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Adelaide To Melbourne Road Trip: The Extended Great Ocean Road


by Devora Feist




The Adelaide to Melbourne road trip offers an incredible opportunity to explore the stunning coastline of Australia. While driving along this scenic route, you will have the chance to experience the beauty of the Great Ocean Road, renowned for its breathtaking views, rugged cliffs, and pristine beaches. This extended version of the Great Ocean Road trip allows you to venture beyond the traditional route and discover hidden gems along the way.


Spanning approximately 1,000 kilometers, this road trip can be completed in about six days, allowing ample time to immerse yourself in the enchanting landscapes and vibrant coastal towns. From the vibrant city of Adelaide to the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne, this journey promises to be an unforgettable adventure filled with natural wonders, cultural attractions, and mouthwatering culinary experiences.


Before embarking on your road trip, it is essential to plan your itinerary and make necessary preparations. This article will guide you through the highlights of each day, suggesting must-visit locations and providing tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.


So, buckle up, roll down the windows, and get ready for an unforgettable road trip from Adelaide to Melbourne, exploring the extended Great Ocean Road.


Planning for the Road Trip:


Before hitting the road, it is important to plan and prepare for your Adelaide to Melbourne road trip to make the most out of your adventure. Here are some essential tips to help you get ready:

  • Choose the right time: Consider the weather and the crowd. The best time to embark on this trip is during the spring or autumn seasons when the weather is mild and the landscapes are at their most vibrant.
  • Create an itinerary: Plan out your route and identify the key stops along the way. Research attractions, scenic viewpoints, and activities that align with your interests.
  • Allocate enough time: This road trip is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace, so make sure to allocate enough time for each destination. Aim for at least six days to explore the extended Great Ocean Road.
  • Book accommodation in advance: As the Great Ocean Road is a popular tourist destination, it is advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons. Consider staying in coastal towns like Mount Gambier, Port Fairy, Apollo Bay, and Torquay.
  • Check road conditions: Before setting off, check the latest road conditions and any potential road closures or construction. Stay updated on weather forecasts as well.
  • Pack essentials: Pack comfortable clothing, sunscreen, insect repellent, a first aid kit, and any other necessary items for your road trip. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning landscapes along the way!
  • Prepare your vehicle: Ensure that your vehicle is in good condition before starting the trip. Check the tire pressure, brake fluid, and oil levels. It might be helpful to carry some spare parts and a roadside emergency kit.
  • Stay hydrated and fueled: Stock up on snacks, water, and fuel as you may encounter stretches with limited services. It’s always better to be prepared.

By taking the time to plan and prepare for your road trip, you’ll be able to enjoy a smoother and more enjoyable journey, making the most of the stunning sights and experiences that lie ahead.


Day 1: Adelaide to Mount Gambier


Start your road trip by departing from the vibrant city of Adelaide and heading towards the beautiful town of Mount Gambier. The drive takes approximately four and a half hours, covering a distance of around 450 kilometers. Along the way, you’ll get a taste of the stunning South Australian countryside.


As you leave Adelaide, consider making a stop in the picturesque town of Hahndorf. Known for its charming German heritage, Hahndorf offers quaint streets lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and delicious bakeries. Take some time to explore, grab a coffee, or indulge in traditional German pastries before continuing your journey.


Continuing on, you’ll pass through the lush vineyards of the Coonawarra wine region. Consider stopping at one of the cellar doors to sample some of the region’s renowned wines and learn about the winemaking process.


Upon reaching Mount Gambier, you’ll be greeted by the stunning Blue Lake. This volcanic crater lake changes color from vibrant turquoise in summer to a deep blue shade in winter, creating a mesmerizing sight. Take a walk around the lake or enjoy a picnic in the nearby gardens.


For nature enthusiasts, the Umpherston Sinkhole is a must-visit attraction in Mount Gambier. This natural wonder features a sunken garden surrounded by limestone cliffs, creating a tranquil oasis. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere.


To end your day, explore Mount Gambier’s vibrant food scene. Indulge in fresh seafood or sample local produce at one of the many restaurants and cafes in town.


After a day of scenic driving, natural wonders, and culinary delights, rest up at one of Mount Gambier’s comfortable accommodations, ready to continue your road trip the following day.


Day 2: Mount Gambier to Port Fairy


On the second day of your road trip, leave Mount Gambier behind and embark on a scenic drive to the charming coastal town of Port Fairy. This leg of the journey covers approximately 190 kilometers and takes around two and a half hours.


As you travel along the coast, make a stop at the picturesque Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park. This natural wonder is home to crystal-clear sinkholes and underwater caves, offering a unique snorkeling or diving experience for those seeking adventure.


Continuing along the route, you’ll arrive at the town of Portland, known for its rich maritime history. Explore the Portland Maritime Discovery Centre to learn about the area’s maritime heritage and visit the Cape Nelson Lighthouse for sweeping views of the coastline.


