The Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic drives in Australia, showcasing Victoria’s dramatic coastal landscape with its sheer cliffs and strange rock formations. The 243-kilometre (151 mi) stretch of road between Torquay and Allansford was built between 1919 and 1932 by soldiers back from World War I and dedicated to their fallen brethren, making the Great Ocean Road the world’s largest war memorial. 

Great Ocean Road Itinerary

Visit 4 cities and stop at some amazing places on the way!

Day 1: Melbourne

Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital, with hip bars, cool cafes, world-class restaurants, and fascinating museums filling its network of cobbled streets. Priding itself as the coffee capital of the world, any Melburnian worth their salt starts the day at one of the city’s thousands of cafes for a life-changing cup of joe. Head to the area around Flinders Street station for your caffeine fix before setting out to admire the beautiful arcades and world-class street art – there’s even a few Banksies to be found! Alternatively (or after), check out the Queen Victoria Market – the largest open market in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s been running since 1878 and you can find everything from fresh produce to boutique shops. At the end of the day, watch the sunset at the beach, or from a rooftop bar before heading to dinner at one of the city’s amazing eateries. 

Day 2: Melbourne to Torquay

After getting a coffee from one of Melbourne’s countless cool cafes (we weren’t joking about the city living for coffee), you’ll be picked up and start the 1.5-hour drive to Torquay and the Great Ocean Road. 

Oakdene Vineyards

Learn more about Australia’s booming wine scene and take a guided tasting of their excellent wines with a 60 minute visit at this converted early 20th century homestead. Of course, this is also the perfect opportunity to grab a few bottles to take with you on your trip down the Great Ocean Road. Oakdene Vineyards is also a great place to have lunch, be it at the casual cafe, or the award-winning restaurant (open Wed-Sun). 

Queenscliff

Get a 60-minute teaser of the stunning coastal landscape and historical significance of the Great Ocean Road. The quaint harbor town played a major role in Australia’s defense during both World Wars – a history preserved in the Fort Queenscliff Museum. Then, of course, there are the beautiful beaches, dotted with historical piers, that give way to rocky cliffs.

Arrival in Torquay

Immerse yourself in Australia’s surf culture at the Australian National Surfing Museum, watch riders in action at one of the famous breaks famous, or just relax on the sandy beach.

Duration: 4h 20min

Book Melbourne to Torquay

Day 3: Torquay to Apollo Bay

After getting your fill of sand, sun, and surf, your driver will meet you at your accommodation to begin your trip down the Great Ocean Road as you head from Torquay to Apollo Bay. Once you hit the Great Ocean Road proper, you’ll pass under a Memorial Arch dedicated to the World War I vets who built this scenic highway in honor of their fallen comrades. 

Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery

Take an hour to indulge your sweet tooth with some hand-crafted chocolates and homemade ice creams. If you’re traveling with kids, give them a Willy Wonka experience (in a good way) with a special junior class where they can try their hand at being a chocolatier.

Split Point Lighthouse

A 45 minute visit to this late-19th century structure is not only a great chance to take in views of the rocky Shipwreck Coast, but also a great opportunity to learn about how lighthouses operate if you join the guided tour (30-40 min). 

Erskine Falls

While the coast gets all the attention on the Great Ocean Road, people sometimes forget that the inland area is lush rainforest. At 30 meters, Erskine Falls is the tallest cascade in the region, and it’s only a 5 minute walk from the carpark through the dense canopy of trees and lush fern-filled gully!

Arrival in Apollo Bay

This sleepy fishing village is a prime destination to enjoy the natural beauty of the Otways in a laid-back setting. Relax on the white sand beach backed by green hills, go surfing, or rent a kayak to see the local seal colonies up close. Then close the day with the catch-of-the-day at one of the local cafes or restaurants.

Duration: 5 hours

Book Torquay to Apollo Bay 

Day 4: Apollo Bay to Warrnambool 

From Apollo Bay, you’ll head to Warrnambool for the last, and arguably most breathtaking, leg of the Great Ocean Road. 

Otway Fly Treetop Adventures

If the beautiful scenery and delicious food hasn’t been thrilling enough, take a 3-hour stop to experience rainforest flora and fauna from ground level to the canopy in the world’s highest treetop walk, before taking flight in an adrenaline-inducing zip line tour through the canopy.

Cape Otway Lightstation

For a dose of natural beauty and Australian history, take an hour to visit the Cape Otway Lightstation. Built in 1848, it’s the oldest and most important lighthouse in the country. Take in with fantastic views of the coast from its balcony, and then learn about everything from shipwrecks to secret WWII operations to aboriginal culture. On the walk to the lighthouse you might even spot some koalas!

12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge

The most iconic view on the Great Ocean Road, and one of the most beautiful in all Australia, the sheer white cliffs and string of sea stacks standing out from rolling waves at the 12 Apostles are a stunning sight from every angle. The nearby Loch Ard Gorge is another standout, where sheer cliffs form a bay around a sandy beach perfect for swimming, relaxing, and again, photography.

Arrival in Warrnambool

Once you’re done gawking at the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, hit the Great Ocean Road again for the home stretch to Warrnambool. A former whaling and sealing station, Warrnambool is now a favorite destination for whale watching between June and October when southern right whales come to calve and raise their newborns. The rest of the year you can still enjoy the city’s heritage buildings, beaches, gardens, and tree-lined streets. Don’t miss Flagstaff Hill, a recreated 19th century sea port built from authentic materials with interactive displays and great views!

Duration: 9 hours

Book Apollo Bay to Warrnambool

Extra Day 5: Warrnambool to Portland

While you could return from Warrnambool to Melbourne, and revisit your favorite sites along the way, traveling from Warrnambool to Portland offers the chance to get in another amazing natural sight, and visit the oldest settlement in Victoria. 

Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve

Meet Australia’s diverse indigenous wildlife in the lake-filled crater of an extinct volcano! Walk among a landscape shaped by lava and molten and have the chance to see koalas, kangaroos, emus, wallabies, and waterbirds up close. You can even sign up for a guided tour (90-120 minutes) for a more in depth explanation of the landscape, reclamation project, and the wildlife.

Arrival in Portland

Founded in 1854 as the first European settlement in Victoria, Portland is still home to over 200 19th-century buildings, many built from bluestone. The best way to experience the city’s charms is hopping on the Portland Cable Tram – a heritage system using replica or restored historic cars that stops at the major landmarks and museums. Be sure to visit the Maritime Discovery Center for its excellent exhibits on shipwrecks and Portland’s whaling history, sperm-whale skeleton, giant squid, and some of the best views in town. If you haven’t had enough coastal beauty, head to the Point Danger Gannet Colony – the only colony on the mainland.

Duration: 3h 30min

Book Warrnambool to Portland

Ready to book your Great Ocean Road Tour?

If all this talk of beautiful scenery, coastal views, and delicious food has you ready to hit the Great Ocean rough, here’s the links to book each leg, which you can customize to your liking. If you ever need help, just contact Daytrip customer service!

 

 

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