Great Ocean Road: 3-Day Self-Drive Itinerary Guide

Australia’s Great Ocean Road is a picturesque stretch of highway that spans the southeastern coast of Victoria. It is a journey that promises breathtaking coastal views and iconic landmarks such as the Twelve Apostles.

For those looking for to explore this beautiful region at their own pace, this Great Ocean Road self drive 3 Day Itinerary is the perfect choice. Within this itinerary, you will get to experience Victoria’s must see sights and enjoy an unforgettable road trip along this scenic route.

I can attest to this itinerary as i’ve done it a few times, the Great Ocean road has always been my go to road trip in Australia.

Aerial view of the Island Archway and Razorback at sunrise. Great Ocean Road Victoria Australia

Before head off on this fun adventure, it Is essential to prepare adequately. Make sure your vehicle is in good condition, have a GPS or map on hand and stock up on supplies (such as road trip snacks, water and a great playlist), as some areas along the route may have limited amenities. If driving yourself sounds scary, you can always hop on a Great Ocean Road tour from Melbourne.

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Day 1 along the Great Ocean Road:

Your journey along the Great Ocean Road begins in Melbourne. To make the most of your Great Ocean Road three day itinerary, it is crucial to set out early, ideally before the city’s morning traffic takes hold. Drive over to Torquay which should take approximately one hour.

Breakfast in Torquay

After a peaceful drive along the open road, your first destination is the charming coastal town of Torquay, often referred to as the “Surfing Capital of Australia.” Here, you will find yourself immersed in a culture that revolves around the sun, sea and surf.

Torquay is known for its laid back beach vibes and is a hub for surf enthusiasts from around the world. But before diving into the waves, treat yourself to a leisurely breakfast at one of the town’s delightful eateries.

Located on the coast of Torquay, Bomboras boasts a prime location that offers stunning views of the coastline. Bomboras takes pride in crafting a range and enticing breakfast menu that caters to a variety of tastes. Otherwise you can grab a t go breakfast sandwich and coffee and head over to the beach to have a breakfast picnic with a view.

Whether you are in the mood for a hearty breakfast to fuel your adventure ahead or a light and healthy option, you will find something to satisfy your cravings.

Walkway of the legendary Bells Beach - the beach of the cult film Point Break, near Torquay, gateway to the Surf Coast of Victoria, Australia, where he began the famous Great Ocean Road

Bells Beach

Next up on your Ocean Road itinerary is to visit Bells Beach. This is a short 15 minute drive from Torquay along the Great Ocean Road, it is known as a global surfing icon.

Hosting the prestigious Rip Curl Pro, this beach’s legendary waves have drawn surfers worldwide. However, its appeal extends beyond surfing as the rugged coastline surrounding the beach is a paradise waiting to be explored. I

f you are not into surfing you can still enjoy the golden sand beach and feel the power of the Southern Ocean’s relentless waves.

Bells Beach is a world-renowned surf beach located along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. It is known for its powerful waves, which attract surfers from around the world.nnBells Beach is located near the town of Torquaya


Anglesea is a small coastal town further along the Great Ocean Road. Stop off in this quaint town to experience its beauty.

Golfers can explore the Anglesea Golf Club, set against picturesque coastal views, while those looking for relaxation can enjoy leisurely walks along pristine beaches.

There are several outdoor activities in this area, including bushwalking and mountain biking, which provide opportunities for adventure.

Anglesea, Great Ocean Road

Aireys Inlet

A must visit is Aireys Inlet with its iconic Split Point Lighthouse as its centerpiece. This historic beacon not only offers panoramic ocean views but also shares maritime tales through its self guided tours.

This striking structure, with its white tower and red accents, stands tall against the backdrop of the Southern Ocean. You can tour the lighthouse for $10 per person.

The Great Ocean Road Memorial Archway was built to commemorate the 3, 000 soldiers returned from World War I who built the Road between 1918 - 1932. The Arch is located 5 km west of Aireys Inlet. .

Lorne for lunch

As your journey along the Great Ocean Road continues, the town of Lorne presents a delightful opportunity for a midday break. A great lunch spot is The Bottle Of Milk.

This popular burger joint combines vintage coastal charm with a delicious menu that showcases the region’s flavors.

Their specialty is burgers, featuring handcrafted patties made from locally sourced ingredients. After your satisfying lunch, take a leisurely walk through Lorne’s streets.

