How Far are the 12 Apostles from Melbourne?

While there is a 230 kilometres direct inland route from Melbourne to the 12 Apostles, a longer scenic day trip along the Great Ocean Road is a much more interesting option.

So, you are planning a trip to the 12 Apostles from Melbourne, you’ve checked google maps and you reckon it will take about 6 hours to drive the 460 kilometres round trip from the city. That’s doable in a day, right? Well, technically yes. But taking the inland route there and back will be a pretty uneventful road trip and you’ll miss some of the best attractions on offer along the Great Ocean Road.

Plan your itinerary instead to travel along the Great Ocean Road to the 12 Apostles, making stops along the way at lookout points, beaches and quaint towns including Lorne or Apollo Bay. A round trip from Melbourne to the 12 Apostles travelling along the Great Ocean Road will take your travel distance up over 500 kilometres, so cut back inland via Colac on your way back to save time.

How to get to the 12 Apostles from Melbourne

As you travel towards the 12 Apostles from Melbourne, you’ll head out of the city, crossing the West Gate Bridge and onto Princes Highway towards Geelong. As you get closer to Geelong, you’ll be faced with two options; take the inland route towards Colac or head for Torquay and enjoy the scenic drive along the Great Ocean Road. The scenic route option will take you past some of Victoria’s best beaches, dramatic coastal cliffs, lush rainforest and charming seaside towns. The inland option will take you past farms, farms and more farms.

Can I do it in a day?

While it is possible to do the trip in a day, if you are driving yourself it’s not recommended. Trying to drive back to Melbourne along unfamiliar country roads at night after a long day driving is a dangerous recipe for disaster.

If you’re short on time, a one-day tour is a great option to experience the Great Ocean Road and return to Melbourne the same day. Local guides are experienced driving the windy country roads so all you have to worry about is getting the best angle in your 12 Apostles photos. Not having to drive means you are free the admire the stunning scenery out the window and enjoy a refreshing nap on the return journey.

Tips for a safe trip to the 12 Apostles

If you are planning your own trip to the 12 Apostles, follow these tips for a safe and enjoyable journey.

  • 1. Plan your day and set off early. Make sure you don’t spend too much time during the day exploring and arrive at the 12 Apostles after dark.
  • 2. Don’t travel alone. It’s a long drive and you will need someone to share the driving with, especially as you head home at night. If you feel sleepy while driving, switch drivers or pull over and have a quick nap.
  • 3. Watch out for kangaroos, especially as you head home. The animals are most active around sunset and sunrise and can jump out unexpectedly on country roads. Adult kangaroos are definitely big enough to some serious damage to your hire car.
  • 4. If you have the time, spend a night somewhere along the Great Ocean Road. An overnight stay will break up the journey and help you avoid driving during the dangerous twilight hours. There are plenty of accommodation options in towns such as Port Campbell and Lorne that are worth taking the extra time to enjoy.
  • 5. Remember we drive on the left side in Australia!

Related article: How many of the 12 apostles are still standing?

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