Arguably one of the best geological gems along Australia’s Great Ocean Road is the Grotto. Tucked away along the rugged coast near Port Campbell, Victoria, this incredible natural rock formation is a must-see for any Great Ocean Road drives near Port Campbell.
We’ve compiled everything there is to know about this stunning natural site. We cover how to get there, the best time to visit, what to bring, and more in your guide to visiting The Grotto, Victoria.
What is the Grotto?
The Grotto is one of Victoria’s most unique rock formations as well as a popular tourist attraction. It features distinct geological elements, combining a cave, sink-hole and archway all into one. Hundreds of years of crashing waves and high winds have eroded the rocks for hundreds of years. The result is a caved-sinkhole within the limestone cliffs.
The site is one of several stops along the Great Ocean Road Victoria, and is free to visit year-round. You can take it in from the viewing platform above and learn about the landscape via informational panels. From sea-level, you can look through the archway and admire the smooth rock pools inside. The calm , clear water inside the limestone pools contrasts the crashing waves of the ocean behind it.
Where is the Grotto Located?
The Grotto is located along the coast of the Great Ocean Road within Port Campbell National Park in Victoria.
From the town of Port Campbell, The Grotto is just a quick and easy 10-drive. To get there from the Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre, follow Discovery Fishing Track towards Tregea Street. Take a left and continue until you reach the roundabout. Take the 1st exit onto Great Ocean Road, and stay left after the first kilometer to stay on the Great Ocean Road. Continue for 8-kilometers until you see signs for the Grotto, where you can turn off to reach the carpack.
The Trail from Carpark to the Grotto
Grab your camera and gear and head down the walkway from the free carpack towards the upper-viewing deck. The path is a mix of compact gravel and boardwalk, and can be completed by visitors of all fitness levels as well as those with prams or wheelchairs.
Take in the scenic vistas from above before continuing down the wooden staircase to sea-level below, where you can enjoy the Grotto up close. Those with mobility issues should not use the stairs as they are fairly steep and can be slippery at times. Most visitors spend a 30-40 minutes visiting, but you can easily spend much longer enjoying the viewing platforms and capturing photographs.
Best Time to Visit the Grotto, Great Ocean Road
Lucky for you, the Grotto Victoria is open to visitors 24/7 year-round. Though the location is beautiful throughout the seasons, summer is a great time to visit Victoria as the weather is more mild, the waves aren’t as intense, and the warm sun is shining. Keep in mind that the weather in Port Campbell National Park changes constantly, so its best to check the forecast before you plan your day.
Low tide is the best time to visit the Grotto Victoria. You’ll be able to head down to the lower viewing platform where you can admire the arch and rock pools as well as the ocean beyond. We do not recommend visiting the Grotto at high tide is can be dangerous, especially if it’s windy.
As for the time of day, early morning or sunset are ideal for visiting the Grotto. Not only will the lighting be more flattering for photos, there will also be fewer tourists crowding the area. Avoid visiting around 3pm when most tour buses from Melbourne come through Port Campbell National Park stop by.
Tips for Visting the Grotto, Great Ocean Road
For the best experience at the Grotto, it’s best to come prepared. We recommend wearing sturdy footwear as the stairs leading down to the Grotto can be slippery. Keep to the designated pathways, and do not venture onto the clifftops as they can be very unstable.
Though the area is more sheltered than others in Victoria, you may find yourself getting splashed by waves. Sudden rainshowers are also not uncommon in Port Campbell National Park, so you’ll want to pack a change of clothes should you need them. Though rainshowers typically only last 15-30 minutes, allow for some extra time should you need to wait it out.
With so many photo opportunities in the area, be sure your camera or phone battery is fully charged. We also recommend bringing a small microfiber cloth to wipe off any spray that may blur your photos.
While you’re in the area, check-out some of the other incredible geological rock formations that Port Campbell National Park has to offer, such as the Twelve Apostles. From the Grotto, we recommend checking out the London Bridge and The Arch, both of which are just 3-minutes away by car.
If you still got time, check out The Arch, a stunning rock archway formed by years of erosion. It is especially beautiful in the afternoon when the sun casts a golden hue against the rocks and the waves crash against it, spraying water through the opening.
The London Bridge is another unique offshore rock formation within Port Campbell National Park. The London Bridge was once a double bridge connected to the mainland, though one section collapsed in 1990. Today, visitors can enjoy the stunning formation from two viewing platforms.
Whether you’re driving the Great Ocean Road in 2-days or are taking your time to explore this incredible coast line, don’t miss The Grotto. The unique sinkhole, cave formation is quintessential to Port Campbell National Park’s coastline landscape and is best appreciated up close. Next up, check out the 12 Apostles Great Ocean Road!