Great Ocean Road, one of the world's most scenic coastal drives is a must do list if you're visiting Australia. The scenic road offers tonnes of serene locations, beautiful towns, gorgeous beaches and so on. And of course the iconic 12 apostles at Port Campbell national park is the icing on the cake.
Hiring a Self drive rental car is recommended as you can pull over wherever you want since the package tours don't have those flexibility. Since I had time constraint :( I booked a day tour package with "Extragreen" holidays located at Swantson street, Melbourne. There are 2-3 day packages also costing around 150$.
*A trick to save money* Day tour package where the guide speaks only in English will cost 125$ whereas the Chinese and English will cost 45$ which I personally recommend. Bookings can be done via online as well. I booked the Chinese and English costing 45$. You need to pay 4$ which is the tour guide fee during the trip so ensure you have some change in hand.
The day starts by assembling at Extragreen holiday office and then board the bus. Buses are well maintained. Please be on time as they are very punctual. The drive starts through beautiful Melbourne streets and then hits the suburbs.
*Stop 1 - Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery*
First break to relieve from nature calls. The chocolate factory offers free chocolates :) and also you can see the chocolate making process. Break time 15-20 mins.
*Stop 2 - Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch*
The most photographed spot on the Great Ocean Road, this memorial acknowledges the challenges faced by workers in the construction of the road. From here the actual scenic journey begins. Break time 15-20 mins
Since the drive is through winding roads with ups and downs you can get nauseatic feel so try closing eyes whenever possible to be comfortable.
*Stop 3 - Apollo Bay*
Lunch break at Apollo Bay, a beautiful town. The beach over here is super calm and pristine. Lots of restaurants with varied cusine. Finish the lunch soon so that you can spend more time in the beach. Break time 60-75 mins.
*Stop 4 - Port Campbell National Park*
The crown of the trip is the 12 apostles. You can find tonnes of information in Google about this place. Must do is the 15-20 mins helicopter ride (145$ per person) which gives birds eye view of the national park. Words cannot describe the feel :). Break time 75mins
*Stop 5 - The Loch Ard Gorge*
Stairs allow visitors access to the beach and a pathway allows access to the eastern side of the gorge. Currents in this beach is super strong so do not try to venture deep. Break time 45 mins
Loch Ard Gorge is the final stop in the day tour package. With loads of memories and photos obviously :) the return journey to Melbourne started. Return trip is an alternate route. The break time above mentioned are approximate and it can vary between the packages and travel agencies.
I personally recommend to hire a self drive car since I missed lot of beautiful places due to the package structure. Minimum 2 to 3 days is required to enjoy the length and breadth of Great Ocean road so plan accordingly.
Happy Traveling :)