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World’s Greatest Drives – The Great Ocean Road, Australia

Posted by Avis on January 9, 2018 | 1,456 people viewed

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Great Ocean Road touring route

Melbourne to Port Fairy Via Twelve Apostles

Great Ocean Road in itself could be your reason to take the trip down under. If you are looking for an ocean drive this one will feature in all lists as the meandering road passes through pristine beaches, cliff tops, and dense rainforests.

Starting from Melbourne you pass through many small fishing towns, the surf capital Torquay, the iconic 12 Apostles, ending at historic fishing village Port Fairy. Along the way, spot koalas, kangaroos, and even whales, zip-line your way through a treetop canopy, sip world’s greatest wines at the vineyards, climb to the peak of a volcanic crater and relax over regional dining atop a cliff or by the beach.

Book your car rental from Melbourne to explore The Great Ocean Road

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Avis Self Drive
Side view of joyful young woman relaxing on the front seat while her boyfriend sitting near and driving their convertible




Distance: 676 KM Drive Time: 10-hour

Melbourne – 111km – Torquay – 33.3 – Memorial Arch- 15 – Lorne – 129 km- The Twelve Apostles- 11.3 km – Port Campbell- 89 km- Port Fairy

Tour Duration: This tour can be enjoyed over 3 days with two-night stays and offering plenty of options for Pit-stops.

Best time to travel: All year round (December to February to truly enjoy the beaches)

Car Recommendations: Convertible if the sun is shining bright, else you can choose a sedan or coupe that suits your style. You can rent an Avis from the Melbourne airport and the railway station. Avis centers are available at multiple locations in Melbourne. Avis also has centers near Lorne and Port Fairy. Check for more details.

Local Language: All signboards are in English and locals will greet you with the typical Australian toned “G’day Maaaate”

Driving Rules

  • Australia being a commonwealth country follows a Left≠hand†Drive
  • Speed Limits range between 60-110 Km/hr on most of the Great Ocean Road and some
  • Avis cars are available with speed limit indicators.
  • Beware of animals crossing the road a maintain a comfortable speed to avoid any collision.
  • Tolls in Australia are mostly automatic and e-tag cards are already installed in all Avis cars.



Torquay Harbour
View across Torquay Harbour  Image Source

The beautiful surf city acts as a gateway to the Great Ocean Road. The great waves at Torquay are home to the Bells beach and are also the birthplace of iconic brands Rip Curl and QuickSilver. The sandy beaches are flocked with tourists and surf enthusiasts all around the year, but summers make the best time to enjoy this sun-kissed paradise. Every year in the Easter week Bells beach hosts the annual Rip Curl Pro Championship and is graced by the world’s top surfers. When in Torquay don’t miss the chance to visit the Australian National Surfing Museum. If you are looking for an adventure for a lifetime head to the Barwon Heads for a Skydive session and enjoy the view of Torquay, Geelong and Barwon heads from an altitude of 15000ft.


Memorial Arch

Must Visit 
Great Ocean Road memorial arch at Eastern View by Bobak Ha’Eri, CC BY 3.0, Link

The Great Ocean Road is a memorial to the lost lives and sacrifices of the Australian diggers in world war one. More than 3000 returned soldiers built the road from 1919 onwards, conquering steep cliffs, rugged terrain, and dangerous weather so that the isolated towns along Victoria’s stunning western coastline could be joined together. Since its official opening in 1932, the Great Ocean Road has breathed life into the local communities along it and become a Mecca for tourists. It is a true engineering marvel and the memorial arch acts as a befitting symbol for the route. Memorial Arch has lived the test of time and has been reinstated multiple times.


Night Stay

Lorne pier Victoria. Image Source 

Lorne has been a vacationers paradise since the last century and has great white sand beaches with a relaxing breeze all adding up to its Mediterranean charm. This town is also a popular stop for a coffee at the number of bakeries that mark the streets or for a night stay at the relaxing holiday homes. Lorne also has a spirited art community, Lorne Festival of The Performing Arts along with the popular Falls Music and Arts Festival, add to this repute and you can see that flavor in the out changing exhibits and outdoor sculpture park. In March the Lorne Sculpture Biennale is also an art lover’s delight which showcases up to 40 works along the foreshore. Great Otway National Park, a nature lover’s playground with giant ferns, ancient forest and misty Erskine waterfalls one of the ten waterfalls that can be approached from Lorne. The National park is also amongst the best places to find the elusive Koala in their natural habitat.


