The epic road trip from Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road to the 12 Apostles features breathtaking scenery, vibrant seaside villages and inland treasures.
This four-day itinerary includes the Surf Coast towns of Torquay, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet and Lorne; then to Apollo Bay, The Otways and Port Campbell, and inland to the not to be missed volcanic plains of Camperdown and Colac.
Pick a couple of stops, or strap yourself in for a big day of exploring the Surf Coast towns and hamlets, each with its own unique features and bucket-loads of interesting things to see and do.
Torquay, the Surf Coast’s hottest ‘surfie’ town, has a great surfing vibe with surf shops and outlets galore. There’s also boutique shopping, a variety of eateries, a day spa and the trailhead of the Surf Coast Walk.
Stroll along Torquay’s esplanade, swim at Front Beach, enjoy the views from Point Danger Lookout and improve your surfing technique with a surf lesson. Alternatively, just pamper yourself with a spa treatment at RACV Torquay One Spa.
Next stop is the town of Anglesea, where the Great Ocean Road meets the spectacular coastline. The huge expanse of white sandy beach at the mouth of the Anglesea River makes Anglesea perfect for beachgoers.
Once again, activity choices are numerous. Hire a paddle boat or a canoe to explore the Anglesea River, take a surf lesson, hike a section of the Surf Coast Walk and take in the majestic views of the jagged limestone cliffs at Point Addis Lookout.
For a change of pace, relax at Anglesea’s Lux Spa & Wellness and choose from a range of rejuvenating treatments.
It’s only a ten-minute drive along the scenic, winding Great Ocean Road to Aireys Inlet. Here, the Great Otway National Park almost meets the ocean and Fairhaven Beach, the longest in the area, stretches six kilometres along the coastline.
Don’t miss stopping at Split Point Lighthouse, standing 34 metres tall. This landmark is open for visitors and the nearby Lighthouse Tea Rooms are the perfect spot to enjoy a Devonshire tea, coffee and scones.
Last stop for the day is the very popular seaside town of Lorne, where holidaymakers have been spending their summers for a century. Hit the beach for some ‘Vitamin Sea’, stroll out onto the Lorne Pier, enjoy the majestic coastal (and very Instagrammable) views from Teddy’s Lookout, or wander the main street brimming with boutique gift stores, cafes and galleries.
Just 10 kilometres away is Erskine Falls, the closest waterfall in the Otways, with water cascading down into a gorgeous ferny valley. Nearby are the pretty Kalimna Falls where the water trickles over a rocky ledge.
For the thrillseekers, get amongst some adventure-filled fun at Live Wire Park set amongst the treetops of the Otways. Try the 525-metre Shockwave Zipcoaster, Super Circuit ropes course, Short Circuit ropes course, Canopy Circuit walk or the Spring Circuit trampolines.
After a day of outdoor adventure, return to Lorne for a sundowner at the local Lorne Hotel with its stunning coastal views, then try one of Lorne’s great dining options.
Surf or shop at Torquay
Paddle the Anglesea River or relax at Lux Spa & Wellness
Climb Split Point Lighthouse and grab a coffee after
Check out some waterfalls and hit Live Wire Park in Lorne
The 45-minute drive from Lorne to Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road reveals some of the most spectacular scenery along the route. There are plenty of viewpoints where you can stop, including cliff top views and lookouts at Cumberland River, Mount Defiance, Wye River, and Cape Patton.
Stop by the small town of Wye River and walk the one-kilometre stretch of sandy beach bordered by dramatic cliffs that links the town to Separation Creek.
Don’t miss the Great Ocean Road Koala Walk at Kennett River—one of the best places in Australia to spot cute koalas in the wild. Along the trail you may also spot a variety of colourful birds, including cockatoos, king parrots, eastern rosellas, and kookaburras.
After enjoying the incredible scenery from Lorne to Apollo Bay, stop for a well-earned lunch. Apollo Bay is the home of the freshest seafood on the coast. Who doesn’t enjoy salty fish and chips served in paper? You could also splurge on grilled lobster, or a box of 20 cooked prawns from the Fisherman’s Co-op.
Walk off lunch on a section of the 110-kilometre-long Great Ocean Walk that continues from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles—the dramatic coastal vistas are awe-inspiring.
