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5 Day Great Ocean Road Itinerary: Melbourne to Adelaide

Go on a Great Ocean Road trip to see the sights, visit the beaches, and discover the hidden gems that wait for you along your Great Ocean Road drive.

One of the most scenic roads in the world, the Great Ocean Road takes you along the southern coast of Victoria. With the amazing scenery just outside your window, there’s no better road for a road trip. The Great Ocean Roadtrip lasts for five days, with stops in Lorne and Coonawarraand unmissable sights like the Twelve Apostles andimpressive waterfalls.

The Great Ocean Road

How long is The Great Ocean Road?
The total length of this road trip is just over 1000 kilometres, though the Great Ocean Road itself is only 243 Kilometres. 
Where does the Great Ocean Road start and finish?
The Great Ocean Road begins in Torquay, VIC and ends in Allansford, VIC, but this road trip doesn’t end there. Your trip will take you further, to South Australia where you can continue your adventure and spend some time in the city of Adelaide.

 🚩 Check out our road map of Australia above, which highlights each worthy stop from Melbourne to Adelaide.
Melbourne city
Melbourne city Image credit: Tourism Australia

Road Trip Starting Point: Melbourne

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The first item on any Great Ocean Road itinerary is in Melbourne, and while you might be itching to hit the road, the city itself has plenty of things to see and do. 
Where to stay when in Melbourne:
Stay in Melbourne and experience some of the excitement of the city before you head out onto the wide, open road. Stay in the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Hotel for breathtaking views of the city and luxurious accommodation and amenities. Stay on the south bank in Mantra Southbank Melbourne to stay close to the iconic Yarra River as well as some of the best cafés in the city. Or stay in the CBD in the Novotel Melbourne Central Hotel to make sure that you’re never more than a short walk away from some of the best things to do in Melbourne.
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Things to do in Melbourne
There’s so much to see and do in Melbourne, and you can learn all about it in our detailed Melbourne guide. But for a brief overview, there are some must-visit spots in the city. Try the Eureka Skydeck for some of the best views of the city. Walk along Hosier Lane to see some of the best local street art. And, of course, try a cup (or two, or three) in the coffee capital of Australia. 

The-great-ocean-road-sign
The picture perfect snap to show the starting point of your Great Ocean Road journey

DAY 1: Melbourne to Torquay

The first leg of your journey is a short one, so there’s no need to rush out of Melbourne early for fear of losing daylight. You might even want to spend the extra time picking up a Great Ocean Road map, just in case you get lost. You should expect a trip of an hour and a half to reach your first destination.
On your way, you’ll head through or around Geelong, a great place to stop for a late breakfast or lunch on your Great Ocean Road drive. Here, you can visit the impressive Geelong Waterfront. The Waterfront is home to a charming carousel as well as the Giant Sky Wheel, the largest Ferris Wheel in the southern hemisphere. Grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants before heading back on the road and to Torquay.
Bells Beach
Despite its international reputation as one of Australia's best surf beaches, Bells Beach is amazing spot either in or out of the water.

What to do in Torquay
Once you’ve made it to Torquay, you will have reached the official start of the Great Ocean Road. Some road trippers may skip Melbourne on their journey and start in Torquay. If you do, or even if you just want to spend some more time in this charming town. When it comes to accommodation along Great Ocean Road, stay in Peppers The Sands Torquay to give yourself an extra day to visit Bells Beach, one of the most popular surfing beaches in Australia, and the Surfworld museum. 
If you’re not a surfer but you want to get out into the surf, try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding. Stand-up paddle boarding is growing in popularity and is not too hard to pick up. Book yourself a lesson to learn the basics, and then paddle yourself to your heart’s content.

Great Ocean Road, Torquay
Picturesque Torquay

Day 2: Torquay to Lorne

Driving straight from Torquay to Lorne will take you under an hour (roughly 50 minutes), but road trips aren’t about getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. 
On the way, stop at Aireys Inlet, a charming, boutique, coastal town. Take in the rockpools, waterside cliffs, and the iconic lighthouse as you stop for lunch. Try your hand at canoeing with a tour if you have the time before heading back.
Before you settle into Lorne though, keep on driving and head inland for 15 minutes to reach the Erskine Falls. The region surrounding Lorne is known for great falls and rainforests, but the Erskine Falls are the best of the best, the water of the falls diving down a 30-metre drop. On a day with less rainfall, the falls will trickle down serenely, and on a day with more water, the water can flow in an impressive torrent. Erskine Falls may not be a beach, but they’re still one of the best places to visit near the Great Ocean Road.
Lorne Beach
Lorne Breach is one of Victoria's most popular beaches, paralleling the Great Ocean Road.

