When you think of things to do on the Great Ocean Road we’re pretty sure you will agree with us when we say there’s so much to see that it is hard to figure out where to start and where to finish. In this 2-day Great Ocean Road itinerary, we will set your mind at ease, providing a nice structured plan and give you the most exciting places to visit.
Not only will you witness some amazing scenery and some iconic landmarks, but you will actually have time to enjoy it.
This itinerary will allow you to take all the beauty in, instead of stressing and quickly driving from one place to the other. The best part is that this is all from personal experience. We did this 2-day itinerary ourselves driving the Great Ocean Road.
We have travelled a lot in Australia and come across some amazing places like Fraser Island and backpacking Whitsundays and we can say with 100% confidence the Great Ocean Road is not to be missed!
Don’t miss our tips at the end on the essential items to bring on your road trip.
Car hire for Great Ocean Road
Before we get into the itinerary, we understand that not everyone will have the luxury of having their own car, especially fellow backpackers.
Driving the Great Ocean Road on your own terms is the best way to explore it in our opinion. You can stop when you want to enjoy some views and spend more time at other sites if you feel it.
If that’s you, then we highly recommend hiring a car. We have rented from VroomVroomVroom before, they are the best place to search for a cheap deal.
Great Ocean Road tour
Some people prefer not to worry about anything at all and prefer others to drive them. Not only that, you may even want to meet new people as part of a tour or get some additional history on certain spots which a tour guide could provide.
Some of you may not even have a license. Fear not.
It’s a small group tour that has the unique feature of chauffeuring you around in a luxury Mercedes Benz. You’ll visit the famous 12 Apostles, spot amazing Australian wildlife and dine on some lovely beaches.
2-Day Great Ocean Road Itinerary – Day 1
For argument’s sake, I think we can safely assume you will be starting your journey from Melbourne, as most people do. This means you will be heading to Torquay Town first.
One thing we will say though is to set off from Melbourne early in the morning. Yes, you may have to wake up earlier than usual and it might be a struggle…but it will be worth it as you’ll have more time to explore on the first day.
This is what the 2-day itinerary will be based on the order of destination, as you drive to it.
Nice and easy!
Explore Torquay Town and have a little munch
Congratulations! You have officially begun your Great Ocean Road adventure.
Torquay Town is the first major point on the Great Ocean Road and it’s the perfect place to stretch your legs and fuel up after your drive from Melbourne.
It also helps that Torquay is a seaside town so if it’s a particularly nice day you can stretch out on the beach.
Unfortunately for us, it was a cold brisk day so the last thing we wanted to do is strut around in our swimwear.
We decided to eat and head back on the road. If you want to eat somewhere, we can recommend The Salty Dog, Ginger Monkey Café or if that isn’t to your fancy theirs a McDonalds in town.
Only a short 10 min drive away from Torquay Town is the famous Bells Beach.
It is worth to stop off and see one of the most famous beaches in the world. It’s famous because it proudly has the title of holding the world’s longest continuously running pro surfing competition (since 1962). This is known as the Rip Curl Pro surf competition.
If you’re a surfer yourself, you would not want to pass on the opportunity to hit a few waves there.
If you’re not into surfing yourself, you can at least walk along the beach and enjoy watching others fall off their surfboards.
Chill with Kangaroos at Anglesea Golf Club
Now here is a very funny story and one of the most unique things to do on the Great Ocean Road.
It appears not many people know about this if you are having a look around at other blogs.
Anglesea Golf Club is an actual Golf Club and a massive golf course at heart, however, with a unique twist. Kangaroos have literally taken over all the green and just lay around minding their own business.
After chasing the kangaroos off over the years, they just keep coming back in bigger numbers so the authorities just decided to leave them. This means when you’re playing golf you may have to walk around a few kangaroos. Pretty insane.
You can learn more about the golf course, the Anglesea grey kangaroos and everything else by booking a tour on the Anglesea Golf Club website.
We did this tour and managed to get up close and personal with the Kangaroos. It was an amazing experience and the information provided by the friendly tour guide was exceptional.
Great ocean road sign
What Great Ocean Road trip would be complete without taking a photo of the iconic sign?
It is a bit weird how the sign isn’t specifically at the start of the Great Ocean Road, but we won’t digress on that!
There’s a spot to pull up safely so don’t worry. You can get the camera out and snap as many photos as you like. If you fear missing it, you can always search the below address in Google which will pinpoint its exact location:
Memorial Arch at Eastern View: 689/721 Great Ocean Rd, Eastern View VIC 3231, Australia
Split point lighthouse
Split point lighthouse is a beautiful spot with some stunning views.
The lighthouse itself is a tall, striking, pearly white building that is red at the tip stretching into the clouds. You can walk down a dusty path which leads onto some viewpoints where you can admire the ocean scenes.
You must book a tour to go inside and to the top of the lighthouse. You can find more information on the website here.
Erskine falls in Lorne
This mixes things up a bit. A lovely 30-metre waterfall plunging into the Erskine River.
The greenery surrounding the waterfall and during the Erskine falls walk is stunning. Make sure your camera is at the ready.
There is parking available at the start of the Erskine walks so no need to worry there. The walks are split into 2 lookout points.
The first Erskine Falls lookout point is only a short and easy walk and the second is approximately 30 mins 1km return, with some steep steps involved.
Just keep in mind that the falls are not recommended to swim in and they’re covered in rocks anyway.
