Welcome to your ultimate two-day Great Ocean Road itinerary, where we embark on an unforgettable journey through one of Australia’s most scenic coastal drives.
Over 48 hours, you can experience an adventure filled with breathtaking landscapes, iconic landmarks, and charming coastal towns. From the rugged beauty of the Twelve Apostles to the lush rainforests of the Great Otway National Park, we have carefully crafted a route that showcases the very best of this magnificent stretch of coastline.
Whether you love nature photography or are just seeking an unforgettable road trip experience, this itinerary promises to immerse you in the wonders of driving the Great Ocean Road.
So, fasten your seatbelts, blast out Steppenwolf’s ‘Born to Be Wild,’ and prepare to explore the magnificence of this world-renowned coastal drive!
How Long is the Great Ocean Road?
The Great Ocean Road route stretches over 240 km along the southern coast of Victoria in Australia.
The road begins in Torquay, about 100 km southwest of Melbourne, and ends near Allansford, around 275 km southwest of The Settlement.
Along the way, the scenic route winds through breathtaking coastal landscapes, charming towns, and iconic natural landmarks, making it one of the world’s most famous and beautiful coastal drives.
|Drive||Distance||Estimated Drive Time||Where to Stay|
|Melbourne to Bells Beach||105 kms (65 miles)||1 hour 26 minutes||Bells Beach|
|Bells Beach to Apollo Bay||86 kms (53 miles)||1 hour 43 minutes||Apollo Bay|
|Apollo Bay to Aireys Inlet||64 kms (40 miles)||1 hour 16 minutes||Aireys Inlet|
|Aireys Inlet to Great Otway National Park||77 kms (48 miles)||1 hour 31 minutes||Great Otway National Park|
|Great Otway National Park to Twelve Apostles||62 kms (39 miles)||53 minutes||Twelve Apostles|
|Twelve Apostles to Loch Ard Gorge||4 kms (2 miles)||4 minutes||Loch Ard Gorge|
|Loch Ard Gorge to London Arch||15 kms (9 miles)||17 minutes||London Arch|
|London Arch to Warrnambool||58 kms (36 miles)||47 minutes||Warrnambool|
How Long Does Driving the Great Ocean Road Take?
Our guide devotes two days to driving the Great Ocean Road. This timeframe will give you enough time to visit the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch, the Great Otway National Park, and some charming coastal towns along the route.
If you have more time available, extending your trip to 4 or 5 days will allow you to explore additional sights, take leisurely breaks, and immerse yourself in the region’s natural beauty. It also provides flexibility in case of unexpected weather or the desire to spend more time in specific locations.
However, if you have limited time, it’s still possible to drive the Great Ocean Road in a day, but you must prioritise the key attractions and brace yourself for a more fast-paced journey.
Ultimately, the duration and itinerary for Great Ocean Road driving depend on your travel preferences, interests, and the amount of time you have available. It’s always a good idea to plan, create a schedule, and consider the distances between each attraction to ensure you maximise your experience.
- You may want to check out our longer itinerary from Adelaide to Melbourne, which includes the Great Ocean Road
Best Time of Year to Drive the Great Ocean Road?
The best time of year to drive the Great Ocean Road is during the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). During these months, the weather is generally mild and pleasant, making outdoor activities and sightseeing comfortable. Additionally, the tourist crowds are usually smaller compared to the peak summer months.
Spring offers the advantage of blooming wildflowers and lush greenery, adding vibrant colours to the coastal landscapes. It’s also a great time to spot wildlife, including koalas and native birds. Autumn is equally beautiful, with the bonus of the changing foliage creating picturesque autumn colours along the road.
If you prefer warmer weather and don’t mind large crowds, the summer months (December to February) can also be a good time to visit. However, remember that popular attractions and accommodations may be more crowded and potentially more expensive during this time.
Winter (June to August) is the off-peak season and offers a quieter experience, but the weather can be cool and rainy. However, witnessing the rugged coastline under moody skies can be a unique and captivating experience.
