Where is the Great Ocean Road?
The Great Ocean Road is a 243-kilometre stretch of road that runs along the south-eastern coast of Victoria, passing through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
Starting from Torquay (just south of Melbourne), the Great Ocean Road starts and runs along the coastline until the city of Allansford.
Built between 1919 and 1932 by soldiers returning from World War I, the road was dedicated to soldiers killed during the conflict, making the road Australia’s largest war memorial.
Officially an Australian National Heritage site, the Great Ocean Road is a vital tourist route because it winds through beautiful coastal scenery and provides access to some of Australia’s most notable landmarks.
A prominent feature that cuts along Australia’s affectionately known Surf and Shipwreck Coasts, the road traverses through tropical rainforests and along sandy beaches and sheer limestone cliffs.
With such a vast distance to cover and countless spectacles to see, travelling the Great Ocean Road can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned solo travellers. Especially, if you naturally drive on the other side of the road back home.
To help you discover this fantastic Australian landmark, we have created this guide on the best Melbourne to Great Ocean Road tours and sites!
The Best Things to See and Do on the Great Ocean Road
A trip between Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road will take you through some of South Australia’s most unique sights, extensive national parks and gorgeous towns.
In this article, we have listed the five best things to see and do between Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road.
1) The Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles can be seen as limestone rock stacks that tower off the shore of the stunning Port Campbell National Park which formed between 15 to 5 million years ago.
Although there used to be many more of these stunning natural wonders, only seven apostles are left due to erosion overtime. The 8th apostle collapsed in July 2005.
The main six can be seen from the main viewing deck (which is visited by millions of people every the year), with the seventh located only several metres away from the corner of the main viewing platform.
While the view from the Australian peninsula has never included twelve closely lined stacks, there are additional stacks not considered part of the leading Apostles group, which are located further west within the national park.
The proximity of the sheer limestone stacks to each other makes the site a popular tourist attraction for many Great Ocean Road day trips.
2) Great Otway National Park
The Great Otway National Park stretches from Torquay up through the Otway’s hinterlands and forms a large part of the world-famous Great Ocean Road route.
The area consists of an impressive 103,185-hectare zone and comprises windswept coastlines and breath-taking waterfalls in tall mountain forests.
Make sure to stop at the Erskine Falls, which cascades into a beautiful fern gully and is one of South Australia’s best-hidden gems.
You can also visit Australia’s oldest lighthouse after a short walk along the parks gorgeous coastal pathways.
Any Great Ocean Road day trip through this remarkable mountain range will allow you to enjoy:
- Cascading waterfalls
- Forest walking trails and
- Coastal whale watching opportunities
If you are an adventurous solo traveller, you can also stop at the regions many beautiful beaches and surf some of the best breaks in Australia.
Gateway for most Great Ocean Road day trips, the seaside town of Torquay is the surf and beach capital of Victoria.
Located just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the town is easy to reach and is a beautiful seaside mecca for water lovers and surfing enthusiasts.
Explore its impressive beaches sheltered beneath towering cliff fronts or if you prefer a more hands-on approach why not try to tackle the swells of Bells Beach?
This world-famous beach is the location of the Rip Curl Pro Surf competition and is one of the most sought-after titles on the World Championship Tour.
Marine enthusiasts can snorkel around the beautiful Point Danger Marine Sanctuary and discover the impressive diversity of the area’s many underwater inhabitants.
Another one of the many stunning towns set along the Great Ocean Road, Lorne is well regarded for its:
- Fresh sea air
- Dazzling white beaches and
- vibrant arts community
Visitors to this cultural hot spot can wander down Lorne’s main shopping strip and explore its charming boutique gift stores, cellars, eateries and galleries.
Relax with a glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe, picnic under the trees on the beachfront or dine on freshly caught seafood at one of its many fantastic local restaurants.
Art lovers can enjoy a visit to the QDOS Arts Museum to check out changing exhibits and its impressive outdoor sculpture park. If you happen to visit in March, you can enjoy the Lorne Sculpture Biennale, when up to 40 works are exhibited along the foreshore of the town.
5) Apollo Bay
Located at the foothills of the Otways, Apollo Bay is a natural paradise unlike anywhere else in the world.
Visitors can enjoy:
- Paddling out in the pristine coastal waters
- Exploring the bright coral
- Admiring the local seal colonies
- Sunset beach rides on horseback
- Explore the many gift shops, galleries and teahouses along the town’s sun-soaked promenade
Fishing is a major local industry in Apollo Bay, so fresh seafood is always on the menu at the many beachfront cafes and restaurants.
Turn your back to the ocean and wander through the rainforests behind the coastal towns, which are full of plunging waterfalls, towering ferns and crystal-clear streams.
The Best Melbourne to Great Ocean Road Tours for Solo Travellers
The Great Ocean Road cuts its way through many of Australia’s most impressive sites and towns, making it one of the most beautiful tourism routes in the world.
Thanks to its close proximity to the city, you can easily enjoy some of the best tours through the region.
These Great Ocean Road day trips provide you with access to some of the best sites and activities in the area, helping you maximise your experiences throughout your time along the stunning Great Ocean Road.
In this section, we will highlight 5 popular Melbourne to Great Ocean Road Tours for solo travellers and couples.
This tour allows you to enjoy a phenomenal small-group experience that takes you along the gorgeous coastal route adventure under the guidance of a local expert.
Start your Melbourne to Great Ocean Road trip off with a delicious morning tea at an isolated beachfront setting before experiencing a guided walk through the ancient Great Otway rainforest.
After admiring the many waterfalls and tropical brush of the rainforest, head into Apollo Bay and savour a delicious lunch at one of the charming coastal towns cafes.
