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Great Ocean Road Budget Camping for Families – Torquay to Lorne

The Great Ocean Road offers a special road trip opportunity, that allows families to make the most of some of Australia’s most unique landscapes and stunning coastline delivering a wilderness playground right at their fingertips.

Our feature series on the family travel along the Great Ocean Road began with a general introduction, and now continues on to some great budget family camping and cheap family accommodation ideas for a fulfilling family road trip adventure.

While it’s not possible to go Free Camping along the entire Great Ocean Road journey, it is possible to plan your trip to make the most of the options that are available. If you’re not familiar with some of the considerations that are important when free camping, then don’t forget to take a look at our free camping tips.

Due to the large  number of sites and camping options to cover, we’re breaking down our coverage into a couple of posts to make it easier to read through. The first is covering:

Free Camping Along the Great Ocean Road…. Part 1 Torquay to Lorne:

Free Camping from Torquay to Anglesea

The council has ruled that there is no Free camping within residential or commercial areas along The “Surf Coast” of Victoria, which encompasses the beginning of the Great Ocean Road near Torquay right through to the Lorne area, also taking in the towns of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. The region has quite strict rules when it comes to free camping, and has ruled that the only Free Camps are within National Parks across the region.

Camping is only allowed in allocated camp zones, and these are few and far between. For the most part, camping near Torquay, right thorugh to Aireys Inlet will need to be done within caravan parks. If you choose to take the risk to free camp, you can expect a $125 fine from the council rangers.

Bells Beach Victoria

Major caravan parks in the region are:

Torquay Campgrounds: Torquay Holiday Park, Torquay Foreshore Caravan Park and Jan Juc Holiday Park. Pricing starts at around $25 off peak/mid week for 2 adults. Basing on an average of 2 adults and 2 children for families, you can expect to pay from $40 to $70+ per night for a powered campsite. Unpowered sites are mainly offered during Peak seasons, but are available at some parks.

Anglesea Campgrounds: Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan Park with sites starting from around $31 – $71 depending on the season for a powered site with 2 people with extra charge for children. Big 4 Anglesea with family camping at powered sites costing from around $60+ per night

Tip: If you’re starting your Great Ocean Road travels from Late December right through January, then Barwon Heads which is not far from Torquay, offers Riverside camping with over 220 unpowered sites at a great price of only $220 per week for 2 adults and children included. This option is great for peak season travellers who are on a budget and are self sufficient.

 Free Camping from Aireys Inlet to Lorne

As we move down the Great Ocean Road toward National Park areas, free camping sites start to arise. These great spots are most commonly within National Parks, so will often be some way from the main road, and will generally require some level of self sufficiency whilst camping. Please be sure to take your own drinking water into these campgrounds.

Aireys Inlet Paid Campgrounds: Major park is: Aireys Inlet Holiday Park which offers camping for families around $40+ a night for 2 adults/2 Children in a powered campsite depending on the season.

Free Camping Near Aireys Inlet: Hammonds Road Campground (Great Otway National Park) is around 10kms from Aireys Inlet. There is around 9km of dirt road, offering 10 tent sites and 5 caravan and camper sites, it is open all year around  and has a 4wd recommendation. It offers drop toilets.Great Ocean Road - Erskine Falls

Lorne Paid Campgrounds: Lorne Foreshore Caravan Parks are 5 parks offering a range of camping options, all looked after from the same office. All camp sites are powered and range from around $43 + depending on the season for 2 adults and 2 children.

Free Camping Near Lorne: Big Hill Track (Great Otway National Park: Around 12 kms on the Lorne-Deans Marsh Rd . 20 campsites with access for caravans, campers in dry weather, and tents. Toilets available. Closed from June to end of October. Cora Lynn: Erskine Falls Road – Required to walk in approx 1km via Cora Lynn Cascades Foot track to 2 small camp spaces. Allenvale Mill Site: Allenvale Rd (Great Otway National Park): 20 campsites in forest beside creek, a short walk from car park, open year round, toilets available. Sharps Track – Via Allenvale Rd, turn onto Garvey track, then Sharps Track. No toilets, 8 camping spaces available, Access to Kalimna Falls, but no toilets are available here.

Just down the road from Lorne is Cumberland River Holiday Park – Paid camping sites for a family of 4 range from around $55 off peak, variable depending on the season.

Jamiesons Track is on the way South of Lorne and offers bush camping, without facilities. It’s accessible only by 4wd, subject to seasonal access.

View Great Ocean Road Camping for Little Aussie Travellers in a larger map

Use the map above to take a look at the locations for the camp grounds we’ve mentioned. The $ signs are paid campsites and the tent symbols offer free camping options.

It becomes quite obvious, that the more self sufficient you are as a camping family, the easier it is to find camping areas along this route. While some of the caravan parks along the way are pet friendly, it’s important to remember that travelling with dogs or other pets into the National Park is illegal, so it will make it impossible to camp there without making other arrangements for any pets you may be travelling with.

