerary. I hired my car very last minute and was able to find the best available deal thanks to rentalcars.com.
If you are unable to drive, or you’re travelling solo and hoping to meet people, then there are also a number of bus companies that offer tours down the Great Ocean Road. The most popular tour is this day tour leaving from Melbourne.
Must See Places on the Great Ocean Road (Best Photo Spots)
Just a 1 hour 20 minute drive outside of Melbourne is the seaside town of Torquay. It’s known for it’s surf beaches like Bells Beach (pictured below) and Jan Juc Beach and is the perfect first stop on the Great Ocean Road road trip.
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Day 23: I feel like crying (happy tears) because today I’ve come face to face with TWO bucket list travel goals. Firstly, the Great Ocean Road. 🌊 Driving it has always been a dream of mine and I feel very lucky to have picked up a camper this morning and left Melbourne for 5 days of adventuring. Secondly: WILD KOALAS. Can we just! Scroll across to see how close this gorgeous fella came. 😭🐨 I’d been content with spotting a few up high in the branches, barely recognisable, then on the drive out the forest he appeared, shimmying down his tree. Feel overwhelming privileged. Time to find a campsite (a weird thought, not knowing where you’ll be sleeping at almost 8pm!) and enjoy camp-stove meatballs & rosé. The most magical day 😍✨ #BackPackWithBeth
2) Split Point Lighthouse
Your next stop should be the Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet. If you watched the Australian TV show Round The Twist as a child then you might recognise this lighthouse!
Make sure you walk down the path to the viewpoint for a spectacular view over the coastline here.
3) Memorial Arch at Eastern View
Stop for a photo of the memorial arch at Eastern view, this is the iconic ‘Great Ocean Road’ sign.
4) Erskine Falls and Teddys lookout
Driving further along the coast you will come to the town of Lorne. Here you can see the beautifully lush Erskine Falls (easy to get to, just 2-5 minutes from the car park) and then admire the coastline from Teddys lookout.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for wild koalas in this area!
5) Beauchamp Falls
Head away from the coastline and further into the Great Otway National Park and find your own piece of paradise at Beauchamp falls. As there is a 3km return walk to get here it isn’t as busy as most of the other waterfalls in the area, so it feels like you’ve discovered your own serene oasis!
6) Californian Redwoods
Located near both Beauchamps Falls and Hopetoun falls is an incredible forest filled with Califorinian Redwoods. Marvel at the sheer size of these Sequoia trees, and try to capture the light streaming through.
7) Hopetoun Falls
A lot easier to get to than Beauchamp Falls, the viewing platform for Hopetoun Falls is only some 200 stairs down from the carpark. Hopetoun Falls is most picturesque waterfall on the Great Ocean Road, it has a 30m drop and is surrounded by lush green ferns and trees.
If you are planning on spending a few days on the Great Ocean Road then stops 1-7 make the perfect first day itinerary and you can spend the night in Apollo Bay. I stayed at the Apollo Bay Eco YHA which was a really modern hostel with private rooms and dorms.
8) Gibson Steps
Drive 1 hour 20 minutes from Apollo Bay to Gibson Steps. Gibson Steps is the first stop along the part of the Great Ocean Road that has all the amazing coastal formations.
You can either head to the viewing platform near the carpark or you can descend the steps to the beach.
TOP TIP – I would avoid coming at high tide as the sea takes up most of the beach.
9) Twelve Apostles
The most iconic landmark along the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles, however there are now only eight stacks left.
As the vegetation around the Twelve Apostles is protected you will have to follow walkways to see all of the stacks. I would advise going early so you can avoid the crowd (plus the light at sunrise is super magical).
10) Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge is another scenic place to stop along the Great Ocean Road, it is a protected sandy beach nestled amongst cliff. When I went the weather was a bit crazy and we had waves crashing in (see below)! Usually it is a lot calmer than this and you can swim.
11) The Arch
Before visiting the Great Ocean Road I hadn’t heard of the Arch (it wasn’t mentioned in any blogs), but we drove past the sign and decided to check it out. Personally I think it’s well worth a stop (at high tide) as the ocean laps through the hole creating a miniature waterfall.
12) London Bridge
Just next to the Arch is London Bridge, which is named thanks to it’s bridge like shape. You used to be able to walk across it until it collapsed in 1990, now you can enjoy it from the viewing platform.
13) The Grotto
Another amazing coastal formation to see on the Port Campbell coast is the Grotto. It’s also a lot less busy than the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.
14) Halladale Point (Bay of Islands)
One of my favourite spots along the Great Ocean Road was Halladale Point. A completely hidden gem, that I just stumbled across, there was absolutely no one here! Halladale Point gives you a beautiful view over the Bay of Islands, a load of stacks (similar to the Twelve Apostles) in the ocean, it’s definitely worth a stop!
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I really underestimated how much there was to see in the great ocean road, as for me it was limited to the 12 apostoles. There is so much more to see, including some less touristy parts where you can even have a picnic ☺️ 📷 by @thegingerwanderlust #australia #australiavictoria #victoriaaustralia #victoria #greatoceanroad #halladalepoint #halladale #instatravel #travel #travelgram #travellife #instapic #photooftheday #instagood10k #beautifuldestinations #traveladdict #justgoshoot #worldtravelbook #thattravelblog #travlr #travelblogger #traveltagged #doyoutravel #iamtb #magicalplace #thewanderingtourist #sidewalkerdaily #passionpassport #traveltemptation #menwhotravel
This is the end of the main attractions along the Great Ocean Road, from here you can drive the three hours inland back to Melbourne of you can spend the night nearby to give yourself a bit more time to enjoy the various landforms along this coastline. I stayed a night in Port Campbell at the NRMA Port Campbell Holiday Park.
How much time do you need to visit the Great Ocean Road?
There are a lot of tours offering day trips along the Great Ocean Road, however this will only take you to the main tourist attractions. If you want to go more off the beaten path and see all of the main attractions you will need at least one night, however I would recommend two nights, three days.
I hope you have the most amazing time road tripping along the Great Ocean Road! It really is one of the best road trips to do in Australia. I also loved the road trip from Perth to Esperance and along the east coast.
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