10 October 2017

The Great Ocean Road In One Day: Bay of Islands- 12 Apostles

the great ocean road in one day bay of islands bay of martyrs the grotto the arch london bridge loch ard gorge 12 apostles 

The Great Ocean Road is an Australian icon. 243km of winding coastlines, carved rock formations and dreamy lookouts make this drive the most beautiful in the country.

Having spent a stunning few days traveling Melbourne and Victoria, Jake and I decided to spend our last day road-tripping it down to the iconic Great Ocean Road. 

As we only had one day, we focused solely on The Shipwreck Coast area around Port Campbell. Get ready for rugged rock carvings and crashing oceans, here's The Great Ocean Road in one day...

How To Visit The Great Ocean Road In One Day

Although it's pretty much impossible to drive the entire 243km of The Great Ocean Road in one day, it's possible to see all of the stunning rock formations of 'The Shipwreck Coast' around Peterborough and Port Campbell.

As Jake and I drove to The Great Ocean Road from Melbourne, we started the day from the Bay of Islands near Peterborough and worked backwards towards the Twelve Apostles. As self-confessed nature junkies, we were blown away by the sheer beauty of The Twelve Apostles & London Bridge, as well as smaller wonders such as The Grotto and The Arch.

A full day is plenty of time to stop at all the stunning coastal formations of The Shipwreck Coast, so if you're looking to see the Great Ocean Road in one day, here's the route I recommend:

great ocean road one day self drive itinerary 12 apostles bay of islands 

The Great Ocean Road attractions we saw were:

1. Bay of Islands
2. Bay of Martyrs
3. The Grotto
4. London Bridge
5. The Arch
6. Loch Ard Gorge
7. The Twelve Apostles- Lookout
8. The Twelve Apostles- Gibson Steps

Bay of Islands

bay of islands great ocean road rock formations victoria australia

bay of islands great ocean road rock formations victoria australia

Located just west of Peterborough, The Bay of Island sees rugged limestone stacks towering above the Southern Ocean.

The layers of the rocks and the variety of colour and texture along the coastline makes this natural wonder a must-see! 


Bay of Martyrs

couple walking along beach bay of islands great ocean road victoria

girl on beach bay of islands great ocean road victoria wearing boho dress leather jacket round basket bag summer outfit idea

Two minutes down the road from The Bay of Islands lies the stunning Bay of Martyrs, a beautiful beach from which to admire the rock formations.

Jake and I had this entire beach to ourselves, making it a fantastic contrast to the bustling and busy tourist hubs of The Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.


The Grotto

the grotto great ocean road victoria beautiful land formation
the grotto great ocean road victoria beautiful land formation fashion blogger
This cute little wonder was one of my top picks on The Great Ocean Road!

A serene blue pool fills this formation and looks almost photo-shopped against the crashing ocean waves in the backdrop. And you guys know that I have a thing for blue water!

Fun fact: The Grotto was formed by sinkholes in the limestone cliff.


London Bridge

london bridge london arch the great ocean road victoria australia
london bridge london arch the great ocean road victoria australia

As a British girl, I couldn't help but giggle when I saw 'London Bridge' pop up on a sign post. 

This giant arch has colours and textures so detailed, that you can't help but imagine Mother Nature sitting there with a palette of watercolours and a paint brush.

London Bridge isn't particularly a bridge formation anymore, as the strip of rock that attached the arch to the main land fell in 1990. Apparently there were two people stranded on top of the arch as it fell. Scary.

The Arch

the arch the great ocean road victoria australia

The Arch is literally five minutes away from both London Bridge and Loch Ard Gorge, making it another natural wonder well worth seeing!

This formation is best seen during rough seas, as the waves crash in and around the arch.


Loch Ard Gorge

It's incredible when a single place is so detailed and stunning that you could spend hours upon hours there. That was certainly the case with Loch Ard Gorge.

This dreamy gorge has many short walks around it allowing you to gaze out to the ocean at the Gorge's natural formations.

fashion travel blogger girl in loch ard gorge beach great ocean road victoria

loch ard gorge beach great ocean road victoria

Having stalked Instagram and good old Google before our trip, Loch Ard Gorge was the spot that we were most excited about seeing. It's safe to say that we left with literal heart eyes.

The gorge itself is a beach nestled in a narrow passageway between cantaloupe-hued sweeping cliffs. From the clear, sparkling ocean, to the details of the rock layers, Loch Ard Gorge is packed with natural beauty.

You can access the beach down a short walkway from the Loch Ard Gorge lookout point.  

The Razorback

the razorback loch ard gorge great ocean road victoria

The razorback is a short stroll from Loch Ard Gorge. A long, slim stack and an array of smaller stacks tower above the crashing ocean.

