Australia is a land of astonishing natural beauty, and one of its most iconic destinations is the Great Ocean Road. Stretching along the southern coast of Victoria, this breathtaking road trip offers a stunning combination of rugged coastline, lush rainforests, and unique rock formations. If you're an adventure seeker and love the freedom of the open road, a self-drive itinerary along the Great Ocean Road is an absolute must to add and tick off your list. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you plan your journey.
Day 1: Melbourne to Torquay
Begin your journey in the vibrant city of Melbourne, where you can pick up your rental car. From there, drive southwest to Torquay, the official starting point of the Great Ocean Road. Torquay is famous for its excellent surf beaches, including Bells Beach, a popular spot among surf enthusiasts. Explore the town and enjoy some of the most amazing and freshest seafood from a local restaurant.
Day 2: Torquay to Lorne
As you continue along the Great Ocean Road, you'll encounter stunning coastal vistas at every turn, making this journey a complete dream. Stop at the Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet and visit the nearby Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch for great photo opportunities. Your next destination is the charming town of Lorne, known for its artistic community, beautiful beaches, and scenic waterfall walks. Make sure to explore the Erskine Falls before settling in for the night.
Day 3: Lorne to Apollo Bay
The road between Lorne and Apollo Bay takes you through the lush Otway Ranges, with ancient rainforests and cascading waterfalls. Don't miss visiting the Maits Rest Rainforest Walk and the iconic Twelve Apostles, one of the Great Ocean Road's most iconic landmarks. There are plenty of lookout points to take in the stunning views. Spend the night in the seaside town of Apollo Bay and enjoy fresh seafood at a local restaurant.
Day 4: Apollo Bay to Port Campbell
Continue your journey westward to Port Campbell, a small coastal village surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. Along the way, make stops at the Loch Ard Gorge and the London Arch. The Twelve Apostles is an absolute must-see, and the best time to visit is sunrise or sunset when the dramatic colours of the coastline come to life.
Day 5: Port Campbell to Warrnambool
Discover the hidden gems of the Great Ocean Road by visiting the Bay of Islands and the Bay of Martyrs. These coastal formations are less crowded but equally stunning. As you head to Warrnambool, stop at the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, an extinct volcano teeming with native wildlife.
Day 6: Warrnambool to Portland
Before you leave Warrnambool, check out Logan's Beach to spot southern right whales during the winter months. Then, drive towards Portland, Australia's oldest European settlement in Victoria. Be sure to visit the Cape Nelson State Park and the Cape Nelson Lighthouse for panoramic views of the rugged coastline.
Day 7: Portland to the South Australian Border
On your final day, drive further west towards the South Australian border. Visit the Petrified Forest and the Bridgewater Blowholes for some geological wonders. Finish your journey at the border, where you can take in the breathtaking coastal views one last time before heading back to Melbourne or continuing your adventure in South Australia.
Starting from Skratch? Here are some links to help you get started:
Fancy travelling other parts of the world by car ? Take a look at our ultimate road trip series here.