12 apostles great ocean road

The whole world agrees: the Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most magnificent drives. If you’ve ever driven California’s Pacific 1 then imagine that but you’re driving on the left, turn up the saturation of the ocean, and add some koalas and kangaroos. With every turn, visitors find a new delight from a wild koala sighting to the unearthly turquoise waters that roll into those world class waves along the coast.

Driving The Great Ocean Road makes for a perfect weekend excursion from Melbourne for those that want to take in the main attractions, spot a koala in the wild or go on a little surf trip. More adventurous travellers without time constraints will have endless opportunities for adventure. If you’re planning a trip to Australia, definitely add the Great Ocean Road to your itinerary even if it’s just to see a koala (pro tip: the Great Ocean Road is your best bet to spot a wild one down under).

I took in the Great Ocean Road on two separate trips on long weekend getaways. The first time we went on a surf trip and of course made our way to check out the 12 Apostles. We stayed at quaint hostels and partied at the local pubs. The second trip was more a back to mother nature – finally getting out of bloody Melbourne for a weekend – camping getaway.

Here are some quick tips and photo inspiration for your drive along the Great Ocean Road.

Highlights of the drive

Well it’s the Great Ocean Road after all and the ocean is stunning.

great ocean road coastline

The lighthouses along the way make for great walking breaks. The picture above is of Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. There is also Cape Otway – proclaimed as Australia’s “most important lighthouse”. Don’t ask me why.

The drive is just incredible. There is very little development and the endless coast has bountiful beaches. It’s much different from the east coast of Australia where the beaches tend to be overcrowded – on the Great Ocean Road, you can definitely find an empty beach all to yourself.

Even on an overcast day the 12 Apostles are breathtaking.

12 apostles great ocean road

The water is just divine – go for a surf along the way. Between Lorne and Apollo bay there are many great surf spots and of course many surf schools as well where you can rent a board or learn to surf.

Wildlife

With koala spotting being a huge priority, first thing we asked our waitress where is the easiest place to spot koalas and she pointed us in the right direction. Next thing you know we are this close to the koalas. Definitely near the Otways, you can find them and near Cape Otway lighthouse in the gumtrees. This blog has a wonderful article on popular spots to spot a koala along the Great Ocean Road.

My personal favourite Aussie animal has to be the wild yellow crested cockatoos. They are so playful and amazingly photogenic. Don’t worry, you’ll see them too.

yellow crested cockatoo great ocean road yellow crested cockatoo

As for the kangaroos, just be careful not to hit one. I’ll go over that more in…

Driving Tips

  1. KEEP LEFT
  2. Don’t hit a kangaroo!

Hostels

The hostels/hotels are definitely humble along the way but we had a good night’s sleep at Surfside and made some good friends too. $30 for a bed in a dorm or $95 for a room for two. Hostelworld has this super helpful blog with all the main spots with hostels along the way.

Camping

This is everything you need to know about camping along the Great Ocean Road. There are plenty of options and it’s just amazing to sleep under the stars.

Have you ever driven the Great Ocean Road? Any tips of your own?