Last updated on July 6, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road drive 

Although I travel a fair bit, I always love to take my map, get a car and do the Great Ocean Road drive itinerary at least once a year.

I will never be tired of seeing attractions like the 12 Apostles, the London Bridge or the Loch Ard Gorge.

And every time I discover new hidden gems as the Port Campbell High Viewpoint, the Childers Cove or the waterfalls of the Otway National Park.

The great thing is that you can do all of them too and probably see more Great Ocean Road attractions than a local.

You just need to rent a car, follow my map below and you will have a great time doing the Great Ocean Road drive at your own pace.

Check out also the videos below to discover even the 10 most hidden secret spots along the road.

If you are not into driving then an organised day tour may be the solution.

More reading on the Great Ocean Road

Let me give you straight away an important tip

Try to do this itinerary in reverse order, especially in summer.

Drive to Port Campbell through the quick internal road (A1), visit the London Bridge and the 12 Apostles and back to Torquay and Melbourne through the Great Ocean Road.

You will be able to visit the best places at the best time and with fewer tourists around

Main Attractions on the Great Ocean Road drive

This is a map of attractions along the Great Ocean Road drive (including the Otway Nation Park), to save or print and take with you during your trip. 

It starts in Torquay and it goes through almost 30 places to visit till the 12 Apostles, the London Arch and Childers Cove. It will keep you busy for 2-3 days or even more.

My personal favourite spots that you should not miss are:

  • London Bridge
  • Loch Ard Gorge
  • Twelve Apostles
  • Childers Cove on a sunny day, amazing beach
  • Bay of Islands
  • Wreck Beach (if you are into photography)
  • Hopetoun Falls (photography and a nice walk to the waterfall)
  • Lorne Pier for the fish restaurant
  • Split Point Lighthouse
  • Point Roadknight Beach (great family beach)
  • Anglesea Golf Club (to watch kangaroos)
  • The Torquay surf shopping centre (for amazing deals)
Map of the Great Ocean Road Self Drive
Map of the Great Ocean Road Self Drive – Click here for a Google Interactive version

You can also download the Official Great Ocean Road PDF Map from this Issuu link

How can I do the Great Ocean Road self-drive

The easiest option is by bus and organised tour (check my review before booking). You jump on the bus in Melbourne and you will be taken to the major spots.

The advantage of this solution is that you just have to follow the group you are with at any stops planned by the organiser.

The drawback is you will end up seeing only what is planned with the time decided by the driver.

If you think that the 12 Apostles is very busy, that is most probably because you will be there around 3-4pm when all the buses arrive.

The same applies to all the other places to see.

My suggestion is to have a go and organise your Great Ocean Road itinerary.

If you are in 2 of you it may cost the same as the bus option.

If you are in 3 or more people you may end up saving.

Moreover, you will enjoy your trip at your own pace, stopping whenever and wherever you want.

View of the 12 Apostles
View of the 12 Apostles

If you love photography and generally speaking travel photography, the Great Ocean Road self-drive itinerary will allow you to visit the planned attractions at the time you want, staying at the place for the time you want.

You can even organise your sunset and sunrise as you wish. In my eyes, this is the option to go.

You can rent your car in Melbourne or Adelaide and drive it back to the same city or the other one.

My recommended website to rent a car is DiscoverCars. This is a website that compares prices from over 30 rental companies. I use it wherever I travel, also because of the special deals they have

Best deal at RentalCars today

The only question mark is about your driving capability and adaptability.

In Australia, we drive on the left, the British way. If you decide to drive yourself I can give you just three suggestions

  1. never drive at night in Australia unless you are on a freeway or major city (there is plenty of wildlife, especially kangaroos which suddenly become alive at sunset time)
  2. drive following other cars. If you are alone you will be more likely to begin driving on the other side
  3. if unsure of driving in the correct lane, just stop on the side of the road and wait for cars coming. You will most likely be on the wrong side.
Pin this guide of the Great Ocean Road
Pin this guide of the Great Ocean Road

Great News. I have finished a fantastic new guide with itineraries for 1, 2, 3, 4 or more days, including also the Grampians and the Mornington Peninsula.

For each attraction, you will find a full description with a map on how to access and km to the closest town. A full map of all the destinations is also included.

And so much more information. I decided to leave it FREE for everyone, however, it would be great if you โ€œsponsorโ€ my next coffee tomorrow morning ๐Ÿ™‚ โ€“ and if you are running on a tight budget, no worries ๐Ÿ˜‰

Guide to the Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road itinerary video

I am editing a series of new videos about the Great Ocean Road. They are all brand new and I am adding them on a regular basis. 