Erskine Falls, Henderson Falls or Sheoak Falls

As your Great Ocean Road itinerary self drive continues, consider venturing slightly inland to encounter beautiful waterfalls.

There are several in the area. Depending on your timings for the day, you can experience as many as you see fit. Some highlights of the area include Erskine Falls, Henderson Falls and Sheoak Falls. Each offer a unique experience.

Erskine Falls:

Erskine Falls boasts a cascade of water that plunges 30 meters into a fern fringed gully. A well maintained viewing platform provides a safe and picturesque vantage point for capturing great photos.

Henderson Falls:

Henderson Falls is another hidden gem in the area. This waterfall, though smaller than Erskine Falls, possesses a unique charm. A walking trail takes you through the surrounding rainforest, where you can immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of this stunning environment.

Sheoak Falls:

Sheoak Falls is a serene and secluded waterfall that is tucked away. The trek to Sheoak Falls is an adventure in itself, as you follow a winding trail that leads you through towering tree ferns and ancient eucalyptus trees. The falls themselves are delicate and flow over moss covered rocks.

The world famous Erskine Falls, near Lorne, Victoria, Australia

Stay in Apollo Bay

After a day of exploration along the Great Ocean Road, spend the night in Apollo Bay. It is a charming coastal town offering a diverse array of accommodation options, from cosy cottages to beachfront hotels.

You can explore the town’s local flavours and boutique shops or unwind on the sandy shores. The choice is yours as you relax for your evening.

The township of Apollo Bay On Australia's Great Ocean Road - an aerial view

Day 2 along the Great Ocean Road:

As you wake up in Apollo Bay, your second day along the Great Ocean Road offers two exciting options to kickstart your morning adventure.

You can choose to enjoy a morning walk around the lush Great Otway National Park, or you can embrace an adrenaline pumping experience at the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures. Personally I would highly recommend the zipline tour – I did a not long ago and had a lot of fun!

Great Otway National Park:

If you are looking for a deeper connection with nature, a visit to the Great Otway National Park is the perfect choice. This expansive and ancient rainforest offers a sanctuary where you can surround yourself with the soothing sounds of the forest.

You can take a walk along the well marked trails. Ancient trees, fern gullies and hidden waterfalls await your exploration, providing ample opportunities for nature photography. There is no entrance fee to the Great Otway National Park.

Famous Cape Otway lighthouse near the Great Ocean Road on southern coast of Victoria state, Australia. The oldest lighthouse in Australia

Otway Fly Treetop Adventures:

On the other hand, if you are an adventure seeker looking to get your heart racing, head to the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures.

You will have the opportunity to soar through the treetops on a thrilling zipline adventure and a treetop walk.

It is an exhilarating way to experience the Otway Rainforest from a unique perspective. The Zipline tours are open Thursday to Monday, if you book in advance the entrance fee is $99 or $120 on the day.

Otway Fly Zip Line Tour

Triplet Falls

Begin your second day of the self drive tour by heading over to the amazing Triplet Falls. Approximately 1 hour away from Apollo Bay, the waterfall is located deep within the heart of the pristine Otway Rainforest.

This region unveils a trio of pristine waterfalls falling through gigantic trees and rocks. Enjoy your day as you follow the surrounding nature trails. Triplet Falls is a photographer’s paradise, where every angle reveals the rainforest’s beauty.

Triplet Falls in the Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia.

Walk along the beach at Gibson Steps

After driving for another hour west along the Great Ocean Road, you will come back to the coastline. Here you will find the Gibson Steps, a must visit location along the Great Ocean Road, known for its breathtaking combination of scenic oceanside cliffs and a perfect beach.

This natural wonder offers a designated lookout point that provides beautiful views of towering limestone cliffs. Descend the steps leading down to the beach where you will find yourself surrounded by the beach.

The high cliffs of Gibson Steps beach in Port Campbell National Park on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria state, Australia.

The 12 Apostles

Within this area you will also find the the iconic Twelve Apostles. These colossal limestone formations, sculpted over the years by relentless erosion, rise dramatically from the Southern Ocean. While their name implies a dozen, not all remain!

With viewing platforms and conservation efforts in place, the Twelve Apostles offer an unforgettable encounter.

