My sixth month in Australia, and I finally made it to the Great Ocean Road. Being the ultimate beach addict, this has been high on my bucket list for some time now. If you love the ocean, road trips and good vibes, this trip is definitely for you.
When researching and asking others about their trip down the GOR, most people described how they finished the drive in one day. One day?! After falling in love with this beautiful Aussie attraction, I’m here to tell you, don’t rush it!! Take your time, stop over a night, even two, and explore everything the GOR has to offer!
The drive is a national heritage and one of the most famous coastal routes in the entire world. It’s a 243km two-lane, winding, road next to the ocean. It passes through beautiful maritime towns, with a p national park running next to it, filled with rainforests, lakes, and waterfalls!
Today I’ve put together a mini itinerary for the GOR. Like I’ve mentioned previously in my East Coast Itinerary, every trip is different, cater yours to suit what you like! Heres what Sun Scribes got up to when we hit the GOR in our 4WD:
THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD ITINERARY
The best way to experience the GOR, is to start from the east (Sydney side) and drive west. This way you will be on the left-hand side of the road and will get the full view of the ocean the whole way along.
(Pronounced like a North-Sider Dub saying turkey). This town is famous for its surfing, the surfing brands Ripcurl and Quicksilver were founded here! If you’re a surf nut, the museum Surf World is something to check out here. As it was too nice a day, we skipped this and headed straight for Bells Beach, home to the famous Ripcurl Pro Surfing Competition.
ANGLESEA AND AIREYS LOOKOUT
Both small coastal towns, great for type cafe culture and great beaches. We stopped in Anglesea and grabbed a bite to eat. If you’ve time, get out, stretch your legs and grab an ice-cream for the beach.
The Memorial Arch at Eastern View is well worth stopping at, even just for a few minutes. This arch is a landmark and tells the history of the GOR. The highway was built by the returning veterans of WWI. The road gave these men a purpose in life once again and helped them battle through their war demons. A great piece of history and a must-see.
The next big town on the map is Lorne. It’s gorgeous coastal vibe is great for families and backpackers alike. If by now you’re getting peckish, there’s plenty here to fill the belly, as well as, of course, a beautiful beach to escape the car for a while.
Just behind Lorne is a gem of a spot, Teddy’s Lookout. Take a right just at the end of town and trudge up the hill. Here you’ll find unbelievable views of the winding road below and deep blue waters. There’s a short walk you can take here too, it’s roughly an hour long. Though we didn’t see any, there are koalas here. But don’t waste too much time searching for them here, further west there’s great places elsewhere to spot them.
If you didn’t spot any koalas at Teddy’s Lookout, don’t be put off, there’s more than enough to see in Kennett River! This spot is slightly hidden though, and many pass straight through it. Pull into the the Koala Kafe, you will see it as you drive by. Take a left at the cafe, up the the Grey River Road. Walk or drive, but keep your eyes on the tree tops and you’re sure to spot some. We stopped counting after 25!! We went in the evening, when there were no crowds, and the koalas were a bit more active in the cool evening air.
By now we were reaching the end of day one and getting tired. Right at the Koala Kafe is a beautiful caravan park with koalas and parakeets in the trees. Many stay here, but we decided for a bit of an adventure. We took off into the national park and camped at the Beauchamp Falls. This is a beautiful area, about an hour off the GOR. If you’ve time I would definitely suggest veering off course and explore the rainforests.
If you’re anything like me, and you’re a total animal nut, you’ll love the GOR for all its nature! After the Beauchamp Falls, we drove on through the forest to Lake Elizabeth, famous for its resident platypuses! If you’re very quiet and play the waiting game, the platypus emerge for the banks of the lake to feed.
Granted, going into the national forest is a bit off track. If you don’t have time, head straight from Kennett River to Apollo Bay. This a hopping town, which caters to the huge mass of tourists passing through. If you want to get out of the car for a few hours, give Apollo Bay Surf and Kayak Tours a try. They bring tourists out on kayak tours to see the colony of seals that live just off the coast. Mariners Lookout is also worth a look, it will give you beautiful views of the harbour.
The lighthouse at Cape Otway is the oldest Aussie lighthouse still in operation today. We drove all the way to the lighthouse, only to realise entry in and around the cliffs was $20. A bit steep for our budget, but we were assured it was beautiful and worth the money. The winding drive down to the lighthouse is another famous spot to see koalas. Pull in safely, and keep your eyes up!
My favourite place on the whole GOR, this beach is amazing!! Tourists are dwarfed by the enormity of the cliff line and offshore stacks here, but be sure to check the tide before making your way down these steps.
Undoubtably the most famous landmark on the GOR, and one of the most famous in Australia. We viewed this late afternoon, then went back again at sunset, it was just that amazing!! It’s said the Twelve Apostles are best viewed at sunrise and sunset so of you can, check the weather and plan accordingly!
LOCH ARD GORGE
No you’re not finished yet! Many turn back after the Twelve Apostles but there is still more to see. The Gorge is a beautiful spot to visit, bring a blanket and just take it all in for a few minutes.
The last town on the GOR. Drive on through to see the last main stops like the London Bridge, The Grotto, and the Arch and the Bay of Islands. These are all amazing examples of nature taking its course. The GOR is eroding everyday, in fact there actually only eight Apostles left! The London Bridge was once a small peninsula, until one day, the middle gave away to the ocean, leaving stranded tourists out on the end!
The Great Ocean Road is extremely famous for a reason. It is one of the most beautiful coastal attractions in the whole world. If it’s not on your bucket list, I suggest you scribble it on now! If it is on your list, please don’t rush it, enjoy every moment, take in every breathtaking view and make lots of happy memories. Unfortunately, nature is an unstoppable force, and who knows how long more this beautiful road will be here for.