The Twelve Apostles

Must Visit 
The Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell National Park, Victoria, Australia.
The Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell National Park, Victoria, Australia. Image By Michael J FromholtzOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Amongst the most iconic natural monuments of Australia, that acts as a symbol of Australian tourism are the Twelve Apostles just off the Port Campbell National Park. The Limestone structures formed due to wave erosion only had 9 structures originally which have reduced to 8 after 2005 when of the stacks collapsed. Yet the proximity of these structures makes for a spectacular view. Sunrise at this natural wonder is rather scenic and would help you beat the organized tours.

The Gibsons Steps



The Gibson Steps.
The Gibson Steps, from the air, looking north-east. Image By CamelboyOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Just a mile down the road from the Twelve Apostles Visitors Centre are the Gibson Steps. You can step down these steps to the beach for a close-up view of the limestone structures. This place gives you a sense of the power of the waves and the effect they have on the rocks with their resilient flow over the years. They have carved a miracle out of them and teaches you a lesson for life. In fact, on  touching these rock you realize how easily they crumble and the sensitivity of this Natural wonder. Take an easy stroll at the beach keeping in mind the tides, the experience is overwhelming as these large rocks are being shaped forever by the benign waves.

Other Limestone Wonders


London Arch.
London Arch. Image By Stefan Schäfer, Lich (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Twelve Apostles is not the only limestone structure that amazes you on this route, Within a few minutes drive from them you can find other structures like Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch, The Grotto, The Arch. All are unique in their own way and if you have ample time you should view them all, they all are also visible from the observation points at the Port Campbell National park.


Port Campbell

Aerial photograph of Port Campbell
Aerial photograph of Port Campbell Image By Whinging Pom – Image Source/, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Night Stay

A nature lover’s delight this coastal town is home to restaurants and cafes with views of the beach, bakeries selling homemade goodies, and plenty of vibrant shops and galleries to explore. Sheltered by cliffs and Norfolk pines, the town has an ideal atmosphere for a well-deserved stay midst the Great Ocean Drive. Marked by wild nature on the north and crashing waves on the southern edge, this makes a great stop. Port Campbell is in the vicinity of marine parks which offer great sea life including seabirds, seals, lobsters, reef fish and sea spiders. The intertidal and shallow subtidal reefs are also habitats for diverse invertebrates. Great mammals like the Great blue whale and White whale are also visitors to this part of the world. Make your way north of the coast on the Kanawinka Geotrail and explore the lush green farmland peppered with volcanic lakes and craters. You can also board a Helicopter and take a trip over the Twelve Apostles and other Limestone wonders.

Port Fairy

Night Stay

Port Fairy, Vic
Port Fairy, Vic Image Source 

Port Fairy is the last village on the famed shipwreck coast of Australia and also our last stop on the Great Ocean Road. The heritage walks across the town are marked with Cottages, Great Norfolk pines and old stone churches all dating back to 1800s make this enchanting fishing village a delight for history lovers. In fact, 50 of these buildings have been classified by the National Trust. Port Fairy is also a town that is in love with its Arts. The Port Fairy Folk Festival, one of the largest music festival in the Southern hemisphere. The buzzing local art scene is marked with boutiques, art & craft store and several antique stores You can also walk down the busiest ports in Victoria and get active in the water, and see native animals in the wild, from southern right whales, seals and dolphins to wallabies, kangaroos, and emus.

Our recommendations:



54 Bank Street, Port Fairy, VIC 3284


Stay in a boutique, self-contained accommodation located in the heart of Port Fairy. Ideally positioned within walking distance to the picturesque Moyne river, an abundance of dining options and distinctive fashion and retail stores.
Their affordable luxury apartments and suites will provide the perfect base to explore this beautiful traditional seaside village. The perfect base for your Great Ocean Road adventure.



