The Great Ocean Road by Motorhome
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most iconic road trips on the planet. Treating visitors to a seemingly never-ending display of awe-inspiring geographical features and jaw-dropping scenery, this is a trail that is guaranteed to create lasting memories.
One of the best ways to get around in Australia and travel this famous coastal road is to hire a motorhome. This way, it’s possible to explore at leisure, design a personalised itinerary, and reduce the cost of accommodation.
If a road trip on the winding paths of the Great Ocean Road is calling you, here are five top tips for a memorable motorhome tour.
1. Find the Right Vehicle
When planning an itinerary, most people will jump to figure out travelling routes and packing activities into their available time. But even before that, the first thing to do when planning a trip along the Great Ocean Road is to find the right vehicle.
Motorhomes are a great option because they cover both bases in terms of transport and accommodation. Campers offer visitors the option to tailor their own itineraries to suit the duration of the stay and their budget, making packing in adventure that bit easier.
It’s very popular to tour Australia in a car, camper or motorhome, and it’s not difficult to find companies that hire vehicles to tourists. There’s a lot of competition out there, so it’s wise to shop around, think about the requirements of the journey ahead, and explore different options. Visitors are encouraged to think about space and size, and to compare quotes from different companies. It’s also wise to take a look at insurance cover, as the cheapest option may not always be the best value for money. Booking online is simple and quick, and sometimes, preferential rates for campervan hire in Melbourne and the surrounding area are available online.
The Great Ocean Road is a winding track, which skirts the rugged coastline, so it’s important to ensure that the ride is comfortable. If multiple options appeal, it’s worth visiting a hire company, having a look at the different vehicles on offer and taking a couple for a spin to see which will work best for the intended trip.
2. Choose Where to Stay the Night
The beauty of travelling by motorhome is that it provides greater flexibility in terms of time and location. If an itinerary is based on a specific timeframe or there are hotels booked, the plan is more rigid. Australia is a hugely popular destination for people who like to camp out or move from one site to the next in a motorhome.
Although it’s not always essential to plan in advance when driving in Australia, it is a good idea to have a rough idea of sites and areas that are designated for motorhomes and campervans. Visitors who know where they plan to stay can then design a route that enables them to enjoy the myriad wonderful features of the Great Ocean Road without hurrying or driving for long periods of time. There is an array of options available along the route, but it’s worth noting that campervans are only permitted to park in registered camping grounds. Sites often get busy during the peak months, so booking is advisable. It is possible to complete the route in a single day when setting off at dawn, but devoting more time to enjoying the highlights and taking in the magical views is well worth the time and effort. Many tourists choose to spend up to seven days exploring the route and then visiting either Melbourne or Adelaide depending on the direction of travel, stopping off at towns and attractions along the way for a more rounded experience of the area.
3. Plan your Route
While one of the beauties of The Great Ocean Road is the fact there’s a set path for visitors to follow, it’s worth remembering that the Great Ocean Road stretches more than 150 miles.
Naturally, people choose to explore at different paces depending on their itinerary and time pressures, and there are plenty of places to stop off along the way. Before travelling, it’s wise to take an in-depth look at the route, have a look at what the main towns have to offer, and pinpoint areas of interest. This way, it’s possible to work out where to stop, where to sleep, and how long to spend in each destination.
Parts of the road are narrow, and it follows the natural curve of the coastline, so be prepared for ascents and descents and plenty of winding trails, which may involve passing cars with inches to spare. The dramatic coastline provides an incredible backdrop and it’s well worth taking the time to fully appreciate the unique landscape that surrounds the tarmac. The Great Ocean Road is an incredibly popular tourist attraction, so be prepared to move slowly, and enjoy the ride.
4. Highlights and Attractions
The Great Ocean Road is iconic not solely because the geography is spectacular, but also because there’s a huge amount to see in a relatively small area of land. Before setting off in a motorhome, it’s beneficial to research highlights and attractions and draw up a loose itinerary. The most popular sights include:
The 12 Apostles
The highlight of the Great Ocean Road for many, this is a collection of limestone masses, which pierce the surface of the Southern Ocean. The name is slightly misleading as there are only eight visible stone stacks, but the vista on offer will never disappoint.
The pillars rise from the ocean waves with sun-drenched cliffs in the background to create a truly ethereal picture. The view is incredible at any time of day, but there’s something extra special about sunset at the 12 Apostles.
Apollo Bay and Great Otway National Park
Apollo Bay is the starting point for a Great Ocean Road adventure, while the nearby Great Otway National Park is a stunning, serene area of dense rainforest, which boasts a host of walking trails. It’s an early stop along the journey, but well worth exploring if time permits.
The Otway Ranges offer exhilarating activities, including zip-lining, which are designed to provide a bird’s eye view of the surrounding scenery. Guests can also take the treetop walk through the verdant canopies and explore the nature Victoria state has to offer away from the south coast.
Port Fairy most certainly lives up to its quaint name. This charming seaside town has a pretty harbour and a rustic feel and is a lovely stop along the route.
Mount Gambier is a thriving hub, which is characterised by its distinctive limestone geography and crater lakes, which take on a vibrant blue hue in the summer months. For the best views of the city and its fascinating volcanic landscapes, make for Centenary Tower.
Ideal for surfers, Bells Beach is a great place to stop and catch some waves or rays.
This is an idyllic beach resort, which is popular among travellers looking to combine adventure with rest and relaxation.
Lorne is a picturesque town, which has a lively arts and crafts scene. This is an excellent place to stop and sample locally-produced foods and drinks, and take a tour of artisan stores and galleries.
Wine lovers – and those who aren’t designated drivers – will enjoy a trip to Basalt Vineyard. Best known for its Riesling, it’s well worth taking a tour and finding out all about the growing, harvesting and bottling processes.
Overlooking the bright blue waters of Bridgewater Bay, Cape Bridgewater is a popular stop-off for wildlife enthusiasts, as the area is famed for its expansive fur seal colonies.
Another base for animal lovers, Kennett River is one of the best places in Victoria to spot koalas in the wild. Visitors are encouraged to keep their eyes focused on the treetops for sightings!
5. Stock up on Supplies
Road trips don’t usually involve travelling to major towns and cities, and camping grounds don’t always boast an extensive range of amenities and facilities, and this is why it’s a good idea to stock up on supplies in advance.
Write a list and hit the shops before the road trip commences to save time and ensure it’s possible to make the most of the adventure. Items that may come in handy include snacks and drinks for the journey, warm clothing for evening strolls and waterproofs and sturdy shoes for brisk coastal walks to see gorges, caves and arches. For those who plan to rustle up an evening meal rather than dining out, it’s best to buy ingredients before starting the journey. A good camera, chargers and spare batteries are also essential to capture those unforgettable moments.
There are few places on the planet that offer the kind of experiences afforded by Australia’s iconic Great Ocean Road. From beautiful beaches, plunging gorges and dramatic rock formations rising from the ocean waters to charming waterfront towns and villages, vineyards and rainforests, there’s something different around every corner. There’s a raft of activities and attractions on offer, and it’s always wise to have a rough itinerary to make sure nothing is missed.
When taking a motorhome on the Great Ocean Road, shop around for the best deals from reputable hire companies that have excellent reviews, look for registered camping areas and stock up on food and supplies before travelling. There is a set path to follow, but many choose to veer off-piste to try out different activities and explore the area in more detail. Driving a motorhome is a brilliant way to explore this coastal gem and to enjoy a more personalised, flexible and authentic experience.
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