No doubt how they got inspired to find the name. The Great Ocean Road is great indeed: a spectacular and very scenic road trip for over 240km between Victoria and South Australia. It is one of the most popular road trips in Australia. Although it can be done in two days, I really recommend taking three days on the Great Ocean Road to see all the best spots.
Consider the weather when you make a choice on the way you want to explore it. Indeed, both times I found it quite cold because of the wind coming from the south. I was quite happy to have the luxury of a house the second time when we had rain! But don’t worry. Even in a rainstorm, Australia’s Great Ocean Road is amazing.
How to explore the Great Ocean Road?
There are different ways to explore the Great Ocean Road – according to your budget, time and mood. I have even read a blog about people who hiked it; that would take a while but it’s tempting.
Tours are departing from Melbourne (day trips or longer)*, some can even drop you back in Adelaide (click here for more info* or this one if you’re leaving from Adelaide*).
The first time I went there, I chose to hire a van, and we stopped at campsites at night. The second time, I travelled with a larger group. We decided to hire a car and rent a house* not far from the 12 Apostles. Both were convenient with their advantages and fun!
Where to stop on the Great Ocean Road?
As one of the main tourist attractions in Australia, you will find a lot of information online to plan your trip. There are signs for the lookouts and touristy attractions all along the road. The below is an overview of the trip I did in November 2009.
We left Melbourne and started to go along the Great Ocean Road from Geelong in the middle of the afternoon. The drive was already beautiful and our big highlight of the days was to stop to watch dolphins – at least 10 of them – passing near the coast. If you have time, check out the Hopetoun Falls not too far away. We stayed in Appollo Bay for the night.
We started our second day by crossing the National Park to go to the Cape Otway Lightstation. Unfortunately, the lighthouse was closed to visitors; they were doing some work on it. As we had to pay around 13$ for just a 400-meter walk, we decided to leave earlier than expected and go towards the most scenic part of the road. The disappointment quickly faded away as on the way from the lighthouse, in the forest, we ended up seeing more than 20 wild koalas! It was unbelievable! One of them was 1 or 2 meters only from us, fully awake, eating and living his life not impressed at all by the eight people standing next to him, stunned. Such a great moment!
Responsible travel tip: It’s awesome to watch wildlife. Try to limit human interactions with wild animals and do not feed them. I know it’s tempting but you’d risk modifying their behaviours and it could become dangerous for them and even their entire ecosystem!
Once we reached the 12 Apostles, the most famous spot of the road trip, we decided not to stop as it was peak time. Instead, we visited all the places further: Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge and Grotto. They are all worth it.
When came back to the 12 Apostles around 7 pm, the place was empty as all the day tours had left. There is an easy walk to reach different lookouts to spot what is left of the rocks that used to be 12. All along this coast, we can see how the waves and the wind work on the rocks and use them. The landscape the erosion creates is fascinating.
We did a helicopter tour from the 12 Apostles, quite pricey but highly recommended. We ended up the day by watching the night coming: I would not call that sunset with the weather we had! They say you can spot penguins going back to the beach at the end of the day. We didn’t brave the rain long enough to be successful. Even during summer, this region can be cold – and we weren’t prepared for that.
Port Campbell is an excellent stop for the night as it is close to all the must-see lookouts. We only had a few hours to spend on the third day before going back to Melbourne. We went back to the 12 Apostles as the weather was better and then chilled a bit on the magnificent beach nearby, Gibson Steps.
Planning a trip to the Great Ocean Road? If you don’t want to camp, I recommend staying near the 12 Apostles, so you can enjoy the place when it’s less busy without driving too much. Driving at night in Australia is never a good option because of wildlife. You can view accommodation options here*.
Where is the Great Ocean Road?
The Great Ocean Road is between Melbourne and Adelaide, on the South Coast of Australia.
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