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10 Things to do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

This guide will show you our top 10 things to see and do along the Great Ocean Road (as well as a bonus stop). We have provided a Great Ocean road attractions map to show where things are along the way and where to stay along the Great Ocean Road (which can be found at the bottom of this article).

The Great Ocean Road drove me a little mad, it was difficult to find exactly where all the attractions were and where the best place to base ourselves would be. Most People suggested that we stay in Apollo bay but after our trip I’m glad we stayed in Port Campbell, it is much closer to the main attractions of the Great Ocean Road such as the 12 Apostles, London Bridge, Gibson Steps etc, however it is a bit far away from some of the main attractions of the great ocean road such as the Otway Rainforest and Cape Otway Lighthouse.

If you don’t have a chance to do a 2-3 day trip and don’t want to miss out on the Great Ocean Road attractions, we have included some Great Ocean road day trip options from Melbourne.

Please note, there is no Great Ocean Road entrance fee, it is free to travel along this amazing stretch of road.

Join us on our trip along the Great Ocean Road, including little maps of where each stop is.

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Read more about the Great Ocean Road:

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

The Otway Fly and Treetop walk

 Otway Treetop Adventures is close to Apollo bay so, if you decide to stay in Port Campbell like we did, make sure to save a day to spend a there or at least a several hours. You can either participate in the Zip Line tour (which we would HIGHLY recommend!!!) it features 8 tree platform aka “cloud stations” and 2 suspension bridges, you really experience the rainforest in a whole different way through Zip lining. If you don’t think you’re “game” enough you can stick to the Otway Treetop walk which takes you through the rainforest at different heights, along a large steel platform.

Recommended trips/activities to do at the Otway Fly:

The Otway Fly and Treetop walk

Cape Otway Lighthouse

 Otway Lighthouse is considered one of Australia’s most Significant lighthouse, it is the oldest lighthouse and has been in continuous operation since 1848. Approx 12km along a dirt road just off the Great Ocean Road past Apollo Bay. Entrance fee to the lighthouse is $19.50 AUD per person. It can be a little chilly in winter (so make sure to rug up) but its otherwise a lovely walk.

Recommended trips/activities to do at the Otway Lighthouse:

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

Gibson Steps

 The Gibson Steps are approx. 1km away from the world famous 12 apostles, you can walk down approx. 80 concrete, slightly steep steps that lead right to the beach, from here you can see 2 of the 12 apostles but remember the 12 apostles are not just located in one spot, they are scattered along the coast and there is only about 7-8 left. This is a great way to get “up and close” with some great natural wonders, it’s not recommended to get in the water too close to the apostles as it can be very dangerous.

Recommended trips/activities that include Gibson Steps:

Top view of Gibson Steps beach in Port Campbell National Park on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria state, Australia.

The 12 Apostles

 These guys barely need an introduction; they were formed by erosion over millions of years. This site used to be now as the “Sow and Piglets” until 1922 when it was renamed for tourism purposes. According to Wikipedia there has only ever been 9 limestone stacks. On the 5th of July 2005 a 50m tall stack fell down leaving only 8 stacks left and then again on the 25th of September 2009 it was thought another stack has fallen down. The rate of erosion along the Southern coast (along the Great Ocean Road) is approx. 2cm per year! Parking at the 12 apostles is very easy, there is a large parking lot across the road, from here you are lead under the road (in a short tunnel) that comes out on the other side to the 12 apostles, there are 2-3 different viewing platforms and an be very busy no matter what time of the year it is. We went in July, it was wet and windy and there were still a heap of people there, I can’t imagine what it would be like on a nice sunny summery day.

Recommended trips/activities that include the 12 Apostles:

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

Loch Ard Gorge

 Loch Ard is the next stop from the 12 Apostles, there is 7-8 different things to see and do here. This area has a rich history involving a shipwreck where only 2 people lived to tell their story. With a total walk around time of 3 hours walking time with only 5.5km total distance, it seems like a lot but you could spend a morning here wondering between the different areas, it is all very easy walking and if you don’t have time to see it all, there is 3 different car parks and sections you can visit, just pick on your like the sound of.

Recommended trips/activities that include the Loch Ard Gorge:

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

Gourmet Trail

 If you are a big foodie then a stop off along the Great Ocean Road Gourmet trail is for you! Head to Berry world or Apostles Whey Cheese or for a sweet treat head to Gorge chocolates.

Recommended trips/activities that include the Gourmet Trail:

London Bridge aka London Arch and The Arch

 London Bridge and The Arch are located just between Port Campbell and Peterborough. Once the London Bridge used to be natural bridge some the mainland to a small island but on 15 January 1990 the bridge that connected the two collapsed stranding 2 tourists on the little island for a few hours before they could be rescued by helicopter, I bet that would have been an interesting day for them. Once again there are several viewing platforms as different heights and different angles.
(unable to find on Map –  But it is just before the Grotto).

Recommended trips/activities that include the London Arch:

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

The Grotto

 When I noticed that our next stop was going to be the “Grotto”, I thought we might meet Mr Hefner and some “bunnies in bikinis, haha! I’m kidding, that’s the wrong Grotto, this isn’t the Playboy Mansion Grotto. This Grotto is a naturally formed sinkhole/depression in the limestone.

