The Bare Traveller

The Ultimate Great Ocean Road Itinerary

Prepare for your road journey down Australia’s Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s most magnificent coastal routes.

In this article, I explain all you need to know about the Great Ocean Road, from the surf beaches of Bells Beach to the Twelve Apostles through Wreck Beach. 

Scenic roads, turquoise waters, golden sand beaches, renowned surf places, gigantic fern forests, and koalas are all included on the itinerary!

Great Ocean Road - 12 Apostles

Where does the Great Ocean Road Start?

The Great Ocean Road actually starts in Torquay and finishes in Allansford, south of Melbourne. However, the part between Torquay and Port Campbell is the most beautiful: more than 120 miles of pure seaside bliss.

Melbourne Airport is about 1.5 hours away from Torquay. I recommend stockpiling up on food there because stores are rare and far between along the route.

The Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach is well-known in the surfing scene. You can visit the Australian National Surfing Museum, attend a surf lesson, shop at Quiksilver and Billabong, or simply relax on the beaches before beginning your Great Ocean Road journey.

How long does it take to drive the Great Ocean Road?

I recommend you allow at least three days to really appreciate your Great Ocean Driving road vacation. 

I recommend you avoid travelling there on weekends as much as possible to avoid being stuck in traffic. I recommend you allow at least 4 or 5 days to see as much as possible.

On the Great Ocean Road, where should you camp?

I stayed at Bimbi Park camping in Cape Otway National Park for three nights. While travelling along the Excellent Ocean Road, Cape Otway is a great area to stay. 

It is the ideal site to migrate from one end of the shore to the other without covering too many kilometres because it is in the centre of nature. You could see koalas there if you’re lucky.

Great Ocean Road Drive - Campsite

Don’t worry if you don’t have any camping gear: Bimbi Park provides nights in wooden and sheet metal capsules that just require a sleeping bag and a headlamp. 

Showers and cooking facilities are shared, but if you want more freedom, you may rent a mobile home.

Day 1: Torquay to Cape Otway Aireys Inlet

After passing Torquay, your Great Ocean Driving road adventure will officially begin. From the first miles, you’ll understand why this route is so popular.

Cape Otway Victoria Australia

You might begin by stopping at Anglesea Beach, Point Roadknight, Guvvos Beach, or Urquhart Bluff, which are all beautiful beaches.

After that, you’ll arrive at Aireys Inlet and its lighthouse. From the established trails, you may enjoy the ocean, Eagle Rock, and Castle Rock. A smidgeon of the fabled Twelve Apostles.

Great Ocean Road Arch at Eastern View

Great Ocean Road Arch, Victoria Australia

The Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch is located a few kilometres past Aireys Inlet. It may appear to represent the start of the road, but it really commemorates the location of a previous toll station that was in operation from 1922 to 1936. The road is now open to traffic and charge free.

Lorne and Erskine Falls

The Erskine Falls are located in the Forest of Lorne and may be reached through a recognised route. I advise you keep going because the steps are high, and the heat can be oppressive. 

If you’re short on time, you may skip this section of the Great Ocean Road because it isn’t the most scenic.

Mt. Defiance Lookout

A car drive along the Great Ocean Road will reward you with breathtaking ocean vistas. There are several lookouts along the road where you may stop and take in the scenery.

Mount Defiance Lookout, Victoria Australia

Among these viewpoints, I recommend stopping at Mt. Defiance’s lookout. The hue of the water at this location is unique.

Kennett River

Along the Great Ocean Road, Kennett River is the greatest site to observe Australia’s famed koalas. I stopped there twice and was lucky enough to see Koala on these two occasions.

Kennett River Victoria Australia

They’re visible in the woods, seemingly unaffected by visitors or traffic noise. One of them was even dozing off on a tree limb on the side of the road! 

Seeing wild creatures is always a treat, and koalas are no exception. I simply hope they aren’t disturbed by humans and cars…

Maits Rest Rainforest

The stroll through Maits Rest’s main forest, about an hour’s drive from Kennett River, was the final stop on this first day of the Great Ocean Road road trip.

It’s a lovely and restful stroll through Great Otway National Park’s woodland. To finish the 800-meter loop, I recommend you plan on walking for 30 to 45 minutes. 

The trail runs through a grove of enormous eucalyptus trees and giant ferns, which are uncommon in this area. What a joy!

Day 2: Cape Otway to Peterborough

Castle Cove Lookout

Having left Cape Otway and heading towards Peterborough, you’ll soon come to Castle Cove’s viewpoint. It’s a lovely nook with a beach of golden sand. 

The seas take on a variety of colours in excellent weather, ranging from deep blue to dark green. Another stunning vista from the Great Ocean Road’s numerous viewpoints.

Gibson Steps and Secret Apostles

The Gibson Steps are around 50 kilometres away. With enormous cliffs separating the Great Ocean Road from the ocean, the environment varies considerably. 

The coast’s golden and orange colours contrast with the water’s blue, creating a visual feast.

