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Great Ocean Road Tours from Melbourne – the 5 BEST Tours for this Scenic Drive!

Great Ocean Road Tours from Melbourne – the 5 BEST Tours for this Scenic Drive!

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The Great Ocean Road is a truly stunning stretch of road along the coastline of Victoria. I’m an Aussie and can confirm it’s one of the most beautiful drives in Australia and maybe even the world! There’s so much to see and do along the way, from admiring the Twelve Apostles rock formation to visiting a koala colony. 

We’ve been on the Great Ocean Road quite a few times on our many visits to Melbourne, and will say that it lives up to the hype! However, the road is pretty long, and it starts about an hour and a half outside of Melbourne, so there’s a lot of driving involved.

If you’ve only got a day to explore or just want to leave the driving to someone else, a guided tour is the way to go. Keep reading for our rundown of the top 5 to help you choose. 

About the Great Ocean Road 

loch ard gorge great ocean road australia
Loch Ard Gorge is stunning!

The Great Ocean Road winds along the coastline of southern Victoria. It’s 240 kilometers (149 miles) long and stretches from Torquay to Allansford. It travels through Port Campbell National Park, where you can see the famous Twelve Apostles limestone stacks, although only seven of them are left! 

There are also scenic towns along the way, like the pretty Apollo Bay, and Kennett River, where you can say “hi” to the adorable koala bears that live in the rainforest. In fact, you could make a multi-day road trip out of this drive, but if you’ve only got a day to see it all, then it’s better to take a tour because all of that driving would be exhausting. 

Most Great Ocean Road tours take you to the Twelve Apostles and then turn back, but we found this gave us time to explore all the highlights of this gorgeous drive without feeling rushed.

Best Great Ocean Road Tours from Melbourne

1. Great Ocean Road Small-Group Ecotour from Melbourne

Bailey looking at the forrest in Kennett River on a great ocean road tour australia
The nature walk at Kennett River is a must
Bailey smiles and poses by twelve apostles on a great ocean road tour australia
What a view!

This 5-star tour of the Great Ocean Road ticks all of our boxes! It visits our favorite places along the Great Ocean Road, the guides are fantastic, and there are lots of stops where you can get out of the van and explore, so you don’t spend the whole day cooped up in a vehicle. 

After heading under the Memorial Arch onto the Great Ocean Road, we loved stopping to see the koalas in Kennett River, as well as wallabies, kookaburras, and kangaroos. It’s the ultimate Aussie experience! 

Later, you’ll have the chance to buy lunch in one of the cute cafes at Apollo Bay, then continue onto the epic Twelve Apostles rock formation. Our guide took us down to Gibson Steps Beach so we could admire the limestone needles from the golden sand. Then, it’s off to explore Loch Ard Gorge to discover the history of the Shipwreck Coast before heading back to Melbourne. 

This tour really does show you the best of the Great Ocean Road. And we aren’t the only ones who loved it. It has a shocking 4,000 positive reviews that you can read here!

We like that it’s a small group tour because the minivan can take you places that big tour buses just can’t reach. It costs $155 AUD, including hotel pickup and dropoff. It lasts for 12-14 hours, so it’s a long day, but it’s totally worth it.

Related Read: This tour is offered by Go West Tours Melbourne – read our review of them here!

2. Great Ocean Road Tour Plus Koalas, Forest Walk, and Morning Tea

the twelve apostles on a great ocean road tour australia
The Twelve Apostles rock formation
Daniel walkng through Kennett River on a great ocean road tour australia
Taking a stroll through Kennett River

This highly-rated tour along the Great Ocean Road promises to be a memorable day out. Our Instagram feed was chock full of amazing pictures after photo stops at the mind-bending Pole House, the famous sign at the Memorial Arch, and the Cape Patton Lookout Point. 

With nature walks in Kennett’s River and Maits Rest to say g’day to native Aussie wildlife, before heading down to Gibsons Steps beach to admire the Twelve Apostles, it’s no wonder this tour is one of our favorite experiences. You’ll also see the famous Razorback rock formation, Island Arch Lookout, and the stunning Loch Ard Gorge.

This tour is jam-packed with natural beauty, and we like that it’s pretty budget-friendly at $134 AUD. The tour guide, Joey, is so friendly and enthusiastic and will snap lots of epic photos to commemorate your day.

There’s a maximum of 24 people per group and hotel pickup and dropoff are included. You’ll leave Melbourne in the morning, and get back at about 8 pm, after a stop to buy some dinner in Colac. 

Related Read: While it’s a long way from Melbourne if you love unique rock formations, you’ll definitely want to take one of these Pinnacles tours from Perth!

3. Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles Day Trip from Melbourne

A sign at loch ard gorge overlooking the ocean on the great ocean road australia
Loch Ard Gorge caused a lot of shipwrecks!
Bailey eating a snack on a great ocean road tour australia
Lunchtime!

This tour will help you explore the Great Ocean Road in-depth, with a stop at Anglesea Visitor Center to learn about the geology of the Shipwreck Coast and why the water is so dang cold!

