The Great Ocean Road is well known as one of the most scenic road trips in the world. And driving along the Victorian coastline is one of the best ways to experience its wide open spaces, ocean vistas and beautiful scenery. But to get the most out of this beautiful 234km drive there are a few things we thought you should know.
1. Think About The Distance
At 243kms each way, the Great Ocean Road isn’t really an easy day trip from Melbourne. There’s nothing worse than spending all day stuck in the car and coming home exhausted from driving. Think about how much driving you’d ideally like to do each day and make sure you allow yourself the time to stop and enjoy the trip. Admire the scenery at the lookouts, discover our wonderful local cafes and restaurants, explore the region’s history and look out for native wildlife.
We suggest a minimum of one overnight stay on the Great Ocean Road, but ideally two or three. Alkina Lodge is a great place to base yourself, as we are just 15 minutes drive from the famous 12 Apostles and close to many other attractions.
2. Make Sure You Know Our Road Rules
If you’re not from Australia, some of our road rules may be unfamiliar to you. Some of the key ones to remember are to drive on the left, keep to the speed limits and don’t use your mobile phone while you’re driving. Also remember that in Australia all drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt. For more information on our road rules click here.
3. Be Safe And Well Prepared
If you’re hiring a car make sure you use a reputable company. And if you’re using your own vehicle, get it checked over by a mechanic before you leave – it’s better to deal with any problems beforehand rather than on the side of the road. Make sure you’re carrying a spare tyre, and you’ve checked the oil, water and fuel levels.
You don’t need to pack all your food for the trip though. The Great Ocean Road is relatively well developed and is not remote outback territory, so you will find places to buy food and drink along the way. In fact, we have some wonderful cuisine on the Great Ocean Road and you’ll probably find it a highlight. Read more about Great Ocean Road food and drink experiences here.
4. Plan Your Itinerary
Both Google Maps and a good, old-fashioned fold out map are great for planning your road trip. It’s a good idea to have at least one fold out map for those times when you are between any kind of service or have forgotten your phone charger. Before you go, do a bit of research about where you want to go and what you want to see along the way. Good websites to look at include www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au , visitvictoria.com and of course our own blog which has a lot of information about things to see and do.
But don’t forget that some of the best travel experiences are those which are not in the guidebooks. Take a detour up a different walking track, duck into a local restaurant, take a stroll along a beautiful, deserted beach. Discovering those secret new things are all part of the adventure!
5. Pre-Book Your Accommodation
This is especially necessary if you’re going to be travelling over the summer months, weekends or public holidays, as accommodation can get very busy. To check availability at Alkina Lodge, click here.
6. Watch Out For Wildlife
On road trips in Australia, you may sometimes encounter our native wildlife, such as kangaroos, echidnas and koalas. The best option is to drive a little slower as this will give you more time if an animal crosses in front of you unexpectedly. If one of our curious native creatures does step out in front of your vehicle, slow down and brake in a straight line – do not suddenly swerve in case you roll off the road.
7. Keep A Record Of Your Trip
Finally, road trips make the perfect subject for a travel blog and the Great Ocean Road offers ridiculously good photo opportunities. (Please keep safe though – drivers, let your passengers do the photographing). If you’re Instagramming along the way, remember to tag us with @AlkinaLodge – we love seeing Great Ocean Road trip photos!
Where To Stay
Accommodation is available at Alkina Lodge (+61 3 8899 7426 ; alkinalodge.com.au ), an architecturally designed lodge set in over 100 acres of native bushland. The lodge is about 15 minutes drive from the 12 Apostles. Prices start from $297.50 per person per night (based on twin share occupancy and excluding flights).
The Great Ocean Road is located in Victoria and stretches for 243 kms, starting at Torquay and ending near Warrnambool. How to get there depends on which part of the Great Ocean Road you’d like to visit. However, the most famous sights such as the 12 Apostles and Port Campbell National Park are located 275 kms west of Melbourne, approximately a 4 hour drive along the Great Ocean Road.