childers cove beach

The 10 Best Great Ocean Road Beaches

Australia is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and fortunately, many of them are Great Ocean Road beaches. All year round, visitors flock to admire the endless stretch of ocean and sand, great for sunbathing, surfing, or going for a stroll.

Those looking to surf can find great waves at many of the Great Ocean Road beaches which are popular stopovers on Great Ocean Road trips.  Whether you’re on a spontaneous trip or following the Great Ocean Road on map, your journey is bound to be filled with gorgeous beaches.

The 10 Best Great Ocean Road Beaches

The following are the best Great Ocean Road beaches, which you will find along this famous stretch of coastal road.

Bells Beach

Location: Bells Boulevard, Torquay, Victoria 3228 Australia

Bells Beach is a popular destination for surfers and travelers and one of the best beaches on Great Ocean Road trips. You can lay on the sand, enjoy the view from the lookout platforms or go for a surf.

bells beach surfer

The point break is what has made Bells Beach famous amongst surfers. It is a right-hand break that breaks in many places along the reef. They are known as Centerside, Rincon, Outside Bells and Bells’ Bowl. Each year the Rip Curl Surf Pro takes place at this Great Ocean Road beach.

Bells Beach is also a great place to go fishing – when there’s a low-tide it’s easy to fish from the reefs at each end of the beach. Undoubtedly, Bells Beach is one of the best beaches Torquay has to offer.

Swimming: Not recommended
Surfing: Yes

Facilities:

  • Car Park
  • Toilets

Places to Eat and Drink: There are no restaurants at Bells Beach. However, you’ll find endless options for Torquay restaurants located just 10 minutes from “Bells”.

Read Next: The Ultimate Guide to Bells Beach, Australia

Torquay Beach

Location: Torquay VIC 3228, Australia (across from Taylor Park)

One of the many beaches in Torquay, this Great Ocean Road stopover attracts high numbers of tourists. Perfect for surfers, there are permanent rips against the rocks at either end, and the southern rip which is often called the ‘Escalator’. 

torquay surf coast walk

Visitors can swim safely in the patrolled areas of the beach near Zeally Bay. However, avoid the rocks and strong rips, especially around Point Danger. If fishing is more your thing, there are also plenty of rockpools to explore, or you can take a relaxing walk along the beach. Torquay town is located directly behind the beach.

Swimming: Yes (patrolled zones near Zeally Bay)
Surfing: Yes

Facilities:

  • Parking
  • Picnic tables
  • Toilets and changing rooms
  • Wheelchair accessible toilet
  • Disability Access

Places to eat and drink: Behind the beach,Torquay town offers plenty of excellent restaurants, try out Salty Dog Cafe which is just a 5-minute walk, or Growlers Pub for a laid back meal.

Read Next: The Ultimate List of Things To Do in Torquay, Australia

Lorne Main Beach

Location: 170 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne VIC 3232, Australia

Lorne Main Beach is perfect for families traveling the Great Ocean Road, with plenty of facilities which can be enjoyed all year round. Located roughly an hour north of Apollo Bay, the sandy shoreline is sheltered and is the only coastline that is patrolled during the summer month. As such, it’s one of the safest beaches for swimming, boating, and other water sports. 

lorne great ocean road beach

Lorne Main beach can be enjoyed both on the sand or in the water by families, and the backdrop of gum trees and picnic areas. If you need a break from the sun, explore the center of Lorne, conveniently located just a few minutes away with a variety of cafes, restaurants, and shops.

Swimming: Yes
Surfing: Yes

Facilities:

  • Toilets and wheelchair-accessible toilets
  • Playground for children
  • BBQ area
  • Shelters
  • Picnic tables
  • Car park

Places to eat and drink: There are multiple restaurants in the area with some offering views over the beach. We love The Salty Dog Fish & Chippery or HAH for sustainable coffee and sweets.

Read Next: The Absolute Best Things to do in Lorne Australia

Fairhaven Beach

Location: Great Ocean Rd, Fairhaven VIC 3231, Australia

A quick half-hour drive west of Airey Inlet is Fairhaven Beach, a stunning 6 km stretch of sand and sea. The beach is excellent for surfing, with the best waves at the eastern end of the beach by the Surf Life Saving Club.

fairhaven beach

Waves average 1.5m, combined with medium grain sand, create a 200m wide surf zone containing 2 bars. Most surfers congregate towards Moggs Creek, The Spot (south of Fairhaven surf lifesaving club) and Spouts Creek.

Not so keen on surfing yourself? Fairhaven Beach is a great option if you want somewhere a little less crowded. Visitors can easily spend the day hanging out on the sand and catching rays in the sun. It is possible to swim at Fairhaven, but it’s important visitors stick to the patrolled area in front of the Surf Lifesaving Club since the rips can be very strong.

Swimming: Yes (in the patrolled area)
Surfing: Yes

Facilities:

  • Side of the road parking
  • Parking at Fairhaven Surf Club
  • Toilets

Places to eat and drink: There are no restaurants right by the beach but in nearby Aireys Inlet there are a number of great Aireys Inlet cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Johanna Beach

Location: Red Johanna Rd, Johanna VIC 3238

Located along the Great Ocean Road near Glenaire, west of Apollo Bay, is Johanna Beach. The area has camping, fishing and is popularly known amongst surfers. With 3.6 km of shoreline, it is one of the best surf beaches Great Ocean Road has to offer.

johanna great ocean road beach

The stretch of beach breaks is noted for its reputation for rapid jumps in size and is recommended for more experienced surfers (this is an unpatrolled beach). 

There are viewing areas overlooking the beach for those who want a clear view across the stunning coast, and grassy slopes with picnic areas for families to enjoy. Fishing is also a popular activity enjoyed here, particularly for pools of salmon. If you feel like camping, Johanna Beach government-run campground has 25-sites available to the public.

