Whilst on a long-distance cycling world tour my wife and I completed a cross-Australia leg which took us from Perth to Melbourne between October and December 2019. These notes were made after we arrived Melbourne along what we think is a really nice route which avoided nearly all traffic. It was perhaps one of the easiest cycles of our tour into a major city (population 4 million), so we thought the route may be of interest to other cyclists…
There are plenty of places to buy food all along this route that include a mix of cafes, restaurants or grocery stores. There are also lots of campsites. I’ve noted the ones that we stayed in, but there were plenty of others. Prices were an average of $35 for two people with a tent, but this goes up in the holiday season and also the closer you get to Melbourne. There are lots of opportunities to wild camp along this route, but we decided to opt for campsites.
The Great Ocean Road is best cycled early in the morning – there is very little traffic before about 10am and even after that most of the traffic is coming in the other direction. This traffic is mainly tourist-related and comes from Melbourne, which means that by mid-afternoon much of this traffic is heading back into Melbourne, so in our experience it’s best to be off the road by this time. The road surface itself is of good quality, but as there is no hard shoulder and the little traffic that there was did get a bit close on a few occasions.
But when there is no traffic on the road, it is a truly magical experience.
- Warrnambool to Princetown. Initially goes along the main road (A1), but soon turns right onto the B100 and along the coastal road. Between Peterborough and Port Campbell there’s plenty of tourist attractions along the spectacular cliffs including The Grotto, London Bridge, the Arch and the most famous – Twelve Apostles. We stayed in a great community run campsite in Princetown.
- – Princetown to Apollo Bay (via Lavers Hill). The first 30km is uphill all the way to Lavers Hill. It’s not particularly steep but goes on for a long time and will take you through some fantastic woodlands. There are a couple of cafes at Lavers Hill for refreshments and then there’s about 20km of undulating terrain followed by a long descent into Apollo Bay. Once again there’s plenty of places to buy food and to camp. We stayed in the Apollo Bay Holiday Park.
- Apollo Bay to Anglesea. A beautiful undulating route that hugs the coast – in particular this was excellent early in the morning as we had the road to ourselves.
- – Lorne is a nice place to stop for a break and there’s loads of cafes and restaurants there. From here on there was more traffic but it was still a very pleasant ride. Anglesea is a small town with shops, hotels, campsites, etc. We stayed in the backpackers hostel, which wasn’t great to be honest, but it was 40 degrees outside so it gave us shelter.
- Anglesea to Rosebud – the B100 continues along the coast to Torquay where there are more accommodation options. The roads are very quiet and about 5km out of Torquay there is a right turn which then joins onto a designated bicycle path that takes you away from the main road. Really lovely cycling right along the coast to Barwon Heads…
- …over a bridge and on to Queenscliffe, where there is a car ferry to Sorrento. When we crossed it was $13 per person, bikes went free and the crossing took 40 minutes. The bike path continues on the other side but this time it’s along the side of the road. There’s plenty of camping opportunities here. We stayed at the Capel Foreshore Campsite – only one criticism was that it wasn’t very secure as it’s near the main road and basically open to the public.
- – Rosebud to Melbourne. The bike path continues right into the centre of the city, sometimes along the side of the road, sometimes on a designated bike path along the beach front.
- On Sundays there’s limited car parking at the side of the roads, so the roads are clearer and made the cycling even easier …..if that is possible!