by Chris Burns, Hop To It Tours
There are many great things to see in Victoria when you come to visit Melbourne. The Great Ocean Road should be at the top of everyone’s list but did you know that the Grampians National Park can easily be added into this itinerary?
As such taking your time to do a road trip from Melbourne should be your priority and this article will give you some insight as why you should organise a 4 day itinerary from Melbourne to spend 3 days on the Great Ocean Road as well as a day in the Grampians.
We feel that pictures say a thousand words so enjoy some photos from the places you could see on this adventure tourism itinerary!
If you leave early you’ll be in the Grampians at lunchtime. Grab some lunch at Halls Gap and then jump back in the car to go to the following:
First stop will be Mackenzie Falls.
About 40 minutes from Halls Gap you’ll need 1-1.5 hours here to appreciate it from both the bottom and the viewpoint at the top.
Driving back to Halls Gap you’ll then stop at the Balconies and Reeds Lookout.
Before leaving the Grampians you’ll drive to the Wonderland carpark and hike to the Pinnacles Summit. An excellent 3 hour hike you traverse up past lots of rock formations to get an amazing vie of Halls Gap and the surrounds.
Once finished you’re going to drive through the Southern Grampians, past Dunkheld to the coastline and to the wildlife reserve of Tower Hill. An extinct volcano, Tower Hill Nature Reserve sits inside the caldera and is an amazing place to see wildlife. Here, emus and kangaroos patrol the picnic grounds and koalas are easy to spot on the boardwalk track. You could spend ages here but an hour is recommended to get a good taste and still be able to do the rest of the itinerary.
Driving past Warrnambool, you will enter the Great Ocean Road. Already late in the afternoon not too much sightseeing will be done today but we will stop at the Bay of Islands for a taste of what’s to come before spending the night either at Peterborough or Port Campbell.
One thing to note is to do the Great Ocean Road properly you should think of it as an area rather than just a road. To stay on the Great Ocean Road would mean to miss a lot of highlights, especially around the Otway Rainforest. Before you get there though it’s time to explore the Shipwreck Coast. Within a small vicinity you’ll have the opportunity to explore London Arch, The Grotto, Loch Ard Gorge and the 12 Apostles. When at the 12 Apostles you also have the opportunity to do a helicopter ride to see them from the air!
You’ll leave the Shipwreck coast around midday and drive towards the Otway Rainforest. There are many areas to check out in the Otway Rainforest but with limited time limit it to two places; the first is a great 40 minute walk at Melba Gully, and the second, a little inland at the Otway Fly – the world’s longest treetop walk and also a zip line tour!
Once finished drive to either Apollo Bay or Lorne for a good night’s rest.
From Lorne head inland 10km and we’ll get our last taste of the Otway Rainforest at Erskine Falls, arguably the most impressive of the waterfalls and the most accessible.
From Lorne the Great Ocean Road does another pivot; we now are on the Surf Coast! Just before Fairhaven you’ll see the famous Great Ocean Road sign so stop to get your Instagram pic.
Here all the towns left are surf hubs and are great spots to do a surfing lesson. However the most famous break on the surf coast is definitely Bells Beach so you’ve got to stop there to check it out!
It’s worth mentioning that just before the Bells Beach turnoff is the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie. It’s definitely worth a stop and the hot chocolate especially is to die for!
The last town on the Great Ocean Road is Torquay and if you haven’t stopped for a beach break yet then here is highly recommended. Hit the back beach if you’re keen to go in the surf. However if you like it milder go around the point and check out the front beach. It’s still beautiful but also the water is still.
Depending on what time you leave you might like to check out a winery on the Bellarine Peninsula on the way back to Melbourne. The drive itself is approximately an hour and a half long so that will depend on how much energy you have left!
Once you arrive back in Melbourne you’ll definitely need a day or two to recover! It’s an action packed yet completely diverse itinerary and will hopefully have you deciding that on your next trip to Australia you should set aside a week to be in Melbourne.
If this looks like something you’d be keen to do and want to do it with likeminded travellers you should jump on our 4 day Great Ocean Road & Grampians campout. We’ll follow this itinerary and camp out at some great places (including a hidden gem in the Otways not mentioned here). Doing it in a comfortable style you’ll be able to enjoy the adventure yet leave the stress of organisation behind.
Hope to see you on a tour soon!