Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road Self-Guided Tour

So you have heard the Great Ocean Road is beautiful, but “What are the highlights?”  Where do you start? Can I do a self-guided tour? Save your $96 USD/person on a bus tour. Below, we have outlined a self-guided tour from Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road with all the highlights of this majestic coast line. There is a lot to see and well worth a day of travel..

How to start?

Grab a car at the local car rental place in Melbourne if you don’t have one already. We got our 4 door Hyundai i20 at East Coast car rental for about $40USD a day. Get on the road between 8am and 9am to grab some breakfast in the local town of Torquary overlooking the ocean and some surfers.

Next stop Urquhart bluff (1hr 30min)

Take in the scene of this stretch of coastline with eroding bluffs, limestone cliffs, and rugged reefs. With the perfect display of golden sand and turquoise water will make for some great pictures. I would not recommend taking a stroll down to this beach since there will be plenty more great and easier opportunities along the road.

Catch a picture at the iconic Memorial Arch (45min)

Make sure not to fly by the Memorial Arch since the parking lot is right before it. Get some selfies in with some friends at the Arch and statues that tell the story about the Great Ocean Road being built.

.

Koalas at Kenneth River road (45min)

After you get back in the car from the Memorial Arch it will take about 1 hour to hit the Kenneth river Road. The land mark of course is the Koala Café. Once you turn you will make an immediate left turn on to the first dirt road. Once you hop on the dirt road park about 30 feet up the road. This is a great opportunity to get some great pics with the local parrots, lorikeets, and kookaburra. They literally will fly onto you if you have seeds, which you can get from the local guy there. After you get some pics in with the birds now its Koala time. Drive up the dirt road at like 15kms/hr because if you go faster you will miss the koalas hiding in the trees. Make sure to have your eyes peeled, they are really hard to see. You should be looking about half way up the trees for a sturdy branch. You will see a fury ball holding a branch, there is your koala. We saw about 5 while walking up the hill.

Time for lunch in Apollo Bay (1hour)

Before getting to Apollo Bay make sure to get some great pics in at Cape Patton. In Apollo Bay you will have a variety of choices to choose from for food. We stopped in at Georges for some good pizza and bread sticks. The Beach is also very accessible from here if you would like to get some beach time in. Or head down the road for a Nature hike at Maits Rest

Get your hike on at Maits Rest- Otway Rainforest (20min)

Take the 30 minute hike into the beautiful rainforest of Maits Rest. Here you will find a great loop walking track that is easy to walk on. Don’t forget to take a picture inside the hundreds of year old trees for good measure. On our trip we had to skip because we were not quite as productive with our time as we would of liked. Since we were shooting to catch the 12 Apostles at sunset.

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Great Ocean Road Map:

Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road Self-Guided Tour

So you have heard the Great Ocean Road is beautiful, but “What are the highlights?”  Where do you start? Can I do a self-guided tour? Save your $96 USD/person on a bus tour. Below, we have outlined a self-guided tour from Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road with all the highlights of this majestic coast line. There is a lot to see and well worth a day of travel..

How to start?

Grab a car at the local car rental place in Melbourne if you don’t have one already. We got our 4 door Hyundai i20 at East Coast car rental for about $40USD a day. Get on the road between 8am and 9am to grab some breakfast in the local town of Torquary overlooking the ocean and some surfers.

Next stop Urquhart bluff (1hr 30min)

Take in the scene of this stretch of coastline with eroding bluffs, limestone cliffs, and rugged reefs. With the perfect display of golden sand and turquoise water will make for some great pictures. I would not recommend taking a stroll down to this beach since there will be plenty more great and easier opportunities along the road.

Catch a picture at the iconic Memorial Arch (45min)

Make sure not to fly by the Memorial Arch since the parking lot is right before it. Get some selfies in with some friends at the Arch and statues that tell the story about the Great Ocean Road being built.

.

