The Great Ocean Road is among one of the most fantasized travel destinations that you have always thought of going but believes it is almost impossible to actually go there. Kind of like Uluru or the Great Barrier Reef. My Australia journey was all about checking out destinations from my bucket list. In addition, my best friend stayed in Melbourne for 6 weeks for a teaching fellowship. With all that said, how can I dare miss to see the Great Ocean Road? We did a weekend trip to the Great Ocean Road because she has to be back at work early on Monday. We still have the perfect amount of time to check out all the amazing stops on the Great Ocean Road. This 2-day itinerary will show you all the best things to do and the amazing places to stopover when you are on a Great Ocean Road Trip.
Starting From Melbourne Early
We woke up early and excited on Saturday morning. We had to pick up location first thing and thought it probably might take a while. Immediately after we sorted out the documents, we hit the road with our driver/guide from tour operator company, we were still high about the fact that we are actually en route to the Great Ocean Road.
Stop in Torquay
Torquay is a small seaside own that is also where tourists commonly start on their trip to the Great Ocean Road. We drove through the town and went straight to the esplanade to experience the sea breeze. Our journey began on an Aussie autumn where it wasn’t so busy. However, if you plan on visiting during a summer season, be ready to find the place filled with surfers and tourists on the beach. It would have been fun to take the surfing class along the Great Ocean Road but It’s not the perfect season and we also lack the time. If you are visiting during summer and wants more time spent in the ocean than just going after inland waterfalls, then involve some surf class to your itinerary.
Visit Bells Beach
After Torquay you will find Bells Beach, a world-renowned surfing spot. Bells Beach hosts the annual Rip Curl Pro since 1962, the world’s longest running surfing competition. It’s quite a big event for surfers in general. For non-surfers, you can simply walk on the wooden walkways right along the side of the high cliffs and enjoy watching the surfers ride the waves beneath. But if you are in for the intensity of it, then head down and stroll along the beach. Even if you do not surf, a simple stroll along the shore with its spectacular view is enough to appreciate it.
Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch
Usually when you are going to a popular road destination for either by a self-drive or by tour, a big sign indicating your entrance welcomes you. I am surprised to find that the Great Ocean Road sign is found far deep into the road and not found exactly where it starts. But what relevance does it make if you don’t capture a photo with the signage on it. Have you ever really embarked on a Great Ocean Road Journey? You will find a tiny parking lot near the signage. I guess they figured that people will surely snap a photo of them in it to prove themselves present in there. But if you feel like going for a dip or simply just stroll on the beach, there is a pathway that will bring you over to the sea.
Drop in Lorne for lunch
Lorne is a small town along the Great Ocean Road and is a perfect spot to stop over for lunch after a long early morning drive. As you go along the Great Ocean Road, you find a series of pleasing café, restaurants and clubs with outdoor seating area. Our small group tour parked near to the sea and stayed around until we decided to grab a classic Aussie burger for lunch. If you are not in a rush, you can spend some time wandering around town and visit shops before hitting the road again.
Sunset at the Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles, one of the most famous sightings in Australia is also found along the Great Ocean Road. The Twelve Apostles are made up of colossal limestone formations just right off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. The view of every limestone formation, standing very close to each other and the shoreline where it sits are what makes this destination a tourist favourite. In addition, it is also a very popular place for sunset watching. Since we left a little late, we thought we might really miss the sunset. But our tour guide and driver from the tour company managed well and led us to arrive on time for sunset watching.
There is a parking space just by the Twelve Apostles where you can clearly see the formations. There is also a long wooden pathway filled with viewing decks that are perfect for enjoying the magnificent full view of the shore and its rocks. When we were there, it was already extremely busy. So if you plan on snapping perfect photos without a crowd, then get to be there before sunset.
Sleep in the Grampians
After the sun was fully set, we went to the Grampians where we stayed for a night layover. Grampians National Park is a nature reserve in Victoria, Australia. It’s known for its sandstone mountains, wildflowers and wildlife including echidnas and wallabies. Near the village of Halls Gap, the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre gives insight into local Aboriginal history and rock art. Trails lead to waterfalls like towering MacKenzie Falls and lookouts such as the Balconies, with views of the Victoria Range. We were lucky enough to book a tour that included overnight stay at the heart of the Grampians – Halls Gap
Wherever I go, if the place has it, I’d love to chase waterfalls. The places that surround the Great Ocean Road have abundant woodlands, national parks and waterfalls that you can find. But since we only booked 2 days tour Great Ocean Road, the tour company sorted out the places we thought were the most amazing. On our second day on the Great Ocean Road, we went to Mackenzie Falls; The iconic and spectacular MacKenzie Falls is a must do for all visitors to Grampians National Park & Great Ocean Road combo trip. MacKenzie Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria. The view that awaits you at the end of this steep trail is spectacular. Water cascades over huge cliffs into a deep pool, sending fine sprays of rainbow mist high into the air above a stunning gorge. The waterfalls are flowing all year.
So what are you waiting for?
The Great Ocean Road is calling your name. Either booking a tour or self-drive, this is one should be ticked off from your bucket list.