The Thunder Cave

the thunder cave loch ard gorge great ocean road victoria

The Thunder Cave gets its name literally! When the waves crash into the depths of this cave, it sounds like thunder.

Muttonbird Island

muttonbird island loch ard gorge great ocean road victoria

The small island that lies at the edge of the gorge can be seen from another lookout point.


The 12 Apostles
girl looking out to twelve apostles from view point great ocean road australia

girl looking out to twelve apostles from view point great ocean road australia
fashion shoot in front of 12 apostles great ocean road victoria australia
unique view of twelve apostles great ocean road victoria australia

**Insert drum roll** The Aussie icon is here!

The Twelve Apostles are truly magnificent and the view points accessed from the visitor information centre offers sweeping views across these grand rock stacks.

Eight Apostles are left standing, with the most ninth stack meeting its briny fall in 2005.

Although The 12 Apostles is undeniably beautiful, I wasn't a fan of how crowded and touristy it was. Bitumen paths and buses upon buses of tourists made it seem too much like a run of the mill photo spot.

My advice is to make sure you have time to visit some of the lesser-known spots, such as The Grotto or Bay of Islands to be fully swept away in the areas natural beauty.

The 12 Apostles- Gibson Steps

The two apostles that lie on the Western side can be viewed off the beach at Gibson Steps. It's great to see them at ground level as they basically dwarf you with their grandeur!
view of twelve apostles from gibson steps great ocean road summer outfit boho dress and round basket bag
My outfit
 Dress: Zaful*
Jacket: ASOS
Trainers: Adidas Originals


  1. Great post! x

  2. This is the ideal travel, I love how you dressed up. You look so chic!

    My Vogue Style |

  3. WOW! I haven't seen anything more stunning. It's so good that you got away from the internet and experienced a full day of such memorable places. I will totally refer back to your posts when I plan my Australian trip.
    Happy weekend Rachel ❤ Radi

  4. I haven´t traveled the Great Ocean Road, we just had so many other things we wanted to see and so little time. It looks beautiful though and I will make sure to try and fit it in should we ever come back to australia.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  5. It looks amazing! These photos are so beautiful and I hope you had the best time!

  6. Such beautiful photos and love your outfit!

  7. Amazing photos babe!! It is so beautiful around there for sure, a nice getaway out of Melbourne.
    xx Rubi
    Pose & Repeat

  8. These photos are stunning! I've never visited but the scenery is gorgous. I really liked your outfit pictures as well.

    Jennifer | Mrs Q Beauty

  9. What an amazing trip! I'm loving these photos and wanting to book this trip STAT!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  10. Wow, these are stunning and what an amazing trip there! I hope you had a wonderful time there dear!

    xo Tina
    IG: @tinasweetheart

  11. Wow, I would love to visit this place! The views look absolutely amazing! Also I'm loving your beautiful dress!

  12. wow! Such a wonderful pictures. I'd definitely love to visit this place. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Bernie, xx
    The Style Fanatic

  13. I've never been to Australia and it's definitely on my list of places to visit. This great ocean road is incredible and I can only imagine how beautiful it is in real life! These rock formations are amazing and I love how they are all so different. What an amazing trip! I also love your dress in these photos. It is so perfect for any occasion. Thanks for sharing these photos and your route! xoxo, Christine

  14. I've been wanting to visit Australia and you gave such a nice trip guide! The photos are sooo cute!

    XO, Jessi

  15. It looks like so much fun :) Your style looks so pretty here <3

  16. Looks like such a pretty place! Have a nice weekend.

    Gemma x

  17. Such gorgeous photos, I'm obsessed! Loving how stylish you look too x

    Anika |

  18. Wow! This place looks soo beautiful! You really seem to have enjoyed it!

    xo Corina

  19. Awww...nature. So beautiful.

  20. Great photos and this looks like a really fun trip!

    xoxo Falasha
    Bite My Fashion

    Instagram| Bloglovin'| Facebook

  21. This place looks amazing! I love your dress!
    xo, Jane

  22. Great post, the pictures are gorgeous, I love your blog, love your adorable dress too. Thank you for sharing, you look stunning!!!


  23. I have never been to Australia but it is definitely on my wishlist!
    It must have been such an amazing experience to visit all of these beaches and see all the amazing rocks!
    How cute they called the big one London Bridge! But too scary that it fell while people were standing on it!
    I love your road trip outfit as well! Such a cute dress!

  24. Wow, I am speechless! This is like a dream. Stunning photos


  25. Those rock formatoins are amazing! I've seen those countless of times on the internet, but everytime, I'm still at awe with its beauty.