Twelve Apostles rock formations Great Ocean Road Victoria Australia

Loch Ard Gorge and Thunder Cave

Continuing on this stretch of coastline, a short 5 minute drive up the road you will come across Loch Ard Gorge. This natural phenomenon, shaped by centuries of erosion, showcases further towering limestone cliffs.

Beyond its geological beauty, Loch Ard Gorge also tells a poignant maritime story, as it was the site of the shipwreck “Loch Ard” in 1878, with only two survivors. You can explore the gorge through walking trails and viewing platforms.

Thunder Cave is a short 15 minute stroll from Loch Ard Gorge. This is a great walk to stretch your legs. This natural wonder features a cave with echoing waves and rock formations shaped by coastal erosion.

Thunder Cave at Loch Ard Gorge along the Great Ocean Rd near Port Campbell in Victoria, Australia

Lunch at Port Campbell

Continue on to Port Campbell, a charming coastal town. You will also be staying here for the night. Known for its seafood, you can enjoy locally caught fish, prawns and more. Try Waves Cafe, Bar and Restaurant, for your lunch break.

Here you will find a lot of coastal charm and a great menu. After your meal, explore Port Campbell’s streets and settle into your accommodation before exploring the nearby areas for the rest of the afternoon.

View towards Port Campbell along its inlet from the road to the west

London Bridge and The Grotto

Drive 10 minutes west along Great Ocean Road and you will find London Bridge, a natural arch formation.

This incredible limestone structure once connected to the mainland until a section dramatically collapsed in 1990, leaving a bridge like formation isolated in the sea.

Another five minutes further up the road you will find The Grotto, a sea cave sculpted over centuries.

Arch and rock pools at the Grotto - Port Campbell, Victoria, Australia

Bay of Martyrs and the Bay of Islands

Next on your itinerary is a visit to the Bay of Martyrs, an amazing stretch of coastline where the sea has carved out unique rock formations.

Take a walk along the beach or the walkways that surround the area. Finally, end your day at the Bay of Islands, where you will find even more mesmerising rock formations.

Wait until sunset where you will get to experience the landscape in all its glory. Head back to Port Campbell for the evening, where you can have your evening meal and recuperate before the journey continues for your final day along the Great Ocean Road.

Bay of Martyrs. Tourist attraction on the Great Ocean Road. Rock formation in the ocean. Australia landscape. Victoria, Australia

Day 3 along the Great Ocean Road:

As your memorable Great Ocean Road journey enters its final day, you have several exciting options to consider. Day 3 offers a flexible itinerary, allowing you to tailor your adventure to your preferences.

Option 1: Return to Melbourne

For those with limited time or a desire to head back to Melbourne, day three provides an opportunity to do just that.

You can take your time revisiting favourite spots along the route, head to spots you might have missed or simply enjoy a leisurely drive back to the city, enjoying the coastal views along the way.

This is also a great opportunity to enjoy any locations that you may have missed during your two day trip.

Aerial view of vehicles driving on Great Ocean Road along scenic coastline near Lorne, Australia

Option 2: Continue to Adelaide

If you are up for more exploration and additional sights to see, consider driving on to Adelaide.

This scenic route takes you through the coastal town of Warrnambool and the city of Mount Gambier. Along the way, you will have the chance to discover further locations and experiences.


If you choose to continue your journey, drive west for one hour until you reach Warrnambool.  The town boasts a rich maritime history, which you can discover through its heritage sites and museums.

You can also stroll along its scenic promenade, visit art galleries or enjoy delicious seafood at local restaurants.

However, there is another main attraction in Warrnambool and that is whale watching. The southern right whales may be seen if you are in the area during the winter months. These gentle giants, known for their imposing yet graceful presence, make their way to the waters off Logan’s Beach during their annual migration.

From the shoreline, you can watch their incredible displays, including breaching and playful antics. It can sometimes be a little hard to see if they are far out but it’s still a cool in person experience if you are there at the right time!

The rocky coastline of southern Australia near Warrnambool Victoria.

Port Fairy

Next on your itinerary is Port Fairy, a historic coastal town. When you stroll through the town’s historic precinct, you will find beautifully preserved 19th century buildings.

Whilst in Port Fairy, there are several attractions you can enjoy including Griffiths Island and the Belfast Coastal Reserve.