3 Morris St Port Campbell VIC 3269

Anchors Beach House
Anchors Beach House

This property is a 4-minute walk from the beach. Anchors Beach House offers accommodations in Port Campbell. Anchors Beach House is the newest addition to the Anchors accommodation fleet in Port Campbell, on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. Situated on the Apostle Coast, this luxurious beach house takes the nautical theme to a grand scale.



47 Bank Street Port Fairy Victoria 3284 Australia


Treat yourself to stylish Apartment or Motel style accommodation in Victoria’s most picturesque village, Port Fairy. Whether travelling for business or leisure you’ll feel right at home staying at the Ashmont Motor Inn and Apartments, situated in the center of Port Fairy’s exciting dining precinct. Park and walk to more than 20 restaurants and hotels. There’s something for every taste.




42 Dorman Street, Lorne, Victoria Australia 3232


The beautiful relaxed energy of Lorne Beach Accom apartments will have you breathing easy, and letting go! Feel at home with your friends and family. Enjoy fresh sea air, bright sunny days, beautiful starry nights and the sound of the sea rolling in of a night will have you sleeping soundly. Lorne Beach Accom is one house back from the beach, nestled in a quiet street in Little Stony Creek Valley, Lorne, with expansive views of Loutit Bay. A two-minute stroll will take you to a lovely beach in North Lorne. Jump in your car and you’ll be in downtown Lorne in three minutes. Plenty of on-site and off-site parking. Three self-contained apartments, all with spectacular ocean views, which can accommodate up to 14 people in total.


4 Victoria Street, Warrnambool, Victoria, 3280


Centrally located accommodation in Warrnambool, Charles on Victoria is a family run business with superb views of Warrnambool city and coast. The property includes a self-contained one bedroom unit with full kitchen and a self-contained studio unit with a full kitchen. Queen sized beds. Free WiFi internet.
The property is a five-minute walk to restaurant precinct and central business district, and five minutes walk to the Reid oval, which is Warrnambool’s premier sports oval set in the 70 hectares, Albert Park. Just a ten minute walk away is Warrnambool’s Guilfoyle designed botanic gardens and Warrnambool Racecourse, home of the famous three days May Carnival.


Nico’s Pizza and Pasta

Nico's Pizza and Pasta

If you are visiting the Twelve Apostles, you are only a short drive from Port Campbell’s iconic Nico’s Italian Restaurant – this local institution has been owned and operated by Ron & Helen for 15 years.
Nico’s offers over 18 pizzas: vegetarian (including-Persian and Pumpkin), seafood (Sicilian and Mariner), meats (Tandoori and Italian) and traditional pizza offerings including meat lovers and Hawaiian.
Nico’s also offering delicious pasta dishes including vegetable Verdugo in a rich pumpkin sauce. Risotto is also available. Great vegetarian and gluten-free options available.
Great wine, beer and coffee options. A full gelato bar compliments the dessert menu. A daily specials board can include Lasagne, Veal Scallopini or Milanese fish (local catch of the day). The local produce pizza is always a hit in the holiday season.

Where: 25 Lord Street, Port Campbell, Victoria, 3269

Contact: (03) 5598 6131

Piccolo Restaurant Warrnambool


Surrounded by vibrant and colorful artwork, you are welcome to enjoy a relaxed and satisfying experience at Piccolo. Piccolo Restaurant Warrnambool prides itself on providing a warm, friendly atmosphere where you can feel right at home. Piccolo’s menu changes with each season, highlighting the abundance of local produce available in South West Victoria, making sure that they offer you food to put you in a good mood.
The friendly staff will make you feel welcomed and ensure your evening is relaxed and enjoyable, whether you visit Piccolo for a quick bite on the go or for a decadent dining experience or even if you are grabbing a takeaway.
Piccolo Restaurant Warrnambool will give you a true Warrnambool dining experience.