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

Bay of Martyrs & Bay of Islands

 Next on the list if the Bay of Martyrs and the Bay of Islands. There is a start of 2 walks at the Bay of Martyrs, the Halladale Point Track and the Beach walk. This area is a part of the 33km Bay of Islands Coastal Park. The Bay of Islands has a large viewing platform where you are able to see a bay of islands (surprise surprise)

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

Warrnambool

 Warrnambool is a large Victorian town along the Great Ocean road.
We were lucky enough to be travelling through in mid-July to find that it was Whale Watching season and while you can’t really see that much from the beach when the whales are under the water, it’s still interesting to keep a watchful eye out to see where they pop up for some air. Whale watching season is late May and early October when the Southern Right Whales return to their nursery at Logan’s Beach to give birth and raise their calves. You can head to whale watching Warrnambool website to keep up to date with whale sightings if you are interested in checking it out.

This town has a great selection of things to do, I would recommend you stay overnight and explore the area or relax with a hot cup of coffee (or tea) and whale watch at Logan’s beach.
Something that did really stick out for us was the size of the cemetery… sorry I know this is a fairly morbid subject but the Warrnambool cemetery seems to be cut into 2 sections, the first section is the “modern” section with the exact same headstone for everyone, the second section is the old very large and very cool headstones. While a little morbid and creepy, I find wandering around a cemetery very interesting, there is a lot of history there.

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

Mt Gambier (Bonus Stop!) 

 Mt Gambier is just over the South Australian boarder and generally considered the end of the Great Ocean Road, okay well generally considered by me as the South Australian side from Mt Gambier to Adelaide can be fairly boring depending which way you take. (now fellow Southern Aussies don’t yell at me for saying that, I live in Adelaide!).

Mt Gambier is known its ‘Blue Lake’ which changes colour each year, it is just one of 3 lakes within a volcano carter. It is also known for the Umpherston Sinkhole

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

Follow our above route on the below map, it is a fairly large area but as you can see most of the attractions are in one fairly “small” area. We found Port Campbell so much easier to be based at  as we were pretty much right in the middle of it all!

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!) Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

Where to stay along the Great Ocean road

Lorne:

Cumberland Lorne Resort

Lorne Hotel

Mantra Lorne

Torquay:

RACV Torquay Resort

Wyndham Resort Torquay

Peppers The Sands Resort Torquay

Apollo Bay:

Motel Marengo

Waterfront Motor Inn

Great Ocean View Motel

Port Campbell:

Port Campbell Parkview Apartments

BEST WESTERN Port Campbell Great Ocean Road Motor Inn

Sea Foam Villas (personal recommended)

Warrnambool:

Quest Warrnambool

Mid City Motel Warrnambool

BEST WESTERN Olde Maritime Motor Inn

Or check out the below search box to provide you with more options on where to stay along the Great Ocean Road:

Enjoy, have fun and be safe on the Great Ocean Road!




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Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

Our Top 10 things to see and do on the Great Ocean Road (mostly free!)

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!

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  1. Pingback: Sunday Spotlight - Things to do in Melbourne, Australia

  2. Agness

    Great list guys, really impressive. Although I’ve never made it there, the Grotto seems like a nice and interesting place to explore.

  3. Travelling King

    Thanks Agness!
    The grotto is a very cool place

  4. Beverley - Pack Your Passport

    Great list guys but I’d also definitely recommend Erskine Falls, which is a beautiful waterfall just north of Lorne, along the Great Ocean Road. You can either drive all the way there and take the short walk to the falls or, do what I did, and park a bit further down the road and do the hike to the top 🙂

  5. Travelling King

    Thanks Beverley!
    Yeah we missed out on Erskine Falls!!! Sadly there was too much to see and we were restricted by time – always the way!
    Will have to note it down for next time

  6. Reni

    Great post. We’ve been to the Great Ocean Road this April. One of the most beautiful roads on the planet. We loved the Grotto and the Loch Ard Gorge walks.

  7. Travelling King

    Hey Reni!
    I cant agree more! We are looking forward to going back again in a year or 2!

  8. Janice Stringer

    What a great Post and some fabulous ideas! I’ve explore from Darwin to Cairns. Cairns to Sydney and Wollongong up to Sydney. Australia is my number 1 destination and brings me back again and again. Now I know I can get down to see the 12 Apostles up close and can’t wait to get on the foodie trail! the next time I arrive. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

  9. Sam @ Travelling King

    Hey Janice,
    Feel free to get in touch next time you are in Australia.
    the GOR is fabulous! Hire a car and drive along

  10. Sibylle

    Fab list but don’t forget little villages like Wye River where you see koalas in the wild every day.

  11. Marco

    Hi. May i know how long does it take you guys to complete this GOR tours of 11 places? We are planning a 3D2N trip in next May and we worry we have no sufficient time to complete this fabulous list of places.

  12. Samantha - Travelling King

    It only took us about 3/4 days – it’s one stop after another so easy to see it all

  13. Marco

    Thank you.

  14. blogetaway

    Great article and they sure are some of the best attractions along The Great Ocean Road! I would recommend Teddy’s Lookout in Lorne. From it you get the perfect Great Ocean Road picture! Not many people seem to know about it.

  15. Samantha - Travelling King

    Thanks for the suggestion ! 🙂

  16. Victoria

    Hi!
    Thanks for this! I’m planning for an upcoming trip in May & am confused on the stops & where to stay..

    Where did you stay along Great Ocean Road beside Port Campbell?

    I have a 3d2n in GOR..technically lesser time than that.
    Will be embarking on GOR from Philip Island…and ending the trip to travel to Mt Dandenong to stay overnight next.

    Appreciate your advice.

    Regards
    Victoria

  17. Samantha - Travelling King

    Hiya
    We stopped at Torquay and port Campbell over night but you can generally stay anywhere … depends what you want to see and how long you take to drive the road 🙂

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