I suggest subscribing to the channel (remember to tag the bell ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) to receive future videos.

Where does the Great Ocean Road drive start and finish

The Great Ocean Road is actually a route registered in the Australian National Heritage list.

It is a road 243km long, or 151 miles, that starts in Torquay and ends in Allansford, a small town between Port Campbell, the major village close to the London Bridge and the 12 Apostles, and Warrnambool, the biggest town in the area where you can find all you want, including the major chain superstores.

As you probably already know, the Great Ocean Road is the world’s biggest war memorial.

It was built by the returning soldiers, between 1918 and 1932, and dedicated to the many soldiers killed during WWI. 

You may want to stop at the memorial arch, between Lorne and Aireys Inlet, however, this should not be confused with the official start.

It is indeed a great place for photos ๐Ÿ˜‰

The GOR war memorial
The GOR war memorial

Can I do the Great Ocean Road drive in 1 day

The length of the Great Ocean Road itinerary is by itself 243km. You may want to skip the last 30km between the London Bridge and Allansford, which makes it around 210.

If you add also the road from either Melbourne or Adelaide you soon end up with at least 600-650km.

Yes, you can do the Great Ocean Road in 1 day but at least take an organised day tour. It will be a very tiring day by itself.

Driving all these km in one day will be a really exhausting experience.

If it is true that the road from Melbourne to Geelong (around 80km) is a straight freeway, keep in mind that the speed limit is 100kmh.

It is hard to keep an average of 50kmh on Great Ocean Road itself, very beautiful but very winding as well.

Map of the direct route from Melbourne to Port Campbell
Map of the direct route from Melbourne to Port Campbell

If your time is limited and you can spare 1 day only, I probably suggest driving from Melbourne to Port Campbell the direct way in the early hours (6am) and starting the Great Ocean Road self-drive itinerary from there.

The advantage of this solution is that you will enjoy the best part without the crowd of tourists.

Most of the buses from Melbourne do the route to Torquay, Anglesea, driving the Great Ocean Road with few stops and arriving at the 12 Apostles around 3-4pm.

Some of them will not make the London Bridge at all.

If you are in the Port Campbell area by 9am you will experience all of these major Great Ocean Road attractions with just another bunch of visitors.

Most of the viewing platforms will be empty.

Budget 2-2.5 hours in the area if you want to visit the London Bridge, The Arch, the Loch Ard Gorge, the Razorback, the Tom and Eva Point and finally the 12 Apostles.

I would personally not skip any of them, they are all beautiful and spectacular in their own way.

Again, my suggestion is to not drive your own vehicle if you want to do the Great Ocean Road in 1 day.  From time to time I have visitors from overseas and I have suggested a couple of tours:

  • The Reverse Experience: an awesome Great Ocean Road day tour that drives straight to Port Campbell and then back through the coastal road. It has the benefit of being less busy as most of the tours drive first through the coast. The van is small in size, for one day is fine.
  • The Most Awarded Tour: all of my friends were really happy with this tour, so well organised in every single detail. You may also experience the sunset at the 12 Apostles. They drive through the usual route (perfect in winter when it’s not that busy)

Special price for the Reverse Experience      Best deal for the most awarded tour    

Great Ocean Road drive 2 days

This is usually my weekend trip ๐Ÿ™‚ (sometimes more days on a long weekend). I drive the Great Ocean Road itinerary in 2 days and I look for new corners to explore and hidden gems. 

My favourite village to stop is Port Campbell. It’s a nice little town and just 15km from all of the major attractions. This means I can go to any of them either on sunset or sunrise.

The sunset at the 12 Apostles is spectacular. The last time I was even able to watch the penguins parade down at the beach (take a binocular with you).

In this case, I usually drive straight to Port Campbell as all of the top sites are almost empty in the morning.

This would be my schedule

Day 1

Drive to Port Campbell (around 2.5-3 hours). Once there you can visit, driving west:

  • The London Bridge, you can also access the beachside for a different corner and a great walk.
  • The Grotto is another place with a scenic view and a good area for kids to play around
  • Bay of Islands Coastal Park, another underestimated destination which can be, in some respects, comparable, or even better, than the 12 Apostles

and driving east:

  • The Blowhole
  • Loch Ard Gorge
  • Tom and Eva Lookout
  • The Razorback
  • Twelve Apostles

Accommodations I suggest in Port Campbell are

Click on any below to check the best deal running at the moment

Parkview Apartments    Best Western Motor Inn     South Ocean Villas  

Day 2

You can start driving to the platform view of the 12 Apostles, once again. Light is different in the morning, especially at sunrise. Then drive to Gibson Steps for a beautiful beach walk and some photos with the coast in the background.

