My husband and I travelled along the Great Ocean Road a few years back, as my brother in law lives in Adelaide. We decided to fly out to Melbourne to meet him there and spend a few nights there then all drive along the Great Ocean Road together back to Adelaide. We spent a few days in Adelaide and also visited Kangaroo Island too then spent a few more days back in Adelaide before flying home.
The Great Ocean Road is a 150 mile stretch of heritage listed road along the south eastern coast of Australia. The Great Ocean Road makes an excellent choice for an epic road trip. There is so much to see and do along this iconic road from seaside towns, coves and bays, lighthouses and lots of wildlife.
The good thing about the Great Ocean Road is that you can make the trip as long as you like, most people tend to drive along the Great Ocean Road over 3-4 days. We drove the Great Ocean Road over 5 days as we drove on further to Adelaide. I would really recommend the Great Ocean Road to anyone as it has something for everyone and could easily be done over 3 days if your strapped for time.
Torquay is either at the very start or very end of the Great Ocean Road depending which way you come from. We started our Great Ocean Road adventure in Torquay. Torquay used to be a sleepy seaside town but now Torquay is world famous as Australia’s Surf Capital.
Torquay is also home to Ripcurl and Quicksilver which are two huge iconic surf brands which originally started out as wetsuit makers. Torquay was one of my favourite stops along the Great Ocean Road, from getting to visit the world famous Bells Beach and the surf museum, there is so much to Torquay than meets the eye.
Sights & Activities
Australian National Surfing Museum
No trip to Torquay would be complete without a visit to the Australian National Surfing Museum. There is a huge array of Australian surfing memorabilia, the surf hall of fame and lots of information, videos and displays on surfing culture. This small but interesting museum is a must and is reasonably priced at just AUD$12 per person.
We all really enjoyed visiting the museum and learnt so much about surfing culture and the history behind it. We spent a few hours wandering around the museum and reading all of the information.Bells Beach
Bells Beach is world famous and also home to Rip Curls Pro Bells Beach Surf Competition which is the world’s longest continuously running surfing competition. There are viewing platforms located above Bells Beach where you can take in breathtaking views of the world famous beach and the waves as well as the sandstone cliffs surrounding the beach. Bells Beach shouldn’t be missed when cruising along the Great Ocean Road.Surf City
Surf City is a shopping complex in Torquay which sells all kinds of surf essentials from wetsuits and surf boards to lots of iconic surf brands selling clothing. We stopped here and did a spot of shopping when we first arrived in Torquay. If your into your surf brands you need to check this place out as all the major surf brands from Billabong, Quicksilver, Ripcurl and many more are all in one area.Food & Beverage
Fishos is located along the shore front in Torquay, and serves up fresh, delicious and non fuss fish and chips. We chose the Bells Share Platter which serves 4 people for AUD$72 which worked out slightly cheaper than ordering individual meals and came with fish, calamari, chips and sweet potato cakes it was really filling and tasty.Accommodation
The View on Grossmans
The View on Grossmans is a great location and located just 2 minutes drive from Torquay Beach. This small family run bed and breakfast has everything you need and also includes a pool and tennis courts as well as a bbq area. The rooms are clean, comfortable and modern and affordable.
After leaving Torquay in the morning, we made our way to Anglesea which is approximately a 20 minute drive from Torquay. We made a quick stop for breakfast and had a walk along the Anglesea River which meets the ocean and is the most gorgeous bright blue colour.
Food & Beverage
Four Kings Cafe is located right on the Great Ocean Road and overlooks the seafront. It serves up breakfast, brunch and lunch and a selection of drinks. It also has a good selection of vegan and vegetarian food. All the food is simple, fresh and healthy. If your leaving Torquay in the morning stop here for breakfast.
Aireys Inlet is midway between Anglesea and Lorne. Aireys Inlet has some beautiful stretches of coast, beaches and creeks.
Split Point Lighthouse
Split Point Lighthouse was built in 1891 and is still operational today. It was also used for filming for the popular children’s TV series ‘Around the Twist’. It is only accessible by booking a tour, however you can walk up to the lighthouse and have a wander round and get some great views of the coast without booking and paying for the tour.
Lorne is a major tourist attraction in itself, this quaint little seaside town attracts lots of tourists and day trippers during the summer months and has a great selection of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The beach is great for families as it has a beachside swimming pool, trampolines and skatepark.
