As it’s a road with much to offer and many places that you’ll want to stop off at and explore fully, a car offers you the most flexibility for seeing the area. At its simplest, you won't need an itinerary, or even a map to drive the Great Ocean Road. Simply start at Warrnambool (at the western end of the road) and follow the signs, or at the eastern end at Torquay, 22 km from Geelong. The sights and attractions are all well signposted with information boards providing detail. The road is well developed for tourism, has regular information, food, fuel and accommodation.
Most visitors start from Melbourne, which is 95 kilometers north east of Torquay. If starting from there, remember it's almost 100 km before you even get to the start of the Great Ocean Road at Torquay. A return trip to Melbourne will end up being around 600 km, and if you are thinking of doing it all in one day, forget it. You’ll stress yourself out, you’ll miss all the good bits and end up with regrets. Giving yourself more time to explore the area (at the very least 2-3 days) is the best idea, most rewarding and a much better plan.
If you like the idea of the Great Ocean Road and have it on the agenda as an option when going to Melbourne, then instead of flying in to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, you may want to see if you can get a flight that lands at Avalon Airport near Geelong. This is much closer to the start of the road. From here it’s easy to hire a car and get on your way! This airport is regularly serviced by Jetstar and Tiger Airways. Jetstar might be preferred.
V/Line buses run from Geelong along the Great Ocean Road as far as Apollo Bay, three times a day Monday to Friday and twice a day Saturday and Sunday. On Friday a bus continues from Apollo Bay to Warrnambool. There are also daily V/Line trains to Warrnambool, but they travel an inland route before getting there.
There are many tours operating from Melbourne. These range from motorcycle, convertible car or large and small coach tours and they'll mostly pick you up from anywhere in Melbourne. Try:
- Andy’s Harley Rides Are you Born to be Wild?
- Top Down Tours Tours in Chevrolet convertibles!
- Natural Treasures Tours Small group tours offering one or two day tours of the Great Ocean Road.
- Australian Pacific Touring Large group day tours, it’s significantly cheaper this way but less personal.
The following online tour offers are available from Melbourne also:
- Great Ocean Road Small Group Day Tour A fun full-day small group tour by minibus for around $125 per person.
- Great Ocean Road Two-Day Tour A guided coach visiting all the sights with an overnight stop in either Lorne or Apollo Bay.
- Great Ocean Road Helicopter Tour Get picked up in a limo then enjoy a luxurious private helicopter flight along the coast. It includes a picnic lunch and will only set you back about a grand!