Where: 73A Liebig Street, Warrnambool, VIC, 3280

Contact: (03) 5562 2888

Torquay Waves Italian Restaurant

Torquay Waves Italian Restaurant

Torquay Waves Italian Restaurant has a great family setting. Specialising in both pizza and pasta meals at reasonable prices, this is definitely a great place to enjoy a meal on your holiday to Torquay.  Now fully licensed (BYO bottled wine only). Now you can have a beer or wine delivered with your meal. Max limit per order, one six-pack of beer or one bottle of wine.

The menu includes pizzas, pasta, veal, chicken, seafood as well as our famous dessert pizzas. They like to be creative with our gourmet range! Try the Balboa pizza with spinach & pistachio pesto – it will be a refreshing surprise for your palate.  If you have a sweet tooth, the Berry Berry Good pizza will cater to all of your cravings with fresh berries, Nutella, hazelnuts, white chocolate, mint and icing sugar.

Where: 24 Bell Street, Shop 3, Torquay, Victoria, 3228

Contact: (03) 5261 3100

Waves Cafe, Bar and Restaurant

Waves Cafe, Bar and Restaurant

Waves Restaurant is all about fantastic food with sensational flavours. Offering a large range of a la carte dishes with an Asian influence on many of those. Seafood is prominent but steak, chicken, pork, pasta and vegetarian dishes all feature. Most of the menu is or can easily become gluten-free. An extensive wine menu is also available which should entice most seasoned palates.
A contemporary structure with a modern and charming interior befitting a coastal environment. The calming atmosphere allows the guest to unwind as dine in this fantastic location.

Where: 29 Lord Street, Port Campbell, Victoria, 3269

Contact: (03) 5598 6111


Events and happenings:

Port Fairy Folk Festival

Where – Port Fairy, Green Ocean Road

When –  09  to 12 March 2018

Australia’s world famous Port Fairy Folk Festival is a major event presenting international and national artists in a four day festival of music, arts, and culture.
Port Fairy Folk Festival was established in 1977 by Jamie McKew and members of the Geelong Folk Music Club. In 39 whirlwind years, Jamie produced 40 outstanding festivals that put Port Fairy up front and center on the world stage of folk music. This festival is now a part of the DNA of this wonderful township and reinforces its rich cultural traditions as well celebrating new and innovative music and art.


Port Fairy Jazz Festival

Port Fairy Jazz Festival

Where – Port Fairy, Green Ocean Road

When –  9 to 11 Feb 2018

The Port Fairy Jazz Festival is a not for profit festival and organization run entirely by volunteers, promoting all genres of jazz music in the picturesque surrounds of Port Fairy. Jazz comes alive in the most liveable community each February.


Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

Where – Bells Beach, Green Ocean Road

When – 29 Mar – 8 Apr 2018 (dates to be confirmed)

Historical Bells Beach, home of the longest running surf competition in the world celebrates it’s 57th anniversary this year.
Steeped in tradition, rich in heritage and history, Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach has become a rite of passage for World Surf League athletes to compete against themselves and fellow surfers for an opportunity to ring the bell.


Run Forrest Trail Run

Run Forrest Trail Run

Where –  Forrest, Green Ocean Road

When –  10 June 2018

100% Pure Trail Running in the Otways. The 5th annual Run Forrest – 10km & 21km & 5km Trail Run offers runners the most picturesque trails in Australia. Once again the 2018 Run Forrest will include the very popular 5km Kids Run circuit. Staged in the hinterland township of Forrest, nestled in the heart of the Otway Ranges, Run Forrest will showcase the regions world-class trails and breathtaking natural beauty – undulating hills, flowing rivers, dense fern gullies and the cool, fresh air of the Otway Ranges.


Black Diamond Afterglow Night Trail Run

Black Diamond Afterglow Night Trail Run

Where –  Torquay, Green Ocean Road

When –  TBD

Enjoy a trail run that is for everyone with a distinct eighties retro vibe, including fluoro glow theme! Choose from a full half marathon (21km) or the 12km option.  Enjoy running along the Surf Coast Walk, from Pt Addis to Torquay, taking in world famous Bells Beach, all in the bask of twilight and into night, headlamps mandatory!  You will end up along the Torquay Esplanade and foreshore before finishing at Fisherman’s Beach to a background soundtrack of an eighties disco DJ.




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