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How to Spend 1 Day on the Great Ocean Road

How to Spend 1 Day on the Great Ocean Road

Often hailed as Australia’s greatest road trip, a drive along the Great Ocean Road serves up photo-worthy panoramas from every angle. One day is enough time to take in the highlights, but plan your itinerary carefully to maximize your time and avoid the inevitable crowds. Here’s how to spend one day on the Great Ocean Road.

Morning: Torquay to Apollo Bay

If you’re on a time budget, a tour that includes round-trip transport is the best bet; letting someone else drive and navigate allows you to focus on the ever-changing scenery. Most day tours leave from Melbourne and range from private tours—which offer greater flexibility and the chance to tweak you itinerary—and reverse itinerary tours, which are designed to reduce your exposure to crowds.

Most tours begin at the surf town of Torquay Beach and then follow the coastal road to Anglesea, Split Point Lighthouse and Lorne, where the best views are from Teddy’s Lookout. Nearby, a short walk along the Kennet River offers a chance to spot wild koalas in their natural environment. 

Afternoon: Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles

Arrive in Apollo Bay in time for lunch at one of the oceanfront restaurants, then walk it off with a leisurely stroll through part of the Otway National Park—the popular 1-hour hiking route that leads to Triplet Falls. Continue along the Shipwreck Coast to reach one of the most photographed landmarks on the Great Ocean Road, the rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles. 

For the ultimate sightseeing experience, opt for a helicopter tour. Most take off from the Twelve Apostles and soar a little further down the coast; many day tours offer a 15-minute helicopter flight as an optional upgrade. 

Night: Sunsets and Sundowners

Arrive at Loch Ard Gorge in time to watch the sunset. Home to sandy beaches and sea cliffs, it’s the ideal place to end your road trip. Take a stroll along the cliff top trail for views of the Island Archway, Razorback, and the Salt and Pepper Shaker rock formations, then climb down to the beachside for sunset. 

Most day-trippers head straight back to the city, but if you fancy a nightcap, the nearby town of Port Campbell is a lively spot to grab a drink or spend the night. 

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8 Tours and Activities | All Great Ocean Road Tours

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Great Ocean Road Small-Group Ecotour from Melbourne

Great Ocean Road Small-Group Ecotour from Melbourne

star-5
Take in breathtaking sights of long sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs on this guided, full-day tour of Australia’s Great Ocean Road. See some of the most spectacular coastal scenery on Earth, including the Twelve Apostles limestone stacks and Gibson's Steps, site of historic cliff lines. Bushwalk in Great Otway National Park and try out your koala-spotting skills. Travel in a deluxe mini-coach with a small group for a relaxing, personalized experience.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$101.54
From
$101.54
Taking safety measures

Great Ocean Road Reverse Itinerary Tour

Great Ocean Road Reverse Itinerary Tour

star-5
Experience the Great Ocean Road’s top attractions on this guided excursion that follows the iconic road in reverse. Embark on your journey and beat the crowds while learning about the region’s scenic landscapes and pretty coastal towns from an informative guide. Visit sites including the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, Port Campbell, London Bridge, and Great Otway National Park Rainforest.
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  • 13 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$74.47
From
$74.47
Taking safety measures

Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles Day Trip from Melbourne

Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles Day Trip from Melbourne

star-4.5
Discover some of Australia’s most photographed landscapes on this full-day tour of the famous Great Ocean Road from Melbourne. Stop for morning tea in Anglesea, spot wild koalas along the way, and tuck into lunch overlooking the dramatic Apollo Bay. After lunch, enjoy a hike through Great Otway National Park, learn how the notorious Shipwreck Coast earned its name, and marvel over natural landmarks like the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and the Gibson Steps.
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  • 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$97.03
From
$97.03
Taking safety measures

Private Great Ocean Road Day Trip from Melbourne

Private Great Ocean Road Day Trip from Melbourne

star-5
See the Twelve Apostles, The Otways and other highlights of the Great Ocean Road on a private full-day tour from Melbourne. Travel the renowned scenic route with your own private guide, stopping for photo ops at Bells Beach, Split Point Lighthouse and other locations. Have lunch in Apollo Bay, take a rainforest walk, and top off your day with a visit to the Twelve Apostles. You may also see koalas in the wild and hand-feed parrots.
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  • 10 to 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$721.29
per group
From
$721.29
per group
Taking safety measures

Two Hour Surf Lesson in Torquay on the Great Ocean Road

Two Hour Surf Lesson in Torquay on the Great Ocean Road

star-4.5
Learn the basics of surfing with a 2-hour small-group lesson at a beach near Torquay along the Great Ocean Road. Your instructor chooses the best surf location of the day so that you have the ultimate experience of Australia's Surf Coast.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$50.15
From
$50.15
Taking safety measures

Private Full-Day Great Ocean Road Tour with Helicopter Ride

Private Full-Day Great Ocean Road Tour with Helicopter Ride

star-5
Explore the beautiful Great Ocean Road on a private full-day tour. Take a luxury vehicle from Melbourne’s CBD and drive down one of Australia’s most beautiful roads. Stop along the way at Bells Beach, Great Otway National Park, and the Twelve Apostles rock formation. After enjoying a delicious gourmet lunch, hop inside your private helicopter for a 75-minute scenic ride along the rugged coastline back to Melbourne.
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  • 9 to 10 hours
From
$2,448.34
Price varies by group size
From
$2,448.34
Price varies by group size

Skydive Great Ocean Road From Up To 15000ft

Skydive Great Ocean Road From Up To 15000ft

star-4.5
Leap into the sky and take flight on this tandem skydiving adventure. You’ll surf the air currents at 15,000 feet (4,600 meters), high above the other surfing mecca of Bells Beach.You’ll reach speeds of up to 220 kph (124 mph) before your instructor pulls the chute. As you glide back down to Earth, you’ll have the chance to steer the parachute.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$303.13
From
$303.13

Split Point Lighthouse Tours

Split Point Lighthouse Tours

star-4.5
Visit the Split Point Lighthouse during this quick and worthwhile stop along the Great Ocean Road. Choose your preferred time—tours leave between 11 am and 2 pm—and enjoy a guided tour of “The White Queen,” a spectacular lighthouse built in 1891. Learn about the keepers who once operated its lanterns, catch panoramic views of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary, and check out a collection of historic photos.
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  • 20 to 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$7.52
From
$7.52