Finally time for the drive back to Melbourne through the GOR stopping at one or more of these sites:

  • Lorne Pier: the seafood restaurant is highly suggested for lunch
  • Teddyโ€™s lookout for the beautiful view
  • Split Point Lighthouse
  • Point Roadknight beach, the safest beach on the Great Ocean Road
  • Bells Beach for the most challenging surfing, to watch or do. Torquay beach is also great for surfing and more beginners friendly
  • Torquay outlet surfing city (look for the Reef shop, they have most of the time AMAZING discounts like flip-flops for $5 and most of the stuff at $10-20, but itโ€™s about luck like many outlets)

And back to Melbourne through Geelong

The description of all the above attractions follows in this post, just keep reading ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Riding the Greeat Ocean Road is a unique experience
Riding the Great Ocean Road is a unique experience

Great Ocean Road itinerary 3 days

With 3 or more days you can have also a bit of lazy time, experiencing the best of the area.

It’s not just about viewing the top sites but also about having some lazy time at the most beautiful beaches in Australia.

You can take some surfing lessons. You can go and look for the koalas and the kangaroos, you can experience some magnificent walks in the Great Otway National Park or just enjoy some lazy hours with a beer at the pub.

My favourite villages along the coast are Anglesea and Apollo Bay and that is where I would spend the second and possibly the third night. The first night I would stay in Port Campbell.

Here are a possible itinerary and a plan of action

Pin this driving experience
Pin this driving experience

Day 1

I would start my 3 days on the Great Ocean Road drive with a similar pattern as the two days, therefore direction Port Campbell (around 2.5-3 hours). From there I would visit all the natural attractions as on the 2 days trip. From the Bay of Islands to the 12 Apostles (see above for all the details).

As I suggested previously, I would go for one of the below 3 options for my accommodation in Port Campbell.

Parkview Apartments    Best Western Motor Inn     South Ocean Villas  

Day 2

Morning start at the 12 Apostles (different light in the morning, just a short break). If you would like to have a walk then stop at the Gibson Steps, my favourite place together with the Wreck Beach (especially if you are into photography). An immaculate beach in both cases with an amazing coastal background.

For lunch, I like to stop at the Shoppe Cafe in the middle of the Great Otway NP. It is a nice little place, providing not only drinks and food but also local products and handicrafts. 

I would spend the afternoon driving to the Cape Otway Lightstation for the beautiful view and the incredible scenery. This is also the area where you will most likely see the koalas.

Next destination is Apollo Bay where I would personally stay for the night.

My suggested accommodations are:

Check out the best deals at the moment

Beeches by the Sea      Seafarers Getaway     Motel Marengo     Big 4 Cabin

The Apollo Bay beach is awesome, boards can be easily rented in town for some easy surfing and, if needed, you can also organise an inexpensive lesson.

An alternative is to spend the afternoon in the Great Otway National park. There are some beautiful walks and waterfalls, unique to Australia I would say. You can check a full map on the Parks Victoria website.

Day 3

This is the day for the drive back to Melbourne. It’s going to be an intensive, however beautiful, day. The main stops are :

  • Carisbrook Creek for the stacked rocks
  • the Koala spot before Kennet River. Unfortunately, this area had a terrible fire a few years ago and the koalas were moved. I can’t assure that this area has been currently repopulated. I spotted on my last trip koalas on the way to Cape Otway Lighthouse
  • Teddy’s lookout
  • Lorne Pier (stop here for lunch at the nice Seafood Restaurant)
  • Memorial Arch for the people that built this road
  • Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet
  • Point Roadknight Beach for a swim, probably the safest beach in the GOR
  • the kangaroos at the Anglesea Golf Club (check on my map the best side to stop)
  • the elevated viewpoint on Anglesea
  • and if the shops are still not closed have a look at the Surfing Shopping area, with some amazing deals. Look for the Reef shop, they have most of the time INCREDIBLE discounts like flip-flops for $5 and most of the stuff at $10-20, but itโ€™s about luck like many outlets

If you have the third night then I would spend it in Anglesea. In this way, you can leave more time to the beach and the town is actually quite nice. 

These are two beaches I suggest

  • Point Roadknight, very safe and beautiful too, a favourite of many families with kids staying in the area. You can also do some longboard surfing on one side of it.
  • Anglesea River beach, with a safe side towards the river for kids (there is a playground too) and a rough side facing the ocean

With the third night, you may also add a visit to Bells Beach to watch the pro and Torquay Beach, a nice town and great spot for a picnic too.