Ultimately, the best time to drive the Great Ocean Road depends on various factors. But regardless of the season, a Great Ocean Road trip promises stunning coastal landscapes and iconic landmarks that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
2 Day Itinerary for a Great Ocean Road Trip
For those who want to go on a Great Ocean Road trip, here’s a brief overview of our suggested 2-day itinerary beginning from its official starting point at Torquay:
Day 1: Melbourne to Apollo Bay
- Morning: At Torquay, walk along the Torquay Foreshore and enjoy the beach. We recommend getting there early to see the sunrise.
- Mid-morning: Drive along the Great Ocean Road and stop at Bells Beach, famous for its surfing history and stunning views.
- Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local cafe or restaurant in the coastal town of Anglesea.
- Afternoon: Head on to Aireys Inlet, a charming coastal town known for its lighthouse and beautiful beaches. Afterward, continue your drive and stop at Teddy’s Lookout in Lorne for breathtaking coastline views and the St. George River.
- Late afternoon: Arrive in Apollo Bay, your destination for the day. Check into your accommodation and relax by the beach.
- Evening: Explore Apollo Bay’s shops, cafes, and restaurants for a delightful dinner experience.
Day 2: Apollo Bay to Warrnambool
- Morning: After breakfast, set out for Cape Otway National Park. Take a thrilling treetop walk or a zip line tour through the rainforest.
- Late morning: Visit the Cape Otway Lightstation, Australia’s oldest mainland lighthouse. Enjoy panoramic views of the Southern Ocean and watch for whales during the migration season.
- Lunch: Have lunch in the charming town of Port Campbell.
- Afternoon: Head to the Twelve Apostles, one of the highlights of the Great Ocean Road. Explore the various viewpoints and take in the awe-inspiring limestone stacks.
- Late afternoon: Visit Loch Ard Gorge, just a short drive from the Twelve Apostles. Walk down to the beach and learn about its dramatic shipwreck history. Stop off at London Arch just after the town of Port Campbell.
- Evening: Enjoy a meal and explore the town of Warrnambool.
Remember to check for weather conditions and road closures before your trip and have a full tank of fuel and plenty of water and snacks for the journey. This itinerary is a suggestion, and you can modify it based on your interests and available time.
However, it enables you to enjoy the stunning coastal landscapes, iconic landmarks and charming towns that the Great Ocean Road offers!
Highlights Along The Great Ocean Road
Now you have seen the overview of our Great Ocean Road Itinerary, here are more details about the main highlights of the journey.
Bells Beach is an iconic surfing destination renowned for its world-class waves and stunning natural beauty. This picturesque beach attracts surfers from around the globe, hosting the annual Rip Curl Pro surfing competition. The rugged coastline, golden sand, and dramatic cliffs create a captivating backdrop for spectators and beachgoers alike.
Aside from its surfing fame, Bells Beach offers scenic walking trails with panoramic views of the Southern Ocean. There is also plenty of space for kids to run around or for you to go on an invigorating beach walk.
Apollo Bay is a charming seaside town with a picturesque harbour and stunning beachfront. It offers visitors a perfect blend of natural beauty and coastal charm, enabling them to indulge in water-based activities like swimming, surfing and fishing.
The town’s location, not far from the Great Otway National Park, allows easy access to lush rainforests and scenic walking trails, including the famous Great Ocean Walk.
Beyond the sand, Apollo Bay’s bustling main street has cafes, restaurants and boutique shops. It also boasts a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere for tourists exploring this delightful coastal gem.
Aireys Inlet is a quaint coastal village known for its relaxed ambience, stunning scenery and iconic Split Point Lighthouse that stands proudly on the headland, providing breathtaking coastline views.
The town’s beautiful beaches, such as Sandy Gully and Sunnymead, are perfect for swimming, beach combing, walking and picnicking.
At the same time, its friendly community atmosphere, charming cafes and art galleries make it an ideal stop for those seeking a laid-back coastal experience.
Great Otway National Park
The Great Otway National Park is a must-visit destination on any Great Ocean Road trip.
A natural wonderland of diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity, the vast park covers lush rainforests, towering eucalyptus trees, and pristine coastal heathlands. Visitors can explore a network of walking trails, including the famous Great Ocean Walk, leading to stunning waterfalls like Triplet Falls and Erskine Falls. The park also has abundant wildlife, including koalas, kangaroos, and diverse bird species.
