• Sam Wilson

Great Ocean Road Photo Locations

5 Day Road Trip Itinerary

Standing on a platform overlooking the 12 Apostles at sunset
Travelling On Your Own You Don't Always Have Too Many Photos Of Yourself - Luckily There's Always Some Around Here That You Can Ask

Just about any search on road trips in Australia will feature the Great Ocean Road, and for good reason. The road travels along headlands, down to the edges of coastline, along rivers and through rainforests, and that’s without mentioning that the photography opportunities are almost endless.

The official length of the road is around 245kms (I say around as there are so many little diversions along the way, that no 2 trips will be the same. It can be driven in a day - many do but this is seriously selling this beautiful part of the world short.

This guide will outline a 5 day itinerary covering as many locations as possible, while still having a relaxing break - after all all holidays should include some down time.

Screenshot of Google Maps with trip outline from Torquay to Port Fairy, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
Starting At Torquay And Finishing At Port Fairy - So Much To Visit In Between

Who Am I To Be Providing This Information?

Great question! This is the third time I’ve been to this incredible part of the world, and the first time I’ve driven it from beginning to end - solo.

As such I spent way too many hours researching locations and routes, and this added to my prior knowledge. I also explored extensively on my recent solo trip and made notes along the way to save others from the same painful work!

These are just my tips and experience, but I truly hope you find them useful!

We will start the Great Ocean Road trip in Australia’s surfing capital Torquay, home to Bell’s Beach, wind along coastlines and through the Otways. Of course we will stop along the way for the 12 Apostles and many other locations around Port Campbell. We will be finishing at Port Fairy with its quaint lighthouse stopping at Warrnambool along the way to try and spot whales.

Bells Beach Headland overlooking the ocean at sunrise
Sunrise At Bells Beach

There are many ways this drive can be completed, so I will provide the outline that worked for me and then go through each photography location with map links so you can design your own tour.

Following this itinerary there are 6 nights accommodation and 5 days exploring included. Also included are distances and time estimates each day along with Google Maps links to each location.

Accommodation -

Torquay - 1 night

Apollo Bay - 2 nights

Port Campbell - 2 nights

Warrnambool - 1 night

Day 1 - Torquay to Apollo Bay

Depending where you are travelling from, you may not need to stay the night in Torquay the night before, but it’s best to allow for a full day starting here to capture sunrise as the superb Bells Beach.

Headland at Bells Beach overlooking the ocean at sunrise
Sunrise At Bells Beach - Looking In The Other Direction

Bells Beach - Bells Beach

Split Point Lookout - Split Point Lighthouse

Memorial Arch at Eastern View - Memorial Arch

Lorne - Lorne for a pit stop

Teddy's Lookout Teddy’s Lookout

Erskine Falls Erskine Falls

Koala sleeping Tree Kennett River

Then onto your accommodation at Apollo Bay

Day 2 - A Day In The Otways

One day is definitely insufficient to cover everything in the highlights, so included here are the must see locations that you can easily cover in a day and offer plenty of photo opportunities.

very tall trees in a forest with red leaves covering the ground
The Magnificent Californian Redwoods In The Otways

You will pass Lavers Hill during the day so you can grab a coffee and a bite to eat, or the Lightstation has a nice little cafe as well.

Hopetoun Falls - well worth the 200 steps!

Then back to accommodation at Apollo Bay

Day 3 - Apollo Bay to Port Campbell

This is a fairly cruisy day, so a good opportunity to visit Triplet Falls or Otway Fly Treetop Adventures before heading down to Gibson Steps.

Also a chance to have a lazy afternoon and check out the lovely township of Port Campbell.

Gibson Steps Gibson Steps - photo

Twelve Apostles Carpark 12 Apostles

Loch Ard Gorge Parking Loch Ard Gorge

Tom & Eva - same parking as Loch Ard Gorge

Razorback - same parking as Loch Ard Gorge

Bakers Oven Track Bakers Oven

Gibson Steps At Sunset

As always, I will always choose sunrise over sunset - yes for the wine, but it’s almost guaranteed that there will be less people around early mornings. It’s so much easier to go to sunset than setting the alarm for stupid o’clock, but for me it’s totally worth it.

If you’re looking to do a sunset shoot, Bakers Oven and the 12 Apostles are both great options.

Confession - I’m hopeless at directions, but I was reliably informed by a friend that the whole area faces south, so all locations around this area are good for both sunrise and sunset.

