3 Days on the Great Ocean Road, Australia

3 days on the great ocean road cars taking to the open road peggy tee
The winds it’s way along the coast

Winding its way for 243 km from Torquay to Warnambool, the Great Ocean Road is one of ’s most popular sights, encapsulating coastal stretches, rainforests, quaint seaside towns, wild cliffs and surf beaches. There are plenty of tour companies offering 3 days on the Great Ocean Road, but for the best experience, hire a car and stay in a B&B in one of the many towns along the way. This 3 day self drive Great Ocean Road itinerary will take you through the sights from Torquay to Port Campbell, including the 12 Apostles, Cape Otway Lighthouse, and Loch Ard Gorge, amongst other attractions.

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3 days on the great ocean road sheoak falls taking to the open road peggy tee
Sheoak Falls

Day 1: Melbourne to Apollo Bay

From Melbourne, pick up your rental car and head down on the Princes Highway towards Geelong. From Melbourne it’s an easy 3 hours drive to Apollo Bay, your final destination for your first day on the Great Ocean Road. First up is Bells Beach, near Torquay, the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. The surf is world class year round, and the annual Rip Curl professional surf competition is held here. Next, stop for fish and chips at the Salty Dog Fish and Chippery in Lorne, then work off the calories on the Sheoak Falls walk, one of many hikes available around Lorne.

3 days on the great ocean road shells beach taking to the open road peggy tee
Shells found on Shelley Beach

The walk takes you to the beautiful Sheoak waterfalls, and even on an overcast day, the waters rushing over the black stone makes for dramatic viewing. After Lorne, the next stop should be Kennett River, where a population of koalas in the manna gum trees peer down on visitors. From here to Apollo Bay, the route traverses spectacular cliff top views – make sure you take the time to stop and enjoy the sunset panaromas.

3 days on the great ocean road twelve apostles taking to the open road peggy tee
The Twelve Apostles

Day 2: Apollo Bay to Port Campbell

Arguably the most dramatic views are along the stretch from Apollo Bay to Port Campbell. It is along this section that the famous Twelve Apostles are located. On the way there, make the time to visit Cape Otway lighthouse, Australia’s oldest surviving light station, in continuous use since 1848. Great Otway National Park also offers some excellent short hikes, with opportunities to spot koalas!

3 days on the great ocean road twelve apostles closeup taking to the open road peggy tee
Up close and personal with an Apostle


After spending some time in the Great Otways, head to Port Campbell National Park, where the Twelve Apostles are located. The viewing platform offers lots of opportunities for photos, but to get up and personal with the Apostles, head down Gibson’s Steps to the beach for a closer look. Loch Ard Gorge is also a stunning site, with a dramatic shipwreck and rescue story to go along with it – this area of the coast is also known as the Shipwreck Coast – for good reason! Over 600 shipwrecks have occurred along this jagged, wild coastline.ย Stay the night in Port Campbell, a sleepy, charming, seaside town.

3 days on the great ocean road koala taking to the open road peggy tee
A resident koala greets visitors in the national park

Day 3: Port Campbell to Melbourne

On your last day on the Great Ocean Road, you can drive to Warnambool and then back to Melbourne; however this will be a long, 12 hour day on the road. Instead, take in the last spectacular sights of the cliffs by hiking the Discovery Walk, a scenic, easy 1.5 hour walk with views over the coast and the town itself, before back to Melbourne via Colac. Another alternative is to take the Great Ocean Road to Port Fairy, and take a short boat ride out to Lady Julia Percy Island to see the resident seals before making your way back to Melbourne. Port Fairy itself offers colonial and an old whalers station that is worth exploring for a few hours. The drive back to Melbourne should take about 3 to 4 hours.

3 days on the great ocean road loch ard gorge taking to the open road peggy tee
Dramatic view over Loch Ard Gorge

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  1. cvail says:

    The Great Ocean Road is gorgeous. We loved the small towns, surf shops, and views!

    1. Yes we did too! We went in winter though so the views were a little dramatic and moody!

  2. renucas says:

    You refreshed my memories of Great Ocean Road and Port Campbell. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was indeed a beautiful journey…I just wish we could get a little more time there…

    1. This was my second visit to the Great Ocean Road and I still didn’t feel like I saw everything I wanted to see or do all the hikes I wanted to do! There’s the Great Ocean Walk, which stretches the entire coastal length – it’s a big walk, but it would be nice to do maybe two to three days worth of it. Maybe another time, when I go back – you should too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. the Great Ocean Road is definitely a great road-trip to do! I did it the same way you did and it was just gorgeous! the koala bears were so cute! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I know!! They are sooo adorable! Where are you these days?

  4. This is great! We’re heading here at the end of September. I can’t wait after reading this. Thank you!

    1. Awesome! You’ll have great fun! Keep an eye out for koalas! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. This is a cracker place; absolutely amazing. Thanks for the photos!

    1. Totally agree – one of the most beautiful places on earth!

  6. Kevin says:

    Hi can i chk with you how to pay for car parking along street in the town tat you visited? I took the google street view and i dont see any payment machine anywhere near the parking lot?

  7. Kevin says:

    How do you make payment to street parking? I didnt see any parking meter nearby in google street view in places such as Lorne or Apollo bay along GOR.

    1. Hi there – unless marked by signs, parking is free along the Great Ocean Road. I can’t recall having to pay for much parking while travelling along the GOR. Most of the towns are small country towns, where the idea of paying for parking would be completely foreign!

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