Australia is full of incredible sights, both natural and man-made. From Uluru to the Sydney Opera House, Flinders Street Station to The Great Barrier Reef, but your bucket list shouldn’t end there! The Great Ocean Road, probably better known for the road that you can see the Twelve Apostles from, is a road full of adventure, stunning scenery and fantastic food. And, what’s better? You can see it all in a weekend!
The Great Ocean Road isn’t just home to the scenic Twelve Apostles, it is also home to several small towns full of quaint boutiques, nature walks and hikes, beautiful beaches, and the picturesque Port Fairy. And, if you are keen to see some of Australia’s native animals, discover old volcanos, and learn about Aboriginal culture, you’ll have all these opportunities and more along the way!
So, fill up a car with friends and get ready to go! Not only are the sights worth taking in with friends, but then you can all take turns driving over the 9.5-hour drive from our Melbourne campus.
What to see
There is so much to see along the coast, further inland and in each of the villages along the way, but with only a few days, here are our top picks of how to fill your weekend:
Image courtesy of G Adventures
It’s the main attraction of the picturesque drive and for good reason. The now seven remaining ‘apostles’ are a natural phenomenon. After thousands of years of waves eroding at the coastline, twelve individual stacks of limestone were left behind. Not only are they set amongst a beautiful beach, the stones themselves tell a million years’ worth of stories.
The best way to see the Twelve Apostles is to take the scenic walk from the 12 Apostles Visitor Centre in Princetown, Victoria.
Tip: For the perfect Instagram photo, visit the cliff at sunrise or sunset.
Sheoak Falls and Swallow Cave, Lorne
Perfect for those looking for a short nature walk, while still experiencing the stunning Sheoak Falls and Swallow Cave. Located just outside of Lorne towards Apollo Bay, you’ll find the 2 hour (return) or 7km hike perfect for stretching your legs after sitting in the car for hours.
The southernmost part of the Great Ocean Road, Cape Otway is on the coast of the Great Otway National Park. The main attraction of the region is the Cape Otway Lightstation (lighthouse), which overlooks Bass Strait (the body of water separating Tasmania from mainland Australia).
While you’re there, visit the Cape Otway Centre for Conservation, where you can see native animals and birds such koalas and kookaburras in their natural habitat.
Whale Watching at Warrnambool
Just before Port Fairy (the end of your Great Ocean Road adventure), stop by Warrnambool, a coastal town known for its magnificent whale sightings. Between June and September every year, female whales come to Logans Beach to calve.
Cape Otway Lighthouse
Where to Stay
Travelling as a student is all about opting for the most budget-conscious options, especially when it comes to accommodation. Particularly if you are only staying overnight, there’s no reason to book an AirBnb or a motel room. Plus, if you decide to drive further than you anticipated, you aren’t booked into any set plans. For this reason, we suggest backpacker accommodation. Not only is it cheap, but it’s safe! Just be sure to check reviews prior to booking.
Where to Eat
Although you may want to wander around each village and choose a restaurant when you’re hungry, it’s often good to have a few ideas up your sleeve, just in case you find yourself heading into the nearest McDonald’s. Here are a few suggestions for something that is more interesting than a Big Mac:
- If you’re starting your drive early, why not spoil yourself with a big breakfast at Onda Food House at Aireys Inlet, only an hour and half drive from the Melbourne CBD.
- Fan of burgers? The Bottle Of Milk at Lorne or Torquay are known for their epic burgers all served on a freshly baked, organic La Madre bun
- If you are an ultimate foodie and don’t mind paying a couple of hundred dollars to eat at one of the World’s best restaurant, Brae in Birregurra, be sure to plan up to 6 months in advance! Or, if you can’t afford the steep price points or you haven’t booked in advance, opt for fish and chips by the beach.
So, get out your diaries and start planning your Great Ocean Road adventure! Whether you decide to go on a long weekend, or squeeze your adventure into Saturday and Sunday, you’ll be sure to enjoy the endless the sights.