We have been asked by a number of travellers how best to plan their trip along the Great Ocean Road. So we have put together some tips to make your trip easier.
TIP#1 – Distances
The Great Ocean Road fringes the coast of Victoria, which is the most southern mainland state of Australia. To give you an idea of size and distance, Australia could fit over the entire USA, and the State of Victoria is the same size as Great Britain.
When you are looking for accommodation, food or petrol, it is also important to keep in mind that there is a relatively sparse population outside of Melbourne and large towns such as Geelong.
The Great Ocean Road itself is 263 km long with steep inclines, blind hairpin bends and a quite narrow single lane each way. The views are spectacular and distracting if you are the driver. So you will be travelling slower than on a main road or freeway and you need to make allowances for the extra time.
TIP#2 – Choosing when to Travel
Any time is the best time to travel the road, especially before and after the long summer school holiday break (late December till end January). Our summers are long with daylight saving until the end of March, making travel into April extremely pleasant. Our winters are extremely mild by Northern Hemisphere standards and driving is easier because there is less traffic.
The famous Bells Beach professional surfing competition is always held at Easter for those keen on seeing the best surfers at work.
April the 25th is ANZAC day, the day Australia stops to remember those killed in war. Point Danger at Torquay is the biggest rally outside of the capital cities providing a moving and memorable tribute as the lone bugle plays at sunrise. Everyone is welcome to join with the locals at a traditional sausage sizzle for breakfast.
TIP#3 – Safety on the Road
Driving the road is an exciting and spectacular experience. You will be able to stop frequently at designated spots to take photos while soaking up the views.
If you find yourself so besotted by the views that you want to drive slowly there are pull-out points to allow other drivers to pass. This is a great convenience on this narrow road for all travellers.
You will notice signs reminding drivers to keep to the left, and the speed limit is 80 kph (50 mph) along many stretches and during the summer additional speed restrictions apply.
TIP#4 – The Sun
The Australian sun can seem intense to visitors from the Northern Hemisphere, so remember your hat and sunscreen whenever you are outside.
When in England, we walked for a whole sunny day without sunscreen without getting sunburnt – here, an hour without sunscreen will be enough to leave your skin reddened and more could lead to a painful burn.
The late afternoon Western sun can also be a hazard if you are driving into it. Best to plan to be on a beach or in a café at this time of day.
TIP#5 – Book Ahead
Our peak summer period between Christmas and the end of January needs to be booked well ahead. And very few places have single nights available because holidaymakers book for longer periods at this time.
Being desperate for accommodation late on a hot day with the possibility of the nearest room being 200 km away is not pleasant when you have come all this way to see the Apostles.
We hope these tips will help you with your next trip to the Great Ocean Road.
A little aside in the Q & A Below:-
Is there a best direction for this drive i.e Allansford to Torquay or
Torquay to Allansford