Planning: The Great Ocean Road

5:15 pm

One thing you should know when you're planning to see the Great Ocean Road (GOR) is that the bare minimum commitment is a whole day. The highway spans 240 kilometers along Victoria's coast line and has numerous attractions along the way. With all the driving and stopping, a day trip will only cover the major attractions.

Depending on your preferred time and budget, there are a few ways to see the GOR:
1. Packaged day tours which usually includes snacks (avg. $130)
2. Chartered bus if you are a big group and want to create your own itinerary 
3. Car / bike rental for a multi-day trip

Since we were a group of 20+, we opted to rent a charter bus for a day and customized our own itinerary. There's a lot to see, so narrowing down your must-sees is important.

The most popular stop on the GOR is the Twelve Apostles. Most of the packaged tours start at the attractions closest to Melbourne and work their way down the coast, then finish with a long drive (approx. 3 hours) back to Melbourne at the end of the tour. Since there are a few other attractions before Twelve Apostles, most visitors arrive there around noon. With that in mind, we drove to the furthest attraction first, then made our way back North in the hopes of avoiding the big crowds.

For our itinerary, I took into consideration travel time, exploring time, and meal stops which meant researching in advance what each destination had to offer and whether or not there was somewhere we could stop to buy food.

I did plan our itinerary down to the minute but NO, we didn't follow it strictly (except for the order). For me, the itinerary was just a guide on how to maximize what we could see in that span of time. What we ended up doing is taking our time in the places we liked, and then cutting out other attractions we didn't mind missing if we were behind schedule. To give you a general idea of how much time you should devote to this, we left Melbourne at 7 AM and arrived back at 9:30 PM. We visited London Bridge, the Arch, Loch Ard Gorge, the Twelve Apostles, and Apollo Bay; due to lack of time, we did skip a few attractions we had planned on seeing, such as Gibson's Steps, Cape Otway Lighthouse, and some beaches. We took our time walking around and taking pictures at each destination.

Our charter bus driver also recommended a stop that wasn't on the itinerary, and so we spent half hour trekking to see some waterfalls, realized none of us were wearing the proper footwear, didn't actually know where we were going and it was getting late, then walked back to the bus. This was, for me, one of the times where even if things don't go as planned - the people you're with make all the difference in the world. During that half hour walk on dirt road, we linked arms (with a consequence/punishment to the first person to break the chain) and looked for wild koalas in the trees.

Our human chain broke when a car drove towards us at full speed. In the spirit of not getting run over, no actual consequence was given and we laughed about it on our way back to the bus.

Hope this helps any travelers interested in experiencing the Great Ocean Road! xx

You Might Also Like


recent posts