Only got 1 day for the Great Ocean Road? Check out this 1 day itinerary!

Recently we headed to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Initially, a lot of planning went into our trip and we planned on spending 4 nights around the area exploring. But unfortunately, as it happens often when you travel, things didn’t go to plan. Due to poor weather and having to change our plans, we only ended up with one day on the road.

Whilst this was unfortunate for us. It leads to us taking in the highlights and a few of the hidden gems the Great Ocean Road trip has to offer. If like us only have enough time for 1 day on the Great Ocean Road make sure you take in these sights to make the most of your time on the road!

We’ll be starting this trip in Melbourne and heading towards Port Campbell for your 1-day itinerary for the Great Ocean Road!


Torquay GOR hidden gem
Drone photography of a headland at Torquay

Torquay is one of the popular starting points for the Great Ocean Road! This sleepy little town is the perfect start for starting your time on the road. This popular surf town is the perfect point to try out local coffee and ice cream while taking in the sights of surfers at the beach.

The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery have world-class chocolatiers which you can watch create some of your favorite flavors through the viewing windows. Here you can also treat yourself to their GIANT scoops of ice cream which is perfect on a hot summer’s day on the GOR.

Airleys Inlet

Split Point Light house is a signifcant sight in Airleys Inlet and is full of history. Book a tour to learn of the history in the area.
Split Point lighthouse walk

Next head to another sleepy coastal town, known as Airleys Inlet. Here you’ll start to notice the difference in the coastline starting to take place. This is another great town to do some exploring take in local culture and indulge in the cafes.

In this area, you’ll have the opportunity to take on one of the easy hikes Great Ocean Road has to offer. The Clifftop walk-in Airleys inlet is a great opportunity to take in the spectacular scenery of the area. This easy hike is 3.5 km long and offers some of the best views in the area.

The SPLIT POINT LIGHTHOUSE PRECINCT WALK also offers some of the best lookouts and scenery in the area. This walk can vary between 200m and 2kms and offers panoramic views of Lorne. This walk offers views of Alirley Inlet’s Split Point Lighthouse, which is a significant sight in this sleepy town. The lighthouse stands 70m tall perched on the ominous cliff edges and is also the subject of many local and maritime ghost stories.

Cape Otway

cape otway national park drive
Cape Otway Drive

Cape Otway National Park is a significant part of the Great Ocean Road. The park features numerous hikes, boardwalks, waterfalls, and mountains. However one of the most significant sights in this national park is the Cape Otway Lighthouse. This lighthouse is one of Australia’s most important lighthouses and is also Australia’s oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia. This significant sight on the GOR is a popular tourist hub due to the vast amount of history and the striking sight of the lighthouse on the edge of the cliff.

The lighthouse is known as a ”Beacon of Hope” to sailors in the Bass Strait, as the unpredictable and dangerous seas in the area have led to the loss of hundreds of lives.

Tickets for a self-guided tour of the lighthouse and area are $20 per adult and $8 per child.

You will drive through the middle of the Cape Otway National Park on your journey on the Great Ocean Road where you’ll get to take in spectacular scenery and the diverse nature and landscapes in the area. There are many points where you can stop for a hike or lookout on this self-drive tour through Cape Otway.

Gibsons Steps

Must see attraction GOR gibsons steps
Gibsons steps is a must for any GOR road trip

One of the most iconic attractions on the Great Ocean Road is Gibsons Steps. Here you’ll be dwarfed by 70-meter cliffs and giant limestone stacks which look like they’re growing out of the sea! To visit Gibsons Steps beach, you will need to climb down 86 steep steps which are carved into the side of the cliff. The views on this beach are unparalleled on the Great Ocean Road and are understandably one of the more popular attractions.

Alternatively, Gibsons Steps lookout also offers speculator views of the area, here you will not need to climb the stairs.

It is important to note that on high tide and rough surf, this access to Gibsons Steps beach will be closed, and can close suddenly.

there are 86 steps carved in the the cliff to access gibsons steps beach
Climb these steps to access gibsons steps beach

12 Apostles

twelve apostles victoria
must see location twelve apostles

The 12 Apostles are the most significant sight on the Great Ocean Road. It is number 1 on everyone’s Great Ocean Road bucket list and for good reason. This is the site that needs to be seen in person. Currently, there are only 7 of the 12 Apostles left and 6 are visible from the viewing platform.

To our surprise, you cannot drive close to the 12 Apostles. It is a 1.5km return walk on a well-maintained and signed path to the lookout.

The 12 Apostles is Victoria’s most iconic sight and should be added to every bucket list if it’s not there already.

Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge beach. a sheltered beach on the GOR in an impressive gorge.
This sheltered beach is the perfect spot to relax on the Great Ocean Road

Loch Ard George is one of the incredible places of survival on the Great Ocean Road. Here you can learn about the history of the survivors of one of Australia’s worst shipwrecks and also spend some time basking in the sun on one of the most impressive and calm beaches in the area.

Here there are also several easy and well-signposted hikes on the Great Ocean Road including Thunder Cave, London Bridge, and the Arch. All of which show the impressive and significant signs of erosion which take place on the GOR.

The Arch at Loch ard Gorge
The arch near Loch Ard Gorge

Port Campbell

Port Campbell is a sheltered small town halfway along the Great Ocean Road. Here you can see how thousands of years of harsh surf have eroded the land and how it has led to some beautiful sheltered beaches.

Enjoy the area’s breweries and beaches here and take in the area.

If you have time for a hike, make sure you find this hidden gem for a unique view of the coastline on the Great Ocean Road.

The Great Ocean Road is high on many people’s bucket lists, however since many are pressed for time this will hopefully help you make the most of your time on the road and help you take in the sights. We definitely recommend more than 1 day on the great ocean road. However, if it’s all you have time for make sure you do not miss these sights!


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