My recommended accommodations for Anglesea are:

You can also decide to spend :

  • 1 night in Port Campbell and 2 nights in Apollo Bay: I would suggest it if you are more of an active person and you want to do some surfing and visit the waterfalls in the Otway NP
  • 1 night in Port Campbell and 2 nights in Anglesea, if you like more of easy beach time, especially if you have small kids with you and walking is quite limited

I hope I was able to give an idea of how to spend your time driving the Great Ocean Road however if you need more info, please do not hesitate to leave a comment.

And now it’s time to go through all the attractions on the Great Ocean Road.

Major attractions along the Great Ocean Road drive

The Arch and the London Bridge

These are the two sites I would start the Great Ocean Road self-drive itinerary. They are both 15km west of Port Campbell and 1km from each other.

The Arch is not visible till you walk down to the bottom of the small viewing platform. This is not a site where the buses usually stop. That is because the parking is limited as well as the platform is too small in size. And that is a pity because you will miss a great site. Opposite The Arch is a never-ending cliff. Definitely a place for some amazing photos

The Arch at the start (or end) of the Great Ocean Road
The Arch at the start (or end) of the Great Ocean Road

The London Bridge is one of the most popular destinations on the Great Ocean Road. I went twice there. The first time during a cycling trip I was doing around Australia. I was there at 3:30pm and it was packed. The second time, with a self-drive, was at 9:30am and there was nobody there. The viewing platform is gigantic, which tells a lot about the number of people visiting this spot.

The London Bridge
The London Bridge

Once you arrive at the London Bridge parking area, check the view from all of the main platforms, it’s really hard to say which one is better. The only tip I can give here is to go also to the small platform on the left side (there is a small path taking you down). From there the view is completely different, from the bottom up, as you are getting closer to the beach.

The London Bridge is actually not anymore a bridge, it is nowadays the London Arch. In fact, in 1990 the London Bridge collapsed. This video here below, from 1975, shows the entire bridge, the way it used to be

Interesting that you could actually walk on it.

Tourists were there at the collapse time and a couple was lucky enough to be just past the bridge, on what is now the remaining arch. I was reading a few days ago the interview of Dave Darrington, the guy that got trapped on the arch

“We did what most tourists did, we took a photo and had a look around….she (the wife) noticed small rocks falling and said that it might fall down….I said โ€˜no, bits and pieces must fall offโ€™…it just went bang”.

A helicopter rescue mission was needed to take them off the island! This is also to say that many signals are around the area suggesting not to leave the designated path for the same exact reason, ground erosion. Up to you the decision

Port Campbell High Viewpoint

On the way to the 12 Apostles from the London Bridge, I stopped at the Port Campbell High Viewpoint.

One of the locals suggested it to me the night before.

You can also walk up from the beach.

The view of Port Campbell and the river is quite spectacular. Check the exact point on the map below

Port Campbell High Viewpoint
Port Campbell High Viewpoint

Loch Ard Gorge, the Razorback, Tom and Eva point

Loch Ard Gorge is one of my favourite spot among all of the attractions on the Great Ocean Road, probably only second to the 12 Apostles.

This is the place where I spent most of my time and I could spend even more.

This is the beauty of any self-drive itinerary, you can stop wherever you want to spend more or less time, based on your feeling

Loch Ard Gorge is one of my favourite spot on the Great Ocean Road
Loch Ard Gorge is one of my favourite spot on the Great Ocean Road

Loch Ard Gorge is named after the ship “Loch Ard” that in 1878 crashed against the nearby Muttonbird Island.

It was a ship that navigated for three months, from England and destination Melbourne. There were only 2 survivors that night. A real tragic event.

Besides the history of the place, the gorge is just grand and reminded me of the one in “The Beach”, the movie with Di Caprio in 2000.

In the film, the full bay was actually created with the computer.

Here, what you see in the photo is what you get, a grand gorge with two beaches and a beautiful green/blue water.

Loch Ard Gorge - View from the beach
Loch Ard Gorge – View from the beach

Do not be foolish to have a swim there, the sea current can be really strong and you will be in trouble in no time.

If you walk on the left side of the parking area you will see the other two attractions.

The first one is the Tom and Eva viewpoint, just 200 meters from the car.

Interesting enough, Tom and Eva are the names of the two survivors from the Loch Arch ship. The name was given only in 2009.

The two pillars were actually connected before that year making the so-called Island Archway.

