travel blog » Great Ocean Road and Melbourne: Highlights

Great Ocean Road and Melbourne: Highlights

Paradise beaches, beach towns and surf meccas - the 300 kilometers long coastal road from Tourquay to Nelson starts only one hour away from Melbourne's city center. All the way in the South of Australia. I traveled it by car in three days, from Melbourne to Port Fairy. Find here the best stops along the way.

Start in Melbourne

If you visit Melbourne for the first time, you should plan two or three extra days to visit the city, before you actually start your trip. Melbourne is one of the prettiest and most interesting cities in Australia and you shouldn't miss Queen Victoria Market or the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Things to see in Melbourne

The federation square around Flinders street station is the heart of the city. From there you can either go up the main shopping street, with all its restaurants, shops and bars or go to Southbank at the Yarra River. All trains and trams start at Flinders, including the city circle tram, that even gives you information about all the important sights of the city through speaker. If you want to go to St.Kilda with its historical pier and the Luna fun park next to it, you can also do that from Flinders street station. The best restaurants and cafés are in Fitzroy Street.

Flinders Street Station

The Eureka tower gives you the best view over Melbourne but also isn't directly cheap with its 20 Euros entrance fee.

At Brighton Beach you will find the famous colorful beach cabins, that you have probably seen before. This beach is better for sunbathing or swimming than St.Kilda.

If you visit Melbourne in November, you should attend the Melbourne Cup, the most famous horse race of the continent. Dress code: super chic and with hat. After the race, there are hundreds of after parties in the pubs and bars in the city center.

The Great Ocean Road

As soon as you have left Melbourne, the street is opening up to both sides. On the left side, there is the sea; on the right, mountains, forest or small coastal towns. Driving out of Torquay, you will see a road sign, telling you, that you are now on the Great Ocean Road.


There are places along the Great Ocean Road, that everyone going there will have on the list: The Arch in Port Campbell or the twelve apostles. Both are not really in the beginning of the road, so you better plan a sleep over somewhere before. There are many hotels along the road, so you can just stop and ask for a room wherever you like it.

The Arch

The twelve apostles

We spend our night five minutes aways from the twelve apostles in the car, to be there before sunrise. Not really recommendable, but the morning light and complete silence were worth it. I like to be at iconic places before everyone else gets there. Sharing a magical spot with others makes it loose all its charm.


When I visited Australia in 2008, there were eleven apostles left. By now there are only eight of them, I think.

Sheoak Falls

There are a couple of national parks along the Great Ocean Road, that are easy to reach from the main street, so you can decide spontaneously, where you want to get out. Most of the hiking trails start directly at the street and lead to beautiful waterfalls or view points. The Sheoak Falls in Great Otway national park are a great place to see and it takes only twenty minutes to walk there from the parking spot.


Taking a break

Bells Beach is one of the best beaches along the Great Ocean Road and especially surfers should not miss it. It starts right outside Torquay, so keep in mind, that you have a lot more to look forward to.


The split point lighthouse of Aireys Inlet makes a perfect picture spot.

Apollo Bay is located halfway of the road, which makes is perfect for staying the night, watch the sun sink into the sea and spot some koalas in the trees, before you keep driving.

The way back

If you have to give back your car in Melbourne, you can either go back the same way or take the inland road, which is faster, but not very interesting. Alternatively, give back the car in Adelaide. That gives you more time to spend on the Great Ocean Road.

Are you looking for more routes for your road trip through Australia? Also read the posts about my road trips along the East Coast or through the Outback.

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