Welcome to the ultimate guide to driving the Great Ocean Road, a breathtaking coastal journey through southern Australia’s stunning landscapes. 

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first road trip adventure, this iconic route promises unforgettable experiences, hidden treasures, and awe-inspiring views at every turn. 

In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll delve into the must-see stops, essential tips for a successful journey, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered along the way. 

So buckle up, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready for an incredible journey along the Great Ocean Road!

Driving the Great Ocean Road

Overview of the Great Ocean Road

Stretching over 240 kilometers from Torquay to Allansford, the Great Ocean Road is renowned as one of Australia’s most scenic coastal drives. 

Carved along the rugged coastline of Victoria, this iconic route offers a mesmerizing blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and hidden gems waiting to be explored.

 From the towering limestone stacks of the Twelve Apostles to the lush rainforests of the Otway National Park, the Great Ocean Road promises a diverse and unforgettable road trip experience.

Must-See Stops and Landmarks

Twelve Apostles

No journey along the Great Ocean Road is complete without a visit to the Twelve Apostles, a collection of majestic limestone stacks rising from the Southern Ocean. These iconic formations, though only seven remain standing, are a testament to the power of nature and provide a stunning backdrop for photos and exploration. 

For the best experience, visit during sunrise or sunset when the soft golden light bathes the coastline in a magical glow.

Loch Ard Gorge

Named after the famous shipwreck of the Loch Ard in 1878, Loch Ard Gorge is a breathtaking natural wonder that offers a glimpse into Australia’s maritime history.

 Here, visitors can marvel at the towering limestone cliffs, stroll along pristine beaches, and explore hidden sea caves carved by centuries of erosion.

 Don’t forget to snap a photo at the iconic Razorback rock formation, which resembles the spine of a giant sea creature emerging from the ocean.

London Arch

Formerly known as London Bridge until its collapse in 1990, London Arch is another must-see stop along the Great Ocean Road.

This natural rock formation, with its striking archway, offers panoramic views of the surrounding coastline and is a popular spot for wildlife spotting and birdwatching.

 Keep an eye out for seabirds, dolphins, and even migrating whales during the winter months.

Gibson Steps

For a unique perspective of the coastline, make sure to stop at the Gibson Steps, a series of cliffside stairs leading down to the pristine sands of Gibson Beach.

From here, visitors can admire the towering limestone cliffs up close and witness the power of the Southern Ocean as waves crash against the shore.

 It’s a perfect spot for beachcombing, photography, or simply soaking in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Charming Seaside Towns


Nestled between the lush Otway Ranges and the sparkling waters of Louttit Bay, Lorne is a picturesque seaside town renowned for its laid-back atmosphere and stunning coastal scenery.

Spend a day exploring the quaint shops, art galleries, and cafes along the main street, or head to the beach for a relaxing swim or surf session.

 For panoramic views of the coastline, don’t miss the scenic lookout at Teddy’s Lookout, where you can soak in sweeping vistas of the Great Ocean Road and beyond.

Apollo Bay

Located at the foothills of the Otway Ranges, Apollo Bay is a charming coastal town known for its pristine beaches, fresh seafood, and vibrant arts scene.

Spend an afternoon strolling along the Apollo Bay Foreshore Reserve, where you can enjoy picnics, beachcombing, and even spot local wildlife like kangaroos and wallabies. 

For a taste of local cuisine, be sure to sample the region’s famous seafood, including freshly shucked oysters, succulent crayfish, and delicious fish and chips.

Natural Wonders and Outdoor Activities

Otway National Park

Covering over 100,000 hectares of pristine wilderness, the Otway National Park is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Here, you can hike through ancient rainforests, discover hidden waterfalls, and spot native wildlife such as koalas, kangaroos, and colorful bird species.

Be sure to explore popular attractions like the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, where you can soar through the canopy on a thrilling zipline or take a leisurely stroll along the elevated walkway for panoramic views of the forest below.

Sunrise/Sunset Views

One of the most magical experiences along the Great Ocean Road is witnessing the sunrise or sunset over the rugged coastline. 

