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Top Tips for Driving Australia’s Great Ocean Road

by Travelbag on 13 November 2018, 12:11PM


Nowhere does road trips like Australia. This massive country has fantastic roads, where you’ll be able to see eye-popping views and incredible wildlife. And you can drive on the left – perfect. But there is one road trip that tops them all. Just west of Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, the Great Ocean Road has earned its stripes as one of the best drives in the world. This coastal route takes you past sweeping beaches, grand rock formations and adorable towns. But how should you go about making the 151-mile journey? If you’re thinking about driving it yourself, we’ve got some handy tips to help you make the most of your time on the Great Ocean Road.


1. Drive east to west

It might sound obvious but, when you’re driving the Great Ocean Road, you want to be as close to the ocean as possible. Driving from east to west means you’ll be on the coast-side of the road, so you’ll have uninterrupted sea views. Plus, you’ll be on the correct side of the road for all the lay-bys, where you can easily pull in and take photos of the amazing scenery. It’s best to start your journey in Torquay and work your way along the coast from there. If your holiday itinerary means you have to drive from west to east, just make sure you get up early to beat the rush – otherwise your view will be blocked by the oncoming traffic.


2. Visit the smaller sights

Driving is only part of your Great Ocean Road journey – you’ll spend quite a lot of time pulling over, taking photos and walking to the route’s famous landmarks. The big must-sees are Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch and, of course, the world-famous Twelve Apostles. But it’s not all about the big names. Some of the most beautiful spots along the Great Ocean Road are the lesser-known ones. Make sure you walk down to the Grotto – a hidden archway between Port Campbell and the Bay of Islands – and take a short detour to Teddy’s Lookout near Lorne for stunning coastal views.


3. Take your time

As you can tell, there’s a lot to see. While you might easily drive 151 miles in one go back home, this is not your average journey. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the time disappears when you’re hopping in and out of your car all day. To really see the Great Ocean Road in all its glory, it’s best to allow at least three days for the drive. We’d recommend spending your first night in the picturesque town of Apollo Bay, then stay in Port Campbell for the second night. Both towns have a range of hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, and are perfectly placed for resting after a day of driving.


4. Stop for lunch in Lorne

When you talk to people about the Great Ocean Road, one town will get mentioned over and over again – Lorne. This charming seaside spot looks like it came straight off a postcard. Filled with coffee shops, cafes and seafood restaurants, Lorne is the perfect place to stop for lunch on the first day of your journey. It’s incredibly popular with both tourists and locals, so the prices are a little higher than other towns on the Great Ocean Road. So, if you’re travelling on a budget, why not grab some snacks from the supermarket and have a picnic on the beach? You’ll have the best seats in the house.


5. Park up early for the Twelve Apostles

Instantly recognisable, the Twelve Apostles are one of Australia’s biggest tourist attractions. So you can expect the roads, lay-bys and car parks around here to be busy. To avoid the chaos, it’s best to park as soon as possible. There is a main car park at the Twelve Apostles, but there’s also another one – if you’re driving from east to west, you’ll reach the car park for Gibson’s Steps first. We’d recommend parking here, then walking along the footpath to the Twelve Apostles. It’s only a 10-minute stroll and it’s far more relaxing than trying to park right by the Twelve Apostles.


6. Stay calm

As we mentioned, Australians drive on the left-hand side, which makes it easier for UK drivers to navigate the roads. But driving the Great Ocean Road can still be a little nerve-wracking. The road meanders along the coast, so you can expect sharp bends, blind corners and narrow stretches. The sign posts are excellent – each bend comes with a speed recommendation – so as long as you’re paying attention, you’ll have a fantastic time. It’s best to just take your time and enjoy the drive.


Are you ready to hit the Great Ocean Road? Take a look at our self-drive holidays to Melbourne and Victoria and give our experts a call on 0203 139 7074 to book.

For more Aussie inspiration, read about the top 10 foods to eat in Australia or test your knowledge with our guide to Australian etiquette

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