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22 Best Stops on the Great Ocean Road Drive, Australia (+Map & Tips)

22 Best Stops on the Great Ocean Road Drive, Australia (+Map & Tips)

Planning on visiting the famous Great Ocean Road in Australia and wondering what are the best places to visit along the way? In this guide, we share the best stops on the Great Ocean Road and a map of the Great Ocean Road drive from Melbourne, as well as tips for your visit. Find out!

Great Ocean Road (GOR) in Southern Victoria is one of the most impressive coastal destinations in Australia. It’s also one of the most beautiful scenic roads in the world!

Stretching for 243 km (150 miles) between Torquay to Warrnambool, the Great Ocean Road has a lot to offer: rugged cliffs, beautiful rock formations, scenic viewpoints, stunning beaches, but also charming little towns, wild surf, and wildlife…

With so many amazing places along the Great Ocean Road, it might be overwhelming to decide where to stop and what to see. Especially if you only have very little time and are doing the drive from Melbourne as a day trip.

In this article, you can find all the best stops on the Great Ocean Road (+ map), starting with Torquay (the first stop when driving from Melbourne) and going westwards. At the bottom of the article, you can find our tips on how to best visit the Great Ocean Road, depending on how much time you have.

For each recommended stop, we also include advice on why visit, what to see, and how much time you need. We also share tips and some lesser-known suggestions by a local who’s visited the Great Ocean Road countless times, as well as recommendations based on our personal experience on a self-drive Great Ocean Road tour.

In addition, we indicate which of the Great Ocean Road stops are MUST-SEE. That way, you know what to focus on if you are doing the Great Ocean Road drive from Melbourne and only have limited time. Find out!

Great Ocean Road coastal landscape
Great Ocean Road coastal landscape at Bay of Islands
 

To help you plan your time, we also indicated which stops are NICE TO SEE, which ones are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and which ones are MUST-SEE and are really not to be missed.

PLANNING TIP:

  • Day trip from Melbourne: If you only have a day for the Great Ocean Road and are driving from Melbourne, concentrate on the stops that we indicated as ‘must-see’ and add a few of the ‘highly recommended’ stops. Or simply take an organized tour. We recommend this highly-rated tour as one of the best ways to see the Great Ocean Road in just a day.
  • 1 full day: If you have an entire day for the Great Oceand Road (without driving from/to Melbourne), in addition to the must-see’s, visit the places that we indicate as ‘highly recommended’ as well.
  • 2-3 days: With several days on the Great Ocean Road, you should be able to visit most of the stops indicated in our guide below.

We also created a map indicating all the best places to visit on the Great Ocean Road and some useful tips for each stop along the GOR.

Good to know: Our map below indicates all the best stops on the Great Ocean Road mentioned in this article. Places indicated in purple are the must-sees, red – highly recommended places, and orange – places that are nice to see if you have several days in the area.

Take a look!

How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the left top corner for the index. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu button, and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’.

 
Great Ocean Road Australia
 

These are the best stops along the Great Ocean Road (listed in order of the way you pass them if driving from Melbourne):

1. Torquay

NICE TO SEE. You could spend an hour here or a few days.

Torquay is the first recommended stop if you are driving to the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne (about 100 km, 1h20 drive from the city). It’s a popular vacation town and has become increasingly busy with young families moving into the area in recent years. You could easily spend a few days here, but it’s not a must if you only have a day for the GOR.

Torquay is a lovely seaside town with nice beaches, good shopping and dining, and it’s also a very popular surf spot. In fact, Torquay is considered to be the birthplace of Australian surfing and the town is home to some of the biggest surf brands in Victoria, including Rip Curl and Billabong.

If you want to learn more about surfing, check out the Australian National Surfing Museum. In town, you’ll also find surf brand outlets, but they tend to be quite busy and can take up too much of your time. And this is also one of the best places on the Great Ocean Road where you can take a surfing lesson (even if you only have a few hours).

If surfing is not for you, there are some incredible local restaurants with fresh seafood and produce. Wander along The Esplanade in Torquay, check out the beautiful Sundial, and discover cafés and modern restaurants. With more time, you could also venture out to some of the family-owned wineries or breweries in the greater area of Torquay.