Accommodation on the Great Ocean Road
That sums up Day 1 and you should be ready to chill out and head back to your accommodation.
To prepare you for Day 2 we suggest staying near Apollo Bay. This is in between the next set of highlights to visit and the last destination of Day 1, Erskine Falls.
Check out Apollo Bay Holiday Park which is the ideal place to stay for the night before heading onto the next adventures.
2-Day Great Ocean Road Itinerary – Day 2
Cape Otway Lightstation/Lighthouse
Another beautiful lighthouse on the list! However, the journey to this one is more exciting.
You are probably thinking, what’s so great about the journey? Well…you can spot wild koalas on the way to the lighthouse! Who doesn’t want to spot wild koalas!?
You can spot them within the Great Otway National Park amongst the trees on Lighthouse Road. If you see a bunch of cars parked up and people looking into the heavens, it would be safe to guess someone has spotted a koala.
Make sure to keep your eyes on the road as well.
Once you have spotted koalas chilling on a branch like a hammock, you will eventually reach Cape Otway Lighthouse.
The lighthouse is Australia’s oldest surviving lighthouse on the mainland.
Again, you will be spoiled with some amazing views from the lookout points and the lighthouse and surrounding areas have some amazing photo opportunities.
They say Wreck Beach is a photographer’s dream apparently.
Although it was really cold and windy when we went, it was still quite dreamy to be fair and it’s quite calming. There aren’t many people around or at least they weren’t when we were there.
We were expecting some sort of shipwreck due to the name but there isn’t. In case you might have thought the same.
You will have to walk down around 350 steps to get to the beach, worth keeping in mind for the way back up.
The 12 Apostles
The main attraction, the big allure and the landmark which entices all, the 12 Apostles.
Well, they were 9 Apostles and the ‘12 Apostles’ is just a marketing gimmick. However, due to the savage nature of the wind and sea, they are only 8 standing, last time counting.
The apostles are large limestone cliffs protruding from the sea and make for a wonderful striking sight. It is safe to say this is the main tourist attraction and it is a must-see on your 2-day Great Ocean Road itinerary.
This was one of our highlights on the trip. It is something that will stick with us because you just can’t get the image out of your head once you see them. It is something out of a movie.
Due to the popularity of the 12 Apostles, there is a big car parking area straight across the road from them. So, there is no need to worry about where to park.
There are plenty of viewpoints so make sure you check them all out to get different angles and views of the jaw-dropping site.
It is a great place to view the sunset but if you plan on doing so, get there early as it can get busy.
Loch Ard Gorge
The Loch Ard Gorge on the Great Ocean Road is probably the 2nd most popular attraction.
It is not hard to see why when you turn up to this little gem of a place.
It is only a quick 5 min drive from the 12 Apostles. Once you park up there are a few walkways to choose form. All will lead you down to the gorge.
Engulfed in natural rock formations and laid with soft golden sands, Loch Ard Gorge is captivating. It’s perfect for relaxing and admiring the views. You can even take a quick dip in the water if its calm enough.
London Bridge on Great Ocean Road
London Bridge used to connect the arch of the land to the mainland. Now, it sits alone within the blue seas.
The story goes that the bridge collapse whilst some tourists were on it. Mother nature causing havoc again. They were left stranded until they were rescued by helicopter.
A nice bit of history for you there.
Bay of Islands – Bay of Martyrs
This is part of the Bay of Island Coastal Park.
They are 2 easy walks to do here
Halladale point track – Recommended to spend 30 mins admiring the endangered Rufous Bristlebird, reading the story of the Halladale Shipwreck, why plants struggle to grow there and an insight into the Kirrae-Whurrong people’s history.
The Beach walk – Take time to enjoy the beach, spotting a rare Hooded Plover and to explore the flotsam & jetsam.
We saw a lot of birds here, so it will be great if you had a zoom lens or some binoculars if you’re a keen bird watcher.
Other points to visit around the Bay of Islands if you have extra time are Wild Dog Cove, Massacre Point and Massacre Bay.
Drive back to Melbourne from the Great Ocean Road
That sums up all of the key attractions to visit on your 2-day Great Ocean Road itinerary.
The drive back to Melbourne will be around 3 hours. However, do not fret. The timing should be right just in time for the sunset to keep you company.
The sunsets on the Great Ocean Roads are gorgeous no matter where you are.
Within the itinerary are the main attractions not to be missed there such as the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.
Also, there are some not so well known and unique places sprinkled in the itinerary such as the Anglesea Golf Club, taken over by kangaroos.
Let us know which were your favourite parts of the trip and if you discovered any more alluring sights.
Check out our list below for some great items and tips on what to take on your trip.
What to pack for the Great Ocean Road
- Water, water, and more water. The Australian sun is unforgiving especially if you’re travelling during the summer times. Make sure you bring some water in a metal or insulated water bottle to keep the water cool for as long as possible.
- You also need a decent backpack. Some sights require you to trek a bit within forests or up and down hundreds of stairs. You want a comfortable backpack preferable one with water bottle carriers.
- An external charger is also key on any road trip. With the number of pictures and videos, you’ll be taking on your phone the battery is going to get drained. Pack an external charger or 2 and make sure they’re fully charged before you set off-road tripping.
If you’re exploring more of Australia check out our posts in Sydney and on the East Coast such as the Fraser Island Tours from Hervey Bay.