Great Ocean Road Drive - Full Itinerary
Experience the best of what a drive down the Great Ocean Road has to offer. Let us look after the itinerary so that you can enjoy the wonders of this heritage listed journey.
Day 1: Melbourne – Port Campbell Itinerary
We depart from Southern Cross Coach Terminal on Spencer Street at 8:30am before we commence this amazing 4 day, 3 night guided Great Ocean Road & Beyond Itinerary. Depart Melbourne and travel over the West Gate Bridge through the vast volcanic plains en-route to Geelong.
The Great Ocean Road is divided into three distinct sections, the Surf Coast, Otway Ranges and the Shipwreck Coast.
We allow ample time to explore all three sections. We start the journey along the Great Ocean Road at Torquay (Surf Coast). This stretch of coast presents the first of countless photo opportunities, as we encounter stunning coastal views and lookouts and visit such places as the famous Bells Beach. Turn your gaze inland and see incredible native Australian wildlife including the Eastern Grey Kangaroos as they graze in the wild.
Our journey continues as we travel the impressive and scenic cliff-hugging section of the Great Ocean Road.
The itinerary includes visiting sites such as the ‘Memorial Arch’ and hear the intriguing story of this incredible road, before arriving in Lorne, the largest of the seaside townships with its abundance of cafes and restaurants, and the perfect place for lunch.
From Lorne, we continue along this spectacular road, visiting many scenic spots including The Kennett River where you can see koalas and many colourful native birds in the wild. Travel through Apollo Bay and into the Great Otway National Park (Otway Ranges). Here we offer a guided walk through a cool temperate rainforest gully to see the world’s tallest flowering plants, prehistoric trees and ferns and many other unique features.
Our next stop on the itinerary is undoubtedly one of the most iconic vistas within Australia and truly representative of Australia’s natural beauty, the 12 Apostles.
We arrive as the stacks are bathed in the afternoon sun making them perfect for photos. After hearing of the creation of the stacks and holding some of the limestone rock, explore the boardwalks or brave a helicopter flight along the coastline (at own expense). Visit ‘Loch Ard Gorge’, the site of the most famous 19th century Australian shipwreck.
Accommodation for the first night is the small fishing village of Port Campbell, nestled in a beautiful natural port and has some wonderful cafés and restaurants for dinner (at own expense) and views.
Accommodation: Southern Ocean Villas (or similar)
Day 2: Port Campbell – Port Fairy Itinerary
This morning we pop back out to the 12 Apostles and take in the view during the morning sunlight and/or take a helicopter flight (at own expense) over this amazing coastline. We spend time visiting the unique formations of Loch Ard Gorge and immerse ourselves in the harrowing story of the wreck of the Lock Ard. It's onto London Bridge and then The Bay of Islands before saying goodbye to this amazing stretch of coastline.
We head inland through Australia’s premier dairy country and visit the Allansford Cheese factory and enjoy a tasting of some of the local delights.
We explore one of Victoria’s largest regional towns of Warrnambool before having lunch in the township of Koroit at a quaint Aussie pub. We explore Tower Hill Wildlife Park where we take a interactive tour learning about the local Aboriginal history, geology, flora and fauna.
We arrive at the quaint fishing village of Port Fairy, our destination for the night. We arrive early enough to enjoy a stroll around this beautiful township before enjoying dinner (at your expense) at the many local restaurants, café’s or pubs.
Accommodation: Victoria Apartments, Port Fairy (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Day 3: Port Fairy - Penola Itinerary
Today we’re bound for South Australia. In Portland there’s time for panoramic coastal views from the Cape Nelson Lighthouse, before a scenic drive through dense pine plantations to our lunch venue in the pretty riverside village of Nelson.
After lunch we cross the state border and continue on to Mount Gambier which is home to the famous Blue Lake.
The Blue Lake occupies a crater of the ancient volcano which gives this city its name and early each summer, in a remarkable quirk of nature, the colour of the water in the lake changes from its winter hues to an intense cobalt blue. A photo stop at the Blue Lake is a must and so is a visit to the Umpherston Sinkhole, a collapsed limestone cave that has been transformed into a magical sunken garden. We take a walk along its terraced flower beds and behind the hanging vines deep down to the floor of this extraordinary natural wonder.
Our next stop is Penola, arriving early enough to explore its abundant historical attractions.
Penola played a central part in the life of Mother Mary MacKillop (St Mary of the Cross) Australia’s only saint. We pass the school house where she taught the poorest children of the district and take a walk along Petticoat Lane, a charmingly preserved group of mid eighteenth century cottages and gardens.
Dinner tonight is a group affair at Pipers of Penola, a celebrated South Australian restaurant that sits comfortably within a former church. Mix with the locals as we enjoy some of the best regional produce.
Accommodation: Alexander Cameron Suits, Penola (or similar)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Penola – Adelaide Itinerary
Another exciting and diverse day of discovery on this Great Ocean Road itinerary, starting with a drive through the Coonawarra vineyards where Australia’s most illustrious Cabernet Sauvignon vines thrive on the famed rich red “terra rossa” soils.
A guided visit to the world heritage listed Naracoorte Caves takes us to one of the world’s most important fossil sites.
Our tour of the Victoria Fossil Cave features a dazzling array of stalactites and stalagmites as well as the bones and skeletons of giant, long extinct animals.
After a rest break and morning tea at the iconic Keith bakery, we begin a picturesque drive through some of South Australia’s farming and grazing heartland. With a population of around one person to one square kilometre, this is the real Australian countryside and you can relax and enjoy all the colours and textures of these rural landscapes in the comfort of our luxury, air-conditioned bus.
In Coonalpyn the five towering grain solos that dominate the township have been transformed into a monumental work of public art that is a visual showstopper.
From here, Ki Ki, Yumali and Coomandook disappear almost as quickly as we encounter them and at Wellington, where road meets river, we take time out for a leisurely ferry crossing of the mighty River Murray, the largest inland waterway in Australia.
Our itinerary takes us to lunch at Bremerton Winery in the acclaimed Langhorne Creek wine region. You are welcome to sample their wines in the restored iron stone barn dating from 1866.
The southern Adelaide Hills leads us to Strathalbyn, on the banks of the Angas River.
Originally a farming community of Scottish immigrants, it’s now a classified heritage town and a thriving centre of all things antique and collectible.
You can forage for some serious vintage purchases or just enjoy the lovely scenery before we continue through the rolling hills and valleys to the historic German village of Hahndorf.
Founded by German settlers fleeing religious persecution in the late 1830s, Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest German settlement and one of South Australia’s most popular tourist destinations. You can enjoy a stroll along its bustling main street of historic buildings, gift shops, arts and crafts galleries and food outlets.
Our final stop is both spectacular and surprising.
From Mt Lofty Summit the whole of South Australia’s capital city of Adelaide is spread out on the plains below. We will drop you at your accommodation in this wonderful city around 6.00pm on Thursday afternoon.
Meals: Breakfast, morning tea & lunch
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