Here’s how to have a fantastic 6 day adventure along the Great Ocean Road! Claire from @roadtothriving recently explored this iconic route via motorhome, staying with G’day Parks along the way.
Australia is the ultimate road trip destination. There are endless long winding roads ready to take you on an adventure. One of Australia’s most iconic road trips is undoubtedly the Great Ocean Road. With its moody crumbling coastline, pristine beaches, and lush forests, it's little wonder why! After two years of travelling Australia in a van, this road trip was one of the last I had to check off my list.
With my partner by my side, I tackled this incredible coastline with a jam-packed five-day road trip. Starting in the cultural heart (and stomach) of Victoria - Melbourne, we made our way past the surfing hub of Torquay, saw wild koalas in Kennett River, marveled at the 45-metre-high crumbling limestone stacks and ventured north into the eucalypt forests to immerse ourselves in the wild landscapes of the Grampians. From the best activities, sights, and places to eat, I share it all in this six-day Great Ocean and Grampians road trip itinerary. Let’s dive in!
day 1: melbourne to torquay
Driving time: 1 hour, 17 minutes
Like many, we began our trip in Melbourne, Victoria. Whether you have your own ride or are picking up a rental, Melbourne is one of the best places to start a Great Ocean Road trip.
As the saying goes - when in Rome (or in this case, Melbourne) - do as the locals do. So, logically my first stop on this road trip was coffee.
Few other places in the world compare to the boutique cafes and specialty roasts of this colourful city, and I was determined to experience this city’s golden star for myself. I chose a little hole-in-the-wall cafe called Small Batch Coffee Roasters that I had read raving reviews about. Luckily they did not lie. I ordered a magic (a popular local drink made with a double ristretto instead of a regular double espresso) and one of their baked goods. We parked ourselves on the benches lining the alleyway outside the store, and it took everything not to buy a second (and a third). Safe to say, this is easily one of the best things to do in Melbourne, Australia.
After we were sufficiently caffeinated, it was time to hit the road. On the way out of the city, we passed through Geelong. This waterfront city is filled with art deco buildings, colourful sculptures and a stunning boardwalk.
Geelong Foreshore. Credit: Visit Victoria.
After a wander through town, we drove the remaining 20 minutes to Torquay, where we pulled in for the night at Torquay Foreshore Caravan Park. Driving our way through this huge foreshore park, we found our campsite spot practically right on the water and finished the day with a walk alongside the gentle waves of Torquay Surf Beach.
day 2: torquay To anglesea
Driving time: 16 minutes
With the beach practically at our doorstep, we decided it would be a shame not to start the day with an early morning swim. The ocean was crisp, calm and stunningly bluey green. After making breakfast, we made our way to the famed Bells Beach. This beach is best known for hosting the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition. When you arrive, you will see why. The high cliffs act as the perfect natural amphitheatre to watch the swells of the Southern Ocean.
While my partner decided to go for a surf, I sat back and soaked up the incredible views. If you are into surfing, I would also recommend a stop at the Australian National Surfing Museum in town. This place is filled with surfing relics and history - perfect for the avid surfer.
After a day of beach going and surfing, we enjoyed the short 15-minute drive to Anglesea to park up at Anglesea Family Caravan Park for the night. Parked in amongst the beautiful twisting branches of the Moonah trees, we cooked up a barbeque overlooking the ocean before turning in for the night.
DAY 3: ANGLESEA TO LORNE
Driving time: 30 minutes
We awoke to another day in paradise and began the day with the scenic drive toward Lorne. On the way, we stopped off at the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch to get a picture of the iconic Great Ocean Road sign. As we continued along this winding road, we noticed there were a number of little pull-outs backing onto the ocean. We decided to make the best of the oceanside views and pulled over to enjoy some morning tea by the sea.
We set up camp for the night at the riverside Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park. Lorne is a quaint little town, and this park is the perfect spot to unwind. We headed into town to The Bottle of Milk to try one of their famous burgers. Then we enjoyed a walk by the ocean, and then settled into our campsite by the fire, watching the sunset over the ocean - pure bliss.
Lorne Forteshore Caravan Park
DAY 4: LORNE TO WARRNAMBOOL
Driving time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
After a few slow leisurely days, we were ready for a big sightseeing day. The first stop on our list was the Kennett River Nature Walk. This Great Ocean Road walk is known as a popular spot to see koalas in the wild. Safe to say, it did not disappoint. Once we had stopped gawking at these sleepy creatures resting in the eucalypt canopy, it was time to get back on the road toward Apollo Bay. We wandered through town and then grabbed a pizza and a coffee from Apollo Bay Distillery while enjoying their unbeatable oceanfront views.
After a quick refuel, it was time to get back on the road to see the famed limestone coast - starting with the Gibson Steps. After a scenic hour drive, descending these steep stairs was both technical and slightly terrifying but absolutely worth the views down below.
Walking along the beach, I felt dwarfed by the massive 45-metre-high rock stacks out to sea. After a nice leg-burning return to the carpark and a short drive down the road, we were at the Twelve Apostles. This has been high on my bucket list for years, and seeing them in person was truly magical. Although - fun fact: there has never been twelve. However, the stacks that do remain are a sight to see!
DAY 5: WARRNAMBOOL TO GRAMPIANS
Driving time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
We enjoyed a slow morning in the vibrant hub of Warrnambool and then made our way to Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. This reserve sits inside an extinct volcano that formed over 30,000 years ago. Since its extinction, it has become a thriving refuge for visitors to meet the local wildlife. From koalas, emus, kangaroos and waterbirds - we saw it all. This was Australian bush at its best.
Driving the final hour and fifty minutes, we pulled in for the night at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park. After setting up camp, we settled into the wood fire heated pools and made use of the newly renovated bar area for the evening. Ten out of ten would recommend it!
DAY 6: GRAMPIANS
Driving time: 25 minutes
After a serene sleep amongst the towering peaks and eucalypt forest, it was the final day of our Great Ocean Road adventure. We wandered through the park one final time and spotted a huge herd of emus grazing in the park. After watching them gracefully dipping their long necks for their morning breakfast, it was time for us to get a start on our day exploring the beauty of the Grampians.
We drove up to the Balconies and the Boroka Lookout - two of the shorter, scenic viewpoints in the Grampians. Despite the drizzly weather, the views were truly magical, and you could even see the caravan park nestled in the valley in the distance!
Boroka Lookout. Credit: Visit Victoria.
From here, it was time to call an end to the trip. We continued on west towards Adelaide, but you could just as easily turn back east towards Melbourne via the historic Victorian city of Ballarat.
Ready to start planning your Great Ocean Road trip?
Overall, this road trip was nothing short of magic. From the touristy crumbling limestone cliffs to the slow ambient mornings by the sea, this coastline really is an iconic Australian road trip for a reason! Definitely one to add to the list for anyone looking to road trip Australia.
Looking for more accommodation options for your Australian adventures? Check out the huge selection of G’day Parks throughout Australia. There were so many incredible facilities throughout all the parks we visited along the way, and they have a huge selection of accommodation options along this coastline and beyond.