The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives and is a fantastic place to take your next road trip. The road winds alongside the rugged and windswept coast of the Southern Ocean, where you can visit the world-famous 12 Apostles, surf incredible breaks, witness spectacular waterfalls, and see much more. You’ll have lots of planning to do before you leave, but researching where to stay the night along the way just got a whole lot easier.
Here are our top 5 picks for the best campgrounds along the Great Ocean Road:
Apollo Bay is a must-stop destination on the Great Ocean Road, located less than 3 hours out of Melbourne. The town is embraced by tranquil beaches and rolling green hills, famous for its fantastic seafood. Spend your days swimming, surfing, snorkelling, fishing, and bushwalking, and return to spend the night at the incredible nearby campground.
Relax in Apollo Bay’s only beachfront camping and accommodation at Marengo Holiday Park. This is definitely one of the best camping grounds on the Great Ocean Road: choose from relaxing cabins and spacious powered and unpowered sites, all overlooking the stunning beach. The park is fully facilitated with toilets, hot showers, laundry and kitchen. There are around 80 sites in total and they start from $30/night.
Wye River Foreshore Camping Reserve
Wye River Foreshore Camping Reserve is a gorgeous little beachfront campground, which is open in the warmer months from September through to April. This camping ground is around 2.5 hours from Melbourne in the small town of Wye River, along the stretch of road between Lorne and Apollo Bay. Since this campsite only has a little over 60 sites, as well as facilities such as a kitchen, showers, and toilets — it’s a good idea to book early to avoid missing out.
The nearby town offers easy access to nearby destinations and attractions, so it’s the perfect place to camp along the Great Ocean Road if you want a quiet night near the ocean. Swimming at the nearby Sandy Beach is a highlight, as is fishing off the rocks a short walk up the shoreline. The campsite is popular with young families, however, the popular Wye Beach Hotel — popular amongst a more grown-up crowd for its impressive menu and drinks selection — is right nearby and makes a great escape if kids aren’t your thing.
Port Campbell Recreation Reserve
There’s no doubt that on your road trip you will be visiting the Twelve Apostles – the famous limestone pillars dotting the rugged coastline. There aren’t many campgrounds to stay at overnight that are right near the Twelve Apostles, so we suggest heading just 11km down the road to the lively seaside town of Port Campbell. Here you can discover plenty of vibrant shops and cafes, a stunning jetty and epic ocean views.
Port Campbell Recreation Reserve is a low-cost campground with both powered and unpowered sites. Located on a large natural bush setting with views of the Campbell Creek estuary, this is a budget camping experience at its best. Facilities include hot showers and toilets, laundry, camp kitchen, and BBQs. This is the perfect place to relax in peace after a long day of driving, sightseeing and taking photographs.
Cumberland River Holiday Park
Located just over 2 hours from Melbourne, Cumberland River Holiday Park is the perfect place to camp along the Great Ocean Road. The park follows the Cumberland River, which flows from inland through rock pools, over waterfalls and through sunny, sandy patches before it reaches the Southern Ocean. This is an ideal location to relax and have some quiet time to yourself among the trees…or get some incredible Instagram content.
Here you will find 80 grassy and flat unpowered sites, and several cabins to choose from; fully facilitated with a toilet and shower block. This camping ground can accommodate small groups and so it makes a great place to take your family or group of friends. If you don’t feel like spending your afternoon at the campground, there is a popular swimming hole nearby and a surf beach at the end of the river with great fishing. This camping ground is only 7 kilometres from the town of Lorne, which features a number of excellent restaurants and bars for adults to enjoy.
Kennett River Holiday Park
Kennett River Holiday Park is located 174km from Melbourne on the stretch of the Great Ocean Road, halfway between Lorne and Apollo Bay. It is surrounded by the temperate rainforest of the Great Otway National Park, which is great fun to explore on foot if you’ve had enough of driving for the day. This seaside park features several powered and unpowered sites, toilet and hot shower block, camp kitchen, and BBQ facilities. Sites are positioned on grassy allotments and start at $35/night.
If you are looking to get active in the water for the afternoon, the nearby beach is one of the only patrolled areas along the Great Ocean Road and is a popular spot with surfers if you want to get among the waves. If you want something less active to do, be sure to take a wildlife tour to spot some koalas, native birds, dolphins, whales and even glow worms (at night of course).
There’s nothing like Australia for road trip adventures!
If you don’t want the adventure to stop there, you can check out some of Australia’s best campgrounds, and make your self-drive adventure around the country for the trip of a lifetime.
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.