If sitting in a beachside cafe isn’t your thing then there are lots of bushwalking tracks nearby too. We stopped in Lorne for an afternoon and wandered around the shops and grabbed and ice cream.
Food & Beverage
Stone Cold is an ice cream parlour situated along the beachfront and serves up a large variety of ice cream flavours as well as smoothies, juices and salads. We stopped here for some ice cream and sat outside watching the world go by.
After about 20 minutes of driving out of Lorne we drove through the gorgeous Separation Creek, which is a small costal Village. There isn’t much to see and do here but there is some gorgeous views of the coast. There is also a 250 meter long beach which you can visit here too. We didn’t stop however if you have time and want a quiet beach, this is the place to stop.
Apollo Bay is situated about an hour drive from Lorne and is one of the Great Ocean Roads larger towns. Apollo Bay is also a great place to base yourself to explore Cape Otway. When we drove along the Great Ocean Road we stayed in Cape Otway which was great, however in hindsight we would have been better staying in Apollo Bay as we had to drive back to Apollo Bay when we realised there was nowhere to get something to eat or drink in Cape Otway.
Apollo Bay has a great selection of restaurants and bars to choose from and a gorgeous white sand stretch of beach. We stopped along here for the beach and came back here in the evenings for dinner as it’s only about 25-30 minutes drive to Cape Otway where we were staying.
Food & Beverage
Cafe 153 is located along the Great Ocean Road in Apollo Bay, it is a laid back cafe which serves a selection of wine and alcohol and modern Australian cuisine with fresh, local and organic ingredients. It’s more of a breakfast and lunch type place, however we came here late afternoon for an early dinner before they closed. It’s a family run business and has a warm and welcoming intimate atmosphere.
Great Ocean Road Brewhouse
Another evening we visited the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse in Apollo Bay which serves up hearty pub grub and a huge array of craft beers. It’s a large family friendly Brewhouse and whether it’s food or just a drink you want this place is a great spot. It was reasonably priced and delicious food, I had the chicken schnitzel which was really tasty and filling. After dinner we sat by the fire and had a few drinks, which was a lovely way to wind down after a day of road tripping . There is also a beer garden too which is great for warmer days.
Cape Otway has a beautiful and rugged coast line to explore as well as lots of nature, wildlife and rainforests. Cape Otway is the second most southerly point of mainland Australia. Most of Cape Otway is within the Great Otway National Park.
We spent 2 nights in Cape Otway as we love exploring nature and enjoy seeing wildlife. In Cape Otway you can also see an abundance of koalas and kangaroos living in the wild, we pulled over several times to watch Koalas in the trees above and even had one koala walk past our car and down the road which was amazing. We were also lucky enough to see an Echidna too.Sights & Activities
Artillery Rocks was a real highlight for us, these rugged rock formations slope out into the ocean with a backdrop of rainforest hills behind. We came on a bit of wet, grey and rainy day but it didn’t stop us taking a stroll along these rocks, in fact it worked out well as we had the area to ourselves.
While here we had planned on having a picnic and bought lots of snacks and nibbles, and because of the bad weather ended up having a picnic in the car. While having our picnic I spotted a koala strolling past on the road behind our car so we all got out and followed it a few meters behind to see where it was going, it was amazing to see a koala in the wild. It eventually climbed up a tree and my brother in law managed to feed it some leaves.
Cape Otway Lightstation
Cape Otway Lightstation is the oldest lighthouse on mainland Australia that is still standing. There is more to see here than just the lighthouse from aboriginal cultural sites to world war 2 bunkers within the grounds. The lighthouse was built in 1848, it was also known as the Beacon of Hope. Hundreds of people were lost along this shipwreck coast which led to the building of the Lightstation on the cliffs edge.
Visiting the Lightstation is a great day out with lots to see and do and great value for money general admission was AUS$20 per person and includes entrance into the lighthouse, history talks, world war 2 bunker, whale interpretation site, aboriginal culture bush talk and entrance into the light keepers quarter and much more.
There is also a cute light keepers cafe which is in a gorgeous old sandstone building and serves home made cakes and pies which are delicious as well as some hot drinks which were perfect for us on the chilly windy day we visited.
The Redwoods Forest is great to stroll around, the Californian redwood trees were planted along the river back in 1939. The forest has some pathways through the trees, we visited the redwood forest just before leaving Cape Otway you only need about 30 minutes to wander through the walkways stay longer if you bring a picnic, it’s the perfect spot for lunch.
