The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243km (151 mi) stretch of coastal road found in southeastern Victoria. Travelling east to west, the trip begins in the city of Torquay, winds along the ‘surf coast’ and past Great Otway National Park. As you head west, the road travels along the ‘shipwreck coast’, past towering limestone formations. Then through Port Campbell National Park, and the Bay of Islands Coastal Park before finally ending in the city of Warrnambool. Stop along the way to enjoy the sun, surf, views, wildlife, history, and culture are plentiful. The Great Ocean Road RV road trip, so many places to stop and adventure and never enough time.
Start your Great Ocean Road RV road trip from Melbourne. Leave bright and early and drive southwest for 104km (64.6mi), or 1 hour and 20 minutes via the M1 to Torquay, the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Throughout the day there will be a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes of driving over 90km (56mi) along the Great Ocean Road. You will pass through the seaside towns of Lorne and Kennett River, and end the day in Apollo Bay.
Melbourne/Tullamarine Airport (MEL)- Melbourne Airport Victoria, Australia.
Avalon Airport (AVV)- Beach Rd, Lara, Victoria, Australia.
RV Rentals for your Great Ocean Road RV Road Trip
Adventure Touring Australia has many RV rental locations so you are sure to find the perfect RV hire. From new luxury camper vans to well maintain older budget vans, there is something for every camper. Check out our quote program to find the perfect camper hire for your next adventure. Rent an RV and let the Great Ocean Road road trip begin. Ok enough of a sales pitch, on to our road trip.
Stop and grab coffee and breakfast at one of the myriads of cafes in Torquay. Try The Pond Cafe, Ginger Monkey, The Salty Dog Cafe, Bomboras, Sticks and Stones, or Surfcoast Wholefoods. After breakfast, spend a relaxing morning walking along the golden beaches of this surf town. Stop and visit the shops in the town centre, or check out the Australian National Surfing Museum. Be sure to stop at Bells Beach on your way out of Torquay to see the dramatic cliffs and to watch experienced surfers at this world-famous beach.
Spend the early afternoon learning to surf at Louttit Bay, a protected bay that is ideal for surfing beginners. If surfing’s not for you, alternatively, drive into the lush rainforest to see Erskine Falls and enjoy the cool spray on a hot day. Head back into town for lunch at HAH Lorne Beach, Swing Bridge Cafe, The Bottle of Milk, Ipsos Restaurant and Bar. There are so many incredible lunch options that will satisfy the foodies in your group.
Stop at the Great Ocean Road Heritage Centre, located inside the Lorne Visitor Centre and learn about the history and construction of the Great Ocean Road. Alternatively, check out the Qdos Art Gallery and their outdoor sculpture garden before leaving town. On the way to Kennet River, stop at Teddy’s Lookout, a three-tiered viewing platform where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Saint George River and the Bass Strait. There is an optional 45-minute loop if you want the time to stretch your legs.
Drive 23km (14mi) or 25 minutes to The Kennett River Koala Walk which begins at the Kennett River Holiday Park. Walk along the unpaved Grey River Road through the eucalyptus trees, home to a population of koalas. The farther you walk, the better chance you have of seeing koalas away from the other visitors. Once you leave Kennett River you can either drive to Apollo Bay or stop for a short walk to Carisbrook Falls to stretch your legs.
Drive another 23km (14mi) for 30 minutes to reach your final destination for the day of Apollo Bay.
Grab dinner at the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse, La Bimba, or Chris’s Beacon Point Restaurant for a fine dining Greek seafood experience.
Places to Camp in Apollo Bay:
Apollo Bay Recreation Reserve – powered, grassy sites a short walk from the ocean.
Skenes Creek Beachfront Park – small beachfront sites.
Marengo Holiday Park – dog-friendly, beachfront campground.
Apollo Bay Holiday Park – swimming pool and playground.
DAY 2 of the Great Ocean Road RV Road Trip:
Wake up and wander through the Community Market on the main strip for fruits, vegetables, and souvenirs. Get breakfast at the Sandy Feet Cafe before beginning your second day. Day two will take you from Apollo Bay to Port Campbell. The total driving time between these two towns is 1 hour and 30 minutes over 96km (60mi). This day will take you inland through Otway National Park before returning to the coastline again.
Great Otway National Park
Begin your afternoon in the lush rainforest of Otway National Park. Thrill-seekers can try the Otway Fly Treetop Walk or the Otway Fly Zipline Tour. Alternatively, for a more relaxed afternoon, choose one of the many walking trails throughout the park. A great trail is The Redwoods, a grove of 85-year-old Californian Redwoods. Close by are the Hopetoun Falls, which you can admire from a viewing platform or descend to the foot of the falls for a longer walk.
The Cape Otway Lightstation
Head back the 33km (20.5mi) to the coast for the next stop on the itinerary, the Cape Otway Lightstation, for a little bit of history. Take a tour of the oldest working lighthouse in Victoria, try to spot migrating whales, and follow an interpretive trail to the Aboriginal Talking Hut. Attend a free talk on the history of the area before grabbing lunch at the Lighthouse Cafe.
