The Great Ocean Road, an iconic road trip which most people dream of doing. If you’re lucky enough to be planning your itinerary for this epic adventure, then I have a few suggestions of spots to stop off at along the way. We spread our road trip over about 3 days but it could easily be crammed into 2 or stretched over a week, two weeks or longer. There are so many beautiful locations along the coastline that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Here are my highlights:
This relaxed surfer town is most peoples first stop along the GOR. It is renowned for being the surf capital of Australia, housing the HQ’s of Roxy and Quiksilver. In the main town, I recommend relaxing on the beach, tucking in a meal with a view at Whytes and going shopping at Torquay Wholefoods (if you’re a health freak like me, it is heaven!).
This beautiful beach is another surfing destination with tonnes of surrounding walks. I have to recommend visiting the Southside end of the beach if you fancy a thrill, it is nudist! I have never been to a nudist beach before but we decided to spontaneously give it a go and let me tell you, nothing is more liberating that running into the cold ocean completely starkers!
If you’re new to surfing, this is the place to learn. With surf schools like Go Ride A Wave on your doorstep, its easy to get out on the water and learn the ropes. If you’re wanting a spot to relax, I recommend stopping by 4 Kings Coffee for great drinks and even better food.
A great spot to kick back, chill out and settle in for the evening. Be sure to go for a morning run along the golden sand and explore the local high street with cute cafes like Bay Leaf and Sandy Toes which both offer a mean breakfast. For dinner, the most well known spot in town is Chris’s Beacon Point Restaurant which has great sunset views over the coastline.
Great Otway National Park
This stunning national park takes up a huge portion of the Great Ocean Road, so you can’t miss it! Be sure to check out the Lighthouse, which is rich with history and has beautiful views. If you’re feeling active then you can hike along sections of the Great Ocean Walk or through the lush Rainforest. I recommend visiting Parker River for a secluded beach spot, you will most likely have the whole thing to yourself! Alternatively, Maits Rest is a great 1km loop through the rainforest if you’re short on time.
The 12 Apostles
You can’t drive the Great Ocean Road and not stop at the famous 12 Apostles. These limestone stacks along the shipwreck coast are popular for a reason. They are incredibly beautiful and provide a stunning coastal skyline. Be sure to walk down Gibbons steps and visit the beach, to get a better understanding of the size of the cliffs. If you want a different perspective then there are helicopter tours which are an incredible experience and give a unique perspective on this natural wonder!
The Rocky Coastline
Often overshadowed by their more popular sister the 12 Apostles, there are many other rock formations on the coast which are equally as beautiful in my opinion. Lock Ard Gorge is a beautiful little bay where you can swim as well as learn about the historical shipwrecks in the area. London Bridge has a beautiful archway and The Grotto has a sea level cave you can delve into. One of my personal favourites was the Bay of Islands which has a whole host of beautiful stacks and islands, as well as a pristine beach to relax and explore.
Want to extend the trip?
Instead of heading straight back to Melbourne, we headed inland to the beautiful Grampian National Park. You could easily spend a week hiking through these stunning mountain ranges, but we managed to cram the top spots into a day! Don’t miss Mount William, Reeds Lookout, Mackenzie Falls and Boroka Lookout. We used a tour company called Grampians Personalised Tours & Adventures, who were amazing!