Great Ocean Road (from Melbourne)

Old Oct 6, 18, 6:16 am
  #31  
 
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We made this trip this weekend also. Excellent drive went from Torque to Port Campbell and overnighted at the 12 Apostles. We then took the inland rout back with some short day hikes in the Otway National Forest. Excellent trip, but it should be noted that if you suffer from car sickness this road will get to you. This was a rough one on my wife, she ended up driving most of the curvy sections at a relatively slow pace, but it was worth it.

ohh - and if you do overnight on the road, make sure to set aside some time to star gaze if the night is clear. Unbelievable views of the Milky Way without the light pollution of the big city.
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Old Oct 8, 18, 1:39 pm
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Originally Posted by willfam3 View Post
We made this trip this weekend also. Excellent drive went from Torque to Port Campbell and overnighted at the 12 Apostles.

ohh - and if you do overnight on the road, make sure to set aside some time to star gaze if the night is clear. Unbelievable views of the Milky Way without the light pollution of the big city.
Do you have a suggestion of where to overnight (both in terms of a town and hotel)?

I am thinking of doing three nights along the GOR. Looking at Torquay the first night, Apollo Bay the second night, and Port Campbell or Warrnambool the third night before heading back to MEL. If you have a favorite hotel/B&B along the way, let me know!
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Old Oct 8, 18, 3:01 pm
  #33  
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Originally Posted by CPMaverick View Post
Thanks for posting your experience @aztimm, not a lot of people take the time to return and let us know how it went! Sounds like you achieved what you wanted to achieve, which is the most important thing.

It sounds like you drove inland to reach the 12 apostles and then toured along that portion of the GOR, returning inland again. Is that right? If so, you only saw a portion of the GOR, not the whole thing (or even 70% of it). That isn't a criticism, just want to clarify for others reading this. Because I don't want people thinking you can really explore the whole GOR leaving Melbourne at 8:30a and returning at 6:30p.

The 12 Apostles area is the most iconic part of the GOR and your itinerary may be useful for others wanting to catch this highlight. To be honest I've never considered just driving straight there before, as you end up spending 4+ hours on normal highways, but to those on tight timelines it might be worth it.
Yes, we drove the inland route out and back, but it wasn't exactly the same route the whole way. On the outbound we popped onto the GOR around the steps that go to the beach. We parked at Twelve Apostles, walked out there for a bit, then walked to the stairs and down to the beach. The parking area near those stairs looked to be about 20 spaces with people waiting to park.
If Twelve Apostles is that busy non-season, I can't imagine what it is like in Dec or Jan!
The drive from Melbourne to that area was somewhere between 2-1/2 and 3 hours each way (closer to 3 hours on the way back when we ran into traffic).

And yes, we drove mostly along the GOR up to Bay of Islands, and stopped at most of the lookouts along the way. After that, we went back, stopped in a town for (an overpriced) lunch, then back.

We've done similar drives in the past (PCH and Cabot Trail, probably others), so we really just wanted the, "best of the best," for a one day trip from Melbourne. Most of the small towns earlier on the GOR sound very similar to what we encountered along the Cabot Trail and along the drive from Halifax to Peggy's Cove (if anyone is ever up in that area I highly recommend it). Probably not what locals prefer, but it worked for us. When I lived in Arizona, I'd cringe when I heard of people driving from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon and back on the same day...but it is possible (and I've done it).
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Old Oct 8, 18, 3:34 pm
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Originally Posted by aztimm View Post
Yes, we drove the inland route out and back, but it wasn't exactly the same route the whole way. On the outbound we popped onto the GOR around the steps that go to the beach. We parked at Twelve Apostles, walked out there for a bit, then walked to the stairs and down to the beach. The parking area near those stairs looked to be about 20 spaces with people waiting to park.
If Twelve Apostles is that busy non-season, I can't imagine what it is like in Dec or Jan!
The drive from Melbourne to that area was somewhere between 2-1/2 and 3 hours each way (closer to 3 hours on the way back when we ran into traffic).

And yes, we drove mostly along the GOR up to Bay of Islands, and stopped at most of the lookouts along the way. After that, we went back, stopped in a town for (an overpriced) lunch, then back.

We've done similar drives in the past (PCH and Cabot Trail, probably others), so we really just wanted the, "best of the best," for a one day trip from Melbourne. Most of the small towns earlier on the GOR sound very similar to what we encountered along the Cabot Trail and along the drive from Halifax to Peggy's Cove (if anyone is ever up in that area I highly recommend it). Probably not what locals prefer, but it worked for us. When I lived in Arizona, I'd cringe when I heard of people driving from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon and back on the same day...but it is possible (and I've done it).
Thank you for adding in more details, this is going to be super helpful. Can you share more about the parking situation , are there multiple parking lots or just 2 (one near stairs and the one where you parked) and what about parking situation at lookout points along the way ?
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Old Oct 8, 18, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by rtgta View Post
Thank you for adding in more details, this is going to be super helpful. Can you share more about the parking situation , are there multiple parking lots or just 2 (one near stairs and the one where you parked) and what about parking situation at lookout points along the way ?
The staircase I'm guessing is the 'Gibson Steps'. This will have a different parking lot than the 12 apostles.

The 12 apostles parking is on the 'land side' of the GOR, and quite substantial. You walk through a tunnel under the highway to access the lookouts.

For the major attractions, everything has plenty of signage and parking is pretty obvious. I've never had an issue finding parking, but I've always gone on a weekday. Hopefully what aztimm found was an anomaly!
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Old Oct 8, 18, 4:58 pm
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Originally Posted by rtgta View Post
Thank you for adding in more details, this is going to be super helpful. Can you share more about the parking situation , are there multiple parking lots or just 2 (one near stairs and the one where you parked) and what about parking situation at lookout points along the way ?
Yes, the parking at Twelve Apostles is quite substantial. Although I don't have problems driving on the left, parking is still tough for me, so I prefer to park away from other vehicles. I'm guessing the lot at Twelve Apostles could hold 200+ vehicles (plus a separate area for bus/coach).
We weren't planning to go to Gibson Steps, but we saw a sign from Twelve Apostles and decided it would be nice to stretch the legs. It is about a 10 min walk over there. The steps really weren't too difficult, but they do get wet and a bit slippery as you get close to the water. If you want to do both, I recommend parking at Twelve Apostles and doing the walk.

The other lookouts/viewpoints were much smaller, but I didn't have any trouble finding a place to park. We were probably stopped at those for maybe 5-10 minutes.

One more thing...no matter the weather in Melbourne (or wherever you begin), I highly recommend bringing a jacket with you. We put ours on the backseat of the car, and it made things much more comfortable while outside near Twelve Apostles, and the other areas. We saw some people in shorts/t-shirts and they really looked freezing. When you get close to the coast, there could be some winds, water, and definitely cooler temperatures.
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