TIP: If you only have a day and decide to drive the Great Ocean Road starting in Warrnambool and back towards Melbourne, you could stop here for dinner on your way back to the city. Fishos Torquay on The Esplanade serves some of the best fresh seafood in town.

Torquay Australia
Torquay
 

2. Bells Beach

NICE TO SEE. You could just make a quick photo stop at a lookout. It can be a nice place to stretch your legs after a long drive.

South of Torquay is Australia’s most popular surf beach, Bells Beach. It hosts the annual Rip Curl Pro surf contest each Easter. You may have also heard of Bells Beach in the original Point Break film.

If you decide to surf at Bells or any of the nearby surf breaks, ensure to understand the rip tides before you get in the water. Bells can be deceptive with swell increasing over the reef. Also, be aware of peak seasons and busy crowds when surfing.

The nearby area of Jan Juc also hosts a handful of world-renowned surf breaks, popular with both locals and visiting tourists.

Good to know: The drive to Bells from Torquay takes just 10 minutes. If you are only driving the Great Ocean Drive in a day or two, this is not a musts stop (or you can just stop for a picture). Otherwise, you could easily spend a couple of hours here if you go surfing.

Bells Beach Australia
Bells Beach
 

3. Anglesea

NICE TO SEE. Good place for a coffee stop and – potentially – to see kangaroos.

My third recommended stop along the spectacular coastline of the Great Ocean Drive is the fishing town of Anglesea. This seaside town is not usually a standout on Great Ocean Road guides, but it’s one of my personal favorites.

Anglesea has a lovely family atmosphere and is a perfect place for a food refuel when driving from Melbourne (it’s 1 hour 30 from Melbourne, via Torquay). In fact, some GOR tours (like this one) also stop here for a morning coffee.

The most notable attractions in Anglesea are the kangaroos at the Anglesea Golf Club. They even host tours to see the Eastern Grey Kangaroo who have inhabited this area for thousands of years. These tours take just half an hour and run daily during peak season, but if you want to do it, book in advance. Using motorized tour carts, volunteers of the golf club take you to see kangaroos while also sharing information on the kangaroo’s habits needs, and welfare.

If you have more time in this area and want to experience the Great Ocean Road as locals do, you could also opt for a surfing lesson.

Good to know: Be aware of busyness in peak periods for car parking in the main street of Anglesea. If you are just stopping here for a coffee, 4 Kings Coffee & Food is a good place in the center of town.

Kangaroos at Anglesea Golf Club
Kangaroos at the Anglesea Golf Club
 

4. Aireys Inlet

NICE TO SEE. You can stop for a short walk at the lighthouse (15-20 min).

Aireys Inlet is a popular holiday destination for families over the Australian summer and it’s easy to see why. Aireys (1 hour 45 from Melbourne) and the nearby small communities of Moggs Creek, Eastern View, and Fairhaven all have accessibility to the wide-open beaches, with most holiday homes perched up on the hill facing the beach with stunning views.  

Stop here to take the Lighthouse Precinct Walk (15min), or take a guided tour to the Split Point Lighthouse (30min) and discover the historic buildings and wild maritime stories of the area.

There are also some quality cafes in ‘Aireys’. If you need a coffee stop, a fresh produce stock-up, or a takeaway lunch, I recommend the Aireys Inlet Foodstore and Café for the best coffee and food.

TIP: Drive slowly in these areas as there are a lot of families and kids crossing the Great Ocean Road to access the beach.

Split Point Lighthouse Aireys Inlet
Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet
Coastline at Aireys Inlet
Coastline at Aireys Inlet
 

5. Memorial Arch at Eastern View

MUST SEE. 2-minute photo stop.

Memorial Arch at Eastern View is a wooden arch that commemorates the WWI soldiers who built Great Ocean Road. This simple arch has a sign indicating ‘Great Ocean Road’, there’s also a statue to the people who built this road, and a few informational panels.

Many people consider this as a must-see photo stop at the start of the Great Ocean Road and we recommend it as well. It’s a quick photo stop that takes just a few minutes, so even if you are only visiting the GOR for a day, be sure to stop here for a picture.

Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch at Eastern View
Memorial Arch at Eastern View
 

6. Lorne

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, definitely if you have more than 1 day on the GOR.

Lorne (2 hours drive from Melbourne) is one of the busiest beach towns along the coast. It’s a very popular place for a longer vacation on the Great Ocean Road, but also a good town to stay for those who do the Great Ocean Road drive in two days.

Lorne is a perfect vacation destination on the Great Ocean Road. It’s ideal for those who like to spend some time on the beach (long walks, swimming, surfing), but also for boutique shopping, and great food and coffee. It also has lots of fine dining options and a big range of accommodations, although it tends to be pricier than other smaller towns on the GOR.

Strolling down the main street (30 min with minimal stops) will take you to many cafes and restaurants, and there are plenty of kid-friendly options including playgrounds and the calm beachfront. If you’re looking for a nice place to eat in Lorne, IPSOS restaurant has fresh, delicious Greek food.

TIP: Lorne is known as home to cockatoos, and you’ll likely see plenty of them even if you only stop for a quick visit. If you head down the pier to the right of the bay (20 min stroll from the main street), you may even spot a seal or two!

Good to know: Lorne is located pretty much in the middle of the Great Ocean Road. It’s, therefore, one of the best areas to stay if you are driving this road in 2-3 days. We stayed in Lorne (Cumberland Resort) for 2 nights on our 5-week Australia road trip and it was an excellent choice. Staying here allowed us to explore the Great Ocean Road a bit deeper than just by rushing through all the sites in a day.

Cockatoo in Lorne on the Great Ocean Road Australia
Cockatoo in Lorne
Lorne beach Australia
Lorne beach
 

7. Erskine Falls

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Count 1 hour for a detour from the main road including a walk to the bottom of the falls.

Erskine Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park. It takes just 15 minutes to drive from Lorne to get to these popular falls on the Great Ocean Road.

Erskine Falls is a spectacular 30-meter high waterfall set amongst a lush forest. There is a lookout just a short walk from the car parking, but for the best view, be sure to take the staircase all the way to the bottom of the falls. If you do both, count about half an hour for a visit here. Keep in mind that there are about 250 stairs to tackle each way.

TIP: If you’re a hiker and have plenty of time in the area, you could also hike here from Lorne town; about 8 km, 3 hours one way.

Erskine Falls
Erskine Falls
 

8. Teddy’s Lookout

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Photo stop; count 10-20 minutes.

Teddy’s lookout just south of Lorne town provides a beautiful view over the winding Great Ocean Road and the coastline. Because it’s located up the hill, you get a different perspective here than from most other places along the coast.

To get to the viewpoint, you’ll have to take a small detour from the main road, but it only takes a few minutes and the lookout is very close to the car parking.

With more time, you could also do more hiking here – there are trails leading to different lookouts, providing closer views of the beautiful coastal landscape. There are also picnic tables here.

Teddy’s Lookout Australia
Teddy’s Lookout
 

9. Kennet River Koala Walk

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Count at least 30 minutes.

Kennet River is another popular stop on the Great Ocean Road. It’s located just next to the main road, about half an hour drive Lorne, and is one of the best places to see wild koalas and colorful birds. It’s also a popular vacation spot for camping, surfing, and walking.

If you are interested in spotting wild koalas at Kennet River, you can walk or drive on the Grey River Road (aka Kennet River Koala Walk). This is a dirt road lined with eucalyptus trees and a great place to spot koalas in their natural habitat. Often, you can see lots of colorful birds and a few koalas at the start of the road (park your car at Kafe Koala), without having to walk or drive much further.

TIP: Kennet River Famly Caravan Park is a lovely holiday spot, located opposite the beach, and featuring beautiful and well-equipped air-conditioned cabins. It’s a great base for exploring the area, but it’s also a good place to spend a night if driving the Great Ocean Road in 2 days. Just be sure to book ahead if you are interested in staying here, especially in peak season!

LEARN MORE: Kennet River Koala Walk – where & how to see wild koalas

Koala at the Kennet River Kola Walk along the Great Ocean Road in Australia
You can usually see lots of koalas at the Kennet River Kola Walk
 

10. Apollo Bay

NICE TO SEE. Good place for lunch on a day trip on the Great Ocean Road.

