We are planning a road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide along the coast, taking 4 days/3 nights, and later returning from Adelaide, inland, taking 2 days/1 night.

We would appreciate feedback on interesting places to stay and see on the way apart from the obvious tourist photo ops, preferably on or near the water along the coast and not too crowded.

They all sound great on the internet, but you can't beat personal experience and recommendations.

- Dawn

I'll assume you've already heard of the 12 Apostles - well, they found another five this year and they're definitely worth checking out.

A friend of mine did this exact road trip in summer, so I asked what her highlights were.

She said the pink lakes in South Australia's Coorong National Park were a must-see and she was also quite taken with the giant lobster in Rosetown.

As far as accommodation goes, my friend recommended the Caledonian Inn in Robe. It's a historic English-style pub that dates back to 1858. It also offers beachfront cottages outside the main inn.

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I've also looked at articles by Herald writers who have driven the Great Ocean Road. Sports writer David Leggat did it in 2014 and he recommended a "must-do detour" to Bells Beach, located south of Torquay.

"This is the spiritual home of surfing. From elevated viewing platforms the view either way is splendid, and even on a murky morning around 50 surfers were on their boards," he wrote.

Even if you're not a surfer, it's worth stopping just to check out the spectacular landscape and ocean views.

Leggat stayed at Great Ocean Ecolodge - a green retreat surrounded by grazing kangaroos. All profits are invested in wildlife conservation and the retreat works towards saving endangered creatures.

Danielle Wright also took the road trip this year and had a few recommendations along the way:

Aireys Inlet: "The quaint township of Aireys Inlet has an art gallery, a retro 60s diner with the best $4 hotdogs you'll ever taste, a sandy stroll uphill to the Split Point Lighthouse, a children's playground and skate park, as well as a strong Southern Ocean swell."

Lorne: "It's filled to the brim with wealthy Melburnians and has the beautiful Lorne Beach Pavilion restaurant along the beachfront, perfect for cocktails as the sun sets."

Warrnambool and Port Fairy: "Head to Warrnambool between late-May and early-October to see southern right whales returning to their nursery at Logan's Beach."

And one more tip - Leggat reckons it's best to do the drive from Melbourne to Adelaide, rather than the other way around.

"All the turn-off points to take in the sights are on the left and at some stops negotiating the entrance from the "wrong" side of the road would be a challenge, not to mention distinctly dangerous. Plus, the sun was invariably behind or out to the side of us most of the way."

I'm sure plenty of Travel readers will have done this drive before so if you'd like to recommend anything I've missed, please do!

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