Destination Tips

What You Should Know Before Your Road Trip on the Great Ocean Road

Epic views, adorable small towns and a coastline that’s truly magnificent—this is what the Great Ocean Road is all about. It’s regarded as one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. After traveling to 72 countries and seeing beautiful sights all over the world, the Great Ocean Road is truly one of a kind. Here’s what you should know before your road trip so you can get the most out of this impressive drive.

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Don’t Do It One Day

I repeat.. don’t do it one day. It’s possible, but you’ll miss a lot of the highlights. One of my biggest regrets on my Aussie adventure so far is not giving myself more time to explore this beautiful coast. We didn’t take into consideration how many breathtaking stops there are along the way. Ideally, you should give yourself a minimum of three days to explore the Great Ocean Road.

Aireys Inlet

Pay Close Attention When Driving

The easiest way to explore the Great Ocean Road is by renting a car. This allows you to stop wherever you want and stay there as long as you want. I don’t mean to scare you, but the road isn’t the easiest to drive on. It’s also not the hardest. It’s mostly one lane going in each direction and the lanes can get pretty narrow. Slow down for the curves and be cautious. Also, don’t forget to drive on the left side of the road. Click here for more information on the road rules. If you want to avoid the stress of driving, get a tour and kick back and relax.

Plan Your Itinerary

Make a list of everywhere you want to stop before you start your trip. This was such a last minute trip for me that I didn’t have much time to research everything beforehand. Fun fact—we were supposed to go to Brisbane and my husband decided at the last minute to do this road trip instead. I’m not complaining though. If you’re a planner like me, make a list of everything you’re interested in seeing. Don’t forget to take some detours and go off the beaten path. Pop into a local restaurant. Walk through some thorny bushes like I did to get to a deserted beach. Just kidding. Don’t walk through the bushes. But, get lost and absorb the scenery.

Pre-Book Your Accommodation

Depending on when you go, it’s necessary to book your accommodation in advance. I went during the summer months and all of the towns were very busy. Almost 95% of the hotels we drove past had no vacancies. Book in advance so you don’t have to stress out last minute about where to stay.

Get Fuel When You Can

Sometimes, you can drive a great distance before reaching a petrol station. Make sure you fill up when you see a station so you’re not stranded on the side of the road.

Keep Driving to Portland From Warrnambool

Typically, most people end their road trip along the Great Ocean Road in Warrnambool. If you have time to keep driving to Portland from Warrnambool, I highly recommend that you do that. Portland is a coastal gem that houses the Cape Bridgewater Blowholes and Cape Nelson. In addition, you have to go on a seal watching tour in Portland. Seals by Sea Tours offers a fantastic deal. As of right now, the price is $40 AUD per person for a 45-minute tour. We saw hundreds of seals and had the best time. Should you decide to do this, make a reservation in advance. The boat only holds ten people and it fills up fast. I may or may not have tried to jump into the ocean to snuggle a seal.

Cape Nelson Lighthouse in Portland

 

View of the ocean from the lighthouse.

 

SEALS!!!

Stop in Lorne

Lorne is a popular town along the Great Ocean Road that’s filled with shops and restaurants. It also has several accommodation options that are suitable for almost all budgets. You can find high-end hotels and caravan parks. Grab an ice cream cone at Lorne Ice Cream and stroll along the beach as you indulge in this heavenly treat. If you’re indecisive on flavors like I am, try the chocolate banana. I could write an entire post on how delicious that flavor is, but I’ll stop for now. Side note—do you guys think I should start a blog about ice cream?

After you’re done devouring your ice cream, head over to Teddy’s Lookout. It’s only a few minutes drive from Lorne. Be prepared to have your mind blown! The walkway takes you to a viewing platform where you’ll be left in awe.

Teddy’s Lookout

Go Surfing in Torquay

If you’re into surfing, this is a fun and ideal spot for you to do it. There are so many surf breaks along the coastline. Bells Beach is also around the corner, which is where the Ripcurl Pro World Surf League happens every year. If you’re not into surfing—don’t worry. You can hang out at the beaches and watch other talented surfers do their thing. Either way, you won’t be disappointed with stopping here.

One of the many gorgeous beaches around Torquay

Travel East to West

Basically, drive from Melbourne to Portland. The ocean will be on your side (for my Americans.. I typed this sentence and got the Nationwide Insurance jingle stuck in my head) and you will have a better view of the coastline. You can also pull over easier when you want to stop.

Mentally Prepare Yourself for the Crowds

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “early bird gets the worm.” If you haven’t, you’re probably living under a rock. In this case, the early bird gets solitude. I know I can’t be the only one who has to mentally prepare for the possibility of huge crowds. I’m a snap-happy kinda gal and I know that a lot of you are too even if you don’t want to admit it. The best way to avoid this is by visiting the sights right at sunrise. Not only will you catch the pretty sunrise, but you’ll also have some peace and quiet.

Mesmerized by the beauty of the Twelve Apostles

Bring a Jacket

Not trying to sound like your momma here, but bring a jacket. You’ll thank me later. It was hot in Melbourne so I figured the weather would be similar along the Great Ocean Road. I was so wrong. The breeze was quite chilly.

Have you road-tripped along the Great Ocean Road? If so, do you have any additional tips? Let me know in the comments below.

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