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Itinerary map here

Itinerary:
The Great Ocean Road in 9 Days

2 nights: Torquay & Anglesea for surfing history, great beaches and great little towns.
1 night: Lorne for waterfalls aplenty, unique shopping and in the right season, whale watching.
2 nights: Cape Otway & Great Otway National Park to try out the tree top walk, spend the night at one with nature and meet some incredibly cute koalas.
2 nights: Princetown & Port Campbell for the main attraction of the trip, the 12 apostles.
1 night: Port Fairy to enjoy the picturesque seascape, quaint little town and the lighthouse.



" The Great Ocean Road is one of the most iconic journeys you can make in Australia, including a visit to the stunning Twelve Apostles, beautiful rainforests, cute koalas and plenty of beaches to relax and take a break on. "


Some general information:

Head for Victoria during the Summer to guarantee great weather most of the time. Camping/caravanning/renting a motorhome is an absolute must for this trip, there are plenty of day and overnight tours organised to take you on the Great Ocean Road, but to avoid being rushed make your own way along and enjoy your time in each place.

1

Torquay & Anglesea

2 nights

Introduction:

Surfing capital of Australia and home to the famous Bells Beach, even a non surfer can appreciate the great beaches and enjoy the Surf World Museum in Torquay.

What to do:

As you turn off a roundabout suddenly it’s in front of you, a huge sign; ‘The Great Ocean Road’ and this is where one of the best journeys Australia has to offer begins. Not far along the road you reach Torquay, a great seaside town, built to represent typical English beaches, but with a lot nicer weather! Spend a day relaxing on the beach, or learning to surf in one of the country's greatest surfing regions.

The town offers plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy a great meal, as well as lots of shops, including several selling everything surf related of course. There are resorts and beach houses available if you want to stay the night, as well as a couple of different caravan parks to choose from too.

Alternatively, carry on a short distance down the road to Anglesea, another great coastal town. On the way make sure you stop off at Bell’s Beach, if you’re an avid surf fan then make sure you visit over Easter when the Ripcurl Surf Pro is held, however if you’re not too fussed I’d plan your trip for an entirely different date to avoid the thousands of tourists and surf pros alike who flock to the area!

Anglesea is a great place to stay the night as it has lots of caravan parks and beautiful cottages to rent if you’re looking for an evening of luxury. During the day however be sure to enjoy yet more beautiful beaches and another great seaside town. Anglesea is also home to Coogoorah Park, made up of lots of little islands. These wetlands are brought together by a series of walkways, to let you enjoy a peaceful walk whilst looking out for birds and wildlife. You can also take part in a bit of fishing or canoeing and for the families there is a play area and plenty of BBQ’s to cook up some delicious tucker.

Next:

Continue on the long and winding roads through beautiful coastal scenery, until you reach the beautiful beaches of Lorne. The lighthouse geek in your party will be pleased to know that there are plenty to check out along this journey, on the way from Anglesea to Lorne check out Split Point Lighthouse, where guided tours run at various times throughout the day.

2

Lorne

1 night

Introduction:

Lorne has a thriving arts community and annually hosts the Falls Music Festival, which is worth checking out if you’re in the area in December and are into indie and dance music.

What to do:

Lorne is a great place to take long relaxing walks, enjoy some chilled out time on the beach and visit the outdoor sculpture park. Qdos is a thriving arts centre and is home to several artists work, all in the great outdoors. They also offer a slightly different kind of accommodation in the form of a treehouse! At reasonable prices for the experience you’ll be getting it really is a great chance to become one with nature. There are also lots of great caravan parks in the area as well.

Lovely outdoor walks can be found along the Cumberland River, Loutit Bay and surrounding waterfalls, for the expert walkers and hikers why not try the Surf Coast Walk, totalling 66km of beautiful scenery and fresh air.

For the less keen there are lots of smaller walks you can try, some as short as 2km. Like so many of the other places on this journey there are plenty of restaurants, cafes, shops, galleries and boutiques for you to peruse throughout the day. Be sure to sample some of the fresh fish caught that day and served straight to your plate. Fishing at Lorne Pier is also popular with locals and visitors alike.

Slightly further down the road is Apollo Bay, famed for kayaking, surfing, seal and whale watching, fresh seafood, antique shops and tea shops, there’s lots to do in this small town. For the romantic ones out there why not try horseback riding on the beach at sunset, a truly unique experience. In February the annual Apollo Bay Seafood Festival is held, well worth checking out for foodies, who will also love the Saturday markets featuring fresh fruit and vegetables, artwork and locals selling their crafts.

Next:

Continue on the long and winding roads through beautiful coastal scenery, until you reach the point where the coast meets the bush and you enter Great Otway National Park.

3

Cape Otway

2 nights

Introduction:

An incredible national park filled with beautiful wildlife and flowers, Great Otway is a brilliant place to stop and spend a few days. The night sky filled with stars will really blow you away.

