A road trip along the Great Ocean road is an Aussie travel bucket list item, and one that can be ticked off in just a few days! It can also be a very budget friendly holiday, with several low cost and free camping spots to choose from along your route.
Sure, The 12 Apostles and panoramic beach views first come to mind when thinking about the Great Ocean road, but Great Otway National Park also has plenty of waterfalls and forest hikes that are not to be missed. Many of the lower cost and free camping options can be found a bit inland in beautiful forest settings and are a great base from which to explore the national park.
Join us, for the best free and low-cost campgrounds along the Great Ocean Road. Let’s go!
Allenvale Mill Bush Campground is located just outside the town of Lorne on the Great Ocean Road, less than 10 minute drive from the town centre and the beach.
The beach itself is located about 2.5 km from the campground, but it’s quite walkable from where you’ll set up. More importantly, the campground hosts 20 tent-only sites with no direct vehicle access, and offers a direct escape from the grid – all sites are unpowered.
At $13.70 per night, it certainly offers a bang for your buck: several wildlife species frequent the campsite, such as Kangaroos, Cockatoos and other birdlife – plus Platypus are known to live in and around the river.
Other local attractions include The Canyon (aka. Lorne Waterfalls Circuit) – an 8.5km (about 3 hours) walk – and Sheoak Falls, which can be accessed from the Great Ocean Road (20 minutes walk) or from Sheoak Picnic Area (about 2.5km).
Bookings and payment in advance are required year round, so feel free to check out Parks VIC for further detail.
Only 17 minutes drive from Lorne, you’ll find Jamieson Creek Bush Campground – just off the Great Ocean Road.
The campground hosts 24 individual campsites, 14 of which have direct vehicle access that can accommodate cars and campervans arriving from a big adventure. The remaining are suitable for tents, but note: all are unpowered – so pack your essentials!
With the beach just minutes away, some awesome views and close access to the highway, it’s really an unbeatable location and should be on your list if you’re considering a road trip.
Here’s a bonus tip: on your way south, make sure to make a stop at Mount Defiance lookout for some photo-worthy views, and get up extra early to catch the sunrise.
Facilities at this campsite include toilets, BBQ, cooking shelter, a lookout and designated fire places, but you will need to bring your own firewood and drinking water. The campsite is easily accessible for 2WD vehicles, but the road beyond the campsite is suitable for 4WD vehicles only, please make sure your vehicle is suitable.
Since this campsite is hosted by Parks VIC, we recommend booking in advance at the Jamieson Creek Campground website.
Beauchamp Falls Reserve is located just 6 minutes drive from the small town of Beech Forest and about one hour from Apollo Bay. This area of the Otways National Park is littered with waterfalls, and makes for a great detour from the coast on your Great Ocean Road road trip.
It’s a small campground with about 15 sites, all unpowered, and the Great Ocean Road entrance is only recommended for 4WD vehicles.
Travelling by 2WD? Access the reserve via Beech Forest for a smoother ride.
As well as Beauchamp Falls (about 40 minutes hike from the campground), other local attractions include Hopetoun Falls, Congram Waterfall, The Redwoods, Otway Fly Treetop Adventures and Triplet Falls. Forget what TLC says about this last one – go chasing waterfalls!
We’ll see you there shortly!
Located about 10 minutes drive from Lorne, this small campground is a free camping option along the Great Ocean Road for those travelling on a budget, or for self sufficient campers that don’t mind getting in touch with nature and camping without amenities.
There are 6 unpowered sites at this campground – so it’s a first-serve basis – and there are no toilets or running water stations available. That being said, toilets, barbecues and picnic tables can be found in close proximity, right within the Sheoak Picnic Area.
Rosellas, cockatoos and other wildlife frequent this campground to make for a great photo opportunity, but please remember that feeding wildlife is not allowed.
Its proximity to Lorne and its beaches as well as forest walking tracks and waterfalls makes this campground a great option to consider for outdoor enthusiasts.
As mentioned above, this campground operates on a first come, first served basis – so no bookings are required. Learn more about Sharps Camping Area on their website, and add this one to your next free camping adventure.
See you soon!
Timboon Recreation Reserve is another free camping option along the Great Ocean Road, located in the small town of Timboon – about 20 minutes drive from Port Campbell.
The campground is free but gold coin donations are appreciated for staying at the campground and using the dumping point. Facilities include toilets, coin operated showers and running water, and all sites are unpowered and no bookings are necessary.
Timboon Recreation Reserve is a good place to stop overnight with several attractions nearby, such as Loch Ard Gorge (not to be missed), the Arch and London Bridge rock formations, and Port Campbell. Elsewhere, check out Timboon for a range of cute outlets including a local distillery, cheesery and ice creamery.
Enjoy your adventure!
We hope to have inspired you to try out some of these low cost and free camping options on your next road trip. If you’re looking to travel on a budget without compromising on comfort, travelling in a campervan is a great and cost effective option.
As always, please remember to respect the locals, take all your rubbish with you and leave the place better than you found it.
For a perfect starting point, Travellers Autobarn Melbourne can help you find the most suitable campervan model for your travels, or recommend other spots, such as the best free campgrounds in Victoria. Get in touch with the team, or book your adventure online – happy camping!