From Portland, it’s just a short drive to the charming town of Port Fairy. Known for its historic buildings and quaint streets, Port Fairy exudes a relaxed coastal vibe. Take a stroll along the waterfront promenade, admire the beautifully preserved architecture, and explore the boutique shops and art galleries.


If you’re a nature enthusiast, a visit to Griffiths Island is a must. Connected to the mainland via a causeway, this island is home to a colony of shearwater birds. Take a leisurely walk around the island, keeping an eye out for the abundant birdlife and enjoying the scenic views of the ocean.


For seafood lovers, indulge in a fresh seafood feast at one of the local seafood restaurants. Port Fairy is known for its abundance of delicious seafood, including fresh lobster, scallops, and fish.


As night falls, embrace the tranquility of Port Fairy and relax at one of its cozy accommodations. Rest easy, knowing that more adventures await you on the next leg of this incredible road trip.


Day 3: Port Fairy to Apollo Bay


On day three, bid farewell to Port Fairy and continue your journey along the Great Ocean Road, heading towards the stunning coastal town of Apollo Bay. This leg of the road trip covers approximately 110 kilometers and takes around two hours, offering breathtaking ocean views along the way.


As you leave Port Fairy, make a stop at the Bay of Islands Coastal Park. This park is known for its rugged and dramatic coastline, with towering limestone stacks rising from the crashing waves. Take a walk along the designated viewing platforms and capture the awe-inspiring beauty of these natural formations.


Continuing your drive, you’ll pass through the historic town of Warrnambool. If you have time, consider visiting the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the region’s maritime history. Explore the recreated historical village and maritime museum, and enjoy panoramic views from the Flagstaff Hill Lookout.


Next, make a stop at the famous Twelve Apostles, one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks. These limestone stacks rise majestically from the Southern Ocean, creating a breathtaking sight. Walk along the designated viewing platforms and witness the changing hues of the sky as the sun sets, casting a golden glow over this natural wonder.


After experiencing the magnificence of the Twelve Apostles, continue your journey to Apollo Bay. Nestled at the foothills of the Otway Ranges, Apollo Bay is a popular coastal town where the lush rainforest meets the pristine ocean. Explore the charming town center, relax on the beautiful beach, or indulge in fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants.


For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to the nearby Cape Otway Lightstation is a must. As the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia, this historic landmark offers panoramic views of the rugged coastline. Visit the Aboriginal Cultural Site and keep your eyes peeled for native wildlife, including koalas and kangaroos.


As the day comes to an end, unwind by taking a leisurely stroll along the waterfront or simply enjoy the peaceful ambiance of Apollo Bay. Rest up at one of the town’s cozy accommodations, ready to explore more of the Great Ocean Road on the following day.


Day 4: Exploring the Great Ocean Road


Day four of your road trip is dedicated to fully immersing yourself in the wonders of the Great Ocean Road. This iconic stretch of coast is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, stunning cliffs, and picturesque beaches. Prepare to be captivated as you embark on a day filled with natural beauty and awe-inspiring sights.


Start your day by driving to the Great Otway National Park, a haven of lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. Take a walk along the rainforest trails, keeping an eye out for native birds and koalas resting in the eucalyptus trees.


Within the national park, you’ll find the magnificent Triplet Falls. Follow the boardwalk through towering ferns and ancient trees to reach these stunning waterfalls, where multiple cascades create a mesmerizing spectacle. It’s a truly magical spot that shouldn’t be missed.


Continuing your journey, make your way to the famous Loch Ard Gorge. Named after the shipwreck “Loch Ard,” this dramatic gorge features towering cliffs, turquoise waters, and a captivating history. Walk along the designated viewing platforms, take in the breathtaking scenery, and learn about the tragic shipwreck that occurred here in 1878.


Next, visit the iconic London Arch, formerly known as the London Bridge. This natural rock formation was once a double-span arch, resembling a bridge. However, over time, one of the spans collapsed, leaving behind a unique land formation. Marvel at the rugged beauty of this coastal landmark and take advantage of the photo opportunities it provides.


No Great Ocean Road adventure is complete without visiting the iconic Twelve Apostles. Though the name suggests twelve stacks, only eight (as of now) remain standing in the Southern Ocean. Witness the majesty of these limestone formations as they tower above the crashing waves.


As the day comes to a close, make your way to Port Campbell, a vibrant coastal town with a range of dining options. Indulge in fresh seafood or hearty pub fare before retiring to your accommodation.


Day four is undoubtedly packed with awe-inspiring sights and unforgettable experiences along the Great Ocean Road. Take your time to soak it all in, capturing memories that will last a lifetime.


Day 5: Apollo Bay to Torquay


On day five of your road trip, bid farewell to the charming coastal town of Apollo Bay and continue your journey towards the vibrant seaside town of Torquay. This leg of the drive covers approximately 75 kilometers and takes around one and a half hours.


