Kennett River and Wye River are two tiny, coastal towns along the Great Ocean Road which share a lot of similarities and only 6 km of road between them. They are frequented by holidaymakers and some of Australia’s most iconic animals.
Finding lookouts over rugged coastlines, getting lost in eucalyptus forests, and camping under the stars are only some of the great things to do in the Kennet River, Wye River area.
Make sure you have enough of Lorne’s famous fish and chips in your belly before embarking on the Lorne to Kennett River section of the Great Ocean Road, as this stretch of coastline is some of the best.
Location of Kennett River and Wye River
The small seaside towns of Kennett River and Wye River are situated about 65km southwest of Torquay and about a 2 ½ hour drive from Melbourne.
The Melbourne-Warrnambool regional bus services the Wye River area before heading towards Apollo Bay. However, be aware that the ride can take up to 4 hours!
Things to do in Kennett River and Wye River
There is a wide array of things to do in Kennett River and Wye River. If you want to experience nature at its finest check out these activities.
Take a break at the Mount Defiance Lookout
The Mount Defiance Lookout point is located about 10km from Wye River and about halfway between Lorne and Wye River. This scenic viewpoint is one of the best along the Great Ocean Road!
Once there, you’ll be treated to views of the coastline and lush green cliffs. However, the parking lot is very small so be careful when trying to find a spot. Especially in the busy summer months.
Hike the Cumberland River Trail
If you are up for a hike consider embarking on the Cumberland River Trail before or after visiting the Mountain Defiance Lookout. The trailhead is located just 2 kilometers east of the Mount Defiance Lookout at the Cumberland River Holiday Park.
The Cumberland River Trail passes through one of the area’s lushest valley’s. You will pass by the Cumberland River and many waterfalls including Cumberland Falls and the Upper and Lower Kalimna Falls.
However, the 20.5 km long Cumberland River Trail can really pose a challenge even for advanced hikers. Depending on the time of year there can be many river crossings. So exercise caution and hike with a buddy if you are embarking on this trail.
Stroll Along the Kennett River Koala Walk
The Great Ocean Road Koala Walk is one of the best places to spot Koala Bears in all of Australia. Along Grey River Road, a large population of these marsupials eat, live, and mostly sleep, on the gum trees above.
The walk itself is lovely but the chance to spot koalas means it should be one of your first things to do in the Kennett River.
However, the free walk can get busy during the day. So get there early or visit in low season if you want to have the Kennett River Koala Walk all to yourself.
To start the walk, navigate to the Kennett River Holiday Park and General Store. You will be able to park at the General Store.
You will spot the Kennett River Koala Walk between the Holiday Park and the General Store. If you are unsure the General Store staff are happy to point you in the right direction. Otherwise, there is a street sign that makes the way.
It is an operational street which leads to a couple of holiday homes. However, we don’t recommend you go searching for koalas from your car. You will have much better luck spotting them on your own two feet. More often then not you can spot a koala dozing above in the first ten minutes.
Read Next: The Kennett River Koala Walk: The Best Place to See Koalas on the Great Ocean Road
Observe the Birds in Kennett River
At the Kennett River General Store and along the Kennett River Koala Walk you can spot a variety of colorful birds. Cockatoos, King Parrots, Eastern Rosellas, and Kookaburras are amongst the most popular.
The Kennett River General sells birdseed to feed many of them out of hand. However, we strongly suggest that you do not partake in this activity. It alters the animal’s natural environment and can lead to their injury or illness.
Due to the varied wildlife and population of Koalas, Kennett River and the Great Ocean Road Koala Walk are protected sites.
Find a Platypus at Lake Elizabeth
Lake Elizabeth’s serene settings are just a 1-hour drive inland from the Kennett River, Wye River Region. After the ride, leave everything in the car aside from your camera, water, and some snacks. Then take up the 1-km hike that links the parking lot with Lake Elizabeth.
Once there, relax and look out for the lake’s most elusive and peculiar inhabitant, the Platypus!
For the best chances of spotting platypi swimming just beneath the lake’s surface head to Lake Elizabeth at dusk or dawn. The soft light over the lake can offer great photo opportunities and the platypi are most active at that time.
Strolling towards the lake, don’t miss the chance to scan the gum trees for sleeping koalas. Lake Elizabeth is only a few kilometres North of the Kennett River Koala Walk and the colonies of marsupials tend to hang out here as well.
You have much better chances of spotting a platypus with a tour. Otway Eco Tours combine responsible platypi watching with guided dusk tours to spot the Glow Worms of Kennett River. The platypus canoeing tours are limited to small groups to prevent disturbing the setting as much as possible. So book ahead to avoid being disappointed.
