Great Ocean Road Itinerary 2 Days | Australia’s Most Scenic Drive

Great Ocean Road Itinerary 2 Days | Australia’s Most Scenic Drive

A weekend getaway from Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road is one of the most popular weekend trips to do.

When I was living in Melbourne, I have done this road trip several times and loved every second of it. I have done pretty much all options available. I have done a self-drive, an organized day trip as well as an organized 3-day trip.

All options are great and offer something the other does not. For this post, I will show you the best self-drive itinerary, as that allows you with the most flexibility.

So, this Great Ocean Road 2-day itinerary will show you all the best things to do and the best places to stop at when you do a Great Ocean Road self-drive road trip.

Great Ocean Road 2-Day Itinerary | Basic Information

Great Ocean Road 
Starts Torque, Victoria
Ends Allansford, Victoria
Length 234 Kilometres or 151 Miles
Interesting fact Built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I, the road is the world’s largest war memorial.

HIGHLIGHTS

Some of the highlights that you will see along the drive are:

  • London Bridge
  • Loch Arc Gorge
  • Twelve Apostles
  • Spit Point Lighthouse
  • Kenneth River | Lots of cute koala’s
  • Memory Arch
  • Gibson’s steps

WHERE IS THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD?

The Great Ocean Road can be found in in the state of Victoria, in south-eastern Australia. The nearest large city is Melbourne.

The Great Ocean Road is 243 kilometres, or 151 miles, long. It starts in a small town called Torquay, which is 105km (65 miles) from Melbourne and continues along the coastline and finishes at Allansford.

You can also travel from Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road, but ideally, you will need about 7 days to complete it (If you also want to go to Kangaroo Island)

GRET OCEAN ROAD TOUR VS SELF DRIVE

I think both options are great. If you are after a bit more freedom, then I recommend driving yourself and spending at least two nights on the road. That way you can travel at your own pace, avoid the crowds, and have more time to enjoy the many Great Ocean Road attractions beyond the 2-3 major attractions.

But if you can’t drive our would like to sit back and enjoy an organized tour, then one of many tours could work for you as well.  Underneath are just a couple of options for day tours to the Great Ocean Road.

If you wish to drive yourself (which is what this post is about), Budget and Kayak offer some reasonable prices rental cars.

BEST TIME TO DRIVE THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD

I would suggest going outside the peak of the tourist season. The Great Ocean Road is a major attraction for Melbourne tourists, and it does get very busy from time to time. So February-March or October-November are the best times to visit Great Ocean Road. This is outside of peak season, but still offers lovely warm weather and relatively dry days.

Great Ocean Road Self-Drive Itinerary | Route Overview & Drive Times

Underneath you can find an overview of my Great Ocean Road Itinerary. Keep in mind that this is just an itinerary that I think works best. You can add on destinations or remove destinations if one does not appeal to you.

Day 1 | Melbourne – Kenneth River
Stop 1 | Torquay
Stop 2 | Bells Beach
Stop 3 | Split Point Lighthouse
Stop 4 | Memory Arch
Stop 5 | Lorne
Stop 6 | Teddy’s Lookout
Stop 6 | Erskine Falls
Stop 7 | Kenneth River Koala Walk

Day 2 | Kenneth River – London Bridge – Melbourne
Stop 1 | Twelve Apostles
Stop 2 |
Gibson’s Steps
Stop 3 |
Lord Ard Gorge
Stop 4 |
London Bridge

The whole length of the Great Ocean Road is 664km, drivable in around 9.5 hours if you were to do it without stops (And what’s the point of that?)

The itinerary I have outlined will take 2 days and is optimal for weekend getaways.

Origin Destination Distance Drive time
Melbourne Torquay 104 km 1 h 21 min
Torquay Bells Beach 11.2 km 12 min
Bells Beach Split Point Lighthouse 23.1 km 25 min
Split Point Lighthouse Memory Arch 5.7 km 8 min
Memory Arch Lorne 12.7 km 17 min
Lorne Teddy’s Lookout 2.4 km 4 min
Teddy’s Lookout Erskine Falls 11.2 km 15 min
Erskine Falls Kenneth River 32.1 km 42 min
Kenneth River Twelve Apostles 108 km 1 h 46 min
Twelve Apostles Gibson’s Steps 1.0 km 2 min
Gibson’s Steps Lord Ard Gorge 5.1 km 7 min
Lord Ard Gorge London Bridge 15.0 km 17 min
London Bridge Melbourne 236 km 2 h 56 min

 Great Ocean Road itinerary 2 Days

Day 1 | Melbourne to Kenneth River

Today we are heading from Melbourne to Kenneth River on the Great Ocean Road. We will be stopping several times and some great spots along the way.

