Organized Tours -- Even on an organized tour, when you are not doing the driving, I'd be reluctant to try this in 1 day unless absolutely pressed for time. All the tours which operate to the Great Ocean Road take around 12 hours (sometimes more), which makes for a big day out. The large coach operator AAT Kings (tel. 1300/228 546 in Australia; www.aatkings.com) runs daily trips which cost A$163 for adults, and A$82 for children. Gray Line Sightseeing Tours (tel. 1300/858 687 in Australia, or 03/9663 4455; www.grayline.com) also has day trips for a similar price and duration. A better option would be Gray Line's 2-day Great Ocean Road tour, which overnights in Lorne. It costs A$362 adults double (single rate is A$474) and A$138 for children.
Wildlife Tours Australia (tel. 1300/661 730 in Australia, or 03/9396 1938; www.wildlifetours.com.au) offers several well-priced multiday backpacker-style tours that take in the Great Ocean Road tour from Melbourne. A 1-day tour costs A$95, and a 2-day tour which overnights at Hall's Gap and also takes in the Grampians costs A$169. Hostel-style accommodations are extra: A$23 for a dorm bed or A$70 for a twin or double room.
Autopia Tours (tel. 1800/000 507 in Australia, or 03/9391 0261; www.autopiatours.com.au) offers a 1-day tour from Melbourne that takes in all the sights and includes lunch and a bushwalk in the fabulous Otway National Park. It costs A$125. The company also does a more relaxed 3-day tour, including the Grampians. This costs upwards from A$395, with dorm accommodations both nights, but you can upgrade to double or single rooms.
Visitor Information -- Most places along the route have their own information centers. If you're coming from Melbourne, stop at the Geelong & Great Ocean Road Visitors Centre, Princes Highway, Little River, VIC 3214 (tel. 1800/620 888 in Australia, or 03/5283 1735; www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au). You can book accommodations here, which you should do in advance, especially in summer. The website gives you plenty of tour options. There's also a visitor center at the National Wool Museum, 26 Moorabool St. (at Brougham St.), Geelong (tel. 1800/620 888 in Australia, or 03/5222 2900).
Along the route, the Twelve Apostles Visitor Information Centre, 26 Morris St., Port Campbell (tel. 1300/137 255 in Australia or 03/5598 6089; www.visit12apostles.com.au), is a good place to pick up brochures. It has some interesting displays and an audiovisual show, and also acts as a hotel-booking service for the area. All these information centers are open from 9am to 5pm daily, except Christmas Day.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.