Port Fairy on the Great Ocean Road

Griffiths Island and Port Fairy Lighthouse

Take a walk to Griffiths Island, which is home to a lighthouse and a colony of shearwater birds. The island is accessible via a causeway, and the scenic path around it provides excellent birdwatching opportunities and panoramic views of the coastline.

Once you arrive at Port Fairy Lighthouse, one of the town’s most recognisable landmarks, you can explore the lighthouse grounds and enjoy the surrounding ocean views.

Port Fairy Lighthouse, Griffiths Island, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Belfast Coastal Reserve

Discover the Belfast Coastal Reserve, a stretch of pristine coastline perfect for exploring, picnicking and swimming. The reserve features scenic trails and picnic areas amid coastal dunes and woodlands.


Portland, another beautiful gem along your Great Ocean Road road trip. The coastal town is also home to a range of great places to eat, from quaint cafes to fine dining restaurants meaning you can grab a bite to eat before you leave for your next destination.

Portland Cable Tram at Portland Vested Land. Along Portland's spectacular foreshore, the Portland Cable Tram is a must-do for any visitor to town.

Point Danger Gannet Colony

Venture to Point Danger in Portland to witness the remarkable Gannet Colony. This nature reserve is a haven for these elegant seabirds and offers a unique opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat.

As you explore this area, you will be treated to views of the rugged shoreline and the sights of gannets in flight and nesting.

Bridgewater Bay

Visit Bridgewater Bay, known for its dramatic coastal scenery. Explore the Petrified Forest, a geological wonder featuring ancient tree stumps turned to stone and the Seal Colony Viewing Platform.

This is an exceptional spot for observing these marine mammals in their element. This platform provides an ideal vantage point to witness seals basking on rocks.

Mount Gambier

The final destination on your Great Ocean Road 3 days 2 nights itinerary is Mount Gambier – unless you are heading on to Adelaide, although I would recommend staying in Mt Gambier overnight.

This small city is located slightly inland on the border of South Australia. The region is very special due to it being part of South Australia’s wine country, so be sure to sample some of the region’s excellent wines while travelling through here.

Blue Lake with the pumping station at Mt Gambier South Australia. The Blue Lake is a large monomictic crater lake located in a dormant volcanic maar associated with the Mount Gambier maar complex.

Blue Lake

Begin your exploration of Mount Gambier by visiting the famous Blue Lake. This stunning volcanic crater lake is known for its vibrant blue colour during the summer months, making it a must see natural wonder. You can walk along the lake’s rim and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Umpherston Sinkhole

Explore the Umpherston Sinkhole, also known as the “Sunken Garden.” This collapsed limestone cave has been transformed into a lush garden with ferns and other plant life. It is a unique spot for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful picnic.

Umpherston Cave Sinkhole in Mt Gambier Australia

Engelbrecht Cave

Head to the underground world of Engelbrecht Cave. This limestone cave system offers guided tours that take you through its mysterious chambers and passages, providing an intriguing glimpse into the region’s geological history. (note: you are required to call ahead and book).

Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park

Before you head over to Adelaide, make sure you stop off near Tantanoola at the Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park. This conservation park is an amazing experience if you are interested in further underground exploration.

This breathtaking cave, located within a cliffside, is thought to have been created through relentless erosion by the ocean. As the tides retracted over the years, they have unveiled this hollowed out cave.

You will find inside an array of intriguing seashells, stunning stalactites and stalagmites, smooth pebbles and remnants of seal bones. There is an entry fee of $15.50 per person.

Spectacular stalactites on the roof of Tantanoola Cave. Mount Gambier, South Australia

Final Thoughts

A self drive adventure along the Great Ocean Road promises an unforgettable journey through Australia’s natural wonders. From the iconic Twelve Apostles to the rainforests of Great Otway National Park, this itinerary offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation.

You will get to explore several of Australia’s iconic coastal towns such as Port Campbell, Port Fairy and Aireys Inlet.

Furthermore, you will witness some of the world’s most interesting geological wonders such as Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park, the Bay of Martyrs and Erskine Falls.


  • Samantha King

    Sam, a seasoned traveler across four continents and 49 countries, is a leading authority in travel planning. Her website, Travelling King, offers tailored itineraries and expert guides for seamless trips. Sam's expertise in luxury travel, fast travel, and destination guides keeps her at the forefront of the travel community.

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