Great Ocean Road, Melbourne
We hired a car and did the road trip in one day but it was definitely rushed. Preferably you should try to spend at least a couple of days to see everything. It would’ve been worth it to take our time to appreciate and explore it more thoroughly. If you are limited for time and have to do it in one day like we did, make sure you leave Melbourne early in the morning. We took the inland route coming back, it was a lot quicker that way.
The Great Ocean Road begins near Torquay, about 100 km. west of Melbourne, where the name changes from the Surfcoast Highway, and follows the coastline for several hundred kilometres to Warrnambool where it rejoins the Princes Highway. Along its length are spectacular coastal scenery, rain forests, waterfalls and quaint holiday, fishing and resort towns.
See my travelogue for more pictures!
I love going down to the Great Ocean Rd. It's a favourite place to take interstate or overseas visitors.
The scenery is spectacular whether it's summer or the middle of winter. It's beautiful on a clear sunny day but just as great if it's a miserable cold day in winter.
The road has improved over the years but it's still quite windy and of course hilly. Care does need to be taken, especially on the bends. Watch out for those buses!!
There are lots of opportunities for photo taking. Make sure you stop at the turn out bays, good time to stretch the legs and marvel at the scenery.
The 12 Apostles are a highlight of the drive along the Great Ocean Rd.
Ater we got our car and picked up some supplies we drove over to the south west coast . The Great Ocean Road goes from Anglsea to Warrnambool.
There are many places to pull off the road to take pictures and enjoy the surf.
Port Campbell National Park is the amazing part of thios drive, with its natural rock sculptures.
The Great Ocean Road is a breath-taking coastline and it was originally planned to begin at Barwon Heads and extend to Nirranda. Today the Great Ocean Road officially starts at Torquay and finishes at Allansford where it joins the Princes Highway near Warrnambool. It was built as a monumentt those who lost their livesin WW1.
Even if it's not advisable driving along the Great Ocean Road and return to Melbourne in a day,it is possible because my friend Michela and I did it! To be honest it's quite tiring above all for who dreives!Obviously in this way you can experience only a small part of the Great Ocean Road and it will leave you little time to stop and appreciate beautiful spots and attractions along the way.
About The Twelve Apostles rock stacks: they were formed by the gradual erosion of softer limestone areas, creating caves in the cliffs. These caves eventually wore away through wind and wave erosion to become arches and when they collapsed, rock islands were left detached. The cliffs rise to nearly 70 metres in some places and the highest Apostle is approximately 50 metres from base to tip.
Beside The Twelve Apostles the area includes also the Otways rainforest, Bells Beach, on the Surf Coast, and the Great Ocean Road itself.
Along your way you'll find resort towns like Torquay, Lorne and Apollo Bay (where Aussie75 and I bought a wonderful koala shape pillow, a sort of anti-stress!!!!!WONDERFUL!!!), the coastal cities of Geelong and Warrnambool, and the historic villages of Queenscliff, Port Campbell, Port Fairy and Portland.
Even though the twelve apostles are a stones thow away and you have to ascend and descend a steep staircase (not good for those with knee troubles) it's worth braving the wind and the glare to see this stretch of beach at the bottom of the Gibson Steps.
More than Twelve Apostles!!!
You can travel from Melbourne to Apollo Bay Monday thru Friday:
-->From Melbourne (Southern Cross Station), take Vline train at 9am and reach Geelong Station at 10am. (A$6.70)
-->From Geelong Station platform 1, take Vline bus at 10:15am and reach Torquay at 11am. (A$3.20)
-->Walk along beach from Torquay till Bell Beach Turn Off.
-->From Bell Beach Turn Off, take the Vline bus at 15:46 (3:46pm) to reach Lorne at 16:40 (4:40pm) (A$6.70)
-->From Lorne Hotel, take the Vline bus at 19:07 (7:07pm) to reach Apollo Bay 20:08 (8:08pm) (A$3.80)
I recommend you stay one night at YHA Apollo Bay Beach. Nice and quiet...