Surfing: Yes
Swimming: No

Facilities:

  • Toilets located on Old Coach Road
  • Picnic area
  • Car park
  • Camping Ground

Places to eat and drink: Though there’s no restaurants right on the beach, luckily there are some great options within a 15-minute drive. Check out Chi Medicinal Farm in Glenaire or The Shoppe in Lavers Hill.

Gibson Steps

Location: Port Campbell National Park, Great Ocean Rd, Port Campbell VIC 3269

Gibson Steps is a popular stop for Great Ocean Road travelers, with sweeping views from the 70-metre high vertical clifftop lookout overlooking the beach. Park your car at the Gibson Steps car park or make the 1-kilometer walk from the 12 Apostles via the path that connects the two locations. 

gibsons steps near the 12 Apostles a classic great ocean road beach

If the ride and swell conditions are safe, visitors can walk down the 86-steps and take a leisurely stroll or a relaxing sunbathe on the sand. Take a closer look at Gog and Magog, the nicknames given to the enormous limestone sea stacks towering out of the ocean. Fishing is a popular pass time here, but swimming is not advised as there is an extremely strong reef and rip holes.

Swimming: No
Surfing: No

Facilities:

  • Toilets located at the 12 Apostles Visitors Center
  • Car Park

Places to eat and drink:  There are a few restaurants within a short driving distance, including The Twelve Apostles Restaurant and Grassroots Deli Cafe in Port Campbell. 

Loch Ard Gorge Beach

Location: Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell, VIC 3269, Australia

Loch Ard Gorge Beach is another one of the best beaches along Great Ocean Road. The beach is part the Port Campbell National Park in regional Victoria and is named after a famous shipwreck in the area. The towering limestone cliffs paired with the brash rusty-colored sand makes it an impressive stop. 

Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Road beach

Visitors can stroll leisurely walk along the cove and explore the short walks in the area including the cemetery where the less fortunate shipmates were buried. Swimming is not recommended, even on calm days, as the currents are treacherous and the rocks unforgiving.

At dusk between October and April, Short-tailed Shearwaters (muttonbirds) flock home to their burrows at nearly Muttom Bird Island. Be sure to experience this incredible sight if you are in the area.

Swimming: No
Surfing: No

Facilities:

  • Multiple Car Parks
  • Nearest toilets at the 12 Apostles (3 min drive away)

Places to eat and drink: Just a 10-minute drive away, you’ll find lots of great eateries in Port Campbell

Port Campbell Beach

Location: 32 Cairns St, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia

A famous stopover on the Great Ocean Road map, Port Campbell beach runs 150 m long and is known as one of the only swimmable beaches along the coast. The beach is relatively safe with low waves, however, the water is deep close to the shore so swimming and bathing between the flags is advised at all times, with some parts being patrolled.

port campbell beach

Surfing is possible, though only during big swells does the reef off the eastern point allow for a rideable left for surfers. 

The green foreshore is dog-friendly, but dogs must stay off of the beach. The foreshore is a also a great place to stop for lunch with a takeaway order or just spend a day soaking up the sun.

Swimming: Yes
Surfing: Yes

Facilities:

  • Toilets on Cairns Street and in the Visitors Center
  • Car park and caravan park

Places to eat and drink: A number of great Port Campbell restaurants and cafes backing Port Campbell Beach.

Childers Cove Beach

Location608 Childers Cove Rd, Mepunga VIC 3277, Australia

Childers Cove is one of the best-secluded beaches Great Ocean Road has to offer. Due to its remote, difficult to access location, many tourists forego a trip to the bay – but they shouldn’t!

childers cove beach

To get there, follow the Great Ocean Road about 15kms west of the Bay of Islands until the turn off onto Childers Cove Road. Follow the next 7 kms through open farmland and you’re there!

Visitors will be rewarded with a beautiful cove, sandstone stacks and colorful limestone cliffs. Take the time to walk the sandy pathways, go for a swim, or cast a fishing line from the sandy shore or rocks. Swimming is generally safe, but visitors should stay away from the bays.

Swimming: Yes 
Surfing: Yes

Facilities:

  • Toilets
  • Steps and trails to beach access 

Places to eat and drink: Check out Childers Cove Cheese Company in nearby Mepunga or many restaurants in Warnambool roughly 20 minutes away by car. 

Logans Beach

Location: Logans Beach Road, Warrnambool, VIC 3280

As far as best beaches on the Great Ocean Road go, Logans Beach bay is perfect for those interested in spotting some sea life. Between June and September, female Southern Right whales return to Logan’s Beach bay to calve.

logans beach whale watching platform, warrnambool

The majestic whales often swim within 100 m of the shore, visitors can get spectacular views from the viewing platform east of the bay, or even from the sand below. In addition, it’s great to surf, but swimming in the ocean is not suitable. As far as wildlife spotting goes, Logans Beach is one of the Great Ocean Road best beaches.

Facilities:

  • Toilets located on Point Richie Road
  • Viewing platforms
  • Car Park

Swimming: No

Surfing: Yes

Places to eat and drink: There are many options in Warrnambool, for an awesome brunch check out Fishtales Cafe or Standard Dave for great pizza.

Read Next: Your Guide to Warrnambool Whale Watching

Whether you’re looking for the perfect swimming stop, the best waves to surf or you want to spot wildlife, Great Ocean Road beaches have got your covered. Be sure to explore this amazing stretch of coastline and discover your favorite beach along the map Great Ocean Road. Next up, the Kennett River Koala Walk, Great Otway National Park and more!

Which are your favourite Great Ocean Road beaches?


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