Again the cliff around looks quite stable, till you read all of these little stories that tell a lot about the ground erosion

Tom and Eva viewpoint, just 200 meters from the car
Tom and Eva viewpoint, just 200 meters from the car

The last interesting attraction in the area is the Razorback. Walk past the Tom and Eva viewpoint and there is a loop with two platforms. Again an incredible view!

The Razorback viewpoint is another great location to see the beauty of this coast
The Razorback viewpoint is another great location to see the beauty of this coast

I planned to visit the Loch Ard Gorge for sunset however the sun was visible only till 45 minutes before sunset and it was covered by the cliff after that.

I will go back in winter as I suspect the sun will be perfectly aligned with the gorge.

The Razorback is better for sunrise

The 12 Apostles

I was here two years ago during a cycling trip, around 2pm. It was literally packed.

The best time, with fewer people around, is early in the morning.

However, the best light is at sunset, popular but not as much as at 2-3pm

The 12 Apostles is definitely popular between photographers, probably the most know site on the Great Ocean Road
The 12 Apostles is definitely popular among photographers, probably the most know site on the Great Ocean Road

It’s hard to describe the amazing view. I leave the photo above to talk.

How many twelve apostles are left?

This is one of the most interesting questions about the Great Ocean Road. In reality, the Apostles come and go. Of the original 12, only 7 are left, with the last one, just in front of Razorback, crashed in 2009.

However, as the old apostles go, new apostles come when the arch between two pillars collapses, as it was the case of Tom and Eva and as it will be the case, sooner or later, of the London Bridge.

The most amazing experience would be to see the collapse of one Apostle, from really far away, but the waiting time may last decades…or just minutes ๐Ÿ™‚

How did the twelve apostles form?

Erosion is the simple answer. I was lucky in most of the cases I was there. I had mostly sunny nice weather. However, this is not usually the case, especially in winter.

The southerly wind can be strong and the weather condition can be really harsh.

The Ocean, with the time, eroded the limestone of the cliffs to form caves which became arch and, after the collapse of the bridge, here they are two huge pillars (2 new Apostles)

The London Bridge is a typical example. The bridge collapsed in 1990 and once the arch will be gone than 2 new apostles will “arrive”.

The 12 Apostles in the blue hour
The 12 Apostles in the blue hour

If you desire to see the 12 Apostles from the beach, you need to drive your car for another 2 km and park at the Gibson Steps. This is an experience for my next trip

Great Otway National Park

The drive through the park is magnificent. Cycling here is a dream although it can be dangerous as the road has few potholes here and there.

There are a few interesting attractions in the Great Otway National Park. The Cape Otway Lightstation is one of them (fee applies), look also for the waterfalls (see map below).

Carisbrook Creek stacked rocks beach

The road from Apollo Bay to Lorne is probably the most scenic part of the Great Ocean Road drive.

A succession of beaches, cliffs, rock formations, majestic waves. I usually take my time and I stop for a break and a swim.

Unfortunately, in December 2015 there was a huge fire that destroyed a big part of the forest on the coast leaving a cemetery of black trees.

There was also a famous spot for koalas but not anymore as there are no more leaves. The koalas were moved to a different area.

In my last trip, I found a new attraction on this part of the Great Ocean Road. I do not think there is still a name for it.

I like to call it Carisbrook Creek stacked rocks beach. People stop here and pile rocks one of top each other building remarkable towers of stones.

Think of a wish and it may happen! There are thousands of these towers.

Carisbrook Creek stacked rocksย beach
Carisbrook Creek stacked rocks beach

The balance is temporary and I am sure that at the first big storm most of them will crash down. It’s like a dynamic art exhibition.

Lorne Pier and the Teddy’s lookout

Lorne is another nice village where you can stay for the night. The size is almost there to be called a town.

One of the top attractions to see is the long Lorne Pier. There are two reasons for that.

It’s a great spot for a walk, a dive, a photo and probably the longest pier in the area too.

If you love fishing this is the place to be, based on the number of fishermen around.

The second reason is the Pier Seafood Restaurant, a hidden European/Greek corner of the Great Ocean Road

Lorne long pier
Lorne long pier

The second place to visit in Lorne is Teddy’s lookout with its magnificent view of the windy Great Ocean Road.

And if you have some spare time then head to the Erskine Waterfalls, just a few km from the town centre of Lorne.

It’s a popular destination, I suggest this attraction first thing in the morning if you have booked your accommodation in Lorne.

Memorial Arch at Eastern View

It’s the memorial arch for all the workers that built by hand, literally, this incredible road. 

