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Great Ocean Road Itinerary – 3 Days Adventurous Self Drive Road Trip


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Kerri Greenleaf



Embarking on a road trip is one of the most exhilarating and adventurous ways to explore the beauty of a destination. And when it comes to epic road trips, the Great Ocean Road in Australia is undoubtedly a top contender. Stretching over 240 kilometers (150 miles) along the southeastern coast of Victoria, this iconic route offers breathtaking coastal views, rugged cliffs, stunning beaches, and a chance to experience the true essence of Australia’s natural wonders.


A self-drive road trip along the Great Ocean Road is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the mesmerizing landscapes, quaint towns, and abundant wildlife that this region has to offer. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply seeking an unforgettable adventure, this three-day itinerary will take you on a thrilling journey from Melbourne to Port Campbell, highlighting the must-see attractions along the way.


As you embark on this unforgettable road trip, be sure to have your camera ready to capture the stunning coastal vistas, wildlife encounters, and the iconic Twelve Apostles – a group of limestone stacks rising majestically from the Southern Ocean. Prepare to be captivated by the sheer beauty and wonder of the Great Ocean Road, as you wind your way through lush rainforests, charming seaside towns, and iconic landmarks that have defined this route as a bucket-list destination.


In the following days, we will guide you through each leg of the journey, highlighting the top attractions, recommended activities, and the best spots to indulge in delicious local cuisine. So buckle up, roll down the windows, and let’s embark on an extraordinary and adventurous self-drive road trip along the Great Ocean Road!


Day 1: Melbourne to Torquay

Your Great Ocean Road adventure begins in the vibrant city of Melbourne. After fueling up with a hearty breakfast, hop into your car and hit the road towards Torquay, the official starting point of the Great Ocean Road. The drive from Melbourne to Torquay takes approximately one hour, but be sure to plan for some extra time to enjoy the scenic views along the way.


As you leave the bustling city behind, you’ll find yourself surrounded by picturesque landscapes and stunning coastal vistas. Make a pit stop at Bells Beach, renowned as one of the world’s premier surfing spots. Take a stroll along the sandy shores, watch the surfers catching waves, and soak up the laid-back beach atmosphere.


Continue your drive to Torquay, a charming coastal town and the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. Explore Torquay’s surf culture by visiting the Surf World Museum, where you can learn about the history of surfing and admire vintage surfboards. If time permits, hit the waves yourself and try your hand at surfing or simply relax on the beach and enjoy the coastal vibes.


For lunch, head to one of the local cafes or grab some fish and chips to enjoy a beachside picnic. Torquay offers a variety of dining options, ranging from casual eateries to gourmet restaurants, where you can satisfy your taste buds with fresh seafood and local delicacies.


After lunch, take a scenic drive to Point Addis Marine National Park, a hidden gem that showcases the rugged beauty of the coastline. Embark on a hike along the cliff-top trails and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean. Keep an eye out for dolphins and seals that often frequent the area.


As the day draws to a close, head back to Torquay to check into your accommodation. You’ll find a range of accommodation options to suit every budget, including beachside resorts, cozy guesthouses, or even camping sites for those seeking a closer connection with nature.


In the evening, take a leisurely stroll along Torquay’s Esplanade, where you can browse through boutique shops, grab a gelato, or enjoy a refreshing drink at one of the local bars. Reflect on the day’s adventures and get ready for another exciting day ahead.

  • Distance: Approximately 100 km
  • Suggested activities: Visit Bells Beach, explore Surf World Museum, hike in Point Addis Marine National Park
  • Recommended dining options: Local cafes, seafood restaurants


Day 2: Torquay to Apollo Bay

Rise and shine to another exciting day of your Great Ocean Road adventure! After a delicious breakfast, bid farewell to Torquay and continue your journey towards the picturesque town of Apollo Bay. The drive from Torquay to Apollo Bay is approximately 1.5 hours, but be prepared for plenty of scenic stops along the way.


Your first stop on this leg of the journey is the stunning Anglesea Golf Course, where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the famous Anglesea River or even spot some kangaroos on the fairways. Next, make your way to Aireys Inlet, a quaint coastal village known for its iconic Split Point Lighthouse. Take a guided tour of the lighthouse and soak in the breathtaking views from the top.


As you continue driving, be sure to keep an eye out for the towering cliffs and beautiful beaches that dot the coastline. One noteworthy stop is the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch, a commemorative archway that marks the entrance to the Great Ocean Road. Don’t forget to capture the perfect photo here to document your journey.


Arriving in Apollo Bay, you’ll be greeted by the town’s laid-back atmosphere and stunning coastal scenery. Take a walk along the Apollo Bay Foreshore, a picturesque stretch of beach lined with cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops. Indulge in some local seafood or sample the region’s famous ice cream at one of the many charming eateries.