Whether you’re an early riser or prefer to wind down the day with a spectacular sunset, there are plenty of vantage points along the route to capture the beauty of nature’s daily spectacle.

Some recommended spots for sunrise include the Twelve Apostles, where the soft morning light casts a golden hue over the limestone stacks, and Aireys Inlet, where you can watch the sun rise over the iconic Split Point Lighthouse.

 For sunset views, head to the Bay of Martyrs or the Grotto, where you can watch the sun sink below the horizon, painting the sky with vibrant hues of orange, pink, and purple.

Hidden Beaches and Coves

While the Great Ocean Road is famous for its iconic landmarks and bustling tourist attractions, some of its best-kept secrets can be found off the beaten path.

Explore hidden beaches and secluded coves tucked away along the coastline, where you can escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. 

Wreck Beach, located near the Twelve Apostles, is a secluded stretch of sand accessible via a steep staircase, offering breathtaking views of the limestone cliffs and the opportunity to spot shipwreck remnants washed ashore.

Blanket Bay, nestled within the Great Otway National Park, is another hidden gem worth discovering, with its pristine shoreline and crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or simply lounging in the sun.

Insider Tips for Driving the Great Ocean Road

Road Safety

Driving the Great Ocean Road can be a thrilling adventure, but it’s essential to prioritize safety at all times.

The route features winding roads, sharp curves, and steep cliffs, making it imperative to drive cautiously and obey all speed limits. Be especially vigilant during inclement weather conditions, such as heavy rain or fog, which can reduce visibility and create hazardous driving conditions.

 Remember to keep a safe distance from other vehicles, especially on narrow sections of the road, and use designated lookout points to pull over and admire the scenery without risking safety.

Weather Preparedness

The coastal weather along the Great Ocean Road can be unpredictable, with conditions ranging from sunny and clear to windy and rainy in a matter of minutes. 

Before embarking on your journey, be sure to check the weather forecast for the duration of your trip and pack accordingly. Dress in layers to accommodate temperature fluctuations, and bring along waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear in case of rain or wet conditions. 

It’s also a good idea to carry a supply of water, snacks, and emergency supplies in your vehicle, as services and amenities may be limited in remote areas along the route.

Wildlife Awareness

One of the highlights of driving the Great Ocean Road is the opportunity to encounter native wildlife in their natural habitat. 

Keep a lookout for iconic Australian species such as koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, and colorful birdlife as you traverse through the diverse landscapes of the region. 

Exercise caution when driving at dawn or dusk, as these are prime times for wildlife activity and crossings on the road.

Be prepared to slow down or stop suddenly if an animal crosses your path, and never attempt to approach or feed wild animals for your safety and theirs. 

Remember, protecting the natural environment and its inhabitants is essential to preserving the beauty and biodiversity of the Great Ocean Road for future generations to enjoy. 

Natural Wonders and Outdoor Activities in New Zealand

Hidden Gems and Off-the-Beaten-Path Attractions

Redwood Forest

Tucked away off the main road, the Redwood Forest offers a serene escape into a magical grove of towering Californian redwoods.

 Located in the Otway Ranges, this tranquil oasis provides a stark contrast to the coastal scenery, with its towering trees casting a cool, shaded canopy overhead. 

Take a leisurely stroll along the forest floor and marvel at the sheer size and majesty of these ancient giants, which have stood for centuries as silent witnesses to the passage of time.

The Redwood Forest is the perfect place to reconnect with nature, unwind, and find solace amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Cape Otway Lightstation

Perched atop towering sea cliffs overlooking the Southern Ocean, the Cape Otway Lightstation is a historic beacon that has guided sailors safely along the treacherous coastline for over 160 years.

Visitors to the lightstation can climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and the vast expanse of the ocean stretching to the horizon.

During the winter months, the waters off Cape Otway become a playground for migrating whales, making it an ideal spot for whale watching enthusiasts to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures as they journey along their migratory routes.

Unique Dining Experiences

Along the Great Ocean Road, you’ll find a wealth of culinary delights waiting to be savored, from freshly caught seafood to locally sourced produce and artisanal delicacies.

One standout destination for foodies is the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery, where you can sample a range of locally produced whiskey, cheese, and ice cream crafted with care and expertise.