Stop 1 | Torquay

The first stop of the day is at Torquay, which is where the Great Ocean Road officially starts. From Melbourne CBD it is about a 1 hour and 30-minute drive to this small seaside town.

The towns esplanade is a lovely place to enjoy some of Australia’s famous beach vibes. Torquay is Victoria’s surfing and beach worship capital, due to Bells Beach and it is the birthplace of iconic brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver. If you are a keen surfer then this is the place to catch a wave of to buy a new board.

GREAT OCEAN ROAD 2-DAY ITINERARY  AUSTRALIA’S MOST SCENIC COASTAL ROUTE

Stop 2 | Bells Beach

Bells Beach is located only a 12-minute drive from Torquay. This beach is a world-famous surfing spot. Bells Beach has been hosting the Rip Curl Pro surfing event every year since 1962, making it the world’s longest-running surfing competition. Making this beach an important destination for surfers alike.

Walk along the edge of the cliffs on the wooden walkways and watch the surfers on the waves far below, our you can wander down to the beach following some steep steps down if you want to check it out a bit closer.

Stop 3 | Split Point Lighthouse

the-Split-Lighthouse-on the Great Ocean Road

Famous from the popular children’s television series Round the Twist. They used the area around the Split Lighthouse for many external scenes. Anyone born in the 80s will remember this TV program, what more can you ask for in life than to get to go and see it in real life.

You can visit the lighthouse by taking a tour. The tour is pretty cheap and you will be given heaps of informative facts about the coast and the lighthouse itself. The view from the top is amazing and will provide some great photo opportunities.

Stop 4 | Memory Arch

Memorial Arch - the start of the great ocean road

This memorial acknowledges the challenges faced by workers in the construction of the road.

The Great Ocean Road itself is a permanent memorial to those who died while fighting in World War I carved into rocks. Built by returned servicemen, it winds around the rugged southern coast and was a huge engineering feat ending decades of isolation for Lorne and other coastal communities.

The Memorial Arch showcases the servicemen working on the road. This archway is actually located 36kms after where the Great Ocean Road starts in Torquay. However, it is a must-stop for photo op signifying your road trip as well as to read on the history behind it.

Stop 5 | Lorne

This cute little town is the perfect p[lace for a lunch break. There are some cute little coffee shops, restaurants and pubs available in this town.  Pick whichever one tickets your fancy and enjoy some pretty views whilst you feed your hunger.

I would recommend checking out Lorne Beach Pavilion. It has some very nice view and offers some good food for a fair price.

If your day is still young, then have a look around this seaside town and check out some of the locally-owned shops.

Melbourne to Adelaide road trip

Stop 6 | Teddy’s Lookout

At not even, a 5-minute drive from Lorne lies Teddy’s Lookout.  This lookout provides a beautiful view over the coast and the winding Great Ocean Road. From the lookout there are some hiking trails available, which lead to smaller lookouts, providing closer views of the coastal landscape.

Stop 7 | Erskine Falls

The areas surrounding the Great Ocean Road are full of impressive forests, National Parks and imposing waterfalls that should definitely also explore! So after Teddy’s Lookout, we are heading island for just a bit, to check out Erskine Falls. It is only a 15-minute drive inland, and well worth the ‘troubles’

Erskine Falls Along the Great Ocean Road

Erskine Falls is a 30-metre waterfall that cascades into a deep gully. It is a stunning waterfall, especially after some good rainfall. There are two viewing platforms, one at the top of the falls that gives you a view over the falls and river below, and the other at the base.

The walk down to the falls is pretty challenging, and I would suggest a moderately fit person or without waking difficulty attempt the return trip. The return walk is all uphill, so it will get your heart rate going.

Stop 8 | Kenneth River Koala Walk

After the waterfalls, it is time to check out some of Australia’s most cuddly and cute animals. At the Kenneth River Koala Walk, you can find Koala’s, Rainbow Parreketts, and cockatoos.

