As a country that’s also a continent, Australia offers a broad array of incredible road trips. The most famous one of all, the Great Ocean Road drive, is much more than a freeway – it’s an homage to the fallen. Built as a memorial for the Australian soldiers fallen in World War II, it’s still the biggest war memorial in the world. And besides its powerful history, there are so many Great Ocean Road attractions to visit!
The Great Ocean Road drive is among Australia’s most iconic and filled with breathtaking mirages. Humbling views, incredible rock formations, long white beaches with the ocean stretching by your side – there are so many breathtaking landscapes. You’ll find the famous Australian wildlife here, including kangaroos and koalas, plus great restaurants and unique little villages.
In Melbourne, we rented a car and started our Australian adventure, as the sun shined away, inviting us to see the Great Ocean Road attractions. We were on the road for 3 days, and I thought that was the perfect time. Stay for at least two nights, and three if you can!
Our Itinerary In Short
Day 1: From Melbourne to Apollo Beach – The Day full of gorgeous beaches
Day 2: From Apollo Beach to Warrnambool – Wildlife, a lighthouses & the most famous of all stops
Day 3: From Warrnambool back to some Magic Sights & Home – The most breathtaking landscapes
For all my Australian post, check out the Australia Escape page!
Our Great Ocean Road Drive – Day 1
Stop 1: Bells Beach
At 35 degrees Celsius, we had our first contact with the Great Ocean Road attractions: Bells Beach. It’s also a landmark of pop culture at the Great Ocean Road drive: it’s the where the final scene in Point Break is set!
We walked up to the viewpoint and saw the first glimpse of the Great Ocean Road attractions ahead. We grew more and more excited as we saw the gigantic orange rocks, the seemingly endless white beach, and the famously wild waves. We didn’t stay here, but you could definitely hang out at this lovely beach for an hour or so. Kick off your Great Ocean Road drive there right way!
Stop 2: Beaches as Far As the Eye Can See
On every travel guide, I read that the most beautiful part of the Great Ocean Road drive was between Lorne and Apollo Bay. However, I’m sure beach lovers will agree with me that part between Bells Beach and Lorne have the loveliest beaches! This bit is surrounded by long and never-ending white beaches, with practically no-one on them.
When you find the beach that makes you fall head over heels, stop your Great Ocean Road drive. Bring a picnic blanket or a towel, and bask in the sun. Feel the sand between your toes and feel the true travel with a silver lining experience!
Since it was so hot, we didn’t stay long and carried on with our Great Ocean Road drive.
Stop 3: Time for Sweets!
Another necessary part of a long Great Ocean Road drive? Chocolate! Frederik has a sweet tooth and I’m always up for some chocolate, so we couldn’t resist making a stop at the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery.
As it often happens with these big chocolate factories, it’s basically a tourist trap. However, truffle lovers should appreciate the visit.
Stop 4: Golf & Kangaroos
The second we landed Down Under, Frederik had one goal: see the kangaroos. While we’d heard that we’d be able to find many throughout the Great Ocean Road drive, we didn’t want to risk it. Instead of waiting for the kangaroos to come to us, we went to them, heading to the Anglesea golf course, a popular hangout for the marsupials. And there they were, about 10 kangaroos just hanging out.
Seeing kangaroos in the wild like that was one of the most incredible Great Ocean Road attractions!
Stop 5: Lorne – A Cute Beachside Town!
At around 3 pm, we reached Lorne, a cute little seaside village full of boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. We hadn’t had lunch, so eating was definitely our top priority at this point of our Great Ocean Road drive! We headed for HAH Lorne Beach for a healthy lunch with surfer boho vibes just steps away from the beach.
The heat had mounted to almost 40 degrees. We’d just come from New Zealand’s cool and rainy summer, so similar to Sweden’s. This heat was a lot for us to handle, but we were able to cool off at the beach – the water was freezing!
We then spent a little while just seeing the cute little streets and coming into the boutiques. I’d recommend staying here for an hour or two, for one of the loveliest Great Ocean Road attractions.
Stop 6: The Viewpoints Between Lorne and Apollo Bay
We got back in the car, as the heat kept getting worse: 44 degrees Celsius! Luckily, the AC worked like a charm as we continued our Great Ocean Road drive.
We headed off through what’s known as the most beautiful section of all Great Ocean Road attractions. This is wildly different from the part between Torquay and Lorne. There are so many viewpoints in this side, with very high and impressive rocks, and rocky beaches.
Even though the beaches before Lorne was more beautiful, this is where the drive became most enchanting, surrounded by the wild sea and the steep mountains. We took so many pics in this area of the Great Ocean Road drive!
Stop 7: Apollo Bay, Our Stay for the Night
After spending our first day getting to know the Great Ocean Road attractions, we ended our first day of adventures at Apollo Bay. This is a cute little village by the beach, with a sleepy feel to it. Here, we stayed at a cozy family B&B called Captains at the Bay. Here, Frederik got an extra surprise after seeing those kangaroos earlier: there was a resident koala at the tree around the corner! This cute little fellow had really found his spot, and he was just as sweet and sleepy as we expected.
As for us, after a full day of Great Ocean Road drive, the beach was calling to us. Since it was the magic hour, we brought the camera and had a great time taking snaps!
Great Ocean Road Attractions – Day 2
Stop 8: Morning Walk in the Rainforest
With a new day came a new set of Great Ocean Road attractions! Suddenly, the temperature dropped an astounding 20 degrees. Typical Victoria weather if you talk to the locals.