Koalas at Kenneth River road (45min)

After you get back in the car from the Memorial Arch it will take about 1 hour to hit the Kenneth river Road. The land mark of course is the Koala Café. Once you turn you will make an immediate left turn on to the first dirt road. Once you hop on the dirt road park about 30 feet up the road. This is a great opportunity to get some great pics with the local parrots, lorikeets, and kookaburra. They literally will fly onto you if you have seeds, which you can get from the local guy there. After you get some pics in with the birds now its Koala time. Drive up the dirt road at like 15kms/hr because if you go faster you will miss the koalas hiding in the trees. Make sure to have your eyes peeled, they are really hard to see. You should be looking about half way up the trees for a sturdy branch. You will see a fury ball holding a branch, there is your koala. We saw about 5 while walking up the hill.

Time for lunch in Apollo Bay (1hour)

Before getting to Apollo Bay make sure to get some great pics in at Cape Patton. In Apollo Bay you will have a variety of choices to choose from for food. We stopped in at Georges for some good pizza and bread sticks. The Beach is also very accessible from here if you would like to get some beach time in. Or head down the road for a Nature hike at Maits Rest

Get your hike on at Maits Rest- Otway Rainforest (20min)

Take the 30 minute hike into the beautiful rainforest of Maits Rest. Here you will find a great loop walking track that is easy to walk on. Don’t forget to take a picture inside the hundreds of year old trees for good measure. On our trip we had to skip because we were not quite as productive with our time as we would of liked. Since we were shooting to catch the 12 Apostles at sunset.

Star of the show 12 Apostles (1 hour)

Take the scenic drive through the beautiful hills and rainforest to the stunning 12 Apostles.  Well the 12 Apostles are more like the 5 Apostles now since the ocean has taken down the other ones through time. Make sure even though the ocean is on the left you will turn into the right-hand side to the parking lot.  If you can try timing the sunset with like 1hour-30min left. This will make for some great pictures. Don’t worry if you get there too early, this place is so majestic you can’t go wrong. It’s about a 10 minute stroll out to the 12 Apostles from the parking lot.

Last light catch the London Bridge ( 15min)

Continue your path down the Great Ocean Road to your last official stop of the day at the London Bridge. The bad news it collapsed back in the 1990s but still it has a beautiful arch in the rock it was connected to.  Take in the sunset from a different angle with a grand view.

Making your way Back home. (3hour)

As you make your way back home through the prairie make sure to keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos or wallabies since they tend to come out at dusk. I would strongly recommend not going back the way you came. The roads inland are a lot easier, shorter and safer to drive on.

This is a long day of travel but for the magnificent views you get to see is well worth it. Plan on this being like 8am to 9pm day including all your meals. The beach might be calling your name the following day.

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Star of the show 12 Apostles (1 hour)

Take the scenic drive through the beautiful hills and rainforest to the stunning 12 Apostles.  Well the 12 Apostles are more like the 5 Apostles now since the ocean has taken down the other ones through time. Make sure even though the ocean is on the left you will turn into the right-hand side to the parking lot.  If you can try timing the sunset with like 1hour-30min left. This will make for some great pictures. Don’t worry if you get there too early, this place is so majestic you can’t go wrong. It’s about a 10 minute stroll out to the 12 Apostles from the parking lot.

Last light catch the London Bridge ( 15min)

Continue your path down the Great Ocean Road to your last official stop of the day at the London Bridge. The bad news it collapsed back in the 1990s but still it has a beautiful arch in the rock it was connected to.  Take in the sunset from a different angle with a grand view.

Making your way Back home. (3hour)

As you make your way back home through the prairie make sure to keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos or wallabies since they tend to come out at dusk. I would strongly recommend not going back the way you came. The roads inland are a lot easier, shorter and safer to drive on.

This is a long day of travel but for the magnificent views you get to see is well worth it. Plan on this being like 8am to 9pm day including all your meals. The beach might be calling your name the following day.

Great Ocean Road Map:

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