On the next day, you can either follow an organised tour (A$60) or catch the bus to see Twelve Apostles, Loch-Ard Gorge and London Bridge below:
This bus route is operating on Mon, Wed and Fri only. Please refer to the bus schedule online or Vline office double confirm. (A$16.20)
Apollo Bay (2) dep 13:30 (near Apollo Bay Information Centre)
Lavers Hill 14:05
Princetown Turn off 14:35
Twelve Apostles arr 14:40
Twelve Apostles dep 15:10
Loch-Ard Gorge arr 15:15
Loch-Ard Gorge dep 15:30
Port Campbell 15:35
London Bridge arr 15:40
London Bridge dep 15:50
Bay of islands arr 16:00
Bay of islands dep 16:10
Warrnambool Stn arr 16:55M
You can take Vline train from Warrnambool Stn to Southern Cross Station (Melbourne) at 17:18 (5:18pm). I recommend you to buy this train ticket in advance at Southern Cross, casue the station office might close at 5pm. Ticket price: A$26.70.
More on my Apollo Bay's Tips
The Great Ocean Road is one of the attractions that you must visit when you are in Melbourne.
Many will sign up for a day trip where the van or coach will drive you along the coastline for the whole day.
There are few stops that we made along the Great Ocean Road. You can even take a helicopter ride that will fly you down to the Apostles to have a closer look at them.
If you are anywhere near Melbourne, you HAVE to get a car and drive the Great Ocean Road. For once, all the hype you hear is true. It is an absolutely amazing experience. The beauty is beyond words. The ocean is the bluest I've seen in my life, the green hills and narrow valleys beckon to be explored, and the road just keeps winding on and on, up and down through the switchbacks, and along the endless sandy and rocky beaches. There's so much to see and explore around every turn, you could easily spend days taking it all in, making short hops from town to town or campsite to campsite. Just incredible.
Do try to make it at least as far as the Twelve Apostles. It is a beautiful sight, very much worth taking in. On the way back to Melbourne, take a left turn at Skenes Creek, and make your way along the winding road over the hills, through the rainforest, and past the endless farms later back towards Geelong. This will be quicker than following the Great Ocean Road again, and you'll get a chance to see some new places that you haven't seen before.
Also, ideally, you'll want to spend at least a couple of days, if not longer, to do the road. It'll definitely be worth it to take your time and explore it slowly and thoroughly. If you have no choice but to do it in one day, leave Melbourne early in the morning. It should take you about 6 hours to get to the 12 Apostles, including time for lunch, photo stops, etc. Coming back, if you go the inland route, it'll take you a little over half of that time. We made it back from 12 Apostles in less than 4hrs.
And keep an eye out for wildlife! We saw a wild koala and the local biker gang, a charter of the Bandidos!
If you go onto the Great Ocean Road at all, the least you must do is to make it as far as the 12 Apostles. The Apostles are giant limestone pillars rising up from the sand at ocean's edge that have been formed by the ocean over millions of years. They make for an incredible sight, be it from the observation walkways or from the air, if you choose to splurge on a helicopter ride. Count on about a 6hr drive from Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road to get there, and about a 3.5-4 hour drive back if you take the inland roads.
One of the highlights which is away from the coastal area is the Rainforest Walk.
The guide pointed us to all the different trees in the rainforest. I have a pic taken with this giant tree.
We manage to catch the Kola Bear resting on a tree.
The Twelve Apostles are the main icons of the Great Ocean Road.
These giant rock are located at the Port Campbell National Park that extends from Princetown to Peterborough.
The magnificant limestone cliffs are the backdrop to the Apostles which stands up to 70 metres while the tallest of the stack of rocks is around 45 metres high.
London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down
London Bridge is falling down .......
London Bridge is on the western side of Port Campbell along the Great Ocean Road. In 1990 the centre span collapsed. Two visitors had just crossed the arch and had to be rescued by helicopter from the isolated outcrop.
We signed up for a one day tour of the Great Ocean Road & Phillip Island. In this tour, we are driven by a minibus along the coastline, taking in views of magnificant cliffs, bay and rock formation along the way. Here is a photo of a beautiful bay along the great ocean road.
The Great Ocean Road winds it's way along coastline like this until you get to Apollo Bay, where it changes to forest scenery, and then farm scenery until you get near the Twelve Apostles (travelling west).
A lot of slow RV's and buses along the Great Ocean Road, be prepared to make use of the short overtaking lanes when the opportunity arises.
Melbourne is a fantastic city, but put aside time too to visit the State of Victoria. You'll miss out on alot if you don't.
See the 12 Apostles and many more along the Great Ocean Road! The best time to go would be early in the morning or just before the sun sets :)
More pics on my page!