What to do:

The road to Cape Otway is filled with wonderful wildlife surprises, a large group of koalas live on Cape Otway road and can be easily spotted as you drive along. There are a lot of safe places to pull up along the way to allow you to get out and see these adorable marsupials up close, if you’re lucky you’ll see the mothers carrying their tiny joeys on their backs. When you arrive at the end of the road you’ll reach the Cape Otway lighthouse, built in the 1840’s you need to take a guided tour to see it up close and get a great view of the seascape from the coast.

There is so much to do in the Great Otway National Park, with plenty of great walks, waterfalls and secluded, relaxing campsites to spend the night. Some of the waterfalls include Erskine Falls, Hopetoun Falls and Hopkins Falls. Triplet Falls is a particularly nice walk through the forest, only a couple of kilometres the track goes in a big loop finishing back at the car park, where there are plenty of picnic tables to stop and have lunch at. Visit Otway Fly Treetop walk for spectacular views of the forest, once you get to the top of the 45 metre tall platform that is! The looped walk from the visitors centre is less than 2 kilometres so can be easily completed in an hour or so. For the more adventurous out there, try the Zip Line Tour, sure to provide great entertainment and a chance to see the forest in a slightly different way!

There are around 14 different campsites throughout the national park at various points along the Great Ocean Road, which you can book online, each one offering a different kind of camping experience. If you fancy hiding your tent among the sand dunes, stay at Johanna Beach, if you like the sound of waking up and hitting the lake with your canoe or kayak, stay at Lake Elizabeth. Aire River is particularly picturesque, with plenty of space, the sunset over the river and koalas living in the nearby trees. Most of the campsites are equipped with fire pits for you to cook, keep warm or toast marshmallows on an evening. Look up at the night sky and you’ll be amazed at how many stars you can see when you’re miles from the usual light pollution you find in towns and cities.

Next:

When you finally manage to tear yourself away from this beautiful area head around an hours drive down the road to Princetown, on the way you’ll pass Johanna Beach and if you haven’t spent a night camping there, then visit the beach and see the sand dunes that line the coast.

4

Princetown & Port Campbell

2 nights

Introduction:

Another great place to spot some traditional Aussie wildlife, Princetown is a brilliant place to camp for the night and Port Campbell offers plenty of coastal scenery, including the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and much more.

What to do:

For those who like to stay in the great outdoors, spend a night at Princetown campsite, with powered, unpowered sites and great facilities. The best part of this site is the hundreds of kangaroos that live in the nearby fields, once it gets dark they turn from just neighbours, to living on your doorstep as they flood into the campground. This ground also has great facilities including toilets, showers, camp kitchen and BBQ’s. Princetown is also home to a pub and general store and a wildlife park which is worth a visit too.

Perhaps the number one reason for journeying to the Great Ocean Road is to see the incredible 12 Apostles, which sit just off the Victorian coast. Before you reach the viewing platforms for the apostles you’ll come to Gibsons Steps, carved out of the cliff face and leading down to a large stretch of sand. From here you can see some of the apostles in the ocean, looming extremely tall above you. The ocean is often very rough along the coast which is how the the apostles and other rocks were formed into the shapes they are today. When you reach the apostles visitors centre there’s a large car park, cafe and several places to go and take in the amazing view. It’s a short walk from the centre to the edge of the coast where you’ll get the best views, there hasn’t been 12 apostles for several years but the few that are left still look very impressive and worthy of the entire great ocean road journey. There are other similar rock formations further along the road including Loch Ard Gorge Beach, The Arch and London Bridge, when you see each one you’ll understand where their individual names come from. To make the trip extra special there’s even the opportunity to take a helicopter ride along the coast and see the 12 Apostles from an entirely different and exciting perspective.

The town of Port Campbell is just a few kilometres from the apostles and is home to plenty of great shops, places to eat and also galleries as well. You can stock up on all the essentials in this small coastal town and enjoy a day exploring everything it has to offer. There are lots of excellent fishing opportunities at the harbour and various creeks and channels, chat to some of the locals for insider tips on where’s best to cast your line. Surfing and diving are also popular in this region, so if you haven't tried your hand at surfing elsewhere along the coast then now is the time! Hidden away under the ocean is an interesting and diverse environment, definitely worth checking out by joining a local dive tour.

For the food lovers out there be sure to check out the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail, with stops at Berry World, Apostles Whey Cheese, GORGE Chocolates and Timboon Fine Ice-cream to name just a few, this tour will be sure to satisfy foodies from all over.

Next:

Just over an hours drive is Port Fairy, on the way you’ll pass through Warrnambool, a relatively large town with plenty of facilities and amenities, as well as Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village. This brilliant tourist attraction has won award after award, so be sure to call in on your journey.

Conclusion

Taking at least 5 days to enjoy this trip and each great place along the way is highly recommended, but if you are easily attached to beautiful landscapes and the great outdoors, then maybe plan to stay for a couple of weeks! The Great Ocean Road trip can be done in so many different ways, if you’re heading there from Melbourne and are also returning to the city, then driving to the end of the road and working backwards may be a good idea. That way you can decide how long you’d like to stay in each place that you see along the way. You could also continue on the Princes Highway to South Australia and explore a different state. Also recommended would be a detour to the Grampians National Park, one of the most stunning places in Victoria.