Great Ocean Road Drive - Gibson Steps Victoria Australia

The Gibson Steps, located approximately 1 kilometre before the renowned Twelve Apostles, allow access to the beach through a cliff-cut stairway. 

You may go down the beach and approach the Secret Apostles, two boulders that have been eroded away from the cliff.

The Twelve Apostles

That’s it, We’ve finally reached out the main landmark: the Twelve Apostles were before me in all their glory.

Despite the crowds, this is one of the Great Ocean Road’s greatest vistas, with the Twelve Apostles on one side and the Secret Apostles on the other.

Great Ocean Road Drive - 12 Apostles Victoria Australia

A huge parking lot allows you to park, have a drink, or use the rest rooms. The access trail runs beneath the road, allowing you to reach Castle Rock in less than 10 minutes and take in the breathtaking views.

Loch Ard Gorge

The Loch Ard Gorge was named after a ship that sank in the area in 1878. Because of the numerous ships that have sunk along this stretch of the Australian coast, it is also known as the Shipwreck Coast (the Coast of Wrecks).

Loch Ard Gorge Victoria Australia

You may go down to the cove where Tom and Eva, the only two survivors of the Loch Ard shipwreck, sought sanctuary in a nearby cave while waiting for help.

Tom and Eva Lookout

The only two people who survived the Loch Ard’s sinking were Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael. 

Today, a lovely belvedere in the gorge bears their name. In the midst of the rushing seas of the Shipwreck Coast, there are still some stunning rock formations.

The Razorback

At the end of the same trail, you’ll come across a rock that lives up to its name: the Razorback. It used to be much further out to sea, but the waves are slowly eating away at it.

The Razorback Great Ocean Road Victoria Australia

This rock, like others nearby are bound to perish. The Razorback is the most magnificent of all the rocks that still exist along the Great Ocean Road in my opinion.

London Bridge, The Arch and the Grotto

On January 15, 1990, the London Bridge, a natural bridge, collapsed. While they were being rescued, two persons became stuck on this new island. To reassemble the bridge in your mind, you’ll need to utilise your imagination.

London Arch Great Ocean Road Victoria Australia

If you have time, I recommend seeing The Arch and the Grotto, which are both located close next door. These are two lovely natural arches that open up to the ocean like windows.

Day 3: Redwoods Otways, Triplet Falls and Wreck Beach

Redwoods Otways

The Cape Otway Redwoods are massive trees that may be found in the outback. They’re worth a look, even if they’re not as tall as California redwoods. 

A river runs alongside it, creating a quite and soothing atmosphere. The region looks similar to the Rotorua Redwoods in New Zealand.

The 30 kilometres of roads and pathways that lead to the Redwoods Otways take 45 minutes to drive from the Bimbi Park campground. 

Our Car vibrated a lot due to the bumps, potholes, and fallen branches on the road, but I made it there safely with our rental car.

Triplet Falls

This trek through the woods is similar to Maits Rest. It’s a well-marked loop that passes near Triplet Falls and spans a mossy and lush woodland.

An ancient timber camp may be seen from the road. Even though they are progressively corroded by rust and buried by the forest, certain tools and machinery are still visible.

For the residents of Cape Otway, the wood trade was formerly a substantial source of revenue. Some extremely huge tools and machinery were left behind when the operation ceased.

Wreck Breach

Reaching Wreck Beach will require some work (both physical and mechanical), but it will be well worth it. This is one of my favourite memories from my Great Ocean Car road trip.

Beach on the Great Ocean Road Drive, Victoria Australia

Wreck Beach is known for two anchors from ships that sank there after being deceived by the Shipwreck Coast’s rough storms. 

You may view them by walking from one end of the beach to the other. It is breathtakingly gorgeous, and the waters, despite their danger, have a wonderful hue.

Day 4: Back to Torquay from Cap Otway

I left my campground at Cape Otway on the 4th day of my Great Ocean Driving road journey to return to Torquay. I stopped at Kennett River for a second visit after lunch in Apollo Bay to observe the koalas.

And, to round off my road journey, I got the opportunity to learn to surf alongside Australians at Bells Beach.

Surf lesson at Belles Beach

While travelling, we occasionally meet lovely folks. At the Bimbi Park campground, I ran into an Australian, from Torquay.

I was invited to a private surf lesson at Bells Beach after only 15 minutes of conversation over a coffee!

A couple walking on a beach by the Great Ocean Road Drive, Victoria Australia

Before offering me an individual surf instruction, they lent me the suit and board. I was able to stand for a few seconds after so many attempt. My hosts laughed heartily as they watched me struggle. An amazing adventure!

Final Thoughts

At this point, the journey has unfortunately come to an end.

To cap off this incredible day and road journey, I stayed in Torquay for one final night before heading to Melbourne.

During my 7-month stay in Australia, the Great Ocean Road was one of the most gorgeous sites I visited. 

I hope you find this post helpful in planning your road trip across this lovely part of Australia. If you have any queries, please leave them in the comments section.

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