great ocean road camping

The Ultimate Guide to Camping Along the Great Ocean Road – Free Camping, Paid Campsites & Caravan Parks

Whether you are into trekking, bushwalking, or scenic road trips, the southern coast of Victoria is the ultimate playground for outdoor lovers. Camping on the Great Ocean Road is a great way to reconnect with nature, discover the many picturesque trails that twist around creeks and ridges, and explore the rugged coastline in a truly unique way. 

Thanks to the many camping sites and caravan parks on the Great Ocean Road, this 243km-long stretch of road has become the perfect destination for the most epic camping journeys.

great ocean road camping

For something different, check out merging your love for camping under a starry sky with a cycling trip, check out our bike ride itinerary. Alternatively, check out what to expect from your Great Ocean Walk experience and learn about all the best Great Ocean Road attractions that are hidden along the way!

Types of Campsites on the Great Ocean Road

No matter whether you started your journey from Melbourne or Warrnambool, or you are just following a quick 3-days itinerary, there are campsites on the Great Ocean Road for any budget and taste. In this article, we will guide you through the best ones, how to reach them, and what you should expect once there. Here are the types of campsites offered on the Great Ocean Road:

  • Free Camping Sites
  • Victoria Parks Campsites
  • Private (paid) Campsites
  • Caravan Parks

Free Camping on the Great Ocean Road

If you are traveling on a budget, there is no better way to save money while on your trip to Victoria than free camping on the Great Ocean Road. Free campsites dot the whole itinerary, they require no fee or booking, but they come with a couple of downsides that you want to keep into consideration.

The facilities provided on any site for free camping on Great Ocean Road are usually very limited compared to private campgrounds. While definitely providing a great value for money, free campsites are often un-powered and only a few provide toilets and shower facilities.

Camping in Australian bush

Free campsites on the Great Ocean Road often work on a first come first serve basis, which means that if you have been on the road for a little longer than you were meant to, you might find it hard to secure a space.  

List of Free Campsites Great Ocean Road

Allenvale Mill Bush Campground

Google Maps Address

Due to its proximity to Lorne and the St. George River Walk, this is one of the best spots for free camping on Great Ocean Road.

This campground is reachable with a 6 minutes drive from Lorne. Camping here is on a first-come-first-serve basis and there are 16 spaces suitable for tents only. Cars have been banned from the area, but you can drop yours at the nearby car park and then spend the night here in your tent. In the Allenvale Mill Bush Campground, you can find drop toilets and numbered pitches.

Sharps Camping Area

Google Maps Address

Located 12 minutes drive (5km) inland from Lorne, camping here will require you to be self-contained as there are no toilet facilities. The area is split into two sections, one dedicated to tents only, one accessible by caravans and vans as well. 

This campground is perfect to explore the nature around Lorne as it is located just off Henderson Falls, Won Wondah Waterfall, and Phantom Falls. The nearby Sheoak Picnic Area has toilet facilities.

Big Hill Track Campground, Lorne 

Google Maps Address

If you are looking for free campsites on Great Ocean Road that don’t require you to be self-contained, here you can find long-drops toilets. However, there are no water facilities so it is recommended that you bring your own.

This campground has 12 sites, split into two sections, one accessible by all caravans, vans, and motorhomes, the other one dedicated to tents only. The sites are all on a first-come-first-serve base and the campground is closed seasonally from the 1st of June to the 31st of October. 

If you like king parrots visiting your tent every now and then, this a great place for the best Lorne camping experience.

Hammond Road Campground

Google Maps Address

Located 16 minutes drive away (12km) from Aireys Inlet and 20 minutes away from the Memorial Arch that marks the beginning of your journey, this is one of the best free campsites, Great Ocean Road. Here you can find drop-toilets, fire-pits, and BBQ facilities. The campground is split into sections to accommodate around 20 campervans, vans, motor-homes, and tents. 

Stevenson’s Falls Free Campground

Google Maps Address

This is one of the most inland sites for camping in Great Ocean Road. Located 43 minutes north-east from Apollo Bay and just under an hour away from Kennett River, the site boasts 50 pitches, each of them equipped with a fire-pit but unpowered, and basic toilet facilities. While this is one of the best spots for free camping on Great Ocean Road, it can be extremely crowded at peak times.

Stevenson’s is one of the best free campsites (Great Ocean Road) due to its proximity to the scenic Stevensons Falls. Don’t miss out on a hike here!

Beauchamp Falls Campsite

Google Maps Address

At 55 minutes’ drive from the coast, here you can find toilets, fire pits, and BBQ facilities deep within the rainforest.