Apollo Bay is another lovely town to stop in for lunch, for a night, or even spend a longer vacation more. 

The town of Apollo Bay draws busy crowds over summer, but it is noticeably less busy than places like Lorne, due to the further distance from Melbourne. If you are heading this far (2 hours 40 from Melbourne, inland), Apollo Bay is an ideal alternative place to stay for a summer holiday on the Great Ocean Road.

If you’re a wildlife lover, stop at Lake Elizabeth or take a canoe tour to spot the local Platypus early in the day, but you need 3- 4 hours for the entire experience. With more time, you can choose from the calm beaches to the wilder surf spots at the edge of town.

But if you are just sightseeing, Apollo Bay is usually not more than a quick stop for lunch or coffee. In fact, many organized tours stop here for lunch giving you some time to explore the town as well.

TIP: Just outside of town, visit the hilltop viewpoint Marriner’s Lookout for outstanding views of Apollo Bay and the southern ocean. The drive into Apollo Bay also has also incredible beach views, and if you have time it’s worth stopping for photos or a short walk along the coast.

Apollo Bay, Great Ocean Road Australia
Apollo Bay
 

11. Maits Rest Rainforest Walk

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Easy 30 minutes walk.

For a change of scenery from all the coastal stops along the Great Ocean Road, we highly recommend a short stop at Maits Rest Rainforest Walk.

This part of the road goes more inland, through the rainforest of the Great Otway National Park, and Maits Rest is one of the easiest-accessible places where you can take a walk through the lush rainforest.

The area is well maintained and there’s a boardwalk that makes it easy to explore the forest. The loop trail is less than 1 km long and only takes about 30-minutes, but it gives you so many amazing photo opportunities. Along the way, there are some informational panels and you can learn more about the interesting rainforest habitat. Well worth a short stop!

Maits Rest Rainforest Walk
Maits Rest Rainforest Walk
 

12. Cape Otway Lightstation

NICE TO SEE. 1-2 hrs.

Cape Otway requires a short detour from the Great Ocean Road (about 15 minutes drive off the main road), so most day visitors don’t come here. But if you have at least two days along the coast, this is one of the stops to consider.

Cape Otway Lightstation is a nice area where you can enjoy beautiful coastal landscapes and visit Australia’s oldest surviving lighthouse ‘Beacon of Hope’ built in 1848. This is the southernmost point of the Great Ocean Road, with the lighthouse towering 90 meters on the cliffs above the ocean, offering beautiful views.

You can opt for a tower climb tour (but you’ll have to time your visit accordingly), or simply walk around the area and enjoy the scenery. In addition to the lighthouse, there’s also a WWII radar bunker and several other interesting sites including ‘Trace the Ancestors’ walk at Aboriginal Cultural Site.

This is also a good area to see koalas in the wild.

TIP: If you are looking for a unique place to stay on the Great Ocean Road, there are several lodges at Cape Otway Lightstation. You can check the availability here.

Cape Otway Lighthstation
Cape Otway Lightstation
Koalas at Cape Otway
Koalas at Cape Otway
 

13. Johanna Beach

NICE TO SEE. Only if you have several days in the area.

Johanna Beach is predominantly a surf destination, and not really suitable for swimming. But it’s also just a really beautiful beach, for a photo stop or a longer walk.

The beach is located a bit off the Great Ocean Road, about 10 minutes drive one way. There are hardly any facilities here (just a very basic campground) and the beach isn’t widely known, so it’s usually very quiet. But if you love pristine nature, it’s a great place to visit!

If you’re not a surfer, there are hiking options like the Johanna to Castle Cove hike, which takes up to 2.5 hours.  Just keep an eye on tide times, to avoid getting stranded on the beach.

Johanna Beach, Great Ocean Road Australia
Johanna Beach
 

14. Twelve Apostles

MUST SEE. Count half an hour for a visit to the viewpoint, taking pictures, etc.

The most iconic image of the Great Ocean Road, Twelve Apostles is one place that you absolutely must see when touring the area.

Located in the heart of Port Campbell National Park, 12 Apostles is the most popular stop on the Great Ocean Road. Despite the name, there have never never been 12 rocks here, but 8. Nowadays only 7 of them are still standing (one collapsed in 2005), and there are some more rock formations located west in the national park.