Next up we’ll be covering free and budget camping from Wye River, right through to Port Campbell. (We’ll update the post when it’s finished)



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Loreena Walsh

Loreena Walsh

Loreena is Founder of Little Aussie Travellers, Australia's leading blog dedicated to family travel around the country. An avid explorer, writer, photographer, nature lover, she's dedicated to inspiring through travel and stories.


  1. JR
    November 4, 2012 at 6:20 am — Reply

    This has been very helpful, thank you! :)

    • November 5, 2012 at 2:04 am — Reply

      No worries, and thank you so much for dropping by and leaving a comment, we appreciate every single one! Loreena x

  2. Warren
    December 27, 2012 at 12:02 am — Reply

    thanks alot, we’ll see how the crowds fair.

    • December 28, 2012 at 10:36 am — Reply

      Hope you have a great holiday! Thanks so much for dropping by :) let us know how u go :$

  3. T Gee
    December 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm — Reply

    Thanks exactly what I’ve been looking for. Much appreciated

    • December 28, 2012 at 10:37 am — Reply

      No worries, we’re glad to be of some help! Would love to hear about your travels :)

  4. Jamie
    January 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm — Reply

    Has anyone been to Johanna beach and camped there? It’s a bit further along again, but hopefully the crowds will be limited in the peak season. Great article, Cumberland River is the pick of the bunch in my opinion.

    • January 19, 2013 at 12:18 am — Reply

      We haven’t been Jamie, but we hear that it’s a wonderful camp ground from other travellers, so yes, Johanna Beach definitely is on the DO stay list! Enjoy your travels and thanks so much for stopping by :)

    • January 23, 2013 at 4:49 am — Reply

      Jamie, just in case you don’t get a notification of Tina’s reply, me writing it this way should notify you :)

      @ Jamie, I have been to Johanna beach with my 2 sons (9 and 12) and we loved it! Unbelievably few people for peak season and amazing beach camping. While the surf is dangerous to swim in, there is a river inlet to cool off in.

  5. Tina
    January 23, 2013 at 4:39 am — Reply

    Great website, thanks :)

    @ Jamie, I have been to Johanna beach with my 2 sons (9 and 12) and we loved it! Unbelievably few people for peak season and amazing beach camping. While the surf is dangerous to swim in, there is a river inlet to cool off in.

    • January 23, 2013 at 4:50 am — Reply

      Thanks so much for letting us know that Tina, it’s so great to hear from people that have tips and ideas for places we haven’t been yet! I’ve re-copied it so hopefully Jamie should get a notification in his email now x

  6. Jenny Stock
    March 23, 2013 at 7:18 am — Reply

    Excellent info ..we r planning trip down that way in the first week of April and we r wanting to visit all these places on our way to Adelaide…thanx :)

    • April 27, 2013 at 11:16 am — Reply

      Hi Jenny, glad to help with some info, how did your trip go? We’d love to hear all about it, you’re more than welcome to drop us a line :)

  7. Dan
    January 9, 2014 at 12:17 pm — Reply

    Hey, really enjoying using this site to research a trip, would love that update as soon as possible it sounds like exactly the information we need!! Great work! :)

  8. December 16, 2015 at 8:39 pm — Reply

    Great blog, well done.

  9. Rosemary
    January 5, 2016 at 7:18 pm — Reply

    I often stayed at Johanna Beach when it was free, has now become too expensive for me. But be careful to camp In the lee of the brush on the ocean side of the ground in late autumn or winter. The trade winds can be ferocoious if your tent is in the more open areas. One blustery night my walk in tent was being flattened with me in it every couple of minutes . Need to book and pay on the Parks Vic website. Glorious place!

  10. Alex Gary Davey
    March 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm — Reply

    What are your recommendations for sleeping in a car or camper van on the road side? I know that there are many places where signs say it is prohibited but is it actually enforced?

    • June 19, 2016 at 3:54 pm — Reply

      Hi, sorry for the delay in reply. We always camped in specified camping areas, there are so many great camping spots available that are free or super cheap that there’s not really much need to camp on the side of the road. Some spots are enforced if they say no camping, others are not, it will depend on the local council really. Of course there are some times when camping or sleeping in a rest area is necessary due to tiredness etc, but it’s better to plan ahead.
      For us, camping with 3 children illegally just wouldn’t be possible. The biggest issue is toileting, we always carry a porta potti with us, because there’s nothing worse than seeing people toilet in a camp or rest spot :( Also rubbish, so many people leave rubbish which ruins it for others.
      The only other thing to note is that we noticed a lot of spots that were listed as camps on wikicamps were actually truck stops. PLEASE don’t use truck stops to sleep overnight, the truck drivers really do need them. Be prepared to find that some spots just aren’t going to be suitable even though other people camp there illegally. Just try to be safe, be thoughtful and you’ll be fine :)

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