The Great Ocean Road has been quoted as one of the best road trips in the world.
We completed the road from Queenscliff to Warnnambol and we had the time of our lives.
We saw so much wildlife, ate amazing local food and relaxed in the stunning locations and weather.
Each new turn in The Great Ocean Road brings whole new views, experiences and exploration. Here’s our guide on what we did, where we went and what we’d recommend.
Meeting the Warrnambool Dogs
Marengo, waking up looking out of the tent to see Seals in the surf.
Local food must tries:
For the non vegans amongst us, The Great Ocean Road has its own cheese, and it is worth a try. Local Oysters are popular too.
Best eco-friendly tip:
Don’t drop your litter! Take it home, recycle it but don't leave it at your camp site.
Most interesting fact:
It is actually the world’s largest war memorial!
Reusable Water Bottle
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We did our trip in 5 days and 5 nights. You can physically drive the road in a day but its stunning, long, tiring and will simply leave you itching to have seen more! I really really recommend stretching it to five days or longer. Ours involved a fair amount of driving, not a lot of "relaxing". A longer itinerary with more time for hikes and exploring would totally be worth it.
We travelled to The Great Ocean Road (GOR) via Mornington Peninsular. We took the Searoad Ferry into Queenscliff. (Side note: That Ferry ride contained one of the best moments of my entire life: seeing heaps and heaps of Dolphins catching a ride with us!)
Overnight stop at Barwon Heads: A quick overnight stop over at the start of the GOR left us refreshed and ready to start the best, most scenic part of the drive along the ocean. This is a good opportunity to get a good nights rest, and get ready for a long few days of driving and exploring. The beach at Barwon Heads is super pretty too, and worth an explore!
First Official Day:
From Queenscliff, we stopped through Torquay briefly. I’m not the biggest fan of this town and recommend heading straight down to the GOR! There is however a lot of warehouse shops for surf and dive.
Your first town on The GOR will be Lorne. Lorne is a beautiful town, and if not staying for the night, is a must for stopping in for lunch. Check out the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos (Cocks) but please do not feed them!!
The Great Ocean Road was actually built by returning soldiers from World War 1 and it is actually the largest war memorial in the world.
A tourist stop at the stunning memorial, and the memorial arch is a must!
This part of the driving gets unreal. Honestly, get your cameras ready.
Plan out drive share. You’ll be wanting to stare out the window constantly
and I really recommend stopping lots! There are also historic sites along
the side of the road- including a Shipwreck site! Worth stopping.
Next stop was Kennett River, to go Koala spotting. And I guarantee if you stop too, you wont be the only one. This is a popular tourist spot, and there is a good reason. Koalas are flipping everywhere! You will also likely get accosted by heaps of birds.
So we decided to camp in Marengo, instead of in Apollo Bay.
A beautiful spot, just outside of Apollo Bay, a big tourist hotspot and holiday town. Marengo
is cheaper than the Bay itself but just as beautiful, just not within walking distance of cafe’s/
We sat and watched Seals play in the Surf from our tent (see how close our spot was!)
We did some snorkelling from the beach, which was very cold, but very beautiful. Take a splash
and see what you can see in the Kelp!
It’s also possible to get a surfing lessons on the beach!
We stayed at Marengo Holiday Park and both guys working here were really lovely- and the showers
were so amazing, recommend!
Next you will drive through the Great Otways National Park, where you will find
treks, waterfalls and camp grounds. We chose to explore this further on the
So the next part of our road trip was Port Campbell, home to The Twelve Apostles.
These are the breath taking natural formations that bring in tourists from around
the World to see the changing rock figures.
We did almost all the major tourist spots. Heres the complete list of tourist stops.
The first stop, when approaching from Lorne and the first glimpse
you’ll get of the incredibly stunning coastline. Not the most stunning of all the stops,
but an amazing opportunity to head down onto the beach.
THE TWELVE APOSTLES
The most famous of all the stops. Once it was actually twelve
limestone pillars but erosion means there is actually now eight.