As you venture along the Great Ocean Road, take advantage of the numerous scenic viewpoints and stop-offs that offer breathtaking ocean panoramas. Marvel at the rugged cliffs, golden beaches, and crashing waves that make this coastline so renowned.


One of the highlights along the route is the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch, located near the town of Eastern View. This iconic landmark pays homage to the servicemen who built this remarkable road after World War I. Take a moment to pause, snap some photos, and appreciate the significance of this historical marker.


As you approach Lorne, a picturesque coastal town, take a break and explore its delightful shops, cafes, and galleries. Stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere that makes Lorne so appealing to both locals and visitors alike.


Continuing your drive, you’ll pass through the beautiful beachside town of Anglesea. Consider stopping at the Anglesea Golf Club, where you can play a round of golf with ocean views or simply enjoy a leisurely lunch at their restaurant overlooking the course.


As you arrive in Torquay, you’ll be greeted by the vibrant surf culture that the town is known for. Visit the iconic Bells Beach, internationally renowned for its world-class surfing conditions and famous surf competitions. Even if you’re not a surfer, the stunning coastal scenery is worth the visit.


Take a stroll along the Esplanade, lined with trendy cafes and surf shops, and immerse yourself in the laid-back coastal vibe. Torquay is also home to the Surf World Museum, where you can learn about the history of surfing and its influence on the local culture.


As the sun sets, find a spot along the beach to witness a breathtaking coastal sunset, casting hues of orange and pink across the sky.


Rest up at one of Torquay’s comfortable accommodations, savoring the memories of a day well spent along the Great Ocean Road.


Day 6: Torquay to Melbourne


Today marks the final leg of your remarkable road trip as you make your way from Torquay back to the vibrant city of Melbourne. The drive covers around 100 kilometers and takes approximately one and a half hours.


Before bidding farewell to Torquay, take the opportunity to enjoy the town’s beautiful beaches. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beach enthusiast looking to soak up the sun, Torquay offers a range of stunning beaches to suit every preference.


As you continue your journey, consider making a stop at the Surf Coast Walk. This scenic coastal trail stretches from Torquay to Fairhaven, offering breathtaking views of the coastline and opportunities for leisurely walks or invigorating hikes. Take in the fresh ocean air and pause to appreciate the beauty of the landscape.


Next, venture into the seaside town of Anglesea once again and visit the Anglesea Heath. This unique heathland habitat is home to a variety of native flora and fauna, offering a chance to spot kangaroos, wallabies, and colorful bird species. Explore the walking trails and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surrounding nature.


Continuing on, make your way through the picturesque coastal towns of Aireys Inlet and Lorne. These charming towns offer stunning coastal views, boutique shops, and delightful eateries. Consider stopping for a leisurely lunch, enjoying the local cuisine while taking in the relaxed beachside atmosphere.


As you approach Melbourne, consider taking a detour to the renowned Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery in Bellbrae. Indulge in artisan chocolates, sample delectable ice creams, and explore the expansive grounds that house a variety of edible delights.


Finally, arrive in Melbourne, the vibrant cultural capital of Australia. With its bustling city streets, diverse culinary scene, and an endless array of attractions, Melbourne offers something for everyone. Spend the evening exploring the laneways filled with street art, dining at world-class restaurants, or catching a show at one of the city’s iconic theaters.


As you reflect on the incredible journey of the past six days, cherish the memories made along the Great Ocean Road. From the natural wonders to the charming coastal towns, this road trip has showcased the beauty and diversity of the Australian landscape.


Whether you choose to stay longer in Melbourne or continue your adventures elsewhere, you can rest assured that this road trip has offered an unforgettable experience filled with breathtaking scenery, cultural exploration, and cherished moments.




The Adelaide to Melbourne road trip along the extended Great Ocean Road is a journey filled with breathtaking coastal scenery, delightful towns, and unforgettable experiences. From the vibrant city of Adelaide to the cultural capital of Melbourne, this road trip takes you on an adventure through stunning landscapes and charming coastal communities.


Whether you’re captivated by the rugged cliffs of the Twelve Apostles, mesmerized by the turquoise waters of the Blue Lake in Mount Gambier, or charmed by the quaint streets of Port Fairy, every stop along the way offers a unique experience.


The planning and preparation for this road trip are essential to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. By creating an itinerary, booking accommodations in advance, and checking road conditions, you can make the most out of your time and fully immerse yourself in the wonders that await you.


As you travel along the Great Ocean Road, embrace the opportunities to connect with nature at the national parks, explore historic landmarks, and indulge in the local cuisine. Capture the moments, breathe in the fresh ocean air, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


As you reach the end of your road trip in Melbourne, reflect on the incredible beauty and diversity you’ve experienced. Melbourne’s vibrant culture and lively atmosphere provide the perfect ending to this unforgettable journey.


The Adelaide to Melbourne road trip along the extended Great Ocean Road offers a remarkable opportunity to explore Australia’s stunning coastline, immerse yourself in its natural wonders, and discover the charm of its coastal towns. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.