It’s been on my bucket list forever and after finally making it to this idyllic part of Australia, I couldn’t rave about it more. These highlights on the ultimate guide to the Great Ocean Road are ones you can’t miss while visiting Australia.
The twisting and turning road lines up perfectly with the turquoise waters of Australia’s wild coastline. The Great Ocean Road seems to go forever, making it the perfect escape out of the hustle and bustle of the city. With the lush eucalyptus forests backing into the road, you have a blend of two contrasting worlds. Fresh air with the scent of greenery and saltwater fill the car with ease and sets the tone for what you’ll see over the course of the journey. And at the end of road, it seems that all paths lead to the iconic 12 Apostles — a sight that certainly wows.
The Ultimate Guide to the Great Ocean Road
Getting to the Great Ocean Road:
My suggestion would be to fly into Melbourne, Australia and pick up a rental car. From here you have a few hours drive, pending on where you want to pick up the GOR. I started a bit early on the road, near Bell’s Beach and continued all the way to Port Campbell.
Where to stay on the Great Ocean Road:
You’ll find the coastal towns to be quaint and charming, but it also means many will not have a ton of amenities. I spent two nights on the GOR which was plenty, with one night in Apollo Bay and the other at Port Campbell at this adorable Airbnb. They were the perfect resting points to see a few things throughout each day.
(P.S get $40 on your first Airbnb adventure by using this adorable Airbnb to sign up!)
Favorite eats on the Great Ocean Road:
- A La Grecque: A classic Greek restaurant with elevated eats.
- La Bimba: One of the best fine dining experiences on GOR, with fresh seafood and small plates to share.
- RAWR Bar: A solid breakfast spot to grab a fresh bowl.
- Apollo Bay Bakery: If you’re looking for amazing baked goods, look no further.
- Grassroots Deli Cafe: This spot was a favorite during the trip as it had a yummy lunch and pizzas at night!
Highlights of the Great Ocean Road You Can’t Miss:
Known for world class surf, this is a great spot to take in the view of surfers and the coastline. It’s right before the start of the Great Ocean Road.
One of the bigger towns along the GOR, it’s a good spot to grab lunch and mingle with the locals, the wild yellow cockatoos!
Head to the top of the mountain for an epic view over the coastline and road.
Kafe Koala in Kennett River
If you’re looking for koalas on your journey, you’re almost guaranteed to see them here. Keep a close eye out, as they’re quite hidden. You can also feed the wild parrots here by getting some feed at the cafe, which will gladly land on you!
A short walk to a look out over the sweeping Apollo Bay.
This is the next biggest town along the way and where I’d recommend staying overnight to split the drive. There’s plenty of restaurants here and the town is charming!
Maits Rest Rainforest Walk
If you want a taste of the rainforest, there’s a short 30 minute walk just off the road. It was one of the highlights!
Cape Otway National Park & Lighthouse
The national park is gigantic and would take a week to see itself. You can easily pop in while on the Great Ocean Road. The lighthouse is also on the road, which I opted not to go out to after finding out it was $20 AUD to see.
The first of the stops on the northern part of the drive, it’s a must do and one of the only spots you can get on the beach.
The highlight of the trip was certainly the 12 Apostles at sunset — the clouds were golden hues of purple and pink and so photogenic.
Loch Ard Gorge
This is hidden beach makes you feel like you’re in Italy.
The last town I stopped in before the jaunt home to Melbourne. There’s a bit of accommodations and it’s close to the 12 Apostles.
Just past Port Campbell, I’d recommend coming here to see the rock formations.
A little stop off the road where you can see a grotto dug out.