Shaun and I recently completed a four-day road-trip from Apollo Bay to Port Fairy. It was a spontaneous way to make the most of the long weekend and celebrate our four-year anniversary.
But the Great Ocean Road is 243km long with several seaside towns along the way. With so many hidden gems to discover, it can be difficult to know where to start. So, we’ve put together some tips to ensure you get the most of your Great Ocean Road adventure.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to planning your trip…
Choose your dates
The first thing you need to do is check your diary, lock in dates and make sure you’ve requested leave at work. I love timing a road-trip with a public holiday or ensuring it lines up with an event such as Loch Hart Music Festival or Taste of the Coast. Click here to find out what’s on this summer.
Select your stop-overs
There are lots of charismatic townships dotted along the coast. You won’t be able to see them all, so start choosing your favourites and create a simple itinerary with what you want to see the most. From ‘The Romantic Escape’ to ‘The Whale Trail’, Visit the Great Ocean Road has worked with locals to curate epic itineraries for every Australian. Start here, then tailor the guide to suit your trip.
Book your accommodation
If you haven’t booked a campervan, accommodation is the next thing you have to think about. Personally, I prefer to stay at the same place for more than one night. So, I would choose somewhere central like Lorne or Apollo Bay. That way you can experience the town like a local, before moving on to the next coastal destination. I think the best experiences are unique, so get out of your comfort zone by booking a surf shack or little studio on a working farm.
Source inspiration of things to do in the area
There are countless digital guides you can download for inspiration on things to do along the Great Ocean Road. These provide details on the best restaurants, activities and natural wonders at each destination. If you are as Instagram obsessed as I am, you can start following certain hashtags such as #visitgreatoceanroad and #iamwherestoriesunfold for your daily dose of wanderlust that will get you seriously excited about the trip.
Book in the essentials
While it’s great to be flexible, some things need to be booked in advance, like a helicopter ride or zipline experience. Make sure you book these experiences ahead of time to ensure you don’t miss out.
Make sure your car is ready to go
Driving down the Great Ocean Road is spectacular. But the sharp turns, craggy cliffs and wild forests make it difficult to navigate so ensure your car is in perfect condition before you leave. That includes your breaks, tyres and oil. Remember that when you’re driving long distance the last thing you want is for your car to break down. And because you may lose reception along the way, it’s important to have a printed map with you at all times (we learnt this the hard way).
Get the tunes going
A good playlist will make time fly by and really set the mood for your adventure. So, put together an epic Spotify playlist and explore one of the world’s most epic coastal roads while belting out the lyrics to some of your favourite songs.
Looking for inspiration on things to do along the Great Ocean Road? Here’s our itinerary from Apollo Bay to Port Fairy.