If you’re visiting the Australian state of Victoria, a drive along the south-eastern coast is a must. This National Heritage-listed route will give you the opportunity to view breath-taking scenery, while discovering activities and places of interest along the way. The 243 kilometres of the Great Ocean Road itinerary self drive option will take you westward from the South Coast Highway at Torquay to Allansford’s Princes Highway, ending in Adelaide.
Day 1: Great Ocean Road Itinerary 3 days
Pick up your vehicle at Melbourne Airport, make sure the car is ready for a long ride and head for Geelong, stopping off at the Serendip Sanctuary near Lara to see birds, kangaroos and emus. Stretch your legs at Geelong with a stroll along the waterfront or a visit to a winery. While you’re there, learn the history of the Australian wool industry, and the modern processes involved, at the National Wool Museum. If you’re taking a family along, it’s an ideal drive for road trip games such as I-Spy.
Hit the Great Ocean Road
Your Great Ocean Road itinerary 3 days travel starts at Torquay, where surfers may want to spend some time. Or they may prefer to try the famous Bells Beach nearby, where the Rip Curl Pro Surfing Competition is held every year. Pause at Anglesea for a look at wallabies and more kangaroos on the local golf course!
Carry on to the relaxed seaside town of Lorne, with its independent shops, galleries and restaurants. Stunning waterfalls on the Otway Ranges provide a change of scene. There are many types of accommodation in Lorne if you want to stay overnight, or you may prefer to continue to Apollo Bay, which will give you the chance to experience the Koala Bear walk at Kennett River on the way.
The next stage of your trip will take you into the rainforest of the Otway National Park, with its heathland, treetop steel pathways, glow worm caves, waterfalls and zipline tours. At Port Campbell, huge limestone rocks known as the Twelve Apostles tower over the Southern Ocean, although only eight have survived the ravages of the sea.
A first glimpse of whales
Drive along Shipwreck Coast where over seven hundred ships met their doom, but regain a sense of calm at Warrnambool Botanic Gardens. Then make for Logan’s Beach to see the Southern Right Whales that calve there from May to October.
Port Fairy and beyond
The historic fishing village of Port Fairy is home to the biggest fur seal colony in Australia, while other boat trips take visitors out to watch whales, sharks and the ever-popular dolphins. Investigate Victoria’s first European settlement at Portland, and then progress to Cape Bridgewater’s cliffs and the bay below.
Volcanoes and a Blue Lake
Discover Cape State Park, a sand-petrified forest and more seals, before crossing the South Australian border. Don’t miss Mount Gambier, situated on an extinct volcano and surrounded by crater lakes like Blue Lake, which turns that colour from November to February.
From here, you can continue northwards to Penola and Coonawarra, or opt for pretty Robe along the Limestone Coast with its old fishing ports. Take a look at the impressive tower of the decommissioned Cape Jaffa lighthouse, now standing in Kingston SE. Alternatives could be to grab a kayak or canoe and share the salty lagoons of The Coorong with wetland birds, or to let a Ngarrindjeri guide educate you on Aboriginal culture.
Camp on the coast
If you’re on a budget or prefer to be outdoors, you’ll have no trouble finding overnight stays, with camping on Victoria’s coast being readily available everywhere. From Coonawarra you can explore the Naracoorte Caves National Park, a World Heritage site with twenty-six limestone caves containing the fossilised remains of giant marsupials.
Nearing the end of the road
Across the Murray river, the Langhorne Creek vineyards are there to tempt wine lovers on their way to the historic river port of Goolwa, while Middleton offers surfing, kite-flying and whale-spotting. There are more opportunities for watersports before you reach Victor Harbor, with the end of your journey not far away.
Spend your last hours on a horse-drawn tram bound for the little penguins of Granite Island, or head for Encounter Bikeway. Hike the Heysen Trail or enjoy the green hills of Mount Compass and Yankalilla.
Finish in beautiful Adelaide
In elegant Adelaide, spend time on the cultural boulevard of North Terrace, and breathe in the seaside air at Glenelg and Henley, before taking a walk or bike ride through a park to refresh you after your long drive