What to do in Lorne

In Lorne you’ll be treated to lush rainforestry as well as sandy beaches. Lace up your shoes and try one of the many walking tracks in Lorne such as the Shipwreck plaques walk along the foreshore or the Queens Park Lookout Loop that takes you through the bush and to three lookouts that deliver panoramic views of the coast.<o:p></o:p>

Grab dinner at the local favourite, Ipsos Restaurant and Bar to try some of their refined Greek food. And at night, stay close to the water with beachfront accommodation in the Mantra Lorne and let the waves soothe you into slumber. Make the most of your time in this relaxed, coastal town and try out one of the four tennis courts available at the Mantra Lorne, along with a day spa, a fully quipped gym, a kids room with games and movies, an indoor heated mineral pool and spa, and a croquet pitch! You might be so tempted by all the indulgence in Lorne that you want to stay a few extra days. But don’t worry, there’s plenty more excellence to see on the Great Ocean Road trip.<o:p></o:p>

The Twelve Apostles
Helicopter view of the twelve apostles

Day 3: Lorne to Coonawarra

After a relaxing day or two in the coastal town of Lorne, it’s time to experience the Great Ocean Road in earnest. Driving from Lorne to Coonawarra will take 6 hours, there’s plenty to see on the way, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to see it all.
Leaving Lorne, head towards Apollo Bay. The seaside town is home to rolling green hills and tranquil beaches. Leave Lorne early and grab a coffee on the way so that you can enjoy it from one of the best lookouts on the Great Ocean Road, the Marriner's Lookout. The hilltop viewpoint looks out over the town and onto the sweeping coast and deep blue sea. The views from Apollo Bay are just a teaser though, as your next stop is the iconic Twelve Apostles.
The Twelve Apostles are one of Australia's most iconic sights and cannot be missed as you travel the Great Ocean Road. The limestone structures stand proudly, 45 meters above the writhing sea below. 
Keep driving on and stop for lunch in a nearby town. The charming Forage on the Foreshore sits on the water in Port Campbell and serves some of the best locally sourced food you’ll find. The owners regularly change the menu to match the season and produce availability, but you’ll always be able to get an Avocado Smash. 
The last leg of the day continues along the Great Ocean Road with plenty of sights to see along the way. First there’s The Arch, a tall, natural rock arch with waves crashing against the stone base. Next is the London Bridge—a rock formation that was once a bridge but has now eroded and created a small, isolated island. Following the London Bridge is The Grotto, more breathtaking rock formations and waves crashing against them. Walk along the raised platforms or down the stairs to where the water meets the rocks. Continue on to the Bay of Islands where you can walk barefoot on soft sands, cool water pooling around your ankles as you look out into an ocean freckled with natural rock structures that make the entire bay feel like a scene from another world. 
 the Twelve Apostles
At the feet of the iconic Twelve Apostles

What to do in Coonawarra
Finally, finish this long leg of your journey in Coonawarra. The unique limestone soil of the region is what allowed the Twelve Apostles to stand strong, it’s also what makes Coonawarra such a popular wine region. 
Visit one of the many wineries nearby to try a glass or two and to enjoy a cheese platter. Enjoy dinner at Upstairs, the restaurant attached to one of the region’s most popular wineries, Hollick Estates, for a meal that is expertly paired with a glass of wine.
The wineries are more than just good food and wine. They’re also landmarks on the Coonawarra Wineries Walking Trail, an easy walking trail that takes you behind the scenes of the wineries and shows you the natural beauty of the vineyards.
The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road from a birds eye view

Day 4: Coonawarra to Adelaide

The drive from Coonawarra to Adelaide will take you between four-and-a-half to five hours and there’s plenty to enjoy on the way.
If you’re a fan of the Big Things tourist attritions in Australia, you’re in luck. On the way to Adelaide is the Big Lobster on the Princes Highway, Kingston Se. The lobster, known to locals as Larry the Lobster, was built in 1979 and stands 17 metres tall. Leaving the Big Lobster, you’ll head due north, following the coastline and enjoying plenty of natural scenery. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to stop at The Granites, an impressive long beach decorated with large granite rocks, deposited by nature.

Rundle Street, Adelaide
Rundle Street, Adelaide. Image Credit: Tourism Australia

Day 5: Enjoy Adelaide

Where to stay in Adelaide
Now that you've left the coast road behind, it is time to rest your head and enjoy a stay in the heart of the city, at the the vintage-inspired Playford Adelaide boutique hotel. You'll experience the classic luxury of Adelaide to the fullest. For more contemporary accommodation, visit the ibis Styles Adelaide Grosvenor Hotel where you’ll find modern convenience, friendly service, and great value. And then, when you stay close to the Rundle Mall and alfresco dining along Rundle Street, the Mantra on Frome, Adelaide is your port of call.
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What to do in Adelaide
Leaving the coast behind, Adelaide feels like the epitome of city sophistication. With mouth-watering food and endless entertainment. 
Like anyone visiting Adelaide, you’ll want to check out the shopping in the Rundle Mall, Australia’s first pedestrian street mall. The mall houses over 1000 retail stores and services and it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat. Or you can walk over to the eastern end of Rundle Street and pop into one of the many trendy restaurants that you’ll find there.
To relax in Adelaide, take a visit to the Adelade Botanic Gardens. Over 50 hectares of land has been dedicated to the gardens and you could spend hours wandering through them. From the Australian Native Garden to the First Creek Wetland, there’s plenty to explore for all ages. For more of the best things to do in Adelaide check out our guide for tips on the best places to visit, eat and drink when in town.
If time permits consider a visit to Kangaroo Island, just south-west of Adelaide, for one final stop on your road trip. Kangaroo Island is a protected home for native flora and fauna, including koalas and diverse bird species. Maybe you’ll even spot some penguins as you finish up your Great Ocean Road trip.

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