The sun was nowhere to be seen, true, but it seemed like the perfect time to visit the Maits Rest Rainforest Walk.
Located just 20 minutes away from Apollo Bay, it was a breath of fresh air after the previous day’s suffocating heat. We basked in the lush forest, taking in the sounds of the birds covering a peaceful silence. The perfect way to start our second day of the Great Ocean Road drive!
Stop 9: Cape Otway
The Great Ocean Road drive up to Cape Otway was incredible: a narrow road led us here, with a seemingly enchanted forest and trees hanging over the path. We were mesmerized by the mystic feeling of these parts, almost like entering an18th-century romance.
Here, we met some new friends: more koala bears! These little cuties with their cozy fur were minding their own business, sleeping atop the trees around us.
On the Great Otway National Park, the lighthouse became our beacon. A beautiful pathway led us here, and we climbed on top for some lovely views. Unfortunately, the pics didn’t turn out the way we wanted them too. I’m not sure if this place was worth the entrance fee, but we had some extra time.
Stop 10: Gibson Steps – Our Dream Beach
We made a stop on the Gibson Steps to see one of the most iconic Great Ocean Road attractions. Luckily, when we got in, right before lunch, there weren’t many people around.
This was our grand return to the coastline on the Great Ocean Road drive, and one of our favorites. The view was incredible, and so were the 86 steps leading to the beach. From here, you can see two of the 12 Apostles.
With breathtaking rock formations and the wild wind around us, we took the time to take some pics. On day 3 we returned and just chilled for a while, sitting on the sun and hearing the sounds of the waves!
Stop 11: The Famous One – The Twelve Apostles
This is the most famous of all the Great Ocean Road attractions, and also the most crowded. However, we were in luck: we got in during the late afternoon, and most tourist buses had left.
We walked around for a bit and took some photos since we were at the most iconic place throughout the Great Ocean Road drive. While this was a lovely place and full of energy, we found our favorite spots elsewhere – we’re beach people after all and like less crowded places! Still, it’s a truly unmissable place.
Stop 12: Port Campbell for Lunch
According to Google Maps, the drive would take us 2.5 hours… but we couldn’t help stopping every time we saw something lovely. With so many gorgeous viewpoints and areas along the Great Ocean Road drive, how could we? We were halfway there and more than half a day had gone by!
After leaving the Twelve Apostles, we needed to get some lunch on our systems, so it was time to stop at Port Campbell. Here, we had a lovely meal at Forage on the Foreshore. It was the perfect place for a cool day like this one, as we had lunch in front of the fireplace. A vinyl record was playing in the background, for an even more romantic feel!
Stop 13: London Bridge, Our Last Stop of the Day
Our last official stop of the day was London Bridge, which was a little dramatic with its broken bridge in plain view. One of those lovely photo ops of the Great Ocean Road drive!
Stop 14: Warrnambool – A Place to Sleep
We’re usually so tired during our road trips, and you can imagine the Great Ocean Road drive was no different. Our travel plans tend to be a little crazy and demand a lot of us, so we end up completely exhausted. This time around, we went up the road a little longer than we should have for the day.
My advice? If you’re planning a Great Ocean Road drive, on the second day stay at Port Campbell. Don’t make the same mistake we did! While London Bridge is lovely, it can wait for the following morning, when you’ve rested.
Day 3 – The End of Our Great Ocean Road Drive
Stop 15: Bay of Islands and Bay of Martyrs
The rock formation landscape of these two spots were breathtaking and much less crowded, which we appreciated on this Great Ocean Road drive.
On Bay of Martyrs, we experienced first-hand the dangers of Australia: as we were walking up to the viewpoint, we ran into a big black snake. It didn’t do anything to us, as it was just sitting in the sun, as were some lizards… but I did realize that my boyfriend is terrified of snakes, even more than I am…haha!
Stop 16: The Grotto
This quickly became my favorite photo spot along the entire Great Ocean Road drive. The Grotto is a downright magic spot, starting with the amazing view of the steps leading there.
The perfect place for pics is down the Grotto, on an open view of the sea. The colors of this formation were enthralling, and we marveled at every bit. The turquoise water made such an impression when surrounded by rocks!
Stop 17: Loch Ard Gorge
We almost missed this gem among the Great Ocean Road drive, as we were too tired on day 2. But luckily we went back on our last day. This place became another favorite. There’s a lot to see here with three different places and lookouts so make sure you have an hour or so for this stop!
We began looking around the beach and the caves, falling in love with our planet’s nature once again. There’s a small bay here, with rocks protecting the two small beaches. The cave has a gorgeous legend, of two youngsters who met a terrible fate in the ocean but luckily survived!
Also loved the views from the middle lookout, as well as the Razorback cliff!
The Great Ocean Road attractions will stay with us for a long time! A truly breathtaking one where you will see the best our nature has to offer. If you’re planning to drive across the Great Ocean Road attractions, make sure you have enough time. Don’t rush your trip: it’s worth it! Even though you can do it in two nights, I would strongly recommend three so you have enough time for each of the 17 magic stops along the Great Ocean drive!
More Inspiration & Trips!
Do you love road trips? Why not see a few of my adventures on the road? Here’s my Cuba road trip guide, here’s my guide across the Amalfi Coast, the Algarve Coast, and Florida. And here’s a list of my must-do road trips!
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