Although the Melbourne CBD in itself is impressive, from the surf capital Torquay to the amazing 12 Apostles, there’s so much more to Victoria than just the business district. There are beaches, golf courses, food, coffee, and so much more to see, taste, and experience, that you’d just want to hop on a car and start your adventure.

Since you’ll probably be landing in the Melbourne/Tullamarine Airport anyway, make the CBD your starting point. When you’ve had your fill of the CBD, it’s time to head out to the Great Ocean Road and have just the route for you to take:

Day One – Melbourne to Apollo Bay

187 km/116 miles, about 3 hours

Take a leisurely drive from Melbourne to Torquay, the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road. A little over an hour and you’ll find yourself in what is home to some of Australia’s best-known surf beaches. Immerse yourself in that surf culture at Surfworld, then head out to Bell’s Beach, host of the annual Rip /Curl Pro.

Stop at the nearby Anglesea then make a quick stop to the golf course. You can either do a quick 9 holes, spend a good hour on the driving range, or just try to spot a few kangaroos typically lounging under the green’s trees as you drive by.

Move further down the Great Ocean Road and you’ll be greeted with spectacular coastal views for the next 30 kilometres. You can take a quick stop at the beach town Lorne and enjoy an awesome fish and chips lunch by the beach. You can’t get any more chill than that.

Drive further along the coastal road and you’ll find the Kennett River famous for its local koalas and a few friendly flighty birds. Take some birdseed to scatter along if you want a picture perfect moment on the koala walk. If you need a break from all that drivin, they have decent toilet facilities and the Koala Cove Cafe for a quick bite and cuppa.

kennett river koalas

As you go further on the way to Apollo Bay, you’ll be treated to incredible views of cliff tops, wild beaches, and lush greens. Make sure you take the time to stop or stroll along the lookouts and beaches. You’re sure to find loads of picture-perfect spots, perfect for an Instagram upload.

The Great Ocean Road

From the coastal town of Apollo Bay, follow the Great Ocean Road to the lush Otway National Park, then turn to the cape Otway light station. This 50 minute drive will take you to the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia. Climb to the top and see where the Southern Ocean meets the Bass Strait.

otway light station

When you’re done taking in the breathtaking sites from the lighthouse, head back to Apollo Bay for the night.

Treat yourself to a gourmet dinner at Chris’s, with spectacular views of the cliff top. If you want a little less fancy and a little more wilderness, take a 25 kilometre drive the Great Ocean Ecolodge.

There you’ll find everything from great homey dinners to locally brewed beer to awesome moments with fellow travellers. Be sure to ask about the nighttime feeding of the sugar gliders. It’s a great mini adventure to have before bedtime.

You can’t have a road trip without a reliable car. The good thing about Melbourne is that it doesn’t have a shortage of cheap Melbourne car rentals to get a car hire from. Just make sure to book ahead so you can get better rates.

This is Part One of a three-part article series called 3 Day Road Trip in Melbourne