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.
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.
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)