Stretching 150 miles (243 km) along the south-eastern coast between Torquay and Allansford, the Great Ocean Road is Australia's ultimate road trip, a dramatic route that winds along the coastal cliffs past some of the country's most startling natural scenery. Whether you want to watch the sunrise over Victoria's most idyllic beaches or marvel over iconic landmarks like the Twelve Apostles, the Great Ocean Road is an unforgettable journey, and it's an experience as poignant as it is picturesque - built in the aftermath of World War I, the road serves as the world’s biggest war memorial.
While it’s possible to hire a car and drive yourself, the best way to explore the Great Ocean Road is with a guided tour, leaving you free to soak up the views, while your guide ensures you stop off at all the top attractions. With so many tours available though, it can be hard to know where to start, so to help you choose the right one for you, here are our picks of the best.
Best for First-Timers
If it’s your first time in Australia or you’re just short on time, you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss anything, and a Great Ocean Road Day Trip Adventure from Melbourne
checks all the boxes. Driving from Torquay to Port Campbell by comfortable air-conditioned coach, you’ll stop for lunch in the famous Apollo Bay, discover the history of the ominously nicknamed Shipwreck Coast and admire the unique rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles.
Top Money Saver
Traveling on a tight budget? Opt for a Melbourne Super Saver tour of the Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island with Melbourne Attraction Pass
, and you’ll save more than 25% off the individual booking prices. Best of all, you have plenty of time to use your tours, so you can spend a day exploring the Great Ocean Road, another watching the famous Penguin Parade or cuddling up to kangaroos and koalas at Phillip Island’s Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park. Then use your Melbourne Pass to visit two of the city’s top attractions: the Eureka Skydeck 88 and Melbourne Aquarium.
Best Multi-Day Experience
For those with extra time to spare, multi-day tours provide an opportunity to explore attractions en-route that are overlooked by day-trippers. A two-day tour of the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne
combines all the top day trips together including Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula.
Best Combo Package
A cheaper, more flexible alternative to a multi-day tour is a two-day combo tour
, complete with a Melbourne city tour, a Yarra River cruise and a Great Ocean Road day trip. Not only will you get to discover the city’s top attractions, but you can use the one-day tours at any time within a seven-day period, so you’re free to change your plans at the last minute.
Best for Nature Lovers
Shine the spotlight on Australia’s natural wonders and native wildlife on a Great Ocean Road Small-Group Eco-Tour from Melbourne
. This is a real back-to-nature adventure, exploring the rocky coast, walking along the Kennett River and visiting the Great Otway National Park, where you’ll have the chance to spot koalas, grey kangaroos and swamp wallabies in the wild. Most importantly, the small group tour means your guide will be able to answer questions and personalize the experience for each traveler.
You don’t have to drive the Great Ocean Road—those looking for a challenge can also hike along the coast. Tackle one of the Great Walks of Australia on a guided four-day Twelve Apostles Walk
, hiking along spectacular coastal trails, staying overnight in luxury eco-lodges and capping it off with an unforgettable helicopter ride over the Twelve Apostles.