Spend the afternoon exploring the nearby Great Otway National Park. Choose from Cape Otway and its historical lighthouse with stunning views from the balcony; a rainforest walk in the national park with wildlife and beautiful waterfalls; a treetop eco-adventure at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures; or a guided wildlife tour with a local wildlife expert.
In the heart of the Otways at Beech Forest check out the giant Californian Redwoods, planted here in 1939. Hike to a couple of nearby waterfalls, such as Carisbrooke Falls, Hopetoun Falls or the extraordinary 20-metre-high Beauchamp Falls, just outside Beech Forest.
Stop and spot some wildlife at Wye River & Kennett River
Try part of the Great Ocean Walk from Apollo Bay then grab a bite from The Fisherman’s Co-op
Spend some time in the Otways checking out waterfalls, the Redwoods and Cape Otway Lightstation
The Great Ocean Road detours inland on the 47-kilometre-long stretch from Apollo Bay to Lavers Hill, the highest point on the road. Lavers Hill is surrounded by the Great Otways National Park and is the ideal place to stop for a morning coffee before continuing to the 12 Apostles.
The Great Ocean Road curves back to the coastline as you continue towards the town of Princetown, gateway to the 12 Apostles.
Grab a map from the Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre (along with a stack of other handy hints from the friendly team) and take the walking paths to the viewing platforms overlooking these remarkable natural wonders carved from limestone by the Southern Ocean.
Don’t miss the incredible Gibson Steps—take the 86 steps down to the beach, where you will be dwarfed by the 70-metre-high vertical cliffs. Nearby are two towering rock stacks known as Gog and Magog.
Only minutes away by car from the 12 Apostles is the tear-shaped chasm of Loch Ard Gorge. The road continues past the town of Port Campbell to more of the Shipwreck Coast’s natural treasures at The Arch, London Bridge and The Grotto.
For a bird’s eye view of the 12 Apostles and the coastline, take a tour with 12 Apostles Helicopters.
Afterwards, return to Port Campbell for the night. This vibrant seaside town on the picturesque and sheltered Port Campbell Bay is the perfect place to rest after a long day of activities.
Time to see the 12 Apostles and don’t forget nearby Gibson Steps which is equally as stunning
And spend some time at Loch Ard Gorge, The Grotto, The Arch and London Bridge to name a few more
On the last day of your four day Great Ocean Road trip, head inland towards the volcanic lakes and plains surrounding Camperdown and Colac.
Located on the world’s third-largest volcanic plain and surrounded by large salt and freshwater lakes, Camperdown with its beautiful elm-lined main street and impressive clock tower is a great place to stop.
Stroll through the delightful Camperdown Botanic Gardens, an ideal spot for a picnic or BBQ lunch. Climb the lookout for magnificent views over the twin crater lakes of Lake Bullen Merri and Lake Gnotuk.
Along the Princes Highway from Camperdown to neighbouring towns such as Noorat, you will see remnants of stone walls built in the 1800s. An attempt to keep rabbits out of farmland, as well as clearing the fields of prolific volcanic stones, the dry stone walls stretch for 3,000 kilometres.
Located one kilometre west of the township of Derrinallum, and 37 kilometres west of Camperdown, is the extinct volcano of Mount Elephant that erupted 180,000 years ago. Walk the 3.4-kilometre-long track up to the summit and around the crater rim of Mount Elephant for magical views.
Before heading back to Melbourne, stop at the city of Colac on the shores of Lake Colac, the largest freshwater lake in Victoria.
Take a drive 17 kilometres north-west to the nearby Red Rock scenic lookout. The Red Rock Volcanic Complex is the youngest volcano in the area and the site of countless volcanic blasts that took place 8,000 years ago.
What an amazing place to think about how the landscapes here were formed by volcanic activity thousands of years ago!
Check out Camperdown in the Volcanic Lakes & Plains
Stop to wonder at the Noorat Stone Walls
Climb (if you dare!) the extinct volcano, Mount Elephant
Relax in Colac at the lake before heading home
It is impossible to take a Great Ocean Road trip and see everything in just one day—so slow down, take your time, and explore all the nooks and crannies along the way. There’s so much more to see than just the 12 Apostles!
Plan your next Great Ocean Road trip so you can get off the beaten track and find some of its hidden gems. For loads of inspiration and road trip itineraries, where all the planning has already been done for you, head to Great Ocean Road Itineraries.
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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.