This is one of the best campgrounds for your Apollo Bay Camping experience! The site is located just off the beautiful Beauchamp Falls, one of the marvels of the Otways National Park.

Dandos Camp Ground

Google Maps Address

Located only 40 minutes inland from Skenes Creek, Dando’s is one of the all-time-favorite free campsites on the Great Ocean Road for families with kids. In fact, here you can find toilets, BBQ facilities, and even a playground. 

The nearby grassy area makes for the perfect picnic spot.

Aire Crossing Campsite

Google Maps Address

If you are looking for a peaceful spot just off Apollo Bay, camping here is definitely a great experience. There are only 5 pitches so you need to secure your place much earlier than you would normally. In this campsite, you can find drop toilets but unfortunately, no fires are allowed at this idyllic site.

The area is famous for glow worms, so don’t miss out on a walk at dusk. The campsite is located by the Triplets Waterfall, which you can even swim in!

Panmure Campground

Google Maps Address

Located only 20 minutes’ drive from Warrnambool, this is a great spot for camping on Great Ocean Road, near one of the last stops of your journey. One of the unique perks of this Campground is that here you can find flush toilets as well as playgrounds for kids and BBQ facilities.

The swimming spot nearby won’t leave you short of a refreshing morning swim! 

Victoria Parks Campsites, Great Ocean Road

After a long day on the road or hiking along the Great Ocean Walk, everything you want is to relax under a starry sky or enjoying an evening BBQ. Well, there is no better place in the area than in the campsites located within Victoria Parks.

great ocean road camping

Whether you are looking at camping on the Great Ocean Road away from the crowds or you prefer to enjoy a night in a luxury tent, here there is something for you.

Everything You Need to Know About Victoria Parks Campsites

Parks Victoria created 6 campsites along the Great Ocean Road with the needs of the hikers attempting the long-distance Great Ocean Walk in mind. Each campsite is completely unique and boasts diverse facilities, but they are all located in the heart of unspoiled natural surroundings.

Here are the ones you will find on your trip:

Lake Elizabeth Campground

Google Maps Address

This is one of the best campsites on Great Ocean Road and one of the first ones you meet after beginning your journey. Here dogs are permitted on leads, there are toilets, BBQ and picnic facilities, and 20 pitches. The mobile reception in this Otways camping site is quite poor.

Lake Elizabeth is located just 1 km from the grounds. Here you can admire Platypus during the day and glow worms at nighttime.

Cost: $14.50 per night per pitch.

Blanket Bay Campground

Google Maps Address

If a Blanket Bay camping experience is on your bucket list, you should definitely tick it off with this stunning spot for camping in Great Ocean Road. These grounds include 22 campsites which can accommodate up to 6 people each. The campsites are unpowered and suitable for tents, caravans, and motor-homes. This is one of the many Great Ocean Road caravan parks where is recommended to book in advance.

Located on the shore just outside the stunning Otway National Park, this is one of the best spots for camping on the Great Ocean Road or for an Otways camping experience. Here you can immerse yourself in nature and admire the rugged coastline from atop a ridge at sunset.

Cost: $14.50 per night per pitch.

Parker Hill Campground

Google Maps Address

There are 20 campsites on these grounds, all of them are unpowered. If you are looking for a comfortable but scenic overnight stop during your Otways camping trip, here you can find toilets and a semi-private beach.

This is one of the best spots for camping on the Great Ocean Road to start or end your Otways camping experience. Here you can admire koalas, kangaroos, and much, much more wildlife. A climb down 300 steps will also take you from your tent to the beach!

Cost: $14.50

Aire River East and West Campgrounds

Google Maps Address

These two campsites, Great Ocean Road’s finest, located on the banks of the Aire River are incredibly scenic. Here you can find 40 unpowered campsites. Only some of these are suitable for large caravans and advance booking and payment are required.

The heritage-listed Aire River nearby makes this spot one of the favourites by fishing aficionados as here you can catch bream, salmon, mullet, trout, and much more! 

Cost: $14.50

Johanna Beach Campground

Google Maps Address

If your dream is beach camping, Victoria has a few treats in store for you. One of these is the stunning Johanna Beach camping site. Here you can find 25 sites and drop-toilets but no showers or available drinking water. 

This is an incredibly popular spot for experienced surfers. Even if you are not too keen on surfing off an unpatrolled beach, don’t miss out on spending a night at the Johanna Beach camping site.