The arch is nothing to call back home about however it is the point where most of the photos are taken.

This is not, however, the official start, or finish, of the Great Ocean Road itinerary. In saying that, does it really matter where does it start or finish?

The most important thing is that we enjoy our Great Ocean Road drive!

Split Point Lighthouse

This is another nice place to visit and possibly take a coffee at the lovely cafe just before the lighthouse.

If you come from Torquay you will have here the first preview of the magical Great Ocean Road cliff.

Walk down the path to the two platforms to have the best view.

View from the Split Point Lighthouse
View from the Split Point Lighthouse

It’s a popular place and there is a good reason for that. I would add it to any Great Ocean Road itinerary and it is just 5 minutes off the main road.

Access to the area is free however access to the lighthouse has a fee and you may have to book in advance.

I never went into the lighthouse, it’s not my kind of visit. I just love the view, magical.

There are viewpoints on both the west side and the east side of the lighthouse, a part of the Great Ocean Road that bears a striking resemblance to the rugged coast of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Point Roadknight beach

Point Roadknight beach is still one of my favourite beaches on this itinerary.

This is the great advantage of the Great Ocean Road self-drive experience.

You can stop wherever you want, even if just for a quick swim.

This is a beautiful bay covered by the big ocean waves. The water is crystal clear and if you stay on the right side you still have some nice swells, mostly for longboards.

The sea current is not a big problem, however, I would never swim too much out.

This is a great place for kids too, as the water is shallow for a few hundred meters.

Body riding the small waves is great fun as they are not that powerful to feel in a washing machine but still have the energy to take your body for tens of metres

Point Roadknight beach
Point Roadknight beach

Anglesea Viewpoint

This is on the road and it can’t be missed. It’s a great viewpoint to admire, on the left, the Anglesea village and beach, and on the right the Roadknight bay.

Just behind the viewpoint, there is a more elevated point of view. You can easily walk there

If you have some spare 20 minutes drive to the Golf Club to see the big colony of Kangaroos living there. Always good fun.

Anglesea Viewpoint
Anglesea Viewpoint

Bells Beach and Torquay

Bells Beach is the mythical surfing beach where every Easter the Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival is organised.

If you are around this time of the year you should not miss it. It’s a lot of fun. The best surfers in the world are there.

There is an entrance fee, however, both times I was there I did not pay ๐Ÿ˜‰

The first time I rode my bike past the gate and I went to the beach through a secondary unsealed road.

Nobody asked me for the ticket ๐Ÿ™‚

It was my first time there and I did not even know there was a fee.

I just wanted to ride my bike as close as possible to the beach ๐Ÿ™‚

The second time the crowd was so big that they reached capacity and they open the gates.

I had to park my car so far away that by the time I was there I could get in free of charge. Quite lucky!!

Bells Beach is the place to be on the Great Ocean Road if you are in big surfing waves
Bells Beach is the place to be on the Great Ocean Road if you are in big surfing waves

Torquay is the last, or the first, village of the Great Ocean Road drive. There are two things to do in Torquay:

  • visit the surfing village where you can buy surfing clothes and gear at incredibly low prices (my favourite shop is the Reef outlet). There is also a surfing museum
  • go to the Torquay beach for a surfing lesson. The waves are nice and gentle however there is a bit of a crowd in summer. Point Danger is one of my favourite spots for windsurfing. Very popular with kitesurfers as well. You can go out on the east side and take the swell back to the beach. Definitely a good fun
Torquay Beach
Torquay Beach


Besides all of the accommodations I suggested in the 2 or 3 days itinerary, you may also have a look at the below two, especially if you decided to stay in Lorne.

My favourite in Lorne is the Lorne Hotel, the accommodation behind the pub.

It’s not noisy at night, it has kitchen facilities and it is meters away from the last beer. What can I want more

Check Availability and Price at Lorne Hotel

Lorne Hotel simple room
Lorne Hotel simple room

In Port Campbell, my favourite is still the Best Western Great Ocean Road Motor Inn.

It’s only two blocks from the beach and it has great facilities to cook in as well.

They have some special offers from time to time. The price is very competitive anyway for what you get.

Check price & availability at the Best Western

Luxury accommodations on the Great Ocean Road

If you are planning for a memorable stay and you after a luxury accommodation on the Great Ocean Road than I would personally suggest one of the below two options.

Unfortunately, there is not a wide choice in this area of Australia

The RACV Torquay Resort is probably the most famous luxury accommodation on the Great Ocean Road. It is located actually at the start of it, in Jan Juc just after Torquay. This resort has all you need for a great stay, from the swimming pool to the gym, from the beautiful view to the fantastic service and unique architecture. It is an awesome option for a few days next to the beach.

