Hi there! My name is Sally and together with my partner Brayden, we run the sustainable travel blog and Instagram, Sally Sees. We are born and bred Melbournians, but it’s been quite a while since we have lived in and travelled around Victoria.
We recently spent 5 days road-tripping along the mighty Great Ocean Road, from Melbourne to Port Fairy. Our last visit to the Great Ocean Road was over 7 years ago, and we were reminded why this area is such a highlight for visitors to Victoria. We were blown away all over again by the stunning scenery along the coast, the thundering waterfalls of the Otways and the abundance of native wildlife all over the region.
Here are some of our highlights, to help you plan your own epic Great Ocean Road trip!
We set off from Melbourne, so our first taste of the Great Ocean Road was Torquay. This town has blown up since we were last there and is jam-packed with chic cafes, funky bars and creative eateries. Don’t miss coffee from Little Things Big Things Café, a browse for some bargains in the surf shop outlets, and a walk on a portion of the Surf Coast Walk. We opted for a 6km return section from Bird Rock to Bells Beach, where we checked out the pro surfers, and ogled at the epic ocean views.
Aireys Inlet is ‘the town with the lighthouse’, but not just any lighthouse! The Split Point Lighthouse is an icon to us as Aussie kids, gracing our screens in Round The Twist for many years growing up. Be sure to set aside some time to wander around the lighthouse area, and check out the unique Eagle Rock formations off the coast.
And don’t forget an obligatory photo stop at the Memorial Arch at Eastern View!
Our first night was spent in Lorne, and this is a great place to base yourself coming from Melbourne. Our accommodation was a cosy cottage at Lorne Bush House. Eco-certified by Ecotourism Australia, the cottage was surrounded by bushland, and we spotted plenty of native birds and animals. We spent a rainy afternoon soaking in the spa bath and enjoying the beautiful views over the Otways.
For dinner in Lorne, check out Coda. A chic, Asian fusion restaurant with ocean views and delicious cocktails. And for breakfast, don’t miss HAH Lorne right on the beach. We can vouch for their coffee!
Teddy’s Lookout is worth a visit during the day, and at sunset to see an everchanging view of the coast, the Otways and the winding Great Ocean Road.
Lorne is in close proximity to tons of waterfalls, but Erskine Falls is a quick 15-minute drive and just a short walk to the falls. The falls were pounding when we visited after recent heavy rainfall, and because we arrived early we had the entire place to ourselves which was so peaceful. Remember to stick to the paths, and be as quiet as possible to not disturb native wildlife.
When it’s time to leave Lorne, get ready for some epic views. The section of the Great Ocean Road between Wye River and Lorne was especially scenic.
Before you arrive in Apollo Bay, we recommend pulling into Marriner’s Lookout. A short walk leads you to an expansive view of the town and the bay. We looked down on the harbour, before jumping in the car and beelining there for lunch!
The Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-Op serves up the freshest seafood platters. You sit on the harbour, overlooking the boats hauling the fish in – it doesn’t get much fresher than that! We shared a delicious seafood platter for two, before wandering around the Apollo Bay Harbour.
As animal lovers, we really enjoyed a tour at Wildlife Wonders. Their Walk with Wildlife takes you on a guided walk through their sanctuary with a knowledgeable guide, who will teach you about the animals and environment of the Otways. We were lucky enough to spot koalas, wallabies and kangaroos. What we loved most though was that by visiting Wildlife Wonders, you are supporting important conservation and habitat restoration work around the Great Ocean Road.
A highlight of our trip was a stay at Sky Pods. An off-grid, eco-friendly accommodation in the wilderness of Cape Otway. We spent the night in one of their Sky Ships, a converted shipping container that runs completely off solar panels. We came prepared with food and wine to use in the kitchen, so we could stay on the property all night and soak up the seclusion.
The property has a walking trail to Station Beach, where you can continue on to Rainbow Falls. We had a morning walk, and spotted a mob of kangaroos, munching grass on the property. The owners of Sky Pods have planted over 65,000 trees to restore this formerly agricultural land, and welcome back native wildlife.
The 12 Apostles are probably the most recognised image of the Great Ocean Road, and we can see why! This stretch of the coast is home to a number of unique rock formations that will take your breath away. Formed over many years by the pounding Southern Ocean eroding the limestone rock, the results are pretty spectacular!
Don’t miss a stop at Gibson Steps, where you can walk down onto the beach, the 12 Apostles, viewed from a lookout, or Loch Ard Gorge, where you can view the unique gorge from above and walk down to the beach below.
Continue on to admire the old London Bridge, which is now more of a London Arch after partly collapsing. And don’t miss The Grotto, one of the most interesting formations and a highlight for us!
Our final night was spent in the charming town of Port Fairy in a cute cabin at the Gardens Caravan Park.
We absolutely loved wandering around this historic town, with its old buildings, wharf and riverfront. Be sure to give yourself some time to get lost here and wander aimlessly! East Beach is just gorgeous and is the perfect spot for a swim or surf.
Breakfast at Bank St + Co is a must, and head to the Visitor Information Centre to rent bicycles. We cycled to Griffiths Island, a wildlife sanctuary connected to the mainland via a causeway. You’ll find the Port Fairy Lighthouse and plenty of scenic views. This is an important nesting ground for migratory birds, so stick to the path.
And with that it was time to return to Melbourne! We loved every minute of our time on the Great Ocean Road, and it’s hands down one of the best road trips we have ever done! I hope this inspires and excites you to take your own road trip down one of Australia’s most scenic stretches of coastline.
Explore everything about a region by selecting a location.
Sign up to get the latest deals, tours & events along the Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.