One of the best ways to explore Australia is with a good old-fashioned road trip, and arguably, that route is a three-day tour along the Great Ocean Road. Melbourne Airport has commercial flights as well as air charter Melbourne flights coming in at all hours of the day. Once you land, head to a rental car agency and begin your exciting journey exploring the fabulous Australian coast and the Great Ocean Road attractions.
Day One- Melbourne to Apollo Bay
Leave Melbourne on the West Gate Bridge, and then follow the Princes Freeway heading towards Geelong. A great place to stop and stretch your legs is the Serendip Sanctuary near the little town of Lara. In addition to dozens of bird species, you can also view emus and kangaroos in their natural habitat.
When you get to Geelong, stop for a visit at the National Wool Museum on the waterfront. Here you can learn about the history of the wool industry in Australia as well as see the process, starting with the sheep and its eventual end on the clothing rack. After your museum tour, have a bite to eat at Bistrot St. Jean, a charming, rustic authentic French restaurant that offers up such culinary delights as house cured salamis and sausages or Coffin Bay oysters.
With a full belly, continue on down the road through Anglesa, taking a brief break at the local golf course to view one of the favorite dining spots of the resident kangaroos. Back on the road, you will enjoy incredible ocean views as you make your way towards the laid back beach town of Lorne. If you didn’t eat in Geelong, you’ll want to stop at the Lorne Pier Seafood Restaurant for an order of fresh fish and chips, dining right on the beach if you like.
Once back on the road again, it’s just a brief jaunt until you reach the Kennett River and its koala bear walk. As you continue on from the koala adventure, you’ll enjoy towering seaside cliffs as you make your way to Apollo Bay, the perfect place to stop for the night. There are several lodging options in this quaint seaside village, or treat yourself to Chris’s Beacon Point, where you can enjoy deluxe accommodations after dining on Tasmanian Ocean trout or one of their other gourmet dishes prepared with a European and Middle Eastern influence and an emphasis on freshness. The room price also includes stunning ocean views and a continental breakfast to get you started the next morning.
Day Two- Apollo Bay to Port Fairy
When you leave Apollo Bay, you’ll be heading into the rainforest and the Otway National Park. Stop at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures for a walk through the treetops on a steel pathway, or really get your adrenaline pumping with a zipline tour.
Continue on to Port Campbell, where you can marvel at the 12 Apostles, a dozen enormous rocks jutting from the Southern Ocean. If you’re feeling agile, you can climb down the cliff on the Gibson Steps to get a close-up view from the beach.
As you continue west, there are several lookouts to stop at for more amazing scenes. Upon arriving in Warrnambool, you can stop for a stroll at the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens before heading to Logan’s Beach for some whale watching from their viewing platforms.
End your day at Port Fairy, a delightful fishing village. Stop at Coffin Sally for a pizza with unique combinations like pear, pancetta, rocket, and gorgonzola, or fresh prawns and garlic. There are several quality lodges to rest your weary head before continuing on your Great Ocean Road adventure.
Day Three- Port Fairy to Melbourne
Before heading off on your return route to Melbourne, spend your morning exploring Port Fairy. You can visit historic whaling homes, or hop on a cruise to Lady Julia Percy Island to view the seal colony. Return to Warrnambool and then take the inland route to Colac, enjoying the pastoral views and craft breweries along the way, leisurely enjoying the drive back to Melbourne.
There are many attractions near airport to check out before leaving Melbourne. The Melbourne Zoo is one such attraction that will not disappoint. View big cats, like lions, tigers, and snow leopards; a playful meerkat colony; or take a stroll through a mini tropical rain forest to see the elephants.
Also near the airport is the Flemington Racecourse. Viewed as one of the most prestigious racecourses in the world, the Flemington provides all of the excitement of horse racing on beautiful manicured grounds. Enjoy a gourmet three-course luncheon in their elite Panorama Restaurant, with views overlooking the finish line and the city of Melbourne off in the distance.