This group of stunning limestone rock stacks just off the shore is the most photographed spot in southern Australia. And no matter when you visit, it’s picture-perfect indeed. These rocks surrounded by the wild ocean, provide gorgeous colors and ever-changing scenery at different times of the day. 

Good to know: There are always busloads of crowds here, especially during the day. If you’d like to visit with fewer people (and have better light for photography), come here very early in the morning or at sunset. Sunset offers the nice light, sunrise – beautiful light and hardly any people.

TIP: If you have more time, you can also walk down to the beach (best at low tide). For that, take Gibson Steps south of the Twelve Apostles lookout. There’s a small car parking at the steps, or you can walk here from the larger car parking at the main viewpoint.

Twelve Apostles - the most popular stop on the Great Ocean Road in Australia
Twelve Apostles – the most popular stop on the Great Ocean Road
Twelve Apostles viewpoint on the Great Ocean Road in Australia
Twelve Apostles – view in the direction of Gibson Steps and the beach you can assess there
 

15. Loch Ard Gorge

MUST SEE. Count at least half an hour for a visit.

Just a few minutes drive from twelve Apostles, you will find another incredibly beautiful coastal landscape at Loch Ard Gorge. It’s another of the ‘must’ stops on the Great Ocean Road.

It’s also part of the Port Campbell National Park, but the scenery here is quite different. In addition to smaller rock stacks, here you’ll find a small inlet and sand beach surrounded by tall limestone cliffs all around it. It looks quite similar to some of the most beautiful beaches in Algarve (Portugal).

Interesting to know: Loch Ard Gorge gets its name from the Loch Ard that crashed into Mutton Bird Island here in 1878. It’s the most famous shipwreck on the Shipwreck Coast and was the talk of the entire English-speaking world at that time, mainly because two people (Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael) survived it. Their shipmates are buried at a small cemetery here.

You can get some amazing photos at Loch Ard Gorge from the main viewing platform or walk down on the beach. In season – you can also go swimming here (although it’s not recommended since currents can be very strong). There are also walking trails with several other lookouts and informational panels where you can learn more about the area.

Loch Ard Gorge beach is one of the few places in this part of the Great Ocean Road where you are able to access the beach and actually put your feet in the water. The coastline here is breathtaking, but the beaches are hardly ever crowded (most people only stop here for a picture and don’t have much time). Even if you only have limited time, you’ll be happy you made the walk down!

Loch Ard Gorge - one of the best stops of Great Ocean Road in Australia
Loch Ard Gorge
Scenery at Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Road
The scenery at Loch Ard Gorge
 

16. Port Campbell

NICE TO SEE. This is the best place to stay in if you want to visit the most popular places on the Great Ocean Road without the crowds of day visitors.

Port Campbell is a beautiful seaside town with a lovely little beach. A central summer beach town, which draws many locals from surrounding areas as well as day tourists visiting the nearby Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch, The Grotto, and Bay of Martyrs.

It’s a friendly and relaxed town and a nice place to rest when driving between the most popular tourist attractions of the Great Ocean Road. You’ll find many local cafes, boutiques, and restaurants in the main street of Port Campbell (20 min stroll).

TIP: If you want to visit the most popular sights of the Great Ocean Road early morning or late in the evening, consider staying here. There are quite some good accommodation options in town and a few more in the surrounding areas. Check out Sea Foam Villas – one of the most popular and highly-rated places to stay in Port Campbell. 

Port Campbell National Park Australia
The coastline of Port Campbell National Park
 

17. London Bridge

MUST SEE. Short photo stop.

London Bridge (aka London Arch since its collapse in 1990) is another must-see place on the Great Ocean Road. It’s a natural arch shaped by erosion and a powerful ocean, that used to be connected to the mainland via a natural ‘bridge’ that had two arches and looked like a stone bridge indeed.

In the past, you could even walk on it, and then, one day London Bridge has fallen down. In fact, two tourists got stranded here when the bridge collapsed and had to be rescued by a helicopter. Nowadays, you can see the arch from a lookout.

