I can’t think of a more famous drive in Australia than the Great Ocean Road. It officially stretches 243km from Torquay to Allansford but a lot of people will make the drive from Melbourne to Adelaide over a week or two. Think endless beaches, dramatic cliffs and the world famous Twelve Apostles. This is one you can’t miss.
After spending a night in Melbourne with a good friend of ours we made Brighton Beach our first stop to walk along the sand admiring the brightly coloured beach huts and have breakfast in an amazing cafe called Brighton Soul. 10/10 would recommend. If you haven’t already seen Melbourne then spend some time here in the twisting graffiti-covered streets trying to find the best coffee.
It’s a short drive to Torquay, the official starting place of the Great Ocean Road. This coastal town has some incredible beaches, but nothing beats Jan Juc Back Beach, world famous surf breaks and home to numerous surf competitions. It’s definitely worth spending some time here, you can’t get more Australian than this. Another beauty is Bells Beach, where you can walk along the boardwalks to enjoy the view below.
Anglesea is one of the larger towns along the Great Ocean Road, and a good place to stop for groceries and gas. The seafront boardwalk is beautiful and there are a few choice bakeries to fill your belly. We were lucky enough to stay with friends here too, and spent the evening eating fish ‘n’ chips and playing Settlers of Catan.
With an early start the next morning we were able to see the highlights of the Great Ocean Road and still make it back to Anglesea in time for dinner. The drive itself is incredible, the winding road follows the cliffs, sometimes high above the crashing waves and sometimes across the beaches themselves. I would recommend driving to your furthest point first and making your way back slowly so you’re sure not to miss anything.
The Twelve Apostles are even more beautiful than I imagined. The sun was shining, the bright turquoise ocean was in perfect contrast with the orange cliffs, and the Apostles themselves (now only 7) were a phenomenon I’d always dreamed of seeing. You can spend as much time as you like here walking back and forth along the boardwalk admiring the views and searching for that perfect photo. There’s also an information centre to freshen up if it’s impossibly hot.
After leaving the Twelve Apostles we drove slightly further west to the Port Campbell Scenic Lookout to have lunch before stopping at the incredibly scenic Loch Ard Gorge. Bring your swimming costume and a towel so you can relax in the water and explore the cave, surrounded by high cliffs.
Heading east again there are many more places to stop, including the Great Otway National Park, Apollo Bay and numerous waterfalls surrounding Lorne, but we had had enough of sweaty, humid hiking by this point (especially after someone got sunburn so bad it blistered). We did however stop at Kennet River, walking along the road and (finally!!) spotting koalas in the trees. They are adorable, and all they do is eat and sleep, I think I found my spirit animal.
We spent another night in Anglesea before making our way back to Melbourne, but this is the kind of road trip that you could really take your time with. It’s a beautiful drive with so much to see!
A few things to remember:
- Wear sunscreen. Lots of it.
- Drive to your furthest point first (unless you’re driving one way).
- Bring a swimming costume to cool off in the ocean.
Highlights of the trip:
- The Twelve Apostles.
- Swimming at Loch Ard Gorge.
- Koalas at Kennet River.
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