This breaks up the journey from Melbourne nicely, and then it’s onto the Great Ocean Road to explore the scenic town of Apollo Bay. You’ll have the chance to buy lunch here, and we recommend either the Little Crumb Bakery or Moore Cafe.

We got to explore the lush rainforest of Great Otway National Park to admire the wildlife and the ancient trees, then visit Loch Ard Gorge to spot shipwrecks and the striking bay. The last stop along the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles, so you end on a high note before driving inland back to Melbourne to save time. 

The 13-hour tour costs $130 AUD. We appreciated that there’s complimentary tea and coffee along the way to keep you energized, and the guides really take time to explain each stop to make sure everyone comes away learning a lot about the Great Ocean Road.  

4. Great Ocean Road Sunset Tour from Melbourne

Sunset at the twelve apostles on the Great Ocean Road
Sunset at the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road
Bailey and Daniel take a selfie on the Great Ocean Road sign
So excited!

What sets this tour apart is that you get to enjoy an epic sunset along the Great Ocean Road. We love catching sunsets wherever we can, but seeing one over the majestic Twelve Apostles really takes it to the next level! 

This tour leaves a few hours later than most which is a bonus if you like sleeping in! But it still checks off all of the must-see stops, including the Koala Walk and Loch Ard Gorge, where you can soak in the beautiful views and discover the history of the Great Ocean Road’s most famous shipwreck. 

The highlight, though, is undeniably the sunset over the Twelve Apostles. If there’s time, your guide will even take you down to the beach to enjoy it, but regardless, it’s an incredible thing to see. As you can see above, we got some amazing sunset photos in that golden light!

You’ll be dropped off back at your hotel pretty late, but it’s oh-so worth it for the sunset views! The pickup and dropoff times vary throughout the year following the sunset times, but you’ll be leaving Melbourne between 9-11 am. The tour is priced at $149 AUD.

Related Read: For another fun experience in Melbourne, check out our review of the Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise. Spoiler alert – we loved the food and views!

5. Private Tour: Great Ocean Road 1-Day Tour

Looking at the twelve apostles in the ocean on a great ocean road tour australia
The Twelve Apostles is so cool!

If you’d prefer to have a personalized experience, this private tour is our favorite option! The itinerary is well thought out, with stops to spot koalas, take in the views from Mount Defiance Lookout, and see the Great Ocean Road Memorial Archway, but since it’s a private experience, you can tailor it to suit you. You can spend more time learning about local Aboriginal culture or take extra time to spot kangaroos and swamp wallabies – the choice is yours! 

We find that another great thing about private tours is that you get to take your time and you have your guide’s full attention. Wes knows the Great Ocean Road like the back of his hand and will share his love of it with you with fascinating commentary along the way.

The price of this tour is cheapest on weekdays at $1,200 AUD per group which includes up to 11 people. This is a great deal for larger groups because the price works out to just under $110 AUD per person if you have 11 people going, which is even cheaper than the group tours. If you’ve got the budget or are traveling in a big group, we think this is the perfect way to ensure you get to enjoy the Great Ocean Road to the fullest. 

Where to Stay in Melbourne

The Langham Melbourne room
Photo credit: The Langham Melbourne

If you’re planning to visit Melbourne, let us help you find a great place to stay. There’s something to fit every budget, so check out our top picks from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Here’s what you need to know!

The Langham Melbourne – $$$

For an elegant stay – think marble staircases, fountains, and chandeliers – The Langham Melbourne is the perfect place. The hotel is in the middle of Melbourne overlooking the Yarra River. You’ll get beautiful city views from the hotel’s restaurant and from the indoor pool. It’s also within walking distance of a number of top attractions.

Rooms here start at $300 – $400 AUD per night. Check availability and reserve a room here.

Grand Hotel Melbourne – $$

Stay in the Melbourne Central Business District at this historic hotel that has plenty of character. The studios and apartments at the Grand Hotel Melbourne give you more space than a typical hotel and even include a kitchen. You can also take advantage of the heated indoor pool and the fitness center with a sauna. Plus, it’s just a few minutes’ walk to Crown Casino, Southbank, Docklands, and more.

A studio starts at around $200 AUD per night and can be reserved through Booking.com here.

Space Hotel – $

You don’t have to sacrifice style for money at this hostel. The Space Hotel is a modern hostel with lots of extra guest amenities like a gym, a hot tub, and even a mini-theater. You can head to the rooftop terrace to relax and enjoy the views. The hostel is conveniently located in the Central Business District and is not far from the Queen Victoria Market and Chinatown.

Accommodation options include both private rooms and shared dorm rooms. A bed in a dorm starts at $55 AUD and private rooms begin at $100 AUD. You can reserve a spot in advance through Booking.com or HostelWorld.com.

Thanks for reading

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie at the twelve apostles on a great ocean road tour australia
Thanks for reading!

There are some seriously amazing tours of the Great Ocean Road, so hopefully you found one that’s just perfect for you! We love how beautiful this drive is, and it’s always worth it to see the Twelve Apostles rock formation and all the other scenic stops along the way. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions!

If you found this guide helpful, be sure to check out our other guides about Australia to get tons of travel advice and tips. Here are a few related guides to get you started:

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