Find best price at the Torquay Resort

Luxury resort on the Great Ocean Road
Luxury RACV Torquay Resort

The Apollo Bay Guest House is the second option, better positioned to the 12 Apostles and to the waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park. The guest house has a French-inspired decor, with some units facing the sea. The breakfast will get you started, especially the homemade yoghurt ๐Ÿ™‚

Check availability at the Apollo Bay

My best tips

  • stay overnight at Port Campbell (2 days trip) and Anglesea or Apollo Bay (3 days trip)
  • start your trip from London Bridge and the 12 Apostles area
  • budget at least 2.5 hours for the area around Port Campbell (all of the cliff areas), first thing in the morning
  • stop at Carisbrook Creek stacked rocks beach for the dynamic exhibition 
  • plan a sunset at the 12 Apostles or the London Bridge
  • take a surfing lesson in this great side of the Ocean
  • rent a car and do it yourself for 2 or more days
  • take a tour for just one day, driving yourself in one day can be really exhausting

How long does it take to drive the great ocean road

The full drive is almost 300km from Melbourne to Port Campbell.

Here below the time for the actual drive, without any stop and in normal traffic condition

  • Melbourne to Torquay: 1h and 30m
  • Melbourne to Port Campbell along the coast: 4h 30m
  • Port Campbell to Melbourne inland (road M1 + A1, direct way): 3h
  • Torquay to Port Campbell: 3h
  • Lorne to Port Campbell: 2h 15m
  • Apollo Bay to Port Campbell: 1h 30m

How long are the stops at the GOR attractions

Here is usually the time I tend to spend at each leg or attraction.

This should give you a rough idea of the timing involved in the trip (together with the driving time).

Of course, the length of time is very subjective

  • Torquay Surfing Village: 1h (this really depends if you are looking for something particular. I suggest a visit to the Reef outlet, best prices if you find your size)
  • Bells Beach for few photos: 30m (counting the small drive off the main route)
  • Anglesea High viewpoint and kangaroos at the golf club: 45m
  • Point Roadknight beach: at least 1h for a swim (bypass it if the weather is not that good). Showers are available next to the cafe (sign in the middle of the beach)
  • Split Point Lighthouse: 45m without the actual visit to the inside of the lighthouse
  • Memorial Arch at Eastern View: 10m for the photo
  • Lorne Pier and Teddyโ€™s lookout: 30m for a walk and a few photos of the amazing view
  • Carisbrook Creek stacked rocks beach: 20-30m
  • Great Otway National Park: 20m for a coffee break (few cafes when you start your way down from the peak)
  • The 12 Apostles: at least 45m – 1h (parking is far away from the platforms)
  • Loch Ard Gorge, the Razorback, Tom and Eva point: all from the same parking area, 1h
  • The Arch and the London Bridge: two separate spots, 5m drive from each other. I suggest 30-45m for both
Stefano Ferro - Founder and Editor

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279 thoughts on “Great Ocean Road drive [self itinerary with map of attractions]”

  1. This is an amazing post with all the details. Can I check if the Koalas are still there at Kennett River? I’m planning to do the GOR in Dec 2020.

  2. Hi Stef,
    We’re a family of 3 from Singapore, and this is going to be our very first road trip on 3D2N GOR adventure. We will be heading to GOR from Melbourne city. Our 1st night will be at Apollo Bay and 2nd night at Port Campbell before we head back to Melbourne city on 3rd day. Can you guide me on the itinerary – reverse of yours i believe.

  3. Hi Stefano, just wanted to say Thank You for the thorough and thoughtful information. Your writing is so clear and your pictures are amazing. You seem like a really nice guy. Cheers, Li

  4. Hi there thank you so much for your priceless information and itineraries. My husband are going to follow your three day I tinerary, we do have a fourth day Iโ€™d like to find some breweries is there any you recommend along the journey. Also we going to be hiring a camper van what would suggest is the best option for places to stay the night? Safety is my priority and facilityโ€™s are a bonus. Thank you again ๐Ÿ™‚

    • No worries ๐Ÿ™‚
      There are a few organised camping areas along the GOR. These are very safe and most cases walking distance to the centre of town. Important thing: book well in advance as they are very popular, especially during school holidays.
      About the breweries, here are three that may keep you busy for a day ๐Ÿ™‚
      Sow And Piglets Brewery (on the coast)
      Prickly Moses Brewery
      Forrest Brewing Company

      Enjoy your trip!!