Kennett River Koala Walk

Kennett River Koala Walk is actually just a road surrounded by gum trees and a significant population of wild Koalas. It is apparently home to hundreds of Koala colonies, with over a thousand Koalas. That being said, it doesn’t mean that you will see a bunch of koalas sitting in every tree just next to the road. However, the odds are pretty good that you will see a few.

Koalas are lazy animals and they spend most of the time sleeping, which makes it a bit difficult to spot them.

A very simple but yet effective tip: Follow the tourists (and especially the tourist with a tour guide) If you see a group around a tree pointing up, then it’s a good sign that there is a koala in that tree.

Around Kennett River, you will also see a bunch of Cockatoos and Lorikeets which is a fantastic picture opportunity.

ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

Kenneth river is a lovely place to bunker down for the night. It has a variety of accommodation options. Including campgrounds, cabins and Airbnb options. so whatever you are after, Kenneth River will have it available. (Unless you are after a 5-star luxury resort, this is not that type of place)

Day 2 | Kenneth River to London Bridge to Melbourne

On day two it is time to explore some of the most iconic sights! From the iconic Twelve apostles to London Bridge and beyond.

Because these are some of the famous sights, I do advise you to get up as early as you can, to beat the crows. Especially at the Twelve Apostles. Trust me, it is a whole lot more fun and beautiful when you don’t have a couple of busses stop at these sights at the same time as you.

Stop 1 | Twelve Apostles

The great ocean road is one of the most scenic drives you will ever do. The 234-kilometer long route takes you along some of Australia's most amazing scenery.

The most famous stop along the drive are the 12 Apostles. These magnificent rocks rise up majestically from the Southern Ocean and form an incredible backdrop.

They were created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland beginning 10–20 million years ago, the stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs.  The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 meters high were left isolated from the shore.

Good time to go is early in the morning before all the tourists come in with their selfie sticks. It is the main attraction of a lot of the tours so try to beat them. It gets very crowded.  Also seeing the apostle during sunrise is absolutely amazing. That is why I highly suggest staying in Kenneth River as you should be able to beat the crowds if you get up reasonably early.

You can not enter the beaches down below and only wander around the top of the cliffs.

An Interesting fact | When they were named the 12 Apostles by Victorian tourism in the 1920s, there were only Nine rock formations. Now there’s Eight. And with the rapid rate of erosion, it is forecast that this number will reduce even further. So come and see them while they are still standing.

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

Whilst you are at the apostles considering taking a helicopter flight. I was lucky enough to take a free trip when I was working as a tour operator in Melbourne. But I think it is so worth it doing it, cause it was absolutely AMAZING.

It is about a 15-minute flight, taking you over the twelve apostles as well as all the way to London arch/bridge and back.  For more information and prices check out 12 Apostles Helicopters.

Helicopter flight over the Great Ocean Road

Stop 2 | Gibson’s Steps

At Gibsons steps, there are two magnificent offshore limestone stacks (Nicknamed: Gog and Magog) rising out of the sea and you can see them from either the viewing platform near the top of the cliff or at beach level. To wander down to the beach you have to make your way down the 86 steps that were carved by the beached namesake: Hugh Gibson.
I do advise you to be careful, I encountered a poisonous snake when descending the stairs. So keep your eyes open, you are not one of the Irwin family members, so it’s probably best to keep clear of these animals.

Gibson Steps, Port Campbell, Australia

The beach itself is popular for fishing, and the shallow waters boast an abundance of colourful fish species and sea creatures. However, if you’re planning on taking a swim, you might want to rethink your decision as there are some ferocious reefs and rip holes that generate choppy waves.

Stop 3 | Lord Ard Gorge

The Loch Ard Gorge is located at about three minutes’ drive west of The Twelve Apostles.

Behind the beauty of Loch Ard Gorge hides a dark and tragic story of shipwreck, heroism, and survival.

”Tom Pearce was nineteen when he was an apprentice of Loch Ard, a clipper ship that was bound for Melbourne from England (2 March 1878)  After a three-month journey, the cargo ship that was in full capacity reached the waters of Port Campbell and ran aground. It was dark and misty. When the captain realized the ship was in a shallow water, it was too late. The clipper collided with a rocky reef.

Tom jumped off the ship and swam to the shore. Upon reaching land, he heard a woman crying for help. He jumped into the water and rescued 19-year old Eva Carmichael. 

Of the 54 people including 17 passengers and 17 crew members, they were the only two too survived the shipwreck.” 

