If you are looking at campervan hire from Melbourne, there are plenty of places to explore, however the most popular would be to head along the Great Ocean Road.
If that is your plan, then look no further than this self-drive camper video we’ve put together for you. It will show you tips to discover the gems along the way on this iconic route the ‘Great Ocean Road’.
Once you’ve picked up your campervan hire from Melbourne, if the Great Ocean Road is on your radar, head south-west out of the city. We recommend traveling this direction because you’ll have the coast on your side of the road the whole way!
The Great Ocean Road itself is only approximately 243 km long and that can be driven in a relatively short time , however if you are driving the whole stretch to Adelaide, you’ll want to allow a minimum of 7 days to get the most out of this trip and not feel rushed. While the Great Ocean Road is only the first part of the route to Adelaide, we strongly suggest travelling all the way in your campervan hire from Melbourne to Adelaide.
Top tip: head to the nearest travel information centre once you have collected your motorhome hire from Melbourne as you’ll be able to pick up the latest and most up to date information on all the places you can visit. You’ll find a big information centre with lots of parking on the highway heading out of Melbourne towards the Great Ocean Road. The information centres are marked with a yellow ‘I’ from the highway.
There are so many attractions along this route. We’ll share with you some of our favourites, with one of these being Apollo Bay. On your way be sure to stop off at Torquay which is home to some of Australia’s best-known surf beaches – this also marks the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Magnificent coastal views will dominate the drive on the way to Lorne. This is a great spot for lunch or maybe even an overnight stop in your campervan hire from Melbourne. We reckon fish and chips on the beach here is a must!
If you’re keen on spotting a koala in the wild, then we like your chances at Kennett River along the Grey River Road, just in the middle of town, which is about 20 minutes down the road from Lorne. Otway Lighthouse Road is another popular spot. Follow the ‘koala walk’ and keep your eyes peeled and your camera handy!
Continuing on your way to Apollo Bay, you’ll find yourself travelling along cliff-tops with views that’ll astound you as picture perfect beaches are laid out below. You’ll find a few rest areas that will allow you to really soak up the vistas too.
Heading further along the Great Ocean Road in your campervan hire from Melbourne, you’ll see a stark change in scenery as you come into the lush rainforest of the Otway National Park. Here you’ll be able to explore waterfalls and perhaps take a walk amongst the treetop canopies on the Otway Fly Tree Top walk, which is the longest and tallest of its type in the world.
Back out on the road, heading towards Port Campbell see the famous rock stacks that rise from the ocean known as the 12 Apostles. This stretch is also known as Shipwreck Coast – as more than 50 ships have run aground here. You’ll also find Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, Gibson Steps, The Grotto and the Arch. Viewpoints are signposted with information boards, boardwalks and parking. Top Tip: arrive at the 12 Apostles for sunrise if you can, you may have the place to yourself and will certainly beat the masses of tour buses. While you’re here, if you’ve got time, detour on the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail and visit artisan food and beverage destinations as part of a 70 km loop to Timboon which boasts award winning cheese, delicious wine and whiskey, scrumptious chocolate and ice-cream!
Continue to head west to Warmambool, explore the maritime capital’s history and head out to Logans Beach viewing platforms with the opportunity to spot Southern Right whales. These are usually seen if you are traveling through winter (usually migrating from May to September).
As you head out of Warmambool, you are officially leaving behind the stretch known as the Great Ocean Road, however the journey continues into some other wonderful places in your campervan hire from Melbourne. As you make your way to Adelaide, be sure to visit the Grampians National Park, particularly if you enjoy magic views and walking. Known for its sandstone mountains, wildflowers and wildlife, the park was created from the earths movements which have created an impressive landscape of peaks and valleys. There are a number of walks and national park camping here so pop along to the Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre on Grampians Tourist Road (2.5 km south of Halls Gap shops) which provides more information on the rock art, culture and history from this area. There are a few free camping options nearby. While you are here, you might like to check out some of the surrounding wineries such as Best’s Great Western. Visitors can take a tour of the cellars, which were hand dug by miners in the 1860’s. It’s a great spot to visit with an interesting history.
We suggest heading back out towards the coast via Budj Bim National Park, (also known as Mt Eccles NP) as you’ll pass through an area of extinct volcanoes making it an interesting landscape as well as plenty of attractions. The national park has camping here with walks you’ll most certainly enjoy. Take walks to the old lava tube, visit the Crater Lake and explore old lava canals and be sure to keep your eyes open for wildlife like koalas and wallabies too.
Another spot you might like to visit, is the beautiful and secluded Cape Bridgewater which was once a volcanic island. This is a pleasant 20 minute scenic drive from Portland via Otway Street, and has a few things to see and do such as the Capebridge Water Seal Walk where there’s a good chance to see seals and wallabies. If you do the walk from Bridgewater Blowholes to Bridgewater Bay Beach you’ll hike past the petrified forest with its eerie Mars-like landscape (which is really small lava canals) and have magnificent sea views along the scenic cliff walk.
Continue up the coastline to Mount Gambier. On your way, you’ll notice that Nelson marks the start of the stunning Limestone Coast. You’ll be amazed by this spectacular and different coastline to what you have just been enjoying. Before you head on into Mount Gambier, detour a little to Port MacDonnell and Cape Northumberland to witness first-hand the dramatic difference in the landscape.
A must-see when in Mount Gambier is a visit to the crater lake known as the Blue Lake – with the trick of the light in the changing seasons it appears to change colour throughout the year. This is a great place for walking tracks and bike trails. Check out the sink holes in town, some of them have been turned into gardens and have a light display at night-time.
When you are finished at Mount Gambier, the next stop are the beautiful coastal towns of Southend, Beachport and Robe which offer more coastal scenery. If you stay on the coastal roads to Adelaide, you’ll find a mixture of national park camping as well as the odd freedom camp if you prefer to stay away from the commercial camps. If you prefer the wine trails, you might like to experience the Coonawarra wine region in your campervan hire from Melbourne.
Nearing the end of the adventure, closer to Adelaide you’ll probably drive through a pretty little German town called Handhorf – this is a must see when driving through the Adelaide Hills. While you are in the area and before dropping off your campervan hire from Melbourne, check out the world-renowned wine regions of the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Eden Valley for a taste of great wines.
There are plenty of camping areas along this route. One of the best resources is wikicamps to help you find these – see our resource on camping options around Australia for more information.
To find out even more details when exploring this route, you can check out the South Australia Travel Information Centre for the most up to date info on things to do in the area. No trip to Adelaide is complete without an experience of a cruise along the Murray River!
If you know you are wanting to pick up your campervan hire from Melbourne and travel in the direction to Adelaide, check out our vehicle options here and get in touch for a personalised information pack tailored specific to your needs. There is no extra cost for dealing with us, however you’ll benefit from our service, experience and variety of vehicle options. Bookings are made directly through us, and we can help with questions you may have during the planning and preparing for your trip.