    Jessica |

  26. wow the most interesting post I've ever read! Want to visit that place right now! How beautiful!

  27. Bay of Islands looks really special, but I've got to admit I'm a total softie for grottos in any shape or form haha - such a beautiful little spot! This entire post is perfect daydreaming material Rachel and you look lovely as always!!

  28. This was definitely one of the highlights of my last trip to Australia! Having some amazing throwbacks with your beautiful photos and can't wait to go back x

  29. Hey Darling,
    Hows you?
    OMG, the Photos are breathtaking and Your Dress from Zaful is so Sweet;)
    I have to visit Everything what you showed:)
    I am a big traveler so I saved this post for sure:)
    Happy Week
    Love Open Kloset By Karina

  30. Wow! Is this place real?! It looks like an amazing paradise, and the rocks that emerge from the sea are magical. I have never been in Australia, but it is one of my favorite destinations to visit. It's at the top on my wishlist of travel destinations.
    You look beautiful on that dress, love its design! Thank you for sharing your amazing experience, such an informative travel guide.

  31. This post gives me wanderlust so bad! Your guide is so incredibly informative and your pictures are breathtaking! Hard to believe it's real! Mother nature never fails to capture me with its beauty.

    Your outfit is PERFECT!! You look gorgeous! <3

  32. This is such a beautiful post - loving all your photos!!!! :)

    Hope you have a great start to the week!

    Layla xx

  33. These photos are absolutely breathtaking! Australia looks like such a beautiful country. It is incredible that you can see so many gorgeous views in a day trip. The rocks look beautiful next to the ocean view. I will definitely need to check this out if I am ever in Australia.

    ~xo Sheree

  34. Wow! This is such a dream to travel all over Australia! Love these pics - so gorge!

    Happy Monday, babe!
    xoxo, Vanessa

  35. What a beautiful trip. These photos make me want to visit Australia.

  36. Such an informative piece on Great Ocean Road. I remember my parents use take me there for day trips when I was a kid! Even thought I have visit it so many times, I don't think I have visited all the spots you have mentioned in your post!!! Guess I will have to revisit that place again next time when I'm back in Melbourne :) and I'm going to totally save this for my friends who haven't been to Melbourne or Great Ocean Road

    xx, Jessie

  37. what an amazing place!! and your dress is so cute!!
    kisses from the sandpit ❤︎

  38. Just lovely! the bag is a pure dream!!
    Mónica Sors

  39. Ahh wow this looks so so beaut!!

    Alya / moorizzla xx

  40. Looks like an epic roadtrip! That grotto is gorgeous! So impressed with how much you covered in just one day. And how pretty is that tassely dress!

  41. Oh my gosh this looks so amazing. Everytime I see your blog posts you make me want to come visit you! I would love to do a trip down the Great Ocean Road. Love your dress and that cute bag :)

  42. Wow the Great Ocean Road truly is stunning! No wonder it is an Australian icon. 243km does seem very far, but it is good to know that you can stop by each point in one day! I love the pictures that you and Jake took at Loch Ard Gorge! Your bag is also so cute!

    Thanks for sharing!

  43. Oh wow! Great ocean road for 1 day?! And wow. It looks so beautiful! I'm loving your dress too, goes perfectly with your hair :)

  44. Gosh babe I have always dreamed to do this exact trip!!! Your pictures are amazing and all these places are super stunning!! Really hope to get to visit Australia soon and scratch them from my bucket list!! BTW love your outfit its so cute!!

  45. Australia is one country I must visit. The paysage is just breathtaking. Great photos girl

  46. This Great Ocean Road sounds absolutely dreamy. I've never been to Australia before, but I believe it's a breathtaking place to visit. To be honest, it's very hard to imagine how you could possibly drive 243km and at the same time enjoy the nature around you. It's going to be a very fast journey then. But you did a great job and every single picture is absolutely stunning! Love the Gibson Steps, it reminds me of Iceland somehow.

    Cheers, Eliza |

  47. We love road trips with my husband and driving along the coast is the best, because of spectacular view. I hope one day we can travel there. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  48. I didn't know about the Great Ocean Road until this post and I've never been to Australia but it's definitely on my list! Its an absolutely wonderful adventure it seems! The rock formation are so interesting! The grotto look like it belong in the little mermaid or something! Magical! It's so good to just unwind and enjoy nature sometimes! It totally recharges! Love your look BTW! Absolutely beautiful!

    Manda |

  49. I love finding beautiful and exciting places to go to. I've never been to Australia, but it's definitely on the top of my bucket list. Although I have to say, there are so many places I want to see there that I'll probably need to move there for a few months to see everything lol


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