There is no place quite like the Great Ocean Road. Situated along the Victorian coastline, on the south-eastern end of Australia, the Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic and famous drives in Australia and a must do for everyone visiting Australia, Victoria or Melbourne. With so many beautiful places to see and experience, read on to discover a quick and easy Great Ocean Road itinerary.
We visited in May (so for us Queeslanders it was a little bit chilly!) with our Apollo Camper as a part of a collaboration with Apollo Motorhome Holidays. (For more information on my disclaimer and how you can work with me see: Work With Me)
Suggested read: Things to see on the Great Ocean Road
We completed this one-way Great Ocean Road itinerary in 3 days, as we were then continuing onto the Grampians (suggested read: Must do places in The Grampians); however, you can extend your days and spend longer at each place to take in more of the stunning Great Ocean Road – the beauty of a road trip is that it’s up to you!
Great Ocean Road Itinerary Day 1:
1. Bells Beach
We landed at Melbourne Airport, got a quick Uber to the Apollo Camper Melbourne branch, picked up our Apollo Camper and hit the road. After about 1.5 hours on the road, our first stop was Bells Beach – a world famous surfing location. We aren’t surfers so stopped to have a look around before continuing on for the afternoon. Google Maps Directions: Melbourne to Bells Beach.
2. Point Addis
We hopped back in our Apollo Camper and continued 20 minutes down the road before arriving at Point Addis – our sunset location for today. This place was absolutely gorgeous with views right down the coast. Great Ocean Road itinerary Google Maps Directions: Bells Beach to Point Addis
3. Split Point Lighthouse
We left Point Addis before the sun fully set so we would have time to reach Split Point Lighthouse and our destination for our first day on our Great Ocean Road itinerary. Only 30 minutes away (Google Maps directions here: Point Addis to Split Point Lighthouse), we stayed at a nearby caravan and campsite in Aireys Inlet and visited the famous Split Point Lighthouse both at night and the following morning.
Why should you visit Split Point Lighthouse?
Well, in addition to it having gorgeous views over the ocean, and being a top spot for both astrophotography and sunrise (just look at the pictures below!!), Split Point Lighthouse is famously featured in the classic children Australian television show: Round the Twist. You can learn more here.
Great Ocean Road Itinerary Day 2:
4. Great Ocean Road Sign
After enjoying the sunrise from Split Point Lighthouse, we continued just 10 minutes down the road until we came to the Memorial Arch at Eastern View – also referred to as the Great Ocean Road sign (Google Maps directions: Split Point Lighthouse to Great Ocean Road sign). One of the most photographed sites on the Great Ocean Road, the Memorial Arch was constructed to honour the workers who built the Great Ocean Road. You can learn more about the history and construction of the Great Ocean Road here.
5. Erskine Falls
After passing under the Memorial Arch, we stopped for breakfast in Lorne (Google Map directions to Lorne here) before heading inland. Surrounded by lush rainforest , we followed the road for about 15 minutes before arriving at Erskine Falls (Google Maps directions: Lorne to Erskine Falls).
6. Great Otway National Park
There are various roads to enter Great Otway National Park. After leaving Erskine Falls, we headed back to the coast temporarily before venturing inland again in search of Hopetoun Falls and the Californian Redwood Forest. Just driving through this area was spectacular and we pulled over more than once to snap a few shots of the road surrounded by incredible forest.
7. California Redwood Forest
The California Redwood Forest is another must do on your Great Ocean Road itinerary. Here you can walk in the shadows of about 1,500 Californian giants, some standing over 55m tall. Find out more about the California Redwood Forest here.
8. Hopetoun Falls
After leaving the California Redwood Forest, we didn’t have to venture far to arrive at Hopetoun Falls (About 3 whole minutes drive time – Google Maps directions: California Redwoods to Hopetoun Falls). Over the years I’ve seen many images of this beautiful waterfall, which had me dying to go and visit it myself. The photos don’t do it justice, it truly is stunning.
9. 12 Apostles
After waving goodbye to Hopetoun Falls, we hopped back in our Apollo Camper for another hour (Google Maps directions here). This time heading towards the most famous attraction in a Great Ocean Road itinerary: The 12 Apostles! We parked our camper in the dedicated carpark and made the quick walk across the road to the viewpoint. Boy, oh, boy was it windy and cold! But it was so worth being out in the elements to see the Apostles – especially as we had arrived in golden hour!
10. Gibson Steps
I’ve visited the Great Ocean Road twice now (first time: Just Another Little Chapter) and my favourite spot has remained Gibson Steps. Found just a 12 minute drive (or 15 minute walk) from the 12 Apostles viewpoint, here you can walk down the cliff steps and admire the famous natural structures from the beach below. Absolutely stunning, every time.
We chose to stay at Port Campbell for the second night of our Great Ocean Road itinerary. As it was getting late and our second day had been jam packed with so many Great Ocean Road attractions, after visiting the 12 Apostles and Gibson Steps, we headed straight to our Port Campbell caravan and campsite for dinner and an early night.
Great Ocean Road Itinerary Day 3:
11. Loch Ard Gorge
We rose before the sun (which, given it was almost winter when we visited… wasn’t that early to be honest…) and headed back to the 12 Apostles to watch the sunrise from there. Afterwards we began meandering along the coastline stopping at other famous Great Ocean Road landmarks along the way. Our first stop after the 12 Apostles was Loch Ard Gorge – only a 4 minute drive away (Google Maps directions: 12 Apostles to Loch Ard Gorge).
The Loch Ard Gorge is both a beautiful location and a tragic tale of the Loch Ard ship that was wrecked just off the coast of the area. Only two of all the passengers survived, and it’s incredible when you look at how exposed to the elements this area of the Great Ocean Road is, how even they were able to survive. You can learn more about the shipwreck story here.
12. London Bridge
After bidding adieu to Loch Ard Gorge, continue on for another 15 minutes (Google Maps directions: Loch Ard Gorge to London Bridge) before arriving at London Bridge – no guesses as to how it got its name…
13. The Grotto
The best part of this section of your Great Ocean Road itinerary is that you’re barely in your vehicle before you arrive at your next destination. Less than 5 minutes down the road from London Bridge, you’ll come across The Grotto (Google Maps directions here). One of the most interesting landmarks on the Great Ocean Road, it is well worth the quick boardwalk/stairs journey down to see the cave like hole created from hundreds of years of being exposed to the wild elements of the Victorian coastline.
14. Bay of Islands
You can’t leave the Great Ocean Road without stopping in at the Bay of Islands. Just 10 minutes from The Grotto (Google Maps directions here), you can learn more about this lesser known but just as beautiful section of the Great Ocean Road here.
3 Day Great Ocean Road Itinerary
By following the above itinerary, your journey will look something like this…
From here you can continue along the Great Ocean Road; but we chose to head to the Grampians before returning our Apollo Camper back to its home in Melbourne. If you are looking to visit more of rural Victoria and the Grampians, you can read more about the Grampians here: Must do places in The Grampians.
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