Having visited the 12 Apostles for the first time back in Nov 2014 while I was travelling on a tour group (Wildlife Tours) to get myself from Melbourne to Adelaide, I told myself I had to be back and visit again on my own with my own 4 wheels. Low be hold, I got a chance to visit back again in July 2016 with then fiance, now husband. 😂
And just last December, in between our days in Tasmania and Perth, the dad wanted to make a drive down Australia’s most scenic coastal drive. Despite this being probably the only coastal drive I have ever done, it will always remain the closest to my heart.
On route to GOR, there is a seaside town called Geelong, not too far off from Melbourne City. I loved the beach vibes that were going on in Geelong town that I highly recommend stopping by for half day if you aren’t in a rush to visit the 12 Apostles. Please refer to my previous post on Geelong to know what you can expect.
The best recommendation to visit the 12 Apostles would be on a self drive as it gives you the chance to pull over at any spot (safety first though!) for a quick snap. So many breathtaking views along the over 200km coastal drive, you will be literally spoilt for choices!
If you can afford to stay one night, I would recommend you to do so as it helps break up the drive and you also have a higher chance of seeing the same spot in different times of the day.
During 2016, I spent a night at amazing Seafarers Getaway (SGD 230/night), located in Apollo Bay. Was a steep price, but the views more than made up for it.
View from our balcony at the break of dawn
Last December, since I was travelling in group of 4, I stayed with the family in an airbnb in Apollo Bay for 2 nights (SGD 280/night). Was a good decision to stay for 2 nights as it meant we could do a really leisurely drive. On the first day, we set off from Melbourne past noon, stopped at Geelong for an hour or so, before driving straight to Lorne for dinner before we checked into our accommodation. It allowed us to set off past 11am the next day and have a leisurely picnic lunch by the waters before beginning our GOR adventure proper.
Asian dinner at Chopstix Noodle Bar, Lorne
The arch commemorates the building of GOR as a memorial to WW1 Victorians
Pitstop #1: Point Danger – really windy area, which has resulted in the trees in the area windswept that they grow in a certain direction
Pitstop #2: Point Addis – impressive ocean, beach and sandstone cliff views toward Bells Beach and Anglesea
Pitstop #3: Anglesea – breathtaking coastal views from elevated memorial lookout
Pitstop #4: Aireys Inlet – drive or walk up to split point lighthouse, ocean views over eagle and table rocks
Pitstop #5: Teddy’s Lookout – one of the best along GOR, my personal fav!
Pitstop #6: Mt Defiance – panaromic ocean views toward Artillery Rocks
Pitstop #7: Cape Patton Lookout – spectacular views east towards Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek
Pitstop #8: Marriners Lookout – fairly steep vantage point (about a 5 minute walk from carpark) but well worth the effort to get to
Pitstop #9: Cape Otway Lightstation – Australia’s oldest working lightstation, offers views of the rugged Otway coast (paid entry, AUD 19.50)
Pitstop #10: The Gables Lookout – magnificent views to Moonlight head, short walk to the lookout platform
This 10 pitstops are enroute the GOR as you are heading towards the 12 apostles. And now, on to the real deal.
1. Gibson Steps – nice long walk down steps to the beach, you get a view of a few of the apostles from the beach level
2. 12 Apostles – a collection of limestone stacks that has resulted it in being the most popular coastline, the viewing platform is a 5 minute walk from the carpark
3. Loch Ard Gorge – a photo friendly gorge that allows you to get a dip in the waters
4. The Arch – another amazing photo point
5. London Bridge – a rock tragedy that resulted in part of the bridge collapsing into the ocean
6. The Grotto – part-blowhole, part-archway, part-cave, my personal fav!
7. Bay of Martyrs – a glimpse of the spectacular views, which encompass lush cliff faces, sprawling beaches, and sparkling waters
8. Bay of Islands – reserve providing picturesque views from its lookout areas of the ocean, cliffs & rock stacks
From Bay of Islands, it takes about 3 hours to get yourself back to Melbourne City if you driving straight. So, do plan your visit as you are driving through the GOR. It’s quite usually the case where you underestimate the time taken to visit each stop.
For lunch, there are a couple of restaurants in Port Campbell. Unfortunately, Karoa Restaurant, that I visited back in 2016 has been permanently closed. Such a pity as their food was so delicious!
Overview of our self drive route
All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.