Furthermore, the rugged coastline features scenic lookouts and beautiful beaches, offering a chance to spot migrating whales during winter.
Seeing the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road drive is an awe-inspiring experience that will take your breath away.
These majestic limestone stacks rise dramatically from the Southern Ocean, creating a breathtaking spectacle of nature’s artistry. The best viewpoints allow for panoramic vistas of these iconic formations, particularly during sunrise and sunset when the golden light illuminates the cliffs and water.
The natural forces that shaped the Twelve Apostles over thousands of years make them a testament to the ever-changing beauty of the coastline.
For the ultimate experience, descend the Gibson Steps for incredible close-up views from the sandy shoreline. Witnessing these towering formations standing resilient against crashing waves is astonishing.
Loch Ard Gorge
Visiting Loch Ard Gorge is another notable destination to add to your Great Ocean Road itinerary.
Named after the shipwrecked clipper ‘Loch Ard,’ this natural wonder offers a dramatic display of towering cliffs, sparkling blue waters, and pristine beaches. The gorge’s turquoise sea contrasts with the rugged limestone formations, creating a captivating scene that will hold your attention for hours.
The intriguing story of the shipwreck in 1878 adds a sense of adventure and poignancy to the visit. After walking down to the beach and hearing the crashing waves, visitors can feel the power of nature and the timeless allure of this remarkable coastal gem.
The London Arch is another unique coastal marvel worth seeing whilst driving the Great Ocean Road.
Formerly known as London Bridge, this magnificent limestone formation stands proudly amidst the Southern Ocean, once connecting the mainland by a narrow arch.
Unfortunately, this section collapsed in 1990, resulting in the formation becoming a stand-alone arch – hence its renaming to the London Arch.
Notwithstanding, this natural wonder will leave you in awe of nature’s sculpting prowess. The surrounding cliffs and turquoise waters create an inspiring setting for photographers, travel bloggers and lovers.
Warrnambool – just past the town of Allansford, the official end of the Great Ocean Road drive – is a terrific place to conclude your journey.
A charming coastal city steeped in history and natural beauty, it offers a picturesque harbour, stunning beaches, and a bustling city centre.
Visitors can explore the Shipwreck Coast Maritime Museum to learn about the region’s maritime heritage and view relics from famous shipwrecks. They can also witness the awe-inspiring Southern Right Whales during their annual migration (June to September) at Logan’s Beach.
Elsewhere, you can stroll along the foreshore promenade, enjoy family-friendly activities at Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground, and relax on the sandy shores. Warrnambool also boasts an excellent selection of cafes and restaurants and hosts a lovely farmer’s market at Lake Pertobe on the first and third Sundays of each month.
More Tips for Driving the Great Ocean Road
- Stay in the slow lane to enable other vehicles to overtake you. Sadly, not everyone on the Great Ocean Road will be in mind for a leisurely drive. Indeed, some drivers tend to confuse it with a Formula 1 race track! Should you be tailgated, remain calm and stay within the speed limit. Regular slow lanes have been incorporated on the route for vehicles to overtake you. So be sure to stay in those lanes when you come to them.
- Pack for all weather conditions: Contrary to common perception, Australia, especially Victoria, is not always sunny. It’s not uncommon for parts of the Great Ocean Drive route to experience four seasons in a day. Subsequently, bring clothes with you suitable for all weather conditions.
- Pre-book Accommodation: The Great Ocean Road trip is very popular. Therefore, hotels and overnight accommodation providers are often booked out weeks in advance. It is advisable, thus, to book your accommodation in advance. That way, you will avoid a scenario where you desperately try to find somewhere to stay as the night closes in.
Where To Next? Epic Aussie Road Trips
After completing your Great Ocean Road trip, you may want to look at next:
- The best road trips in South Australia
- Continue the journey from Melbourne on to Adelaide, following this itinerary in reverse
- Carrying on from Adelaide, pick up the Melbourne to Perth drive across the Nullarbor
© Family Road Trip