After satisfying your taste buds, head to the nearby Marriners Lookout for panoramic views of the town and the surrounding coastline. This elevated vantage point offers stunning vistas of Apollo Bay and is especially breathtaking during sunrise or sunset.


For nature enthusiasts, a visit to Great Otway National Park is a must. Explore the park’s lush rainforests, gushing waterfalls, and tranquil streams. Take a leisurely stroll along one of the park’s numerous walking trails, such as the Maits Rest Rainforest Walk, and be immersed in the beauty of the ancient ferns and towering trees.


As evening approaches, settle into your accommodation in Apollo Bay. Whether you choose to stay in a beachfront hotel, a cozy bed and breakfast, or a self-contained cottage nestled in nature, you’re sure to find a comfortable spot to rest and recharge for another adventurous day along the Great Ocean Road.

  • Distance: Approximately 70 km
  • Suggested activities: Visit Anglesea Golf Course, explore Aireys Inlet and its lighthouse, stop at the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch, walk along Apollo Bay Foreshore, visit Marriners Lookout, explore Great Otway National Park
  • Recommended dining options: Seafood restaurants, local cafes


Day 3: Apollo Bay to Port Campbell

Get ready for the final day of your Great Ocean Road journey, as you make your way from Apollo Bay to the charming coastal town of Port Campbell. The drive from Apollo Bay to Port Campbell is approximately 2 hours, but be prepared for plenty of breathtaking sights to explore along the way.


Start your day by visiting the iconic Twelve Apostles, one of the most famous landmarks along the Great Ocean Road. These towering limestone stacks rising from the Southern Ocean create a truly awe-inspiring sight. Take your time to walk along the viewing platforms and capture the beauty of this natural wonder from various angles. For a more unique experience, consider taking a helicopter ride to get a bird’s-eye view of the Twelve Apostles and the stunning coastline.


Next, make your way to Loch Ard Gorge, a stunning natural formation that tells a tale of shipwreck and survival. Explore the dramatic cliffs and narrow gorge, and learn about the tragic history of the Loch Ard shipwreck that occurred in 1878. Be sure to visit the nearby Razorback, a spectacular rock formation that offers stunning views of the coastline.


Continue your journey to the charming fishing village of Port Campbell, where you can indulge in fresh seafood and experience the laid-back coastal lifestyle. Take a stroll along the Port Campbell Jetty and admire the fishing boats bobbing in the harbor. Visit the local cafes and restaurants along the main street to enjoy a delicious meal, or treat yourself to some locally made ice cream.


To end your Great Ocean Road adventure on a high note, don’t miss out on exploring the nearby Port Campbell National Park. Marvel at the stunning natural formations such as the London Arch (formerly known as the London Bridge) and the picturesque Gibson Steps, where you can descend to the beach and witness the majestic cliffs up close.


As you bid farewell to the Great Ocean Road, take a moment to soak in the beauty and memories of your incredible journey. Reflect on the breathtaking landscapes, the fresh sea air, and the sense of freedom that comes with embarking on a self-drive road trip. The Great Ocean Road is a truly remarkable experience that will stay with you long after your adventure concludes.

  • Distance: Approximately 100 km
  • Suggested activities: Visit Twelve Apostles, explore Loch Ard Gorge and Razorback, enjoy the Port Campbell Jetty, visit Port Campbell National Park
  • Recommended dining options: Seafood restaurants, local cafes



Embarking on a self-drive road trip along the Great Ocean Road is an adventure of a lifetime. From the vibrant city of Melbourne to the charming coastal towns, every step of the journey is filled with breathtaking natural beauty and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re captivated by the rugged cliffs, mesmerized by the stunning beaches, or fascinated by the wildlife encounters, this iconic route offers something for everyone.


Over the course of three days, you’ll have the opportunity to visit world-famous landmarks such as the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, as well as discover hidden gems like Anglesea Golf Course and Marriners Lookout. The coastal towns of Torquay, Apollo Bay, and Port Campbell provide the perfect backdrop for indulging in local cuisine, exploring unique attractions, and immersing yourself in the laid-back coastal lifestyle.


Throughout your journey, be sure to take the time to appreciate the little moments – the salty sea breeze on your face, the sounds of crashing waves, and the feeling of freedom as you cruise along the open road. Capture these memories and moments in photographs, but also in your heart, as the Great Ocean Road is not just about the sights, but the emotions and experiences it evokes.


As your road trip comes to a close, know that the memories and the sense of adventure will stay with you long after you’ve returned home. The Great Ocean Road offers a glimpse into Australia’s natural splendor, and it’s a journey that will inspire and rejuvenate your spirit.


So, start planning your Great Ocean Road adventure, pack your bags, and hit the road. Get ready to be amazed by the beauty of the coastline, immerse yourself in the local culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime. The Great Ocean Road awaits, ready to show you the wonders of Australia’s spectacular coastline.