This is a glorious inlet cutting deep into the mainland and surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. Picturesque and dramatic. You do have to walk down a few stairs to get to the inlet beach, so do be aware it’s a bit of a walk back up them. The view from the top is incredible but at the base is even better.

Here you can also find Island Arch Lookout, the Tom and Eva Lookout and The Razorback all within walking distance from each other.  make sure to check those out as well, as they all offer some incredible views. And lots of photo opportunities here!

Stop 4 | London Bridge

This is one of the top sights that tourists scramble to see in this area. Why? Well, for starters it’s an absolutely incredible sight to see and, secondly, this also has an interesting history.

London bridge, great ocean road

The sight has not always looked like it does now. Before 1990 this sight was called ‘London Bridge’. Because it used to be a bridge that connected the arch of land to the mainland. It got its name from its likeness to its namesake, the bridge in London ha.
But in 1990, rock tragedy struck and part of the bridge collapsed into the ocean, leaving a chunk of land isolated in the ocean. The tragedy is that there where two tourists sightseeing the bridge at the time, cutting them off from the mainland. Now there are some wild stories about the two tourists, but they never got confirmed. (They were having an affair, allegedly) What are the chances that you go meet up with your secret lover and the London Bridge collapses,  getting you stuck on the arch? That’s some freaky voodoo crap going on there haha

The beach also has a small number of penguins that come ashore after dark but this is not accessible for us humans booooo!

After this, it is time to head back home.  We opted to drive back to Melbourne CBD via the inland route, as it’s considerably quicker than on the Great Ocean Road along the coast.  If you’re trying to get back to Melbourne at a reasonable time on Sunday night so that you can go to work on Monday morning, I would recommend this approach and itinerary.

ADDITIONAL STOPS AND SIGHTS YOU COULD SEE ALONG THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD

Underneath a couple of additional stops and attractions for you to check out if you have a bit more time on your hands, or you simply one tickles your fancy:

  • Erskine falls | One of the most popular waterfalls in the Otways, the Erskine Falls plunges 30 meters into the lush tree-fern gully of the Erskine River.
    Erskine Falls is a nine-kilometre drive from Lorne.
  • Teddy’s Lookout | A fantastic place to drive up or hike up to and take pictures – amazing views of the bay! Highly recommended.
  • Sheoak Falls | Situated about 5 km kilometre drive from Lorne these falls provide a spectacular side trip while travelling down the Great Ocean Road. The walk alongside the river is just over a km through the bush. The Falls can also be reached from the Sheoak picnic ground with a longer but pleasant hike
  • Bay of islands | The view out at the Bay of Islands is one of the best of the Great Ocean Road. It’s incredible to look out on all of the islands and the powerful waves crashing against them.
  • The Grotto | This is an interesting limestone coastal sinkhole just along from the 12 Apostles. It’s not huge and doesn’t take long to visit but has a surreal, fantasy-like quality about it. Well worth a look.

GREAT OCEAN ROAD ITINERARY 2 DAYS

WHERE TO GO AFTER YOUR SELF-DRIVE ROAD TRIP ON THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD? 

If you are travelling around Australia and are looking for some great new destinations, check out some awesome options below:

  • Melbourne to Adelaide | If you have more time on your hand then just 2 days, then check out my 7-day Itinerary from Melbourne to Adelaide. It includes the Great Ocean Road as well as Kangaroo Island.
  • Melbourne  | If you are heading to Melbourne for the first time then check out my 3 day itinerary to the city. It will give you lots of ideas on what to see and do.
  • Sydney |  My current home town is of course not to be missed. I have written a 1 day, a 2 day as well as a 6-day Itinerary to this incredible city.
  • Airlie Beach | Planning to explore the Great Barrier reef? Then have a look at my guide to Airlie beach and my day trip to the reef. 

ADDITIONAL AUSTRALIA RESOURCES

If you have any questions about this Great ocean road itinerary 2 days, let me know in the comments below! Also, have you been on a road trip on the Great Ocean Road? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

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Great ocean road itinerary 2 days

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2 Comments

  1. May 27, 2020 / 12:25 pm

    As always this is such a great post! I’ve wanted to do this road trip for so long and it’s definitely high on my list for the next time I’m in Australia. Love the random bonus facts that you shared! 😁

    • bonditobasic
      Author
      May 27, 2020 / 1:13 pm

      Thank you so much Jen 😁 I hope you get to do this road trip one day! It’s amazing and definitely worth it xxx Manon

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