  5. Hi Stef-

    Thanks for all the tips on the GOR! They are quite helpful in planning a trip.

    We are planning to pick up a car in Melbourne and drive out in the morning (day 1), drive along the road all the way to Port Campbell, stay overnight in Port Campbell (night 1), then make our way back to Apollo Bay (day 2 / night 2) and finally drive back to Melbourne (day 3).

    We would like to take as much time as possible to relax, connect with nature, go hiking (the national park sounds great), go on some scenic runs, and perhaps swim a bit. Do you think this order / these overnights allow for that? Any suggestions for what sights to prioritize / which can be skipped? Keep in mind we donโ€™t have much experience driving on the left side of the road ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you!

    • Hi Maria, thanks for your feedback.
      I like your plan. The best trekking is between Port Campbell and Apollo Bay, especially in the Otway National Park. There are a few waterfalls and the amazing coast to explore on foot.
      Enjoy your trip

  6. Hey Stef,

    Thanks for being so generous with sharing your passion as well as local knowledge. I’m a photographer and I’ll only have one free weekend (26-27 Oct) to do the GOR alone. I’m not sure if a day tour is what I should go for (understanding most of them do not cater to photographers), and driving alone isn’t economical. Any suggestions?

    Loong from sunny Singapore

    • Hi Loong, thanks for your feedback.
      I must admit that one day is a very short time if you are int photography. You will probably miss the sunset/sunrise time even if you drive yourself (I would not consider driving at night, there is plenty of wildlife around).

      The day tour will give a good view of the place, however it will not be ideal for photography as most of the buses arrive at the same time. Try at least to get the reverse experience. This will minimise the number of people around.

      I hope I was able to help

  7. Hi Stef ,
    We are a family from Singapore and traveling with 4 adults and 1 5 yr old grandson. We will be at Melbourne for 16 days starting from 13-12 to 28-12 . We are planning a self driving tour that cover Ballarat or Grampians, GOR , visit wineries , farm stay , puff billy train ride and Phillip Island, . We would like to it easy and no stress and rush since we travel with my grandson. We plan to drive for 8 days and 7 nights and return to Melbourne on 22-12 . Stay in the city until 28-12 before heading off . What is your suggestion for stopover and place to overnight ? We are in dilemma if we shd do the reverse order or normal route keeping in mind the school holiday season .


    • Hi Mumtaj,
      if you are driving around before Christmas makes things so much easier as you will be out of the city before the school holidays start. Great choice.
      The order you do it is not so important in mid-December. I would say either way

  8. Hi Stef, great site and amazingly generous approach to sharing what you know.

    My wife and have the very good fortune of having 10 days planned to explore the GOR (coming down from Brisbane). Having read through the many posts I hoping you could suggest the best place to base ourselves if we donโ€™t want to continually be on the move (either 1 town or two) . Reading your site and the various posts it sounds like maybe Port Campbell and then Apollo Bay could be possibilities? Open to any suggestions you might have including something different to what we are thinking

    Thanks again for your hospitality


    • Hi Adrian,
      thanks for your feedback ๐Ÿ™‚
      They are both great towns to be based on. My preference goes to Port Campbell because it’s next to the major attractions, perfect for early or late photography. It has a nice beach and a cool town feeling.
      Apollo Bay has the great benefit to be next to the Otway National Park (in case you are interested in walks and exploring waterfalls) and it’s a better spot for surfing, with easy waves for everyone.
      Splitting the stay between the two is a great idea.
      If you are travelling with small kids you may also want to check a stay in Anglesea instead of Apollo Bay. The Point Roadknight Beach is amazing, shallow and beautiful with plenty of sand to play.
      Enjoy your trip. It will be awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Sorry I forgot to mention we have done the Road to Hana in Maui a year ago and I’m just wondering if it will kind of be the same views, so something that can be skipped.

    • Hi Nicole, I would personally not suggest the trip. Only driving is 5-6 hours. You would end up with plenty of stress just to take a few pictures, also quickly. Moreover, in case of any unforeseen delay, you may end up missing the boat.

      Another time, I am sure you will be back ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Hi! I was wondering if just doing the sights around Port Campbell was worth it driving to and from Melbourne? My husband and I are planning a cruise and we are arriving the day before our cruise leaves. We arrive at 11am and plan on visiting Ballarat Wildlife Center and then drive back to Melbourne. The next day I was thinking of getting up early and driving out to Port Campbell, do the sights in that area and then head back to be on the cruise ship around 3pm. Is the GOR something that just cannot be missed? Don’t know if we will ever make it back to Australia…


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