South West Coast (Victoria)

Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is more than a road – it represents a coastal region of south-west Victoria, Australia, running from Bellarine Peninsula near Geelong to Portland near the border with South Australia. The Great Ocean Road was built as a work project for veterans returning from World War I and was completed in 1932. The core of the Great Ocean Road, highway B100 from Torquay to Allansford near Warrnambool, runs for 243 kilometres.

One of the most scenic parts of the road is the stretch between Port Campbell and Peterborough. This is the section contained by Port Campbell National Park and has the major rock formations.


Twelve Apostles

Coastal towns in order from east to west, with driving distance from Torquay:

Inland towns in the region include:

Other destinations


The Great Ocean Road is a fantastic drive, not only for the scenery but also for the winding cliff-top roads. Motoring enthusiasts travel the road for the sheer excitement of feeling the corners and having fun.

Get in

Most visitors start from Melbourne, which is 95 kilometers away from Torquay. Instead of Melbourne's main airport, fly into Avalon Airport near Geelong, which is much closer to the start of the road. There is car hire there, and it is regularly serviced by Jetstar and, from late 2010, Tiger Airways.

V/Line buses run from Geelong along the Great Ocean Road as far as Apollo Bay three times a day M-F and twice a day Sa-Su. On Friday a bus continues from Apollo Bay to Warrnambool. There are also daily V/Line trains to Warrnambool, but they travel inland.

Get around

Car offers the most flexibility for seeing the area. Coach tours are also easily available.

There are many sights to see away from the townships, and along the coast. Getting to them by general public transport would be difficult.

There are so many pullouts and sights, that you can fall into a yet another spectacular vista fatigue, when driving the road. Is it worth pulling off the road for another cliff drop, another gorge, or another arch? Make sure you plan your trip, so you can skip some attractions if you need to, but don't miss the truly amazing ones.


At its simplest, you won't need an itinerary, or even a map to drive the Great Ocean Road. Start at Geelong or Warrnambool and follow the signs. The eastern end of the route starts at Torquay, 22km from Geelong. The sights are well signposted off the road, as well as nearby attractions. Information boards exist at all sights and attractions. The road is well developed for tourism, has regular information, food, fuel and accommodation.

Its possible to drive the length of the road, and see the main attractions in a day's driving. Two days will allow you to see just about all of the coastal sights and towns, if that is what you want to do. Consider three days or longer if you want to stay longer at some towns, and do some walks, relaxation, or other recreation.

If starting from Melbourne, remember that it's almost 100 km to the start of the Great Ocean Road at Torquay and another 264 km back from Warrnambool along the inland Princes Highway. This translates to a minimum of 600 km to get there, drive the road from end to end and come back, and doing this in one day doesn't leave much time for sightseeing spending at least two-three days is a much better idea.


How many apostles?

The Twelve Apostles are somewhat misnamed: Tourism officials renamed this rock formation the 12 Apostles from the former "Sow and Piglets". Some question whether there ever were 12 Apostles but the coastline changes over time due to the strong waves coming off the Southern Ocean. At the moment seven visible at any one time from any one point anyway. Following the collapse of one in 2005, there are now only eight left, although if you add in two to the east you can still scrounge up 10.

Split Point Lighthouse
A waterfall in Otway National Park


Walk. Many of the natural features have surrounding walks, but there are developed paths for longer walks.

There are also some great places to go mountain biking in the back of Apollo Bay around the forest and the Otway National Park. There is one tour company that offers 5-7 day tours based out of Apollo bay. Australia By Bike tours include all accommodations, meals and transfers from Melbourne.

Tour. Many tourists prefer to take a tour rather than drive themselves. There are many operators who provide day and multiple day tours along the Great Ocean Road. Tours also range from small group tours, private tours to bus tours.


Port Campbell has many cafes and restaurants and it is the only place to get food near the Port Campbell National Park.


A wide range of accommodation is available in towns along the Great Ocean Road, but most of it is clustered at the eastern end near Melbourne, particularly Torquay, Lorne and Apollo Bay.

As the area is such a popular weekend getaway, prices are considerably higher during the weekend and many places (especially B&Bs) have two-night minimum stays. In the summer peak season and during holidays, many places will sell out completely and it can be hard to find even a motel room.

Stay safe

Some of the beaches along the road have dangerous currents. Observe local signs, and seek local advice about the best places to swim. For tips on beach safety and to understand the signs see BeachSafe

There are virtually no overtaking lanes on the Great Ocean Road. Rather the road has turnouts for slower vehicles so if a faster vehicle catches up to you, be considerate and pull over at the next turn out. Frustration causes accidents, let faster vehicles past. If you catch up to a slower vehicle, stay back at a safe distance and wait for the other vehicle to pull over in the next slow vehicle turn out. Don't tailgate.

The speed limit along the Great Ocean Road is 80km/h to 100km/h. In towns, the speed limit is 50km/h to 70km/h.

Given the volume of traffic that can traverse the Great Ocean Road, especially weekends and holidays, don't assume that it will be a quick trip. Allow yourself plenty of time to see everything so that you may enjoy your drive.

Go next

You can travel back to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road or take the inland route via Colac which although a similar distance saves time.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, August 07, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.