2 Day, 1 Night Great Ocean Road Budget Itinerary
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most stunning and exhilarating drives you will do in your life. I’ve devised a 2 day, 1 night Great Ocean Road budget itinerary, so you can make the most of your trip, without wasting precious time and money.
While you’re in and around Melbourne, make sure you do not miss out the Great Ocean Road. What could be better than driving down a winding road which hugs the coastal cliffs of southern Victoria? A road which runs for 243km, to be exact. However, the driving isn’t the only highlight of a Great Ocean Road trip. Along the way, you’ll experience Victoria’s best beaches, lookouts with views for days, renowned national parks, true Aussie wildlife and much more.
You’d have to be mad not to self-drive the Great Ocean Road. Forget taking a tour where they load a coach with a tonne of people and take you to a couple of designated sites. Trust me, you’re missing out the best bits. If you self-drive, you’ll be experiencing true rural Victoria. During this 2 day, 1 night Great Ocean Road budget itinerary, the drive will take you to some places which aren’t the most recognisable sites, but they are amongst the most stunning you’ll find in Australia.
This 2 day, 1 night Great Ocean Road budget itinerary will begin and end in Melbourne, so it allows travel time to and from the city.
Drive from Melbourne to Torquay
Day 1 begins with an early-ish start from Melbourne. Make sure you have everything you need to take with you, load it into your car and you’re set to go. I would recommend setting off from Melbourne around 9 am, 10 am at the latest.
The drive to the beginning of the Great Ocean Road should take you around 1 hour and 15 minutes, obviously dependent on traffic. The drive from Melbourne to Torquay is nothing to shout about. You’ll be mainly driving on the highway. Nevertheless, once you finally reach the Great Ocean Road, you will notice a change in the road consistency, from straight and mundane, to one full of twists and turns, which stimulates the mind, with the views to match. For me, the drive on the Great Ocean Road is one of the highlights, so enjoy it.
The first stop over on this 2 day, 1 night Great Ocean Road budget itinerary. Bells Beach is one of Australia’s most famous and renowned surfing beaches. The beach is a magnificent setting, with the rough waves crashing onto the beach and steep cliff faces in the background.
Park your car in the car park, located on the top of the cliffs. Then take a walk around to the viewpoints and down to the beach. It was great to relax on the beach in the sun and watch the surfers in action.
Eastern View Beach & Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch
Stop off at the Great Ocean Road memorial arch, located in Eastern View. The Great Ocean road was built by a workforce of returned soldiers who fought in World War I. The arch was erected to commemorate the building of the Great Ocean Road and also to remember those who fought in the war.
Just across the car park from the arch another beach. Trust me, it’s difficult to get sick of these beautiful beaches along the Great Ocean Road. I would argue that Eastern View Beach was the most alluring beach we visited. Maybe the charm was down to the fact that there wasn’t another soul on there with us.
Lorne Beach and Pier
Lorne is a charming town, with a beach to match. The popularity of Lorne is clear to see in the summer months, where you will find the beach packed with locals and tourists alike. The town has many small and pleasant cafes, bars and restaurants, so Lorne is the perfect area for a pit stop.
A walk along the beach, all the way round to the pier is recommended. The pier which runs out into the ocean will more than likely contain a few local fisherman attempting to get their hand on their latest catch. The view from the end looking back at Lorne is well worth the walk along the lengthy pier.
I’m sure everyone who comes to Australia will have seeing a koala on their bucket list; well, you’re in luck. The best place to see koalas in the wild along the Great Ocean Road is Kennett River.
Finding koalas in the wild in Australia isn’t as easy as you’d imagine. Prior to the Great Ocean Road, I’d only ever spotted one koala during my time in Australia. However, I saw double that in around half an hour at Kennett River. Luckily, it’s not that hard to spot the koalas here. Just head towards the Eucalyptus trees and look for the group of people gazing up at the tree. There you will find your koala, more than likely sleeping in the tree top.
Camp at Kennett River Holiday Park
If you’re on a budget, steer clear of hotels. For a fraction of the price of any hotel along the Great Ocean Road, you can camp at a quaint holiday resort, with everything you need on your doorstep.
Kennett River Holiday Park has a whole host of amenities. There’s onsite barbeques, hot showers, toilets, wifi and a cafe. Not to mention, this is where we spotted the two koalas. You’re more or less guaranteed to spot one during your evening or morning at this resort.
An unpowered camping spot will cost you as little as 31 AUD a night for a maximum of four people.
The second day of the 2 day, 1 night Great Ocean Road budget itinerary begins with a morning drive from Kennett River to Apollo Bay. If you set off early enough there are view points along the way which offer stunning views, complemented by the morning sun.
Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park
If you want to visit a responsible and animal-friendly wildlife park, I would 100% recommend Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park. Prior to our visit, I did plenty of research into this wildlife park. The last place I would want to pay money to is somewhere that exploits animals.
The wildlife park is a small family run business. There’s a petting area with a few kangaroos, wallabies, dingos and deer. However, the central focus of the park is the animal sanctuary, which supports a range of animals, who roam free within the park.
If you do want to visit a wildlife park during your time in Australia. I’d highly recommend incorporating Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park into your trip. The entry fee is $17 per person.
If you’ve seen any kind of advertising material for Victoria, chances are it will contain a picture of the Twelve Apostles. Ironically, there are only eight apostles which stand at the site named ‘twelve apostles’. I’ve always thought indifferent about the Twelve Apostles, I was never in a rush to see them, they’re just rocks rising above the ocean, after all.
I can safely say, I was far from underwhelmed, the limestone rocks which jut up from the ocean are breathtaking. It’s hard to grasp the true scale until you’re there in person. There’s a reason why this tourist site is one of the most popular in Australia.
With the Twelve Apostles being the poster boy of the Great Ocean Road, don’t expect the place to yourself. The tours head there in their flocks. Nonetheless, the crowds weren’t too much of a problem. We got to see and do everything we set out to.
Other sites to see in Port Campbell National Park – Gibson Steps, Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, The Grotto and The Arch.
Drive Back to Melbourne
Well, this is hands down the most monotonous section of the 2 day, 1 night Great Ocean Road budget itinerary. Driving back to Melbourne inland is quicker, as opposed to the Great Ocean Road. Prepare yourself for a long and repetitive drive down straight roads for miles and miles. That being said, the drive back is a small price to pay for an incredible 2 days.
The drive back should take you around 2.5 hours. If you have a hire car, leave with time to spare. The last thing you want to happen is to get stuck in traffic and not be able to take your hire car back until the next day and incur an extra days fee.
Budget & General Tips
- Buy a cool bag and take all your food with you. The cafes and restaurants along the way can be expensive. Also, there are barbeques along the way and at the campsites, so you can enjoy a hot and substantial meal.
- Camp, rather than staying in a hotel. Camping is less than half the price and you have all the amenities you need on the campsite.
- Make sure you return your hire car on time. If you’re late, they will be closed and you’ll be charged for another day.
- Make sure you have a full tank. The distances between petrol stations can be long.
- Don’t do it all in one day. If time isn’t on your side, try and at least go for 2 days, 1 night. 2 days is enough for the above itinerary. Any less and you will be driving basically none stop.
- If you don’t have a car, rent one. Tours are the worst way to see the Great Ocean Road. The best part is the drive and being able to stop off wherever takes your fancy.
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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section.
Will you follow this 2 day, 1 night Great Ocean Road budget itinerary? Have you been to the Great Ocean Road before? Did you follow a similar itinerary or something totally different?