Top down aerial view of Great Ocean Road in Australia

Choosing The Best Great Ocean Road Tours: A Comprehensive Guide

The Great Ocean Road in Australia attracts tourists from around the world. With stunning views, exotic wildlife, and diverse flora and fauna, it’s no surprise that each year millions of tourists descend upon this route for Great Ocean Road tours.

Some of the most popular attractions in Australia include Great Ocean Road sights such as the 12 apostles, Port Campbell National Park, Apollo Bay and Otway National Park. However, these are just some of the amazing sights you’ll visit on a Great Ocean Road tour.

Whether you’re interested in beaches, rainforests or furry friends the Great Ocean road has something for everyone to enjoy. Tours range from 1 day to multiple days and can be self-drive or taken with a tour.

On a pre-arranged tour of the Great Ocean Road your group will often be paired with a knowledgeable tour guide, who can divulge the history of the Great Ocean Road and let you in on interesting facts. You’ll learn about the rich Aboriginal culture in Australia, the workers who built the road, and the countless number of animals that you’ll spot along the way.

great ocean road tour

Perks of a Great Ocean Road Tour

When planning a trip, we often start with the notion that we have all the time in the world. We therefore aim to cram in as much as possible, until the realization kicks in that some countries, cities, and roads are larger than can be comprehended.

The Great Ocean Road is no exception, with a length span of over 240 km of beautiful, winding road along the ocean. You could spend a lifetime exploring it’s shores.

If you don’t have the luxury of time but still would like to experience some of this route’s most magical sights then we suggest you take a 1-day, 2-day or 3-day Great Ocean Road tour option.

the most famous of Great Ocean Road attractions, the 12 Apostles in Port Campbell National Park

The tours are designed to give you an enjoyable experience whilst taking away the hassle of planning it yourself. You don’t need to rent a car, book accommodation or arrange a tour guide – everything is done for you.

Full Day Trip Great Ocean Road Tours

It can be tricky to find the right balance between a jam-packed itinerary and a well-paced day with enough stops. However, these one day tours from Melbourne have managed to hit the sweet spot.

1. Classic Melbourne Great Ocean Road Day Tours

This classic one day tour covers the main attractions along the Great Ocean Road Australia. With a mix of landscape, ocean, wildlife and rainforest included on the tour, there’s something to suit every type of traveler.

  • Stop at the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch
  • Spend time koala sighting at Kennet River
  • Walk around the seaside town of Apollo Bay
  • Cooldown at the Otway Ranges with a stop at Maits Rainforest Reststop
  • View the incredible rock formations at Port Campbell National Park and stop at the famous 12 Apostles
great ocean road tour group

Pros:

This 1 day tour this trip can be enjoyed by families and solo travellers alike. It offers excellent tour guides with extensive knowledge of the history, landscape and animals. The intimacy of the small group is enjoyable.

Cons:

The tour is not suitable for young toddlers or babies, and no snacks or meals are provided throughout the tour.

Full Details Here

2. Great Ocean Road Reverse Order Experience

This one day reverse tour covers all the main highlights of the Great Ocean road. Departing in the early morning, the tour aims to beat the crowds by reversing the order in which the main attractions are visited. Based on a small group, you can expect to see:

  • Explore the Shipwreck Coast including The 12 apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and Gibson Step
  • Hike through the rainforest at Otway National Park with a guided tour
  • Visit the quaint Apollo Bay seaside town
  • Stop at the Memorial Arch to view the sign made in honor of those who helped build The Great Ocean Road
  • View koala bears and native birds at Kennet River
great ocean road birds

Pros:

Travelers love the fact that most crowds are avoided with this tour. Additionally, the tours given by the guides are engaging, informative and friendly. Lunch is provided, alongside water refills and snacks. The tour is suitable for families, solo travelers and couples. However, it isn’t accessible for children under the age of 3 years old.