Visit the Cape Patton Lookout Point
Cape Patton is arguably one of the best photo-stops along the Great Ocean Road. It can be reached via a 9-minute drive from Kennett River. The viewpoint is 90 meters above sea level and towers over the coastline.
Pack a picnic and soak in the bird’s eye view of the Great Ocean Road stretching before you. On clear days, you can even see Apollo Bay in the distance.
There is an informative plaque at the Cape Patton Lookout Point. It provides unique insight into some of the Great Ocean Roads’ most interesting history.
Enjoy Kennett River Beach
Come spend a day at Kennett River Beach. It is only about 200 meters in length but it is one of the few patrolled beaches along the Great Ocean Road. The horseshoe shape of the beach means it is moderately safe for swimming since it is not exposed to the open oceans.
Kennett River Beach is located just in from of the Kennett River Holiday Park. For the surfers, there are a few reliable pointbreaks out front including Kennett Point.
Read Next: The 10 Best Great Ocean Road Beaches
Fishing on the Kennett River
If you are more of a thinker than a walker, nestle up on the banks of one of the creeks to Kennett River. Among the species that populate the area, fishermen can catch trouts, short-finned eels, and Australian salmon. This is one of the things to do in the Kennett River if a day of relaxation is what you are after.
Find the right spot and you might even be able to spot the Glow Worms of Kennett River before returning to the home with fresh-caught fish to grill!
Pick a Hike in Wye River
Aside from the Great Ocean Road Koala Walk, there are some lesser-known paths in the area between Wye River and Separation Creek. Some of the Wye River walks, such as Paddy’s Path and Riverwalk are great for family and kids.
If you are looking for a challenge, head for the 2 hours uphill Wye Track. The workout will help you sweat off all those road trip snacks calories!
The main access to these hikes is through the Great Ocean Road. However, be aware that the phone signal is poor in the area. Make sure to have a GPS and map with you throughout the path.
Explore the Wye River Coastline
The Twin Hamlets’ coastline is a 1-km stretch of sandy beach bordered by dramatic cliffs that link the towns of Wye River and Separation Creek. The cafes along the road sell some of the best lattes in the area and the Wye Beach Hotel welcomes visitors with the most charming pub in Australia. We find it hard to believe the place is never crowded!
In Wye River, the surf is reliable and perfect for beginners. Main Beach offers a protected area for newbies to try out surfing. While experts and intermediate surfers can head out to the point to find challenging barrels.
Marinelife Watching in Kennett River
After securing your spot in the Kennett River Foreshore Reserve camping site, head for the cliff’s edge and get comfy! The coastline between Kennett River and Apollo Bay is one of the best spots for whale and dolphin watching.
Between May and October, the marine wildlife can get as close as 100 meters to the shore in front of the Holiday Park.
If the Kennett River fishing is not your thing, you don’t have to miss out on getting close to wildlife! Be ready with binoculars and enjoy the view of Southern Right Whales, dolphins, and seals jumping out of the water at sunset. Among the things to do in the Kennett River, this one can be ticked off with a glass of wine in your hand!
Kennett River Camping
When most people think of the area, they usually associate it with camping or staying at one of the holiday parks in Kennett River. Both the Kennett River Family Caravan Park and BIG4 Wye River are located just a short distance from the beach and offer camping sites and self-contained units.
The Kennett River Family Caravan Park has units with ocean views, a BBQ area and tennis courts on site. It is well connected to local hiking trails and sometimes koalas and other native birds wander onto the property.
The BIG4 Wye River is located along the river and has beautiful self-contained units and great facilities for the kids. They have an inflatable jumping pillow, a children’s playground and a games room.
Kennett River Accommodation
Kennett River is also home to a number of great airbnbs and holiday homes accommodation. Some of our favourite Kennett River accommodations include the following.
Cape Wye is a beachfront holiday home, nestled into the hillside with floor-to-ceiling windows and sea views. There is room for up to 10+ people, making it perfect for a family vacation or a time away with a group of friends. There is a great deck overlooking the ocean and a fireplace for winter nights in Kennett River.
Sea Ranch is a luxurious seafront Kennett River accommodation option. The holiday home is well equipped and the furnishings are modern and minimalist. It can accommodate up to 10+ plus to enjoy the view with.
Wye’s Choice is another great choice for big groups. It has a rustic vibe and a large deck surrounded by greenery with views of the ocean. One of the perks is that this house is pet-friendly too, so feel free to bring your furry friends!
The variety of things to do in the Kennett River, Wye River stretch of the Great Ocean Road makes it a stopping point that should not be missed. The koalas, platypi, whales, dolphins, and seals that populate the coastline and forests entertain expert bushwalkers and families alike.
Have you been to the Kennett River? Do you have any activity to suggest? Leave a comment below!