Then head to accommodation at Port Campbell

If you want to head out for sunset, then The 12 Apostles or Gibson Steps are perfect but get there early!

12 Apostles At Sunset

Did You Know?

An infographic about the 12 Apostles
Information Obtained From The Lonely Planet

Day 4 - Around Port Campbell

Highly suggest you start the day by revisiting one of the locations visited yesterday to shoot sunrise - my top picks would be Gibson Steps or Loch Ard Gorge.

Head back to town for breakfast and then investigate the suggestions below.

Gog & Magog At Sunrise

The Arch The Arch - please note this was closed at time of writing (May 2022) due to public risk and unable to find any information on when expected to reopen. You need to drive by this on the way to London Bridge so hopefully will be open again soon.

London Bridge London Bridge

The Grotto Carpark The Grotto - photo (phone)

Bay of Martyrs Bay of Martyrs

Bay Of Islands Bay of Islands

Bonus activity if time allows - Helicopter Flight over the 12 Apostles - highly recommend

Day 5 - Port Campbell to Port Fairy

If you’re keen to head out for a sunrise then either London Bridge, Bay Of Martyrs or Bay Of Islands are all great choices. You should still have time to head back to your accommodation to check out before breakfast and the day’s exploring.

Bay Of Islands - Long Exposure Taken In The Middle Of The Day

Childers Cove Childers Cove

Tower Hill - I didn't make it here but was thoroughly recommended - great place to spot koalas apparently

Port Fairy Lighthouse On Griffiths Island Port Fairy

Anything missed from yesterday’s list or you want to revisit? If not, a drive out to Timboon on your way to Childers Cove would be top of my list - The homemade ice cream there is absolutely divine!

The Passionfruit Meringue Was The Best!

Finish up on the morning after day 5 with sunrise at Stingray Bay followed by breakfast viewing over the local race horses being trained in the ocean.

Horses going for an ocean swim at sunrise
Can Think Of Worse Breakfast Views

A Note On Safety

The Great Ocean Road is definitely not a highway as we know it - it is mostly one lane each way and winds along - a lot. Take notice of the number of pull over points if you do find yourself just cruising and becoming sidetracked with the beautiful vistas you find yourself driving along. I find it much more enjoyable to pull over and let others go on their merry way should they choose to do so. Many of the roads you can find yourself on can be gravel, and quite narrow at times, not to mention you won’t have any reception (see note below) so be aware of this.

Road sign showing how driving is on the left in Australia
These Signs Are Everywhere! And A Tad Disturbing To Be Honest lol

Honourable Mentions Along The Way -

Lavers Hill - coffee, pies (and a toilet) - bonus is the birdlife on the balcony

Kafe Koala - great spot to stop for a coffee

Bookshop at Fairhaven - Purchased a fabulous book by a local photographer “Waterfalls Of The Otways”

Photo of car with ocean in the background along the Great Ocean Road
Just One Of The Many Random Places You Can Safely Pull Over

Supermarkets and Essentials -

Once you leave Torquay, there are no major supermarkets or larger stores until you get to Warrnambool. This is certainly not an issue, but something to be aware of as things can be more expensive at some of the smaller locations.

Sign of restaurant at Port Campbell - the 12 Rocks
Great Meals - Port Campbell

Internet Reception

I can’t believe I’m even having to mention this, but internet coverage at Port Campbell and other locations along the way is intermittent at best! My suggestion is to use Google Maps Offline to download all your spots along the way, especially when driving through the Otways.


This whole part of the world can be unpredictable to say the least! I’ve been at Port Campbell where the maximum temperature was 8 degrees on New Years Day and raining, and yet also in May the top was 22, so pack for all possible conditions.

headland at Bells Beach overlooking the ocean
Bells Beach - No Complaints About The Weather Here!

Final Notes

You certainly don’t have to be a photographer for everything that the drive and experiences that the Great Ocean Road has to offer. It is simply spectacular and offers something different at every turn, so take you time to fully explore this famous stretch of road. There truly is a reason it’s on almost every travel must do list, both for Australians and those from beyond these shores.

Is the Great Ocean Road on your bucket list? Or have you already been and have suggestions on things I may have omitted? I’d love for you to drop me a line and let me know.

Steps leading down to the beach at Childers Cove, Victoria
Steps Down To Childers Cove

That’s it for now - Keep clicking and stay caffeinated

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Note - This post does not contain any sponsored or affiliated links. All suggestions and opinions are mine. Unless otherwise stated, all photos are mine and remain my copyright images - Sam Wilson Photography.

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