Cons:

Some customers mention the lack of time spent at each destination, however it is also acknowledged that 1 day is a short amount of time to cover so many main attractions.

Full Details Here

3. Classic Great Ocean Road Tours from Melbourne with Snacks

This classic one day tour is aimed at nature lovers, with many opportunities to see exotic wildlife and some of the tallest tree species in the world. With a small group of a maximum of 24 people, travelers can really experience the best of the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

  • Tour around Apollo Bay and Lorne, with time to explore the coastal towns
  • Opportunities to see koalas, kangaroos and different bird species
  • Discover Shipwreck Coast including the 12 apostles and Loch Ard Gorge
  • Drive through the Otway rainforest
gibsons steps

Pros:

Travelers are pleased with the amount of time given at each destination during the road tour, and enjoy the informative commentary provided by throughout the tours by the friendly guides. This classic tour is suitable for all, with snacks and tea and coffee included.

Cons:

Some reviews mention that they didn’t find the bus up to standard for the length of the day trip.

Full Details Here

2 Day Great Ocean Road Tours

For those who have a bit more time on their hands wishing to explore the Great Ocean Road Australia, 2 day tours may be a better option. Often, the 2 day tours have a smaller group in comparison to the 1 day tours, and cover more of the road, and allowing for more free time at each attraction and additional attractions.

1. 2-Day Great Ocean Road & Grampians Tours from Melbourne

This 2 day trip offers an overnight stay in the Grampians National Park, where you can enjoy jaw dropping views and an abundance of wildlife. Some of the highlights of the tour include:

  • Explore the town of Torquay, followed by koala and wildlife spotting before heading to Apollo Bay
  • Enjoy kangaroo watching and take a hike whilst learning about Aboriginal culture and history
  • Visit the Mackenzie Falls
  • Enjoy a tour with your guide through the Great Otway National Park, followed by a trip to the 12 apostles and Loch Ard Gorge
  • Pass through Port Campbell on the way to Grampians National Park where you’ll spend the night
torquay

Pros:

Travelers enjoy the enthusiasm and information of the tours at each attraction. The guides make an effort to provide a thrilling experience with their positive energy. A decent amount of time is also provided to explore each attraction.

Cons:

A few travelers remarked on the hostel style accommodation. The tour isn’t suitable for children under the age of 7 years old. In addition, only two meals are provided (1x lunch and 1x breakfast) so arrangements should be made to purchase other meals during the trip.

Full Details Here

2. Great Ocean Road & Phillip Island & Attraction Pass from Melbourne

This 2 day tour of the Great Ocean Road offers two separate day tours from Melbourne without accommodation. Travelers can look forward to viewing the penguin parade and observe other wildlife and animals along the tour.

  • A free attraction pass to one of the following: The Eureka Skydeck, Sealife Aquarium, or Melbourne Star
  • The tour begins with a scenic drive by the rainforest of Great Otway National Park, before heading to the 12 apostles
  • Take in the dramatic views along the Great Ocean Road tour
  • On the second day, enjoy the tour around Phillip Island, sighting kangaroos, koalas, wombats and penguins
Kangaroo and baby, Australia, Victoria, The Great Ocean Road

Pros:

Travelers found the free attraction pass great value for money, and enjoyed the Phillip Island tour. The viewing of the penguins and kangaroos in the evening is considered a highlight of the tour. This Great Ocean Road tour is suitable for all age groups and families.

Cons:

There is no accommodation provided, so be prepared to spend lot of time on the tour bus as you make your way back to the city each evening.

Full Details Here

3. Great Ocean Road & Phillip Island 2-Day Tours with Accommodation

This 2 day Great Ocean Road tour is fantastic for those who wish to really immerse themselves in nature and spend two days animal spotting and enjoying the beautiful views along the Great Ocean Road.