Cost: $14.50

Private Campsites on the Great Ocean Road

While camping on the Great Ocean Road, sometimes, the limited facilities of free campgrounds can take a toll on you, especially during a long journey. This is why you might want to stop for a night or two at one of the many private (or paid) campsites on the Great Ocean Road.

camping along the great ocean road

Most of these will be able to supply useful services such as charging points and showers. But how do you pick the ones that are worth paying for? Let’s have a look at where to spend your money and get a good night’s sleep!

The Best Private Campsites

Private campgrounds offer the utmost comfort when it comes to camping. These are the best private campgrounds along the Great Ocean Road.

Killarney Beach Camping Reserve

Google Maps Address

With 15 powered and 53 unpowered campsites, a playground, BBQ sheltered facilities, and pet access, this is one of the most loved campsites towards the end of the Great Ocean Road by families and couples alike.

The beautiful Killarney beach is located only a stone’s throw from the campsite and Warrnambool and Port Fairy are just around the corner from your pitch.

Price: $30 powered / $25 unpowered

Princetown Recreation Reserve 

Google Maps Address

This is a great site if you have decided to live the ultimate Port Campbell camping experience. Aside from being located in an amazing spot near Port Campbell, this site boasts hot showers, powered and unpowered campsites, a playground, laundry facilities, and even a tennis court!

Located a short drive away from the scenic 12 Apostles, this is definitely the best one of campsites on the Great Ocean Road if you are planning an early morning visit to this natural marvel. And keep an eye out for the kangaroos that visit the camp often!

Price: $20 for unpowered /  $25 for powered. The site accepts cash only.

Timboon Recreation Reserve

Google Maps Address

While extremely cheap, this Port Campbell camping spot has everything you need: drinking water, toilets, dump point, and showers.

Its location within the stunning Timboon Recreation Reserve makes it unique. If you have only a few days left of your journey, this is the perfect base to explore Port Campbell and the 12 Apostles. From here, your next stop should be the nearby Peterborough camping site.

Price: runs on donations. The suggested price is $5

Cumberland River Holiday Park

Google Maps Address

Cumberland River Holiday Park offers cedar cabins as well as camping grounds. Here you can enjoy over 80 well-grassed unpowered sites. The grounds also offer hot showers at the price of 20 cents for 5 minutes of water.

Cumberland River Holiday Park is one of the few campsites on the Great Ocean Road that are built by the river edge and create a magical atmosphere just a few minute’s drive from Mount Defiance and Teddy’s Lookout points.

Price: from $40

Caravan Parks on the Great Ocean Road

If you are looking at finding the perfect mix between comfort and mesmerizing natural surroundings while camping on the Great Ocean Road, your choice should be staying at one of the many Caravan Parks that dot this stunning coastal stretch.

great ocean road caravan park

Most of the caravan parks on the Great Ocean Road are fully equipped to welcome any sort of travelers, from families to couples to solo travelers. Here you can always find a hot shower, playground, and, in some cases, laundry facilities. Keep in mind that in most of Great Ocean Road caravan parks booking in advance is recommended!

Kennett River Holiday Park

Google Maps Address

This Caravan Park offers great accommodation options for families or couples either powered or unpowered. This campsite does not accept pets, but it is one the most conveniently located if you are on an Apollo Bay to Torquay camping trip.

Surrounded by the Otways National Park and located a few minutes away from a pristine beach, this is one of the best spots for camping on Great Ocean Road just off the world-famous Kennett River Koala Walk. 

Price: $35 per night for a powered site, $41 for unpowered. Cabins start at $130 per night.

Port Campbell Holiday Park

Google Maps Address

If you need to relax in a great caravan park on the Great Ocean Road after a long day of hiking, the TV room, kitchen, and all the home comforts of this camp will make you feel like a new person in no time.

If you are looking at living the ultimate port Campbell camping experience, this is one of the greatest caravan parks on the Great Ocean Road. A short drive from this Port Campbell caravan park will take you to the heart of the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch, The Grotto, and the scenic Port Campbell Discovery Walk.

Price: $35 for a powered site, cabins start at $120

Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park

Google Maps Address

Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park offers one of the best views of all Great Ocean Road Caravan parks and it is composed of 5 different areas. Here you can find all the facilities you might need during your Lorne camping trip. Note, the Kia Ora Park is open only to permit holders.

Located just off the city center and a short drive away from the breathtaking Teddy’s Lookout, this Lorne caravan park is perfect to relax after a day of hiking, camping, Great Ocean Road tours, or outdoor activities.

