Heading down the Great Ocean Road? It's a region we love and we know it like nobody else. This is our difinitive guide to the best things to do on your next visit, featuring waterfalls, koalas, rainforest walks and the best local dining experiences.
A drive down the Great Ocean Road to the Twelve Apostles should be at the top of your list when visiting Victoria. For a one-day trip you will need 11-12 hours but if you can make the time, a night or two in the region is a much better idea.
Tour buses start pick-ups around 8 am so start before 8 am to beat the crowds.
Drive the coastal route out via Lorne and Apollo Bay for the best views.
Drive the highway route out through Colac to avoid the crowds (especially during peak periods).
Bring travel sickness medication if you struggle with winding roads.
Bring swimming gear; a swim in the Southern Ocean is once in a lifetime!
Don’t let the long day deter you; everyone will love this great Australian adventure.
Always be extra careful driving between dusk and dawn when wildlife is most active.
A Little History
The Great Ocean Road is actually a living memorial to the ANZAC’s (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps), our war heroes from the First World War. In fact, the road was actually built in large part by returned veterans after the war. It was a one-way toll-road that would change directions at different times of the day and helpfully, linked many old fishing and farming towns with the big smoke! Keep an eye out for the commemorative statue near Fairhaven and see if you can spot the ‘house on the pole’ while you’re in the area.
Erskine Falls – a 15-minute drive from Lorne, this stunning waterfall is especially impressive after a big rainfall and it’s loads of fun to have a splash in the rock pools at its base.
Teddy’s Lookout – Stunning views from a mountaintop perch all the way to Antarctica (if your eyesight is really, really good).
Maits Rest Rainforest Walk – A fun, 20-minute circuit walk through an ancient eucalyptus forest.
California Redwood Forest – A little off the regular tourist trail, this place is really special. Go for a quiet wander and contemplate the good earth.
Gibson’s Steps – Yes, there are steps, but they are well worth it for the best sunset of your life and a unique view up to Gog and Magog.
The Twelve Apostles – This is the main event folks. The 60-70 metres high limestone stacks that step out from the mainland like glorious pioneers into the great southern abyss… and they are breath taking. There are only seven and a half of them. It was nine once. It was never twelve. You’ve been warned.
Loch Ard Gorge – Like so many coves and beaches on the Shipwreck Coast, this is named for a shipwreck in the early days of settlement and it’s a lovely place to dip your toes in the chilly Southern Ocean and admire the beauty of the national park.
Search for wild koalas on the outskirts of Lorne, near Kennet River or along Cape Otway Lighthouse Road
Go on the hunt for wild kangaroos at Angelsea Golf Course or near Princetown Camping Reserve
Keep your eyes glues for Echidna’s walking along the roadside, they’re a real treat!
Food & Drink
McGain’s Nursery – Anglesea
Fresh, organic and full of charm. This nursery-cum-café in Anglesea is a real favourite. Ask them for a little vegemite on toast and really get into the spirit.
Swing Bridge Cafe – Lorne
Melburnian’s are serious about their café’s and if it weren’t for the stunning coastal setting, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were back in the coffee capital.
Hello Coffee – Apollo Bay
A lovely local roaster and café that keeps things simple and delicious .
Apollo Bay Bakery – Apollo Bay
Not much to look at but their scallop pies and lamingtons make this local institution a worthy addition.
The Shoppe – Lavers Hill
Your last decent dining spot before Port Campbell. Everything is home made and the steak sandwich is as much a challenge as it is a meal.
Picnics and BBQ’s
We often like to put together a picnic or BBQ for our guests, featuring fresh local produce and there are plenty of great facilities along the way. They are a great way to avoid crowds and partake of a great Australian tradition.
QDOS Arts Café – Lorne
Cute, Japanese style tree house bungalows and a nice restaurant and gallery.
Great Ocean EcoLodge – Cape Otway
A charming forest lodge and wildlife conservation initiative in the national park with plenty of native wildlife around to enjoy.
Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre - Torquay
A wonderful indigenous gallery, café and cultural centre well worth a visit. Throw a boomerang, eat some kangaroo and listen to some traditional didgeridoo. All the good stuff.
Live Wire Park – Lorne
A new treetop walk and zip line network that is perfect for families.
Go Ride A Wave – Anglesea
A great place to get a surf lesson with plenty of nice forgiving beach breaks.
Scenic Helicopter Flights – Twelve Apostles
Short flights over the Apostles are surprisingly affordable and if there was ever a place to do it! It does tend to get crowded after lunch.
The Great Ocean Road is spectacular. Whether you are new to Victoria or a savvy tourist, it will captivate and amaze you. From the Antarctic currents of the Southern Ocean to warmth of Local coffee roasters, the Local wildlife encounters to the ANZAC history, you’ll be left with the memories of a lifetime.
If you’re not keen to self-drive this adventure, we run highly personalised, private touring experiences down the Great Ocean Road. We offer one, two and three day itineraries (which can include the Grampians National Park) starting at $300 AUD per person. These include fabulous local meals, activities, a premium touring vehicle and best of all, an expert Localing guide.
Call us on +61 3 9088 8001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started on your once in a lifetime adventure.