Planning on traveling along the Great Ocean Road soon? Here is what you need to know.
Not planning a trip but want to see what all the fuss is about? You can stick around and take a virtual road trip with me ☺️.
What is The Great Ocean Road?
It’s the 151mile (243km) drive between Torquay and Warambool in the Australian state of Victoria. It is known as most of the most scenic roadways in the world. It was built as a memorial to the soldiers that lost their lives in World War I.
How do you get there?
Torquay is an hour and a half drive from the Melbourne CBD. You can rent a car (what we did) or if you don’t feel comfortable driving there are also tour buses that can take along the route. If you are staying in the city and want to rent a car, there are multiple rental agencies off of Franklin Street, walking distance from many hotels.
How long does it take?
If you were to drive straight from Torquay to Warambool on the B100 (Great Ocean Road) without stopping it would take just under five hours. That being said, you will want to stop many times. We spaced it out over a day and a half but depending on what all you want to see and do you could manage it all in one day or take up several days. If you want to take a more direct route on the way back, the A1 which will cut off a couple hours (but won’t be as scenic).
What’s there to see and do anyway?
I am so glad you asked, I have included activities and other recommendations for each town on the drive. These are compiled from my personal experience, friend’s advice and other research I have done.
What to See/Do/Eat…
Torquay is known as Australia’s surf and beach capitol and is the birthplace of surf brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver.
- Grab brekky and a coffee off of the Esplanade to fuel you for the journey. I would recommend Cafe Moby– great food and perfect place for families to let their kids run around. Other top breakfast picks for the area are Scorched and The Pond Cafe
- Stock up on your beach brands at Surf City Plaza shopping center.
- Head over to iconic Bell’s Beach and watch the surfers catching an early morning wave or two.
- Visit the Surfworld Museum if you want to learn more about the sport.
- During the warmer months, snorkel around the Point Danger Marine Sanctuary.
Just a short distance down the road is the quaint beach town of Anglesea.
- Follow signs for lookouts to get the best view of the stunning beaches
- To see the views on foot, follow the signs for the Surf Coast Walk.
- Follow the 2.5km Mosaic Walk to see local art work inspired by the sea.
Next stop on the B100 is the picturesque town of Airey’s Inlet.
- Follow signs to the Split Point Lighthouse.
- There are tours you can take or you can walk around yourself and admire gorgeous views of the coastline.
- Stop for a restroom break and enjoy a truffle (or treat of your choice) at adorable Willow’s Teahouse located conveniently near the lighthouse car park.
- Check out the Blazing Saddles Horse Trails and go for a beachside ride.
- Just past Airey’s Inlet you will pass the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch, one of several monuments recognizing the soldiers along the route. Stop to check out the lookout and get your picture with this historical marker.
As you enter Lorne, you are also entering the beautiful Otway National Park.
- As you drive into Lorne, follow signs taking you to the Erskine Falls and Teddy’s Lookout. Both have walks you can do as you take in the breathtaking scenery.
- Lorne is a cute, little beach town with plenty of shops and restaurants along the esplanade to explore. Make sure and BRING CASH as I noticed many places do not accept cards.
- Grab a burger from Bottle of Milk (soooo good), or pack a picnic lunch and eat at one of the many picnic tables along the beach.
- There are also many accommodation options if you are looking for a place to spend the night along your journey.
The drive to Apollo Bay provides plenty of photo opportunities so keep your camera handy.
- Just before you reach Apollo Bay, stop at Kennet River for koala and parrot sightings.
- Explore the rain forest through hikes, zip lining or a mountain bike ride.
- Take a tour of Cape Otway Lighthouse– Australia’s oldest lighthouse.
- Stop along the road at the lookouts for breathtaking views of the hills and farmland.
Port Campbell is the perfect base to see the Twelve Apostles and the other formations. Read more about all of the formations and their locations here.
- Capture the famous limestone formations, The Twelve Apostles, at sunset.
- Driving the short distances between them, check out the other formations- Gibson Steps, Bay of Islands, London Bridge, The Grotto and Lord Ard Gorge.
- Grab dinner at Karoa– the adorable little restaurant has the perfect ambiance and a mouth watering menu.
- Spending the night? We stayed at Eastern Reef Cottages. Clean, quaint and only 1km from the center of town- the perfect place to relax after a long day of driving.
- Grab a cup of java at The Alcove Cafe (opens at 6am) and enjoy the views all around Port Campbell.
The last stop on the Great Ocean Road, we chose to turn back around at Port Campbell but here is what you can expect to see/do if you choose to go that far.
- Former bustling port town and sight of Shipwreck Coast.
- Learn about the history of the area at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village.
- Scuba dive through Shipwreck Labella or many of the other popular spots (found here).
- Whale watch (June-October) from Logan’s Beach.
Hope you enjoyed a virtual journey down the Great Ocean Road! Let me know if you have any other tips or attractions I should add.
Linking up with Travel Tuesday!