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Great Ocean Road Question

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Two years ago we drove from Melbourne through Geelong to the GOR. We drove to Port Campbell (staying in Lorne one night, and in Port Campbell the next night) and LOVED it. From Pt. Campbell we headed up to Hall's Gap in the Grampians. Loved that, too.

This time we'll be flying into Avalon Airport which is almost an hour closer to the GOR than the MEL airport. We'll arrive 2:20 PM (from Sydney--so jet lag's not an issue). Here's the question .... should we retrace our previous trip--or drive inland to Warrnambool -- then drive through Port Fairy to Portland before heading up to the Grampians?

If we do this, will the scenery west of Port Campbell be as "WOW" as what we saw on our previous trip?

Also ... if we do the inland route, any suggestion of a place to spend the night? Sunset will be around 5:15PM (late May). So after picking up luggage and a rental car it will be getting dark about 90 minutes after we start driving.

Thanks!

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