Why go on a self-drive trip of the GOR?
I first visited the Great Ocean Road on a 3-day tour back on my first backpacking trip in 2004. A few years later, I went back and did the right way. With a friend, I hired a car in Melbourne and set off on an epic road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide. Of course, the Great Ocean Road is the highlight of this seld-drive adventure, but we didn’t quite know what to expect. It was my first road trip experience in Australia, and I was very excited about it.
Is this road trip worth it?
The drive itself is not easy, yet very rewarding. The diversity of the landscape is what makes me want to go back again. We enjoyed the gorgeous scenic views from many different lookouts; we watched surfers falling into the water, walked on sandy beaches and soaked up the ocean breeze, marvelling at top trees, ancient gumtree and the remaining of rain forests too. There is indeed so much to do and see along the Great Ocean Road. The 12 Apostles are for sure the major highlight of the entire road trip, but it has indeed so much to offer than a scenic coastal drive.
It’s about 300km to drive to the 12 Apostles and you need two full days to be able to stop at all places.
Where to stop along on a 2-day Great Ocean Road Trip
There are many stops along your way, you can consider but beware that there are no U-turns on the Great Ocean Road, so plan them carefully in and make sure you don’t drive past them. Here are my picks with the best places to visit on the Great Ocean Road.
TIP: Where to stay on your GOR Trip: A great place for your first top is the APollo bay Eco YHA.
From Geelong to Torquay’s Sunday Market
We first stopped at Geelong’s visitor centre, indeed a great place to collect excellent informative material as well as quality advice on what to do and where to stop along the Great Ocean Road. I loved this place, on a Sunday morning, local people were volunteering at the Visitor Centre and extremely helpful. They gave very good tips on a few spots where to see Koalas in the wild.
From Geelong, we drove to our next destination: Torquay, a nice little village on the coast, with a lovely Sunday market of which you can view some nice captures here below.
The beaches along the Great Ocean Road
The beaches along the Great Ocean Road are simply stunning. Just south of Torquay you can stop for a short beautiful walk from where you can enjoy a magnificent view over the world-famous Bells Beach.
This is just one of the many breathtaking views you can have from there.
I know that there is a secondary road that takes you down to the beach access, but do not worry if you miss out on that walk, on your drive to the 12 apostles, there are many more beaches where to stop. Many of these beaches have easy access and are ideal for a lunch break, stretch your legs and fill your lungs with the fresh ocean breeze.
After this gorgeous view, we decided to stop for a walk on the beach. Guvvos beach is a place just past Anglesea, take a look at the beautiful encounter we had there.
And you never know what lovely encounters you may have. Here is a friendly and playful dog who loved socialising. It’s so easy and always a pleasure to get to know the locals in Australia.
See Kangaroos and Koalas
The guy we met at the beach gave us a good tip about a place for spotting Kangaroos, which is the Golf Course in Anglesea. We found the golf course quickly but we missed the spot for Koalas. Bummer! For a second, I was thinking of turning the car and going back, but this was not a good idea. And a U-Turn is something you should never do while driving the Great Ocean Road.
BUT, was that bad luck or maybe just a blessing in disguise! See what happened to us a few minutes after we realised we missed that turn on to the Kennet River Koala Walk, which is the best place to see Koalas on the Great Ocean Road.
All of a sudden, a baby Koala appeared in front of us, crawling in the middle of the road. We were gasping and could not just believe it. We safely stopped the car at the edge of the way and jumped out to take a look at him. He ran away to escape from humans. But we felt relieved that he was now safe in the bush again. Such a cute little koala. This is a beautiful encounter; I will always treasure.
TIP: Where to stay on your GOR Trip: In Port Campbell stay at Anchors Port Campbell
Walking in the rainforest in the Otway National Park
The Otway National Park is famous for its fantastic walks. You can take a few from 20 minute short walks to 1-2 hour moderate walks. But you can spend days and weeks walking the Great Ocean Road.
You cannot fit everything in 2 days. You have to choose what you want to do since our time was limited to a couple of days; we had just a few short walks.
And yes I have kept the 91 km Great Ocean Road Walk for my next visit. Here below a sign with plenty of information about this gorgeous walk which can be done in 6-10 days starting from Geelong. A must-do for keen walkers. On this website, you can read more about how to plan your Great Ocean Walks.
I hope you enjoyed this article about my Great Ocean Road Trip. To plan your own road trip, check out this complete Great Ocean Road Guide.
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