It’s a popular stop on the Great Ocean Drive and is usually quite busy. But you only need a few minutes if you are stopping here for a photo. For best photos and less people, visit the London Arch early in the day or later in the afternoon.

TIP: At dusk, you can sometimes spot Little Penguins that come to the protected beach below the lookout. In the winter months, you might also be able to see Humpback whales from the shore.

London Bridge, Great Ocean Road
London Bridge
Coastal scenery at London Bridge on Great Ocean Road Australia
Coastal scenery at London Bridge
 

18. The Grotto

MUST SEE. 30-60 minutes.

The Grotto is another incredible rock formation and probably one of the most interesting sights on the Great Ocean Road. This blowhole/archway/cave offers lovely sea views, and you’ll have many picturesque photo opportunities as you walk to it.

A short stroll takes you to the viewing platform (wheelchair accessible) from where you can see the Grotto. But for the best view, be sure to also take a stairway down to it.

Keep in mind that you aren’t allowed to walk in the grotto itself. Stay safe and be respectful – too many people seem to ignore the signs (or common sense) here.

TIP: Visit The Grotto at sunset or sunrise in summer for the golden pink colors reflecting on the inside rock pools.

Stairs to the Grotto on the Great Ocean Road
Stairs to the Grotto
The Grotto - one of the best places on the Great Ocean Road
The Grotto
 

19. Peterborough Beach

NICE TO SEE. Photo stop at the beach.

Peterborough is an even quieter seaside town with a stunning beach. It’s often overlooked by tourists driving the Great Ocean Road, simply because there is usually not enough time for all the beautiful stops. But if you have a few minutes to spare, Peterborough Beach is worth a quick stop with hardly any people around.

In addition, there’s a beautiful golf course on the coastline and an antique store in town.

Peterborough isn’t too fancy but it makes for a nice weekend getaway in Victoria. The drawcard in this town is the low key vibe and untouched, gorgeous stretch of beach. This is also a good starting point for exploring the Great Ocean Road coast since the nicest areas are just nearby.

Peterborough Beach, Great Ocean Road Australia
Peterborough Beach
 

20. Bay of Martyrs

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. 10-20 minutes.

The Bay of Martyrs is a 2.5 kilometers long bay, which encompasses two smaller bays; Massacre Bay and Crofts Bay. It’s part of the Bay of Islands Coastal Park.

The views at the Bay of Martyrs are incredible, showcasing huge cliffs of rocks and shimmering beaches. This area is a lot more rugged and vast than the more popular stops of the Great Ocean Road. There are usually hardly any tourists on this stretch of coastline and that makes it even more enjoyable.

This is also a great place to see various birds.

Interesting to know: The name of this area comes from a violent encounter between European settlers and local Aboriginal tribes around 1840. Massacre Bay is where the settlers are believed to have pushed a big group of Aboriginals down the cliffs, and this is just part of this cruel story…

Bay of Martyrs on the Great Ocean Road Australia
Bay of Martyrs
 

21. Bay of Islands

MUST SEE. 15-30 minutes.

Part of Bay of Islands Coastal Park, Bay of Islands is another really nice photo stop on the far western end of the Great Ocean Road. This is also one of the few places along the Great Ocean Road where dogs are allowed (on a leash).

There’s a small car parking here and a few tracks on top of the cliffs from where you can enjoy stunning views of the rugged coastline.

A bigger car parking further west offers easy access to the Bay of Islands Beach.

Bay of Islands, Great Ocean Road
Bay of Islands
 

22. Warrnambool

NICE TO SEE. You can spend a few hours here or a few days.

The last stop on the Great Ocean Road is Warrnambool. It’s about 3 hours drive from Melbourne if taking the inland road.

This is a big seaside town with 30,000 residents, lots of schools, major chain stores, cafes, pubs, and markets. There are also a few big holiday parks here that are super popular with the locals, especially in summer, with kids on bikes, BBQs, etc. And, of course, there are plenty of hotels and vacation rentals in this popular seaside town.

One of the must-sees is the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, a sort of an open-air museum that gives you a good idea of what life used to be here before. If you are traveling on the Great Ocean Road with kids, don’t miss it!