Price: starts at $40

Anglesea Family Caravan Park

Google Maps Address

With a pool, kids’ playground, and a mini-golf course, this is one of the most loved caravan parks on Great Ocean Roads by kids and adults alike. If you prefer to do your food shopping in town, Anglesea is easily reachable with a few minutes’ walk.

Are you planning an Anglesea camping trip? There is no better way to start it than from this caravan park. Here you will be close to the world-famous Bells Beach and the beautiful Anglesea Heath. For the best experience, merge your trip with a Torquay camping detour or visit the nearby Aireys Inlet Holiday Park.

Price: $55 for powered sites, cabins start at $150

Torquay Foreshore Caravan Park

Google Maps Address

Located right in the heart of the town, this is a great caravan park if you are planning a Torquay camping holiday. Here you can enjoy an indoor game room, outdoor playgrounds, a kitchen, and cabins and pitches, a fishing platform, and clean bathroom facilities.

Located just off the town center and a few minutes drive from the iconic Bells Beach, this Caravan park is great regardless of whether you are an experienced surfer or not!

Price: Starting from $65

Apollo Bay Holiday Park

Google Maps Address

Apollo Bay Holiday Park is one of the most luxurious caravans parks on the Great Ocean Road and ready to exceed all the expectations you had from your Apollo Bay camping trip! Here you can enjoy a swimming pool, a new bathroom and kitchen facilities, and a kids’ playground.

As their motto states, they are the “only holiday parking within walking distance of the town center”. If you like to be at the center of the action throughout the day but be able to relax in pristine nature, this is the place for you!

Price: Starting from $100

Things to Consider While Camping the Great Ocean Road

While camping on the Great Ocean Road, there are a few things that you should keep in mind throughout your journey. Here are some tips to make your journey unforgettable!

Safety While Camping Along the Great Ocean Road

  • Phone reception: it can be particularly weak at times, especially because holiday parks and campsites, Great Ocean Road’s greatest asset, are often hidden away among nature. It is a good idea to travel with a radio, whistle, map, and compass.
  • Be wary of fires (Great Ocean Road): while camping in Great Ocean Road, fires are usually only a seasonal problem. Keep yourself updated about this issue throughout your journey.
  • Natural Surroundings: it is not uncommon to encounter snakes, spiders, koalas, and kangaroos while camping. While wild camping in Great Ocean Road’s area is not legal, in private or free campsites it is normal to be close to wildlife. Take all the precautions you need in this case, and opt for a rooftop tent to be safer!
  • Food and Water: not all the camping sites will have drinking water and food options, so make sure to have enough with you before stopping overnight.

Weather Along the Great Ocean Road Australia

  • Summer: Summer in Victoria is characterized by incredibly high temperatures. If you are looking at camping or sleeping in a tent this can make your trip much more difficult. Opt for a camping Great Ocean Road trip in Spring or Autumn for the best temperatures.
  • Winter: While it is never particularly cold, winter can bring strong winds and storms. If you are planning a camping holiday, it is recommended to use a caravan or motor-home instead then a tent at this time of the year.

Read Next: Great Ocean Road Weather and The Best Time to Visit

Pros of Camping the Great Ocean Road

  • Camping on the Great Ocean Road is the cheapest accommodation option in Victoria.
  • If you are traveling on a budget, free camping on the Great Ocean Road can reduce your expenditures.
  • You will be able to get face to face with the incredible wildlife of Victoria including kangaroos, koalas, platypus, glow worms, and much more.
  • You have the freedom to explore every corner of the Great Ocean Road at your own time.
  • The location of many of the camping sites allows you to spend a night in some of the most beautiful natural surroundings of Australia.

Cons of Camping Great Ocean Road

  • If you are looking at embarking on a Great Ocean Walk camping experience, you will need a camping permit for the whole length of your journey.
  • Some camping sites require a permit to stay the night or allow for only 1-night stays. Check with you accommodation in advance.
  • You will be subjected to weather conditions.
  • Especially free campsites on Great Ocean Road will offer limited facilities.
  • If halfway through your driving day you have decided to be camping, Great Ocean Road free campsites are bound to be particularly busy by late afternoon. 

The beautiful spots for camping on the Great Ocean Road have made Victoria a paradise for hikers, trekkers, and campers. Here there are accommodation options for anybody with a tent, caravan, motor-home, and RV.

Just don’t forget to book in advance or stop at your chosen free campsites on the Great Ocean Road in time to secure your place. Are you planning your Great Ocean Walk camping trip? Let us know!

Where is your favourite place to camp along the Great Ocean Road Australia?


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