Your tour will take you to the impressive 12 Apostles viewpoint where you can admire the rugged coastline and keep an eye out for classic Australian wildlife like koalas and kangaroos.
Your return drive back to Melbourne will take the inland route through the charming town of Colac.
- 13 hours
- Round-trip transportation from your hotel in central Melbourne and back
- Expert guide
- Morning tea of plunger coffee, tea, or hot chocolate including traditional Australian treats
- Modern cafe lunch with vegetarian/gluten free/vegan options available
- All-weather jackets, blankets, and cushions
NOTE: This tour does not cover any tips/gratuities which you may like to provide.
- $179 AUD p/p
One of the best Melbourne to Great Ocean Road tours available, this day trip covers many of the Great Ocean Road’s main highlights!
Spend the day being escorted in comfortable vehicles to many of the coasts most iconic locations such as the:
- Torquay Surf Beach
- Loch Ard Gorge
- 12 Apostles and
- Gibson Steps
This tour lets you enjoy a scenic morning tea before you adventure along the coast, where you will head deeper into the Australian bush to search for koalas and tropical bird species.
Enjoy lunch in the scenic surf town of Apollo Bay, where you can enjoy a stroll along its beautiful beach or savour a coffee at one of its many charming cafes.
After lunch, your local expert will take you on a guided tour to see some of the world’s tallest trees and enjoy the many natural wonders and sites along the Great Ocean Road.
After a few hours you will stop in the delightful town of Colac where you can purchase dinner from a selection of fantastic restaurants.
- 13.5 hours
- Round trip air-conditioned transportation
- Morning tea
- Tour of koalas and parrots in their natural habitat
- Guided forest walk
- Coastal highlights tour
NOTE: This tour does not cover the cost of lunch and dinner.
$133 AUD p/p
This tour is perfect for those who want a short and enjoyable Great Ocean Road day trip with the ideal opportunity to take on Australia’s famous surf.
Don a wetsuit and head towards Anglesea beach where your expert instructor will start you off with a safety briefing and the basics of surfing.
After you have caught some waves and are feeling more confident, learn the best way to stand on your board and get ready to take on some of the best curls in the world.
Whether you are an earnest novice or an avid surfer in need of a refresher, the waters around Anglesea provide you with the perfect conditions to enjoy a day out on this famous surf coast.
- 2 hours
- Full-length Quicksilver wet suit
- Soft beginner surfboard
- 2 hours of instruction and fun
- Hot showers and changing rooms at the shop
NOTE: Please note this tour does not include food or drinks.
- $75 AUD p/p
By far one of the prettiest Great Ocean Road tours, this tour will have you heading out of the city in the late morning to enjoy some of the Great Ocean Roads most unique sites.
Your first stops will include a visit to the Great Ocean Road Chocolatery and Ice Creamery, where you can sample some of their delicious products.
Your tour will then take you along the many twists and turns of the breath-taking Great Ocean Road with a few stops for some spectacular coastal photo opportunities.
Visit the charming Apollo Bay and enjoy lunch at one of its many seafront restaurants before continuing on your journey through the majestic hills of the Great Otway National Park where you can spot koalas resting in the trees.
Your tour will take you to the striking Port Campbell National Park where your expert guide will tell you some of the Shipwreck Coasts most tragic tales at the gorgeous Loch Ard Gorge overlook.
Your final stop of the day will be at the world-famous 12 Apostles to watch the sunset behind these remarkable rock formations.
- 12 hours
- Small group experience
- National Park entry fees
- Free chocolate tastings
- Professional driver/guide
- Australian wildlife sightings in the wild
NOTE: Does not include food or beverages, personal costs or travel insurance.
- $130 AUD p/p
This 2-day Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road trip is one of the most extensive tours of the region available.
Start your journey at the iconic Memorial Arch for a fantastic photo opportunity before heading through many of the Great Ocean Roads picturesque seaside towns.
Keep an eye out for wild koalas and exotic native birdlife among the trees before stopping for lunch on the beach in the town of Apollo Bay.
Enjoy a guided walk through the ancient Otway rainforest and take in the views of the striking shipwreck coasts.
You’ll stop at the impressive 12 Apostles limestone monoliths and visit the remote Loch Ard Gorge and beach.
A little further down the coast you will see the remains of the offshore natural arch known as London Bridge before driving into the centre of the Grampians National Park to stay the night at the delightful town of Halls Gap.
Enjoy a catered breakfast at your accommodation before pushing further into the mountain ranges that form this spectacular national park. You will make your way to the geological marvel known as the Balconies to take in views of the vast Victoria Valley.
Finish your time in the park with a walk down to the majestic Mackenzie Falls base before learning about the region’s rich Aboriginal culture at the Brambuk Cultural Centre.
After a short stop for lunch in Halls Gap, you will begin the journey back to Melbourne to end your 2-day tour.
- 48 hours
- 1-Night accommodation in Halls Gap
- National Park entry fees
- 1 breakfast
- Guided bush walks (approximately 2 kilometres total)
- Wildlife sightings
- Expert driver and commentary
NOTE: This tour does not include travel insurance
- $325 AUD p/p
All of these fantastic Melbourne to Great Ocean Road tours allow you to explore the many impressive sites and attractions scattered along this beautiful stretch of South Australia’s coastline.
Travellers who want a more exclusive experience can organise a Solo tour but this will cost a significant amount more than the small group tours.
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most scenic routes in Australia and will have you marvelling at the countless vistas dotted along these beautiful coastal pathways.
For more information on the Great Ocean Road tours mentioned above, you can click on the links below: