When you’re in need of a good dose of vitamin sea there’s no better place to go than Australia’s Great Ocean Road. It’s over 240km of windy coastal roads, with magnificent views and marvelous places to stop for a bite to eat and a sneaky drink.
Whilst I’m more of a mountains, hike my ass off kind of girl I don’t mind spending the odd day pretending to be a mermaid and lounge on the beach. Ariel eat your heart out. But driving along the Great Ocean Road does take a little bit of planning, like all good adventures. Really once you know which direction you are starting from there’s not too much more to worry about. So here is our super quick guide to taking a road trip along Australia’s Great Ocean Road.
Where to start?
Melbourne or Adelaide? Ideally, you’ll start off your road trip with one of Melbourne’s infamously fabulous coffees in Melbourne. In all honesty, it really doesn’t matter which direction you want to start from. I personally prefer the Melbourne side but it’s not a big difference.
Drive on the left-hand side
Please. Yes you’ll notice a LOT of signs advising this. Most of the roads into the Great Ocean Road and along the Great Ocean Road as single lane, dual carriageways. There’s not a lot of room for error so please do take a moment to obey the road signs. We drive on the left, speed limits are enforced and if you’re a wee bit timid driving make sure you use the left-hand lane when overtaking lanes are available.
Where to get petrol?
All along the Great Ocean Road towns have petrol stations. As these are smaller towns, in high tourist areas you may pay a slight premium for your petrol. Just as a caution perhaps always try to have at least a 1/4 tank of fuel.
Where to get the best coffee?
Just about anywhere along the Great Ocean Road will have fairly decent coffee. In the last 5 years or so we’ve seen a lot of sea changers move into these quaint towns along the Great Ocean Road and bring with them great coffee. If you have time drop by Hello Coffee Roasters to say hello and grab a latte or two.
Short on time?
These are the must-see towns, in order, if you are coming from Melbourne.
Anglesea is one of the first towns that you’ll drive into after Geelong. It’s around a 90min drive from Melbourne and generally speaking it’s a boring drive up until here. It’s a great spot to get out, stretch your legs and walk along the beach. If you’ve only got a day trip than Angelsea and the surrounding beaches are a great place to enjoy some beach babe time.
Though if you’re after the best ice cream drop by Torquay. Don’t trust me? Check out Matt Preston’s guide on where to eat along the Great Ocean Road.
Lorne is simply lovely. It’s a sprawling town that runs up into the hills. The best time to visit Lorne is mid-late February, once the school kids have gone back. It’s such a leisurely town. You’ll find a caravan park that has camp spots. Just a reminder that there isn’t any legal free camping in this area. Especially not during the peak tourist season. Rangers have been known to go around fining people.
If you’re looking for unique accommodation why not check out these super cute caravans on GlampingHub?
By far my favourite town on the Great Ocean Road. Port Fairy is an old port town and is simply stunning. You can spend hours walking around looking at the teeny tiny cottages, the larger estate homes and enjoying life. If you’re lucky the Historical Society will have the Lighthouse open for visitors. Come dusk pop over to Griffith Island to watch the shearwaters come in for dinner time.
It does get rather chilly down here even in summer so make sure you remember a jumper.
The Great Ocean Road extends from Torquay in the east to Warrnambool in the west, with the stretch between Lorne and Apollo Bay being the most picturesque. As you drive along you’ll get to look out over huge cliffs, towering rock stacks and raging surf.
Why is the Great Ocean Road so popular? Not only is it a stunning road to drive along it comes with a unique history. The Great Ocean Road is a permanent memorial to those who died while fighting in World War I carved in rock. The road itself was built by returned servicemen and once completed allowed the small villages along the road access to the rest of the world.
When you’re ready why not cool off in tranquil bays and sandy beaches, and explore the lush rainforests along the Great Ocean Road.
Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker
Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.