Australia Great Ocean Road self drive holiday

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Departure information

This suggested itinerary can be modified entirely to your personal wishes including departure date, duration, accommodation used and how long you spend in each destination.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Whilst the Great Ocean Road is one of the country's most popular tourist routes, and a large proportion of its visitors take in its main highlights as a single day trip from Melbourne, this itinerary takes a different approach and with the focus on more than simply taking in the 'must see' tourist attractions en route.

The itinerary includes visits to two stunning national parks, the Grampians, and Cape Otway National Park, which truly allows visitors to learn more about the local flora and fauna.

For example, situated on the southern coast of Victoria in Australia is Cape Otway National Park. Formed in 2004 through the amalgamation of a number reserve parks and crown reserves. Its combined size is now 103 square kilometres and includes some very diverse habitats, from windswept coasts and wild shorelines to sheltered coastal inlets, peaceful woodlands and pristine rainforests.

Lizzie Corke and Shayne Neal are two young conservationists with backgrounds in zoology and natural resource management. They were brought up in the countryside surrounding Victoria, close to the Otways and the stunning scenery of the Great Ocean Road. They were always aware of the fragility of the natural world that surrounded them and the need to conserve this unique ecosystem.

This beautiful region is home to some of the most intriguing animals on earth, and some of which are found nowhere else in the world. Conservation of such biodiversity cannot be managed without better understanding the particular ecological needs of species. Together Lizzie and Shayne founded The Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology. Adjoining the Great Otway National Park, this not-for-profit organisation is dedicated to protecting and understanding Australian biodiversity, ecosystems and the ecological processes that maintain them.

The Impacts of this Trip

Accommodation wise, this journey takes in smaller, locally run guesthouses as well as one of the country's leading environmentally friendly options - the Great Ocean Ecolodge. Set in 150 acres and backing on to the Otway National Park, this property is a fully functional and sustainable ecotourism venture, incorporating research, education and wildlife care components. The building was designed and built by your hosts to showcase environmentally wise products and philosophies, from its soaps and shampoos through to its solar panels and careful business practices, all with the aim of causing minimal impact on the surrounding environment.

The centre has won many tourism and environmental awards and attracts naturalists and 'twitchers' from all parts of the world who come to marvel at the abundance of wildlife present on the property and the area in general. Lizzie and Shayne, its passionate young owners, run guided walks on a number of carefully designed paths that cover the property, pointing out the local fauna and flora, including one of the largest populations of koalas in all of Victoria. They also act as a care centre for injured or orphaned local wildlife, so you are likely to see baby kangaroos and koalas at close quarters as they carefully nurse them back to health.

This itinerary has a large emphasis on giving something back to the smaller towns and villages that are dotted along not only the Great Ocean Road itself, but also as early as the outskirts of Melbourne, such as the stunning Mornington Peninsula, a region which is rich with local vineyards, art and amazing produce.


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