There are normal roads… and then there’s the Great Ocean road.
Picture this, driving with the windows down, breathing in the fresh ocean breeze, viewing the ocean on your left, and great rock formations on your right! And top it off, singing along to your favourite tunes in the car!
Voted to be one of the world’s scenic road drives, the Great Ocean Road is definitely a place you wouldn’t want to miss. Located in Melbourne, this road stretches over 243 kilometres! We have compiled a quick friendly guide for first timer’s looking to visit this place.
1. Driving in Melbourne and car rentals
Credit: Dennis Stenbjerg on Flickr
There are many car rental companies in Melbourne such as Avis, Europcar, Budget, Thrifty and Hertz for you to choose from. We suggest you choose a company that fits your budget and and has a rental location nearby your accommodation to avoid late charges when you return.
Some things to take note when renting a car under Australian law:
- Do ensure that you have your valid driver’s license. Drivers under probation are not allowed to drive.
- Your driver’s license must be written in English. You will need to provide a translated driver’s license if you do not have one in English.
- The minimum age to hire a vehicle can vary between car rental companies and vehicle category. If you are under 25 years old, you may be asked to pay a surcharge to complete the rental agreement.
- Similar to Singapore, they drive on the left lane. Seatbelts must be worn by all drivers and passengers in cars.
- Do add in a GPS system in the car to save your time in the event you get lost and drive into the roads that have tolls. (They will charge it in your credit card)
- Their road signs are similar to Singapore. However, do look out for animal crossing signs! You might just spot a kangaroo at the roundabout! I know I did!
You can find more information regarding driving in Melbourne here.
Car models: Can range from Nissan Micra (economy) to Toyota Corolla (intermediate)
Prices: start from AUD 44 per day (without insurance)
Do visit the respective car rental companies for more information. It is essential that you read the terms and conditions carefully before renting one.
2. Driving Routes
Credit: Eugene Phoen on Flickr
Essentially, there are two routes that will bring you to the Great Ocean road. There’s the coastal route (Highly recommended) and there’s the inland route. For the coastal route, you will be able to see stunning coastlines and amazing rock formations by the coast. Meanwhile, for the inland route, you will be able to see hills, beautiful plain fields that stretch for miles and farm animals such as cows and sheep along the way.
Credit: Kojach on Flickr
#HHWT Tip: The coastal route is marvellous; however, the road is full of bends and turns as well as narrow lanes. In addition, the speed limit is high (Around 100km/h for most areas) and there are blind corners near the cliff face, so please take caution if you are not an experienced driver and take the inland route instead! You can still see the coastline, only it’s a bit further away to view but a safe alternative route for inexperienced drivers.
One of the main attractions at the Great Ocean Road is to view the different sides of the ocean at different lookouts. Each of them will blow you away with their mesmerising views. They are located at different areas of the road and some of them have beautiful huge rock formations that you will wonder how they were formed in the first place! We have arranged a suggested itinerary for the different lookouts 😊
Credit: Neil Howard on Flickr
- Catch the sunrise at Apollo Bay – Do wake up early to catch the glorious sunrise by the beach! It is something you definitely wouldn’t want to miss.
- Drive up to Marriner’s lookout to get a fantastic aerial view of Apollo Bay! – Go to Marriner’s lookout road and drive up the hill. There, you will reach a farmhouse. You can park your car at the parking spots there. You will find a gate nearby that says “Lookout”. Pass through the gate and walk around 5 minutes up a small slope and you will reach the top of Apollo Bay. There, you can experience the breath taking view!
#HHWT Tip: Because the area is privately owned, do not litter or make a lot of noise when you are there. The lookout belongs to the Marriners and have they have kindly allowed the public to pass by their land to admire the view as such, we do have to respect their rules.
From Cape Otway to 12 Apostles
Glenaire Beach (Castle cove) – Fantastic view of the ocean!
Gibson Steps – Depending on the tide, you may be able to walk on this beach!
Credit: Oceania Beauty on Facebook
And of course, the main attraction, the 12 apostles. A truly magnificent sight! Remember to bring a jacket when you are here, as it gets chilly due to the strong wind.
From 12 Apostles to Port Campbell
Loch Ard Gorge – A shipwreck once occurred here! There’s a cave nearby that you can view.
London Bridge – What once used to be one giant formation, has been spilt into two by nature. A few people got stranded on both ends when it happened. Do look into their story when you are here!
Credit: Andy Mitchell on Flickr
The Grotto – If you would like to see waves up-close, the grotto is definitely a must visit.
Driving at the Great Ocean Road takes quite a long time, around 3 hours from Melbourne airport to reach the 12 Apostles. In addition, it takes around 30 minutes to an hour to reach the other lookouts. As such, we advise that you choose a good location to stay that has access to petrol, accommodation and food for you.
4. Food and accommodation
Credit: Bernard Spragg on Flickr
One of the places that we recommend you stay is the beautiful coastal town called Apollo Bay. It has a number of beautiful and family friendly beach houses and it is accessible to a supermarket, petrol kiosk at your convenience! In addition, it also has halal and Muslim-friendly eateries!
#HHWT Tip: We recommend that you purchase take away food or buy groceries as shop here closes early.
Muslim-friendly Food options at Apollo Bay
When in Apollo Bay, refuel at RAWR Bar, a 100% vegan cafe that specialises in delicious smoothie bowls and vegan food! 🤤
Credit: RAWR Bar on Facebook
Or if you’re up for a hearty (but healthy!) meal, you can go for the Raw Spaghetti – made with zuchinni noodles with red pepper sauce, walnut & sundried tomato mince, garnished with brazil nut cheese and chives. Sounds delicious, no? 😉
Credit: RAWR Bar on Facebook
Address: Shop 4 57-63 Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay, Victoria
Opening Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays – Saturdays: 8.00am – 3.00pm, Sunday: 8.00am – 2.00pm, closed on Tuesdays.
Contact Number: +61 3 5203 9710
We recommend that you use the following websites to book your stay!
Australia’s biggest holiday rental website! Choose from the many beach houses depending on what type of amenities that you need at Apollo Bay, from luxury stays to family friendly beach houses.
Great Ocean Trip
Credit: Bernard Oh on Flickr
Your one-stop hostels, hotels and guesthouses guide in Apollo Bay! Choose the one that fits your location, budget and style.
Although the main attraction of the great ocean road is the lookouts, there are some activities that you can experience.
12 Apostles Helicopters
Credit: Jochen Bullerjahn on Flickr
If you have not been on a helicopter before, take the opportunity and ride a helicopter here! You will get at least 15 minutes up in the air and get a stunning aerial view of the 12 apostles and some of the lookouts from high above the sky (Based on the different package that you take). This is something that you do not want to miss! After the ride, you may purchase a video of your ride as a memento 😊
Price: Starting from AUD 145 per person.
Address: Great Ocean Rd, Princetown VIC 3269, Australia (near the 12 apostles visitor centre)
Maits Rest Rainforest Walk
Credit: Paul Carmona on Flickr
If you are a nature lover, why not take a self-guided walk at Maits? There’s a broad way and clear paths where you can walk with ease and see nature up close such as giant rainforest trees that are over 300 years old and beautiful fern gardens.
Duration: 30 minutes return
Track condition: Good, wooden boardwalks
Price: Free of charge
Address: Great Ocean Rd, Cape Otway VIC 3233, Australia
So are you ready to start those car engines? Grab your friends and drive to the Great Ocean Road today!
Do download this useful guide of Great Ocean road.