If you’re looking for something different, this is it. Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s greatest gems. With beautiful national parks, iconic surf breaks and stunning coastline, Great Ocean Road deserves a spot on any traveler’s bucket list. Australia’s Great Ocean Road is a year-round destination, and it’s one of the best spots on the planet for a road trip. It’s also an adventure that requires a bit of planning.
#1 Dont Rush into One Day Trip
Many people are trying to drive all along the road in one day, especially day trippers coming from Melbourne. Yes, it is possible but this way you’ll miss most of the fabulous highlights, not to mention the journey will be stressful instead of pleasure. I highly recommend devoting for 3 days or longer if you have the chance. If you can’t do this, plan for at least 2 days.
#2 Opt for Coastal Route
There’s two routes, the coastal route and there’s the inland route. I would definitely suggest to drive the coastal route when coming from Melbourne. So you can stop along the way at the roadside viewing points without crossing the roads. If you wanted to experience both routes, drive via the inland route when going back to Melbourne. Here’s a fun fact – the inland route is quicker and less traffic, might be helpful if you want to drive back to Melbourne on the same day.
#3 Catch Sunrise
Forget about snoozing your alarm when you are out of office. Grab your camera and get out of bed to catch sunrise at your favourite spot! Especially in Twelve Apostles, it is the most popular spot so you will want to beat the crowd.
#4 Stay at Apollo Bay
I chose Apollo Bay as my home base to explore Great Ocean Road. It’s a great location to stay with easy access to petrol, accommodation and food. Besides, it has halal and Muslim friendly eateries, too! I highly recommend Iluka Restaurant.
Most of the time, it’s either I dine in the restaurant itself or take away and stop somewhere to make a picnic. Good news is they just started motel business recently and it’s inclusive breakfast. So, there’s more reason to stay and eat at Iluka Motel and Restaurant.
#5 Pack Everything You’ll Need
The vast spaces of Great Ocean Road are what make it so beautiful. At the same time, that means you can’t count on stopping by a convenience store every time you need something. Make a list of everything you could possibly need, and double check it all before you go.
Get loads of snacks for the road while you can. Whenever you get a chance to visit supermarket, stock up on snacks and mineral water for the road! Preferably something that doesn’t crumble when you bite into it, so that you don’t dirty the car.
#6 Fuel Up
When you are at a petrol station, always fuel up your car. The petrol stations can be few and far between, and you never want to run on empty. Rule of thumb: Any time you see a gas station, prepare to fill up. However, the gas cost is cheaper in Melbourne City compared to Great Ocean Road area. So, plan accordingly.
#7 Take it Slow
While you might feel like you’re in your own little world, there are surprises around every bend. Careless driving can put a serious damper on your trip, so take it slow and steady. On top of the risk of accidents, there are a surprising number of traffic cameras along the way.
The fines are hefty for speeding. I got my speeding fines after few months returning home and this is not fun.
#8 Prepare to Entertain Yourself
Very often, the spots can be far between and you might have both network coverage issue and no radio signal at certain places along the way. So, bring your own entertainment and extras of anything you can’t live without.
#9 Watch for Animals
It’s essential to keep your eyes peeled. Especially around remote areas and if you are driving during night time. Many animals there aren’t used to traffic especially the wild kangaroos. They can run out in front of your car in a flash, so keep your eyes on the road. Many animals are especially active around sunrise and sunset, and you’ll want to have your copilot keep watch of the roadsides.
#10 Guided Tour Option
For traveler who would rather avoid driving this kind of routes, but still want to enjoy the sceneries, there’s one more alternative. You can leave the driving to professionals and take a guided tour.
There’s a local service called Go West that runs from Melbourne City to the Great Ocean Road so it’s really easy to get there on organised tour. You jump on the bus in Melbourne and you will be taken to major spots. For a guided tour on this, you can book via Klook or KKday.
There’s plenty to see and do all along the Great Ocean Road. You should prepare yourself a bit before hitting the road. You can’t see everything, so make sure to stop in the places that interest you the most.
Do you have any tips for driving in Great Ocean Road?