Situated in the historic railway precinct of Timboon, this award-winning distillery offers guided tastings, tours of the distillation process, and a chance to meet the passionate artisans behind the products.

Whether you’re a connoisseur of fine spirits or simply looking to indulge in a decadent treat, the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery is sure to delight your taste buds and leave you craving more.

Road Trip Preparation and Safety Tips

Planning Ahead

Before setting out on your Great Ocean Road adventure, take the time to plan your itinerary and make any necessary reservations for accommodations, activities, and attractions.

Consider factors such as the duration of your trip, the time of year, and your personal preferences when crafting your itinerary, and be sure to allow plenty of time for leisurely exploration and spontaneous discoveries along the way.

Research the amenities and services available at each stop, including rest areas, fuel stations, and dining options, to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey from start to finish.

Vehicle Maintenance

A reliable vehicle is essential for a successful road trip along the Great Ocean Road, so be sure to perform thorough maintenance checks before hitting the road.

Check fluid levels, tire pressure, brakes, and other essential components to ensure your vehicle is in optimal condition for the journey ahead.

Pack a basic toolkit, spare tire, and emergency supplies in your vehicle, including a first-aid kit, flashlight, and extra water and food provisions in case of unexpected delays or emergencies.

By taking the time to prepare your vehicle and plan your itinerary in advance, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’re ready for whatever the road may bring. 


Embarking on a road trip along the Great Ocean Road is an experience like no other, offering a tantalizing blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor adventure.

 From the iconic landmarks of the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge to the hidden gems of the Redwood Forest and Cape Otway Lightstation, every twist and turn of the road reveals a new wonder waiting to be discovered.

Whether you’re seeking panoramic views of the coastline, culinary delights, or simply a moment of tranquility amidst nature, the Great Ocean Road has something to offer every traveler.

So pack your bags, hit the road, and prepare to be amazed by the beauty and wonder of one of Australia’s most iconic destinations. 

But remember, while the journey along the Great Ocean Road is undoubtedly spectacular, it’s essential to travel responsibly and with respect for the environment and local communities. 

Dispose of waste properly, follow designated trails, and leave no trace behind to ensure the preservation of this precious landscape for future generations to enjoy. 

And above all, take the time to savor each moment, from the breathtaking sunsets to the quiet moments of reflection, as you create memories that will last a lifetime.

So whether you’re embarking on a solo adventure, a romantic getaway, or a family road trip, the Great Ocean Road promises a journey filled with wonder, discovery, and unforgettable experiences. 

So pack your sense of adventure, hit the road, and prepare to be captivated by the beauty of one of Australia’s most iconic coastal drives. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the major stops along the Great Ocean Road?

The major stops along the Great Ocean Road include Torquay, Bells Beach, the Great Ocean Road sign, Apollo Bay, Gibson Steps, and the 12 Apostles.

 Other notable stops include Agnes Falls, Wilson’s Promontory, Phillip Island, Lorne, and Port Campbell.

What tips are recommended for driving the Great Ocean Road?

Key tips for driving the Great Ocean Road include:

Plan your route and book accommodation in advance

Respect the speed limits and use turnouts to allow faster vehicles to pass

Be prepared for changing weather conditions, especially in the Otway National Park

Start with a full tank of gas as petrol stations can be sparse

Get an early start to beat the crowds at popular spots

What are some hidden gems or lesser-known attractions along the Great Ocean Road?

Some lesser-known gems mentioned include Agnes Falls, Wilson’s Promontory, and Phillip Island.

The search results also suggest exploring the towns and coastal areas beyond the 12 Apostles, such as Port Fairy.

How long does it take to drive the full length of the Great Ocean Road?

The Great Ocean Road is 243 km (151 miles) long, stretching from Torquay to Allansford.

Driving the full length can take multiple days, as the winding coastal road means average speeds are only 30-50 km/h (20-30 mph).

What is the best way to experience the Great Ocean Road?

The best way to experience the Great Ocean Road is to drive it yourself, allowing you to stop at your own pace.

Renting a car or campervan is recommended. Alternatively, there are also guided day tours available that hit the major highlights.