Great Ocean Road
The best way to take in this spectacular stretch of highway is by car or coach, with most driving tours departing from Melbourne and including a tour guide, round-trip transportation, and a visit to the Twelve Apostles.
Activities along the way may include wine tastings in Apollo Bay; wild koala-spotting in Kennett River; hiking along the shipwreck coast to witness the natural splendor of the Loch Ard Gorge; or pulling over at sunset to witness the Great Ocean Road at its most majestic. Day trips on the route can be combined with a stop at Phillip Island for the famous penguin parade.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Tours along the Great Ocean Road tend to run upwards of 12 hours due to all of the driving.
Renting a car and driving the Great Ocean Road is a great way to get to know the area independently.
Many attractions along the Great Ocean Road are accessible to wheelchair users, including the Twelve Apostles and the Loch Ard Gorge.
How to Get There
The Great Ocean Road is set 150 miles (240 kilometers) southwest of Melbourne and 100 miles (165 kilometers) from Geelong. It takes about three hours to arrive from Melbourne by road. Buses from these cities service major Great Ocean Road towns such as Torquay, Anglesea, Lorne, and Apollo Bay; however, a car is essential to take a road trip on the full 150-mile (243-kilometer) route.
When to Get There
In December and January, the road’s small coastal towns are especially popular among Australians from New South Wales and South Australia cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. Crowds can often dampen the tranquil atmosphere of the route; an off-season visit can help you avoid both traffic and the scorching summer sun.
Best Outdoor Experiences Along the Route
The waves off the Great Ocean Road are a paradise for surfers, who flock here from Melbourne, while seaside towns such as Geelong, Lorne, and Torquay offer whale-watching and maritime history. The Port Campbell National Park is another must, as is the Great Otway National Park—home to kangaroos, wallabies, and fairy penguins—and the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park.
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