Melbourne to Apollo Bay
187 km/116 miles, about 3 hours
Get your roadtrip off to a leisurely start on the drive from Melbourne to Torquay, just over an hour away. Home to some of Australia's best-known surf beaches, Torquay marks the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Discover the region's rich surf culture at Australian National Surfing Museum before exploring the waves at Bell's Beach, host of the annual Rip Curl Pro international surf competition.
Stop at Anglesea Golf Club to join their kangaroo-spotting tour around the scenic fairways, or learn to surf with Go Ride a Wave.
Magnificent coastal views dominate the next 30 kilometre stretch towards beach town Lorne, the perfect spot for lunch – grab fish and chips to eat on the sand or dine with beachside views at the Lorne Hotel or Totti's Lorne.
As you make your way to Apollo Bay, you'll travel along cliff tops with incredible views and alongside wild beaches – take time to stop at the various scenic lookouts for photos, or step down onto the beach for a stroll.
From Apollo Bay, follow the Great Ocean Road into the lush Great Otway National Park, and turn off to the Cape Otway Lightstation (about a 50-minute drive) – the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia. Climb to the top, 90 metres above sea level, to glimpse the meeting point of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean.
Or head west of Apollo Bay to explore the Wildlife Wonders ecotourism conservation area, where koalas doze in the treetops, potoroos and bandicoots forage on ferny forest floors, and kangaroos hop past against a spectacular ocean horizon.
Make your way back to Apollo Bay for the night. Dine at Chris's Beacon Point restaurant, where contemporary Mediterranean-style dishes are complemented by spectacular cliff-top views, and sleep next door in the villa accommodation.