Gibson Steps/12 Apostles
Enjoy your first taste of the Shipwreck Coast, so named for the hundreds of shipwrecks that can be found along the rugged coastline. Stop at Gibson Steps for your first view of these towering limestone formations. Descend the 86 carved steps down to the sand beach. As you walk along, dwarfed by the 70m cliffs, admire the sea stacks named Gog and Magog. You can either walk the 1km (0.62mi) trail from Gibson Steps to the 12 Apostles viewing platform or drive two more minutes down the road to arrive there. The 12 Apostles are possibly the most iconic stop along the Great Ocean Road so plan to have some time and consider taking in these views at either sunset or sunrise.
Loch Ard Gorge
Less than 10 minutes from Port Campbell is Loch Ard Gorge. Here you will see stunning blue waters held by golden sandstone cliffs. Read the interpretive panels to learn about the ship that was wrecked there and the story of the only two survivors. If you have the time, there are a few great walks in the area. The Shipwreck walk will teach you about the famous wreck and visit the cemetery. The Geology walk will teach you about the geologic forces that shaped these cliffs. On the Living on the Edge walk, you will discover what life lives on the edge of these cliffs.
Drive another 11km (6.8mi) or 10 minutes to arrive at the final destination of the day, Port Campbell, a relaxed coastal town. Have dinner near the water at the 12 Rocks Cafe Bar, sip a craft beer at the Sow and Piglets Brewery, or join the locals and grab dinner at the Port Campbell Hotel.
Places to Camp in Port Campbell:
Port Campbell Recreation Reserve – a campground with powered sites, laundry, and wifi.
Port Campbell Holiday Park – an RV park only a two-minute walk to either the beach or town.
Wake up on your third day of the Great Ocean Road RV road trip and head to Forage on the Foreshore for breakfast. This old post office turned seafront cafe has a record player, fireplace, and serves an all-day breakfast menu. After breakfast, check out the Port Campbell Visitor Centre. Here you can view the display of items salvaged from the numerous ships wrecked along the coastline. Go for a swim in the bay before you start the next leg of your journey because this is one of the few safe places to get in the water along this coastline. Day three will take you from Port Campbell to Warnambool. This 62km (38.5 mi) stretch is mostly inland and will take about 50 minutes of driving.
Alternatively, if you have the time, stay an extra day in Port Campbell to hire a licensed operator and spend a calm afternoon diving to one of the many shipwrecks littered along the coastline.
Port Campbell Lookout
For a little bit of exercise in the morning, climb the steep Port Campbell Discovery Trail to reach this scenic lookout point which offers views of the town and the bay. Alternatively, stop in the car park on your way out of town to enjoy the viewpoint.
Only a 6-minute drive from the lookout is another worthwhile stop. London Arch (formally London Bridge before its collapse in 1990) is a sea arch that was once connected to the mainland where visitors were able to drive out onto it. Look out for penguins returning from their fishing expeditions at sunset.
Five more minutes or 2km (1.2mi) further along the road brings you to the Grotto. A sea arch, at the bottom of a flight of stairs, that perfectly frames the calm pools of water inside the sinkhole which contrasts the rough ocean behind it.
Bay of Islands Coastal Park
Leave Port Campbell National Park behind and enter the Bay of Islands Coastal Park. Grab a snack in Peterborough before some more sightseeing in the afternoon. There are many places you can stop along this stretch including Bay of Islands Beach on Boat Bay Road. At this beach, you can easily launch a sea kayak. Viewpoints and/or beach access can be found at the Bay of Martyrs, the Bay of Islands, Three Mile Beach, and Childers Cove where you will see more rock stacks and towering cliff formations.
Once a whaling station, Warrnambool now has a reputation for whale watching. Walk around town and view the street art or check out the Warrnambool Art Gallery to see artwork by prominent Australian painters. Stop for lunch at Graze, Standard Dave, or Simon’s Waterfront. If you are visiting between June and September then grab some binoculars and head to the Logans Beach Whale Watching Platform for the chance to spot migrating Southern Right Whales.
Places to Camp in Warrnambool:
Surfside Holiday Park – located between the town and the beach.
Killarney Beach Caravan Park – extended beach and coastal dunes.
Grab some breakfast and coffee at Graze Urban Cafe, Bohemian Cafe and Bar, or Brightbird Esspresso. The fourth day of the Great Ocean Road RV road trip will take you to the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve before returning to Melbourne along an alternate route.
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
Drive 16 km (10mi) or 20 minutes to arrive at the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve. This reserve has bushlands and wetlands located in a dormant volcano. It is also home to emus, kangaroos, koalas, swans, ducks, and blue wrens. Experienced local guides will take you on a tour of the reserve while teaching about the geologic and cultural history of the area.
Drive back to Melbourne the next day along the inland route which takes 3 hours and 5 minutes and is 257km (160mi).
Grampians National Park
Alternatively, you may extent your road trip and head inland for 1 hour and 15 minutes, 101km (63mi), to Grampians National Park, one of Australias most iconic parks. Enjoy panoramic mountain views, walk to waterfalls and see aboriginal rock art. You can also spend the day fishing or kayaking in one of the many lakes.