This stop is the most tourist developed. With a coffee shop and huge carpark with
big bus bays- expect crowds. Both visits to this site have meant encounters with
Worth a stop over to walk the path along the cliff top and get some epic pictures,
just be prepared to not be the only person there.
At this stop there is the possibility to explore further out and go for a bit of a walk.
If you want to do all the coves National Parks recommend a few hours.
LONDON BRIDGE/ LONDON ARCH:
One of my favourite stop overs. Another stunning limestone formation.
Once connected to land, the bridge part collapsed in 1990 leaving two
tourist stranded on top!
A snuggly little, well, grotto! Certainly worth a visit, and different again to the
other stops on the road.
THE BAY OF MATYRS:
Absolutely stunning and again, well worth visiting.
THE BAY OF ISLANDS:
Within the same stop as The Bay of Matyrs, stunning and well worth stopping.
They are all unique, and whilst on the trip you should certainly try fit all in.
Either on the way or way back!! It does get a bit tiring, and some are a considerable
walk to see, so plan out your day.
The road is pretty long, and sparse. There is a little cafe at the 12 Apostles,
but you’ll be in need of a coffee so bring your own picnic and caffeine
boost for the rest of the road!
From there, the next big town, is Warnambool. I really recommend staying in this
charming town, if not only for the WARNNAMBOOL DOGGIES!!
Warrnambool 2 nights:
We stopped for two nights in Warrnambool. We’d already been on the road for 10 days at this point after Wilsons Prom, and a two nighter was well received.
Our primary reason for stopping over in Warrnambool was the Dogs. You ncan read more about the dogs here, but cliff notes: they are dogs that look after fairy penguinns. Super cute.
There are a lot of camp sites around Warrnambool.
We also took the opportunity to snorkel around Stingray Bay- and check out the amazing wildlife right in the Wharf, including a huge Bull Ray, and a Seal (being fed up Fishermen…read about that here).
We had dinner at Oliver’s. After 2 weeks of camping food, a meal out was a huge treat. The boys also enjoyed some local oysters. The restaurant is beautifully set.
Great Otway Lighthouse:
A must stop over, but also not the easiest or most obvious stop. A pretty tiny road down (with roadworks when we visited).
I would recommend camping at one of the sites down the road, as there aren’t a huge amount of options for camping around!
We stayed at ** and the site itself is not amazing- unless you’re camping down in the bush part. It’s the kind of camp that you find for free elsewhere- but have to pay (and extra for showers, and no drinking water I might add) for here. It’s worth sucking it up to be able to explore. We woke up early to watch the Koalas moving about in the trees, out of the heat of the day. It’s here we saw the epic Koala jump!
At night, due to the remoteness, the stars are quite literally out of this world. We saw satellites, shooting stars. It was incredible, don’t forget to look up!
The Lighthouse is absolutely fascinating- and well worth a visit!! The staff at the Lighthouse are so so knowledgeable and really give you a taste of the history. Although we were told it takes thirty minutes, I really do recommend taking your time here, not only because its a fair drive down- but there is also so much to see.
Then begins the journey back. We regretted not planning more time for exploring in the Otways Forest, and searching for waterfalls! We will certainly return!!
After our time in The Otways, this scheduled the end of our time on The Great Ocean Road. We hotfooted it back to Queenscliff that afternoon, and caught a ferry over to Sorrento.
On the drive back it’s just amazing seeing the scenery again from a fresh angle. Take your time to absorb in the stunning scenery!
On our way back we stopped over at Bells Beach that afternoon. Home to many of the world championship surfing, its worth a visit.
We pulled into Queenscliff to explore: NOTE: I throughly recommend the Scandinavian Ice Cream company! I managed to get a vegan chocolate cone that was unreaal!
Stay tuned for a guide to the fabulous diving in Mornington Penisular, coming soon.
This article is for my lovely lovely mum. I had the time of my life on this trip, and was rotten when she went home and we finished this trip. Also- thanks for all the endless support. X