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Australia’s ultimate road trip

Australia’s ultimate road trip

Great Ocean Road

The Australian B100 is one of the most iconic motorways in the world, meandering past deserted beaches and dense rainforest. You can drive its 243 kilometres in just a few hours, but the beauty of the Great Ocean Road is best appreciated during a three-day road trip. 

Get your motor running
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Day 01

Surfing & Souvenirs

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Morning

A delicious start

A delicious start Although the motorway begins a 110 kilometres away, many consider Melbourne to be the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. This is dangerous because Melbourne is the kind of city where you could easily spend weeks. We recommend a quick breakfast before hitting the road. Local foodies can barely keep up with the selection of eateries. But Hammer and Tong – named the best café in town – with its lavender yogurt and Japanese breakfast soup always is a fabulous choice.

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Afternoon

Playing in the surf

The memorial arch at Torquay is a tribute to the 3,000 soldiers who built the Great Ocean Road after World War I. This is the real starting point of the road trip. Feel free to linger – and thanks to beaches such as Bells Beach and Jan Juc, this laidback town is known as the birthplace of the Australian surf scene. Inexperienced surfers can take lessons and learn how to brave the waves. Or dive into the Surf World Museum for some extra inspiration.

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Evening

Culture along the coast

Continue the drive to Aireys Inlet, almost 30 kilometres beyond Torquay. Despite its small size, this charming village has inspired writers and artists for many years. The Eagles Nest Gallery is the place to purchase an artistic souvenir. Long before the roads were paved, travellers found their way to Aireys Pub for live music and local beers. The Split Point Lighthouse offers one of the most beautiful views of the crumbling coast.

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Day 02

Unusual creatures

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Morning

Friendly and cheerful

A golden beach, bright green picnic lawns and a colourful strip of houses line the asphalt of the Great Ocean Road. That is about all there is to Lorne, but it is enough to have earned it a reputation as the loveliest village on the journey. The many eateries by the side of the road are perfect for kicking off the day in first gear. “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy” says the roadside chalkboard. We couldn’t have done a better job in describing the friendly atmosphere.

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Afternoon

A canoe safari

Cheeky eyes, long whiskers and slick faces – the nicest residents you will meet in Apollo Bay are the fur seals lazing on the rocks off the coast. Paddle out in an ocean kayak with a guide to take a close-up look at the colony. Not exotic enough? Drive 35 kilometres north where you can take a canoe and look for the platypus: with its beaver tail, mole-shaped body and duck’s beak this is certainly the strangest creature in Australia’s curious collection of animals.

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Evening

Koalas and kangaroos

Just beyond Apollo Bay, the Great Ocean Road swings away from the coast to snake its way through the forests of Great Otway National Park. In the heart of this impressive forest lies the Great Ocean Ecolodge, owned by biologists Shayne Neal and Lizzie Corke. This award-winning accommodation is surrounded by kangaroos, koalas, spotted-tail quolls and echidnas. This is the perfect place to learn more about Australian nature – or to give a bottle to one of the cute sugar gliders after sunset.

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Day 03

Rock towers and shipwrecks

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Morning

Waterfalls in an ancient forest

After a hearty breakfast it’s time to lace up your hiking shoes and explore the Great Otway National Park. This ancient 103,000-hectare forest features many walking trails that lead to beautiful hidden waterfalls. For those who prefer to remain behind the wheel, drive south across the forest towards Otway Lighthouse, the southernmost tip of the region. The trees along the way teem with koalas. But watch out: these little animals often cross the road.

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Afternoon

The perfect picture

Buy any random postcard along the Great Ocean Road and you can bet your sunglasses that it will feature a picture of the Twelve Apostles. These rock formations, located just before Port Campbell, clearly illustrate how the hungry ocean is eating away at the limestone coast. Only seven pillars still rise above the water, but they offer one of the most photogenic sights in the country. Tip: head down to the beaches at the bottom of the cliffs for an undisturbed view.

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Evening

The Shipwreck Coast

Even though your road trip will come to an end in Warrnambool, the end of the Great Ocean Road offers plenty to extend the fun for a little while longer. Between June and October you can spot whales from the beach. The harbour town is also great for diving into the tumultuous history of the many ships that have sunk along the coast. Visit the nightly sound and laser show 'Shipwrecked' at the Flagstaff Hill open air museum.

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