2 Day Great Ocean Road Itinerary
As one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, it’s no surprise the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s top attractions. And it’s not just a drive. Think colourful seaside towns, magnificent natural wonders and bountiful national parks. Its close proximity to Melbourne makes the route makes an ideal weekend break from the city. Although you won’t be able to do it all in 2 days, it’s certainly enough time to at least see the highlights. Here’s my 2 day Great Ocean Road itinerary so you know what you shouldn’t miss out.
Great Ocean Road Itinerary Day 1:
Known as the surfing capital of Australia, Torquay is the best place to start your Great Ocean Road adventure. Although it’s famous for its waves, there’s a lot more to do in Torquay than surf. Take a stroll along Bells Beach, do the Surf Coast Walk or relax in the cafes and restaurants along the seafront.
The next stop on your 2 day Great Ocean Road itinerary should be Lorne. Just a 20-minute drive from Torquay, it’s a quaint little beach town with a slight hippy vibe. Like most towns along the route, there’s a beautiful beach to relax on, as well as a decent collection shops, cafes and restaurants to boot.
Teddy’s Lookout could technically be classed as part of Lorne – just a 5-minute drive from the seafront. Perched on top of the cliffs, this lookout offers an unspoiled view of the road winding around the rock face opposite and the sparkling Bass Strait beyond. As its fully kitted out with benches, picnic facilities and parking its a great place to stop off for a mid-morning break.
Continue your 2 day Great Ocean Road itinerary to Kennett River – the best place to see wild Koalas! Park up and head towards the woods where you can spot the Koalas sleeping in the trees. There’s also a number of great walks you can do along the river and encounter the wildlife that lives there.
Great Otway National Park
Continue past Apollo Bay (you’ll head there later), where the road curves away from the shore and into the Great Otway National Park. Here, the driving gets really fun as you weave through spectacular hills and tree-lined lanes. One of the top attractions in the area is the Maits Rainforest walk – a short boardwalk through the jungle. Or alternatively, you can detour to the Otway Lighthouse right in the heart of the park. Although the entry to the lighthouse is quite expensive, you can do some nice free walks nearby, and the drive there is very scenic too.
Compared to Lorne, I didn’t find Apollo Bay particularly appealing. However, it’s central location on the route makes it the ideal place to stay overnight on your 2 day Great Ocean Road trip. Get there in the late afternoon and head up to Mariner’s Lookout or take a walk along the beach. The town is also home to a few good restaurants to keep you fed and watered in the evening.
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Great Ocean Road Itinerary Day 2:
An 80-minute drive from Apollo Bay takes you to Gibson’s Steps. Another dramatic viewpoint, where you can look out across the towering cliff line and the site’s two offshore weather-beaten stacks. The steps themselves are a rugged staircase cut out of the rock giving you access to the beach below.
The Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles are the crown jewel of the area and a must visit on your itinerary. This range of colossal limestone sea stacks towering proudly above the waves really is a sight to behold. They are particularly picturesque at sunset, though if you want to avoid the crowds I’d go as early as possible as it gets really busy here throughout most of the day.
Loch Ard Gorge
The Twelve Apostles may get the most hype, but Loch Ard Gorge was my favourite natural wonder by far on this trip. Here, two monumental walls of rock curve around to form a sheltered bay, with just narrow inlet to allow the tide to ebb in. There are a number of cliff top walks that lead you to excellent viewpoints and even an old shipwreck site. Whilst wooden boardwalks and steps take you down to the beach for a closer look.
Port Campbell is a quiet little seaside village that makes a great stop off for lunch on day two. There are several cafes, restaurants and bakeries to choose from, as well as a local shops and galleries to explore. Or you can take a stroll along the beach and jetty where the towering cliffs make it a calm haven from the elements.
London Bridge / The Grotto
London Bridge and The Grotto are two more spectacular natural landmarks to add to your list. The former a single (once double) limestone arch set just off the beach, whilst the latter a large tidal pool cove that overlooks the southern ocean.
Bay of Martyrs / Bay of Islands
Finish your 2 day Great Ocean Road Itinerary by continuing to Bay of Martyrs and lastly the nearby Bay of Islands. Both these sites are home to rugged stacks, great cliffs and excellent lookouts from which to admire the view.