Bimbi Park is located not too far from the Cape Otway Lightstation and has a whole range of accommodation to suit all budgets from camping powered and unpowered sites, caravans, bunk rooms and cabins. When we stayed at Bimbi Park we booked a standard cabin without an ensuite.
The cabins have everything you need with small kitchen and sitting area, and a bedroom. It was clean, comfortable and affordable at only AUS$65 per night. We really enjoyed staying here it was quirky and had lots of wildlife around the park from koalas, kangaroos and lots of native birds.
Even though we really enjoyed our stay here I would recommend staying in Apollo Bay if you want more to do in the evenings, or if you are staying at Bimbi Park take food and drink supplies, as there aren’t many amenities near by and the reception only has snacks on sale.
Port Campbell & The Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles are probably the most iconic image of the Great Ocean Road. These stacked limestone towers scattered off shore near to the cliff edges in the Port Campbell National Park are a natural masterpiece, however now only 8 apostles can be seen from the viewing platforms. No trip to the Great Ocean Road would be complete without a visit to the rugged coastline to view the apostles. The road through Port Campbell is stunning with lots of sheer cliffs and beaches.
Warrnambool is the end of the Great Ocean Road, and used to be a whaling and sealing station now times have changed, and it is now a bustling hub with historical buildings and a whale watching centre. We stopped off here on our final stop along the Great Ocean Road, and went to a whale viewing point. Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales when we went but certain times of the year whales can be seen swimming in the distance.
We drove the whole of the Great Ocean Road, and continued on through Mount Gambier, Beachport, Robe and Meningie which aren’t part of the Great Ocean Road but thought I’d include them on this blog incase you decide to drive from Melbourne to Adelaide.
Mount Gambier is a major town on the limestone coast and lies beneath on the flatlands below an extinct volcano. What makes Mount Gambier a great stop is it’s stunning turquoise blue crater lake and caves. It takes just over 2 hours to reach Mount Gambier from Warrnambool.
We stopped in Mount Gambier for a drink and to go and visit the Famous Blue Lake, which changes colour depending on the season, and lies in a volcanic crater.
Beachport is a small coastal town along the limestone coast, with quant stone buildings this quiet town isn’t the most buzzing town, however if you want relaxing and quiet this is the place for you. Beachport also has a famously long jetty which is nice to walk along, although we went on a cold windy day and got very windswept.
The small fishing port of Robe doesn’t look much when you first drive into it, however I was pleasantly surprised by Robe. It has a lovely little high street with a good choice of great eateries and shops. Robe has become a popular holiday destination for holiday makers from both Adelaide and Melbourne. If your planning on visiting Robe over the Christmas or Easter period make sure to book accommodation in advance as it does get booked up way in advance.
Sights & Activities
Guichen Bay & The Obelisk
The Obelisk was built on Cape Dombey in 1852, which was created to help navigate the entrance into Guichen Bay and also to store rocket lifesaving equipment. The Obelisk is a landmark of Robe and has gorgeous rugged views over the Guichen Bay. This is one of the top sites to go and see in Robe, I loved watching the crashing waves here.
Food & Beverage
If your looking for a traditional pub in Robe look no further than the Caledonian Inn, this pub is on the high street and is set in a gorgeous old stone building and has a great atmosphere and a good selection of wines. The pub has a very English feel to it and is a traditional pub and has been in Robe so long that it is now seen as a landmark itself. We stopped in here for a few drinks after dinner.
Vic Street Pizza Project
Vic Street Pizza Project is a casual restaurant but with delicious food and fresh jugs of pimms. The Vic Pizza Project offers more than just Pizza and pasta it also has a specials board which is updated daily, when we were there they had tacos on offer. One thing I love about Australian restaurants is how fresh the food is and also that you go up and order your food and pay for it at the start. It saves time with the bill at the end. If your in Robe check this place out as it’s right on the high street.
Lakeview Motel & Apartments
Lakeview Motel is set on the shores of the Lake Fellmongery, it is a great location in Robe and is close proximity to all amenities within the town. The motels and apartments have a variety of rooms and rates on offer. We booked the standard rooms which are equipped with kitchen, bathroom and a small sitting area, which was great value for money we paid about £75 for the night and were really impressed with the size of the room.
Meningie is a small town on the south of Lake Albert in South Australia. This was the last place we stopped at to stretch our legs on our road trip before continuing on to Adelaide. It has some gorgeous views over the lake and some native birds. If your are driving all the way to Adelaide this is a convenient place to stop to have a walk and some fresh air.
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