The Great Ocean Road in 1 Day

The Great Ocean Road in One Day from Melbourne + video | Torquay

The Great Ocean Road is one of those so-called must-do’s when you visit the East Coast of Australia. And if there is one piece of advice I heard and saw over and over again, it’s DON’T do the Great Ocean Road in one day. Rent a car and take at least three days. So of course, what did I do? I did the Great Ocean Road in one day.

Am I that bad at taking advice from other people? Well, yes… But that’s not the point. I was planning to rent a car, but that turned out to be a bit of a problem on the Easter weekend. Plus at this point in my three month trip I actually really felt the need to spend more time in one place.

The Great Ocean Road in One Day from Melbourne + video

And so I joined a small tour with Go West Tours (booked via Viator) that promises you to show you all the highlights on the Great Ocean Road and get you back in Melbourne before the end of the day.

So the question is: can you do the Great Ocean Road in one day? Absolutely!

Video: The Great Ocean Road in 1 Day from Melbourne

Now first of all, I get why you would want to take more than one day. It’s one of the most beautiful scenic routes in the world, so you want to enjoy it. Around every corner is another gorgeous viewpoint and most of the towns you drive through are pretty charming. With your own car you can stop whenever you want and take as much time as you’d like to explore.

However, apart from driving past the occasional ‘Oh, that would have been such a good photo!’ viewpoint, I don’t feel I missed that much by doing it in one day. It’s just a long day.

You start in Melbourne at 8am and get back around 9pm. But the good thing about not driving myself is that I could spend that time relaxing and staring out the window which on this road is pretty amazing.

Our driver / guide had put together the perfect playlist for every part of the journey which was often hilarious. I’ll never call a koala a ‘koala bear’ anymore after listening to this song.

The Great Ocean Road in One Day from Melbourne + video | KoalaThe Great Ocean Road in One Day from Melbourne + video | koala

Oh yes, there were koalas!!

Great Otway National Park

The Great Ocean Road in One Day from Melbourne + video | Great Otway National ParkThe Great Ocean Road in One Day from Melbourne + video | Great Otway National Park

And a rainforest…

12 Apostles

The Great Ocean Road in One Day from Melbourne + video | The 12 Apostles

And of course the 12 Apostles. This is the most famous point on the Great Ocean Road. And it is spectacular. Don’t let this ocean view fool you that it’s this calm, quiet place though. It’s super touristy with bus loads of people pushing you aside to take a picture with the view as if they were there all by themselves.

Loch Ard Gorge

The Great Ocean Road in One Day from Melbourne + video | Loch Ard GorgeThe Great Ocean Road in One Day from Melbourne + video | Loch Ard Gorge

So was this the highlight of the Great Ocean Road? Actually, no. Our guide had already promised us that it would get even better than this. And it did. Welcome to Loch Ard Gorge.

There’s a sad, romantic story attached to this place (read it here if you’re interested), but even without knowing about its history I would still say this is my favorite part of the Great Ocean Road. It’s so beautiful!

So whether you’re doing the Great Ocean Road by yourself or with a tour, make sure that you include this.

The Great Ocean Road in One Day from Melbourne + video | Loch Ard Gorge

From here it’s a straight line back to Melbourne via a road that’s a lot less interesting, but will get you home faster.

The next day I’m looking at all my photos and I’m amazed how much we covered in one day. I wouldn’t have mind spending more time on the Great Ocean Road, but I don’t think I would have done more. It would have been more time at every stop.

Maybe next time. This time one day was just perfect and I’m happy to spend those extra days that I’m not on the road in Melbourne.

The Great Ocean Road in One Day from Melbourne + video