The Best Way to do a Great Ocean Road Trip from Melbourne with Kids

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One of Victoria’s most stunning drives, the Great Ocean Road is a magnificent three-day route from Melbourne to the iconic 12 Apostles, ending at historic fishing village Port Fairy.

Starting from Melbourne, it’s an easy drive taking you along cliff tops and surf beaches and through lush rainforest. Along the way, spot koalas, kangaroos and even whales, zip-line your way through a treetop canopy, climb to the peak of a volcanic crater, and relax over regional dining atop a cliff or by the beach.

Traveling with small children? Check out this list of the best light-weight convertible car seat.

Day 1: Melbourne to Apollo Bay

great ocean road

Total Day of Driving – 187km | 3 Hours

There are many stops along the way on the first drive of the day, and we don’t recommend you stop at them all, but make sure you visit a few.


Torquay marks the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Rest on the sand on the beach, or enjoy the surf culture at Surfworld.

Anglesea Golf Club

Stop at the Anglesea Golf Club, and experience a kangaroo tour, and watch the gorgeous kangaroos lounge under the trees and on the surrounding greens.

End of day 1

Of course, you’re going to need somewhere to stay tonight, so these are our top recommendations.

Apollo Bay Waterfront Motor Inn

Just opposite the Apollo Bay Beach, Waterfront Motor Inn offers a variety of accommodation in a lovely garden setting. Guests enjoy free WiFi and some rooms offer ocean views.

Located on the Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay Waterfront Motor Inn is a 15-minute drive from Great Otway National Park. The famous Twelve Apostles are a 1-hour drive away. Local shops, cafes and restaurants and the visitor information centre are within walking distance.

Book your stay here

Seafarers Getaway

Seafarers Getaway is set on 20 acres of rolling hills with direct access to the beach. Refurbished in 2014, the resort offers great views of the Great Ocean Road and is close to the attractions of Apollo Bay.

Choose between the 20 self-contained lodges and units, all which have fantastic ocean views. Each unit has a living area with kitchen plus a private deck. There is also access to the resort’s barbeque facilities.

Book your stay here

Day 2: Apollo Bay to Port Fairy

Total Day of Driving – 189km | 3 hours

This is your second day of driving, and is roughly 3 hours. At the end of the day you will have completed the journey from Melbourne to Port Fairy, and you have completed the Great Ocean Road trip. Here is our pick of things to do along the drive to Port Fairy.

12 Apostles

The 12 Apostles are one of the most famous stops on the Great Ocean Road driving tour, and we don’t recommend you do this drive without stopping to see them. 

Take a walking track in Port Fairy

There are heaps of walking tracks from and around Port Fairy, but here are our top choices.

Battery Hill

Located across the bridge from Port Fairy’s picturesque harbour, Battery Hill is worthy of exploration, with cannons and fortifications positioned here in 1887 to protect the town from the then perceived threat of Russian warships.

Great views of Port Fairy Bay from the top of Battery Hill can be enjoyed!

Walk along the beach

The notion of the romantic walk along the beach has been taken to the extreme around Port Fairy, with several trails taking in kilometres, upon kilometres of beach and lake side tracks. Take in the view of the lighthouse whilst enjoying the coastal fresh air. This isn’t something you want to miss out. 

End of day 2

Of course, now you need somewhere to stay in Port Fairy, so these are our top picks

Seacombe House Motor Inn Port Fairy

This unique property is spread across 3 buildings, and provides a variety of accommodation, including cottages and private rooms. Seacombe House was built in 1847, and offers rooms with private or shared bathroom facilities. The 4-star Seacombe House Motor Inn Port Fairy offers spacious rooms with a flat-screen TV and cable channels. Some of the cottages feature an open log fire and a hot tub.

Seacombe House Motor Inn Port Fairy is 5 minutes from the historic Port Fairy Wharf and 10 minutes from the area’s beaches. You will find local shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants on your doorstep.

Book your stay here

Pelican Waters Holiday Park

Set in Port Fairy, Pelican Waters Holiday Park provides accommodation with free WiFi, a seating area, a flat-screen TV and a kitchen. Free private parking is also available on site.

A balcony with river views is offered in all rooms. The units feature rural and garden views.

The holiday park offers a barbecue. Hiking can also be enjoyed nearby.

Book your stay here

Day 3: Chose your own trip

great ocean road

Today you can chose your own adventure, you could either return to Melbourne, which is about a 6 hour drive, or you can chose one of our other options below:

  • Trace your trip back along the Great Ocean Road, stopping to spend more time at your favourite spots and photo opps.
  • Extend your roadtrip by a couple of days and take the Great Southern Touring Route north to Dunkeld and Halls Gap to visit the magnificent Grampians mountain range and the historic goldfields on your way back to Melbourne.
  • Go on a culinary crusade via craft breweries and top regional restaurants on the short inland route back to the best kid friendly restaurants in Melbourne via Colac (below).

Great Ocean Road driving trip

There you have it. You can now say you’ve completed the Great Ocean Road driving trip, and seen the 12 Apostles, along with all the other wonderful stops you made on the way. If you think we missed anything, let us know, and we’ll definitely add it to our article.

Looking for more things to do in Melbourne with kids?

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