Whether you’re visiting or living in Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road is a perfect weekend road trip. It stretches for 243km along the South Eastern coast in Victoria, Australia, between Torquay and Allansford. The landscape reminds me of a warmer Jurassic Coast in Southern England, with dramatic land formations and pristine protected beaches. Most of the attractions are only a short walk to a nearby carpark and there are plenty of lookout points which makes them family and disabled friendly. If you’re wondering whether or not it’s possible to see the Great Ocean Road in a day, technically it is. BUT I’d definitely recommend against doing this. I felt exhausted from doing it two days, let alone one! A weekend is a good amount of time to see the 15 most epic places along the Great Ocean Road.
Bells Beach near Torquay is known for being one of Australia’s best surf beaches. It’s surrounded by huge cliff faces and it has a couple lookout points from the top so you can watch surfers catch waves.
Just after you drive past Anglesea, stop off at Fairhaven beach or park up at Aireys Inlet and take a stroll to Split Point Lighthouse.
Hidden in the small town of Lorne, there’s a beautiful 30 metre waterfall surrounded by a dense fern forest. On a hot day, take your bathing suit to swim in the pool below Erskine Falls. There’s an upper or lower lookout too.
The Great Ocean Road sign
If you’re taking a road trip along the Great Ocean Road, you have to take a photograph underneath the famous sign (pics or it didn’t happen). It made me laugh though, how I’d always seen pictures of people with the sign, but only saw the reality of it when I actually pulled up in the car. There are literally queues of people all waiting to get their photo taken! It didn’t stop me from joining them though…
Apollo Bay is a famous town along the Great Ocean Road, nestled at the foot of the Otway mountain range. It has a huge bay, harbour and marina. Stop off for a warm cup of tea along the beach.
Great Otway National Park
Great Otway National Park is made up of rainforest, seaside towns, beaches and mountains. Take a short stroll on the Maits Rest rainforest walk and visit the iconic Cape Otway Lighthouse.
Descend down 86 carved stone steps, known as Gibson Steps, to the beautiful beach below. You will be blown away at the bottom by the sight of huge stacks and 70 metre high cliffs.
The moment you’ve all been waiting for, it’s the
Twelve Eight Apostles. Only eight ginormous limestone stacks remain, closely dotted parallel to the coast. Are the Twelve Apostles the best thing to see along the Great Ocean Road? Nope (sorry, not sorry). There always seems to be a huge expectation for any tourist attraction that has huge hype around it, yet there are often better and undiscovered places. Still, the Twelve Apostles are truly breathtaking, especially at dusk.
Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge tells a story of nature and history. Many ships were pulled to the cliffs and crashed into ocean. There are different paths to explore with various land formations such as Thunder Cave.
Port Campbell is a coastal town along the Great Ocean Road, only 10 minutes from the Twelve Apostles. I stayed the night in Port Campbell Hostel. It was the perfect resting point. Check out the beach and scenic lookout over the town.
Similar to Durdle Door in Southern England, the Arch is an 8 metre high rock formation carved by powerful tides and extreme winds.
London bridge was once two conjoined arches, but one collapsed in 1990. For now, there’s only one arch left until nature erodes it to collapse once more.
The Grotto is a beautiful masterpiece. It’s enchanting, and if you have time to see it, this one is worth the effort.
Bay of Martyrs
The Bay of Martyrs was my favourite attraction out of everything that I saw along the Great Ocean Road. Although it has a dark history with many aboriginal men being killed by Europeans in this area, it is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen in Australia so far. The tides are very powerful and swimming isn’t recommend so be careful. I spent time just walking the length of the beach with my feet in the shallows. Barely anyone else was there and it was amazing. I wanted to spend a whole day there.
Bay of Islands
Near Petersborough, the Bay of Islands stretches for 30km towards Warrnambool. It’s similar to the Twelve Apostles, but there are far less people. It also has a variety of rock formations and multiple lookout points.
Pin it for later!