A relaxed driving holiday providing time for a good sample of all the beaches, rain forests, wildlife, villages and flavours along the Great Ocean Road.
Day 1 – Melbourne to Apollo Bay
Sample the surfing culture in one of its birthplaces at Torquay. The major surfing fashion brands combine with the surfing museum at Surf City Plaza, and there are two great surf beaches and numerous good spots for lunch. Complete this first part of the road with a visit to the famous Bells beach to watch surfers from the heights. On to Anglesea village and its tranquil inlet. Try some kangaroo spotting at the local golf course before stopping at the Slit Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. If it’s a late lunch there are some good choices available in this area. The long stretch of Fairhaven surf beach is a great spot for a beach walk and there is a memorial to the Great Ocean Road builders. The first taste of forest and sea brings you onto the resort town of Lorne. Take a stroll among fashion boutiques, crafts and antiques and enjoy an afternoon coffee with cake. The road now takes to the cliffs for some of the most spectacular ocean and rainforest outlooks, combined with walks along river flats and beaches. After a late afternoon visit with the Koalas near Kennet River this section gives way to rolling green hills and big surf from Cape Patton to Apollo Bay.
Day 2 – Apollo Bay to Port Fairy
After an early morning walk on the beach and breakfast in Apollo Bay, take a stroll along a section of The Great Ocean Walk at Blanket Bay, then the boardwalk through part of the ancient rainforest at Maits Rest. See Koalas along the road to the lighthouse at Cape Otway. Experience the fury of the southern ocean from the light house keeper’s perch. Catch surfers riding the wild waves at Johanna Beach before heading for the rainforest. The elevated walkways of The Otway Fly let you experience the giants of the rainforest up close, and there are flying fox wire systems for the adventurous. Next door is the serenity of Triplet Falls. Drive on to the village of Beech Forest and access to more waterfalls and the pristine Aire River crossing. There are several choices for lunch in this area, then it’s back to the Shipwreck Coast for stops at Moonlight Head, Wreck Beach, and The Twelve Apostles. Port Campbell has cafes and a pub offering afternoon refreshments, then more coastal driving to The Bay of Islands. Another half hour drive to the provincial city of Warrnambool and a further 20 minutes should have you in Port Fairy by late afternoon.
Day 3 – Port Fairy to the Coonawarra wine district
After breakfast, perhaps with some shopping and sightseeing in Port Fairy, drive about one hour to Portland. There are good examples of colonial architecture, a busy industrial port and Maritime Discovery Centre. Just a short drive to Cape Bridgewater provides an opportunity to visit a seal colony and perhaps have lunch overlooking the sea. The lookout gives a spectacular view of the pure white sand dunes and sweeping beaches of Discovery Bay National Park. About a further hour’s drive is the hamlet of Nelson, set on the magnificent Glenelg River. The volcanic lakes around Mount Gambier offer a glimpse of prehistory, with Blue Lake the most notable, then it’s a short drive to Penola and the Coonawarra wine region. Allow about two and a half hours driving time plus sightseeing.