The foreshore carnival, markets, and summertime activities make Warrnambool a popular family-friendly destination right next to the Great Ocean Road. In addition, there’s fishing, spas and wellness, mini-golf, and various tours of the surrounding area.

TIP: If you have half a day to spare, consider the Shipwreck Coast Tour, which takes you to the most stunning secret places along the beautiful coastline where the locals go, without the crowds of the Great Ocean Road.

If you’re visiting the Great Ocean Road in winter (+-June to September), head to Logans Beach Whale Watching Platform. It has the perfect vantage point from where you can see huge whales jumping and blowing water as they migrate to this warmer area from Antarctica.

Childers Cove and beautiful coast near Warrnambool Australia
Beautiful coast near Warrnambool that’s best visited with local guides
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in Warrnambool Australia
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in Warrnambool
 

Practical info & tips for driving the Great Ocean Road

How much time do you need?

Driving the Great Ocean Road takes just 4 hours (without stops) and most tourists just visit here with a day tour from Melbourne. But to really appreciate the scenery and the sights, you should plan 2-3 days for a self-drive trip on the Great Ocean Road. Add a few days extra if you also want to surf, swim, and enjoy the beaches.

Can you see the best places of the Great Ocean Road on a day trip from Melbourne?

While it’s a long drive, it’s definitely possible to see the best sights of the Great Ocean Road on a day trip from Melbourne. In that case, we recommend heading straight to Port Campbell National Park and making the drive along the coast starting from there.

That way you start with the ‘musts’ (the 12 Apostles, The Grotto, Loch Ard Gorge, and London Bridge,..) and can – time permitting – add a few extra stops along the coast when you drive back to Melbourne.

Which direction is best?

Most tours and day tourists drive the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne westwards and then take the A1 road back. If you want to avoid the biggest crowds, do the trip in the other direction as described above (start around Port Campbell and drive towards Melbourne). Just be sure to start very early in the morning!

There’s also an organized tour from Melbourne that does this (driving in the opposite direction). So if you are visiting Melbourne and plan on taking a day tour of the Great Ocean Road, it might be worth looking into this tour over the others. It’s a long day on the bus, but at least you can rest while someone else does all the driving.

TIP: If you have one full day for the Great Ocean Road, ideally, you would spend a night in the Peterborough area and then do the GOR drive starting from there. That way, you could be at the most popular places along the Great Ocean Road long before the big crowds arrive.

Great Ocean Road scenery in Southern Australia
Great Ocean Road scenery at Bay of Islands
 

Best Great Ocean Road tours

There are lots of Great Ocean Road tours. Most of them depart from Melbourne and visit the main landmarks of the Great Ocean Road in just a day. There are also several multi-day tours, and if you have time, this is definitely a more relaxing way to see this stunning coast (and explore the area deeper).

Here are some of the best Great Ocean Road tours from Melbourne:

In addition, there are also tours from Adelaide and from Warrnambool.

Where to stay

There’s no one best place to stay on the Great Ocean Road and so much depends on your overall itinerary and how much time you have. You can make a road trip staying at different towns along the GOR, pick one central location and explore from there, or a combination of the two.

Our experience: We were making a road trip and traveling from Adelaide, followed by Kangaroo Island, and then on to the Grampians for a few nights. We then drove to Warrnambool where we spent the first night before exploring the Great Ocean Road, followed by 2 nights in Lorne and on to Melbourne.

In Warrnambool, we stayed at the Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs, and in Lorne – at Cumberland Resort.

 

So, this is our guide to the best places to see on the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

There are, of course, countless other nice stops, viewpoints, and stunning beaches in Victoria that you’ll come across when driving the Great Ocean Road. But if you’re looking for the top sights and most memorable experiences, concentrate on this list and you’ll have seen the best that this area has to offer.

Great Ocean Road is one of the best road trips you can do in Australia. The beaches along this coastline are especially memorable and impressive, with their sometimes wild waves, sometimes calm bays, and always clean water with epic views. If you love beaches, stunning coastal scenery, history, and seaside towns, you won’t be disappointed taking a trip along the Great Ocean Road.

Have a great time!

READ ALSO: How to see the best of Melbourne in 1 day

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Best stops on the Great Ocean Road drive from Melbourne
Best places to see on the Great Ocean Road Australia

 

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