  • View the lush rainforest of Great Otway Ranges while you make your way to Lorne and Apollo Bay
  • Enjoy a rainforest walk in the Otway National Park, before heading on to the stunning 12 apostles and Loch Ard Gorge
  • Relax in your overnight accommodation on the Bellarine Peninsula, a much visited area in Australia
  • On day 2, take a scenic ferry ride to Sorrento, where you can see the Bathing Boxes, panoramic views from Murrays Lookout
  • Encounter native species to Australia with a guided walk at the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park
  • Watch the penguin parade on Phillip Island
Start of Great Ocean Road Map, the Memorial Archway

Pros:

With one breakfast and one dinner meal included, this 2 day Great Ocean Road Tour is highly rated and enjoyed by families, solo travelers and couples. Travelers rated the friendly and knowledgeable tours given by the guides, as well as the varied stops at different attractions.

Cons:

This tour can be fast-paced for some. No meals besides those previously mentioned.

Full Details Here

3 Day Great Ocean Road Tours

3 day tours are a great option for travelers who wish to go further and experience more with the help of an informative tour guide. Due to the size of Australia, a Great Ocean Road tour which spans over 3 days should guarantee that most crowds from other tours are avoided, plenty of time is provided at each sight and exciting locations are chosen.

1. Adelaide to Melbourne: 3-Day Great Ocean Road & Grampians Tours with All Meals Included

Covering landscape, ocean, wildlife and history, 3 day tours like this offer a chance to take things at a slower pace and enjoy the beauty of each day.

  • After enjoying the scenic drive through the Adelaide Hills, enjoy a walk to The Balconies in Grampians National Park. Keep an eye out for kangaroos, cockatoos and wallabies.
  • Day 2 excludes a hike to The Pinnacle, whilst learning about Aboriginal history. Lunch is enjoyed at The Tower Hill Reserve. Proceed to the the Bay of Martyrs, London Bridge, Loch Ard Gorge and the 12 apostles.
  • The final day is spent with tours through the Great Otway National Park, Apollo Bay and Lorne.
  • Spot koalas in their natural habitat before returning to Melbourne.
Loch Ard Gorge on a cloudy and stormy day, Great Ocean Road, Australia

Pros:

All meals are included on this tour. Travelers enjoyed the diversity of the group, with young to old travelers welcome. Travelers also liked the variety of attractions, and found the tours provided by the guides to be lively and informative.

Cons:

The price includes two nights of overnight accommodation in shared dormitories/hostels. You will have to upgrade to a single room for an extra fee if you prefer more privacy.

Full Details Here

2. Oceans to Mountains Explorer: 3-Day Great Ocean Road Tours

If you want a real taste of Australia, Great Ocean Road has something for everyone. This 3 day tour covers everything from volcanoes to rainforests and beaches.

  • After passing through surf haven town of Torquay, stop at Memorial Arch. Carry on to Apollo Bay with animal sighting possibilities
  • Enjoy a guided walk through the Great Otway National Park. Head on to see the world famous 12 apostles and Loch Ard Gorge
  • Spend the night in the seaside town of Warrnambool, with a clifftop walk around the town the morning after. Visit Tower Hill and take a bush walk to the extinct volcano
  • Pay a visit to Bambruk Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Grampians National Park. Stop at the Mackenzie falls before spending the second night in the town of Halls Gap
  • The final day is spent enjoying nature and wildlife spotting in the Grampians many lookout points
mariners lookout in Apollo Bay

Pros:

Travelers enjoyed the accommodation and the attractions along the route. The tour also comes with a running commentary and a small group, so travelers can enjoy a cozy, personal experience alongside an informative tour.

Cons:

This tour isn’t suitable for families traveling with children under the age of 7.

Full Details Here

Your Tour of the Great Ocean Road

Taking into account the vastness of Australia, it is important to map out your expectations of the tour before choosing one so you make the most of your time.

Be clear on what you want to get out of it, then narrow the search down taking into account your budget, time and type of tour you want to experience.

With the right research, you can choose a tour which will be the highlight of any trip to the area.

What do you want to see on a Great Ocean Road tour?