Great Otway National Park
Stretching along the jagged sea cliffs and sandy shores of southern Victoria, Great Otway National Park boasts some of Australia’s most magnificent coastal scenery. Serious hikers tackle the 100-km Great Ocean Walk in sections, soaking up seaside culture in Apollo Bay, maritime history at the Cape Otway Lighthouse, and ancient grandeur at the Twelve Apostles rock formations. Read more...
Stretching along the jagged sea cliffs and sandy shores of southern Victoria, Great Otway National Park boasts some of Australia’s most magnificent coastal scenery. Serious hikers tackle the 100-km Great Ocean Walk in sections, soaking up seaside culture in Apollo Bay, maritime history at the Cape Otway Lighthouse, and ancient grandeur at the Twelve Apostles rock formations. Surfers ride the world-class waves at famous Bells Beach and Johanna Beach, while families flock to the sheltered coves and rockpools around the horn of Cape Otway.In the hinterland, waterfalls burst through lush fern gullies near leafy Lorne, and koalas perch high in the eucalypt and beech forests surrounding Lake Colac and Beauchamp Falls. Located less than three hours from Melbourne—and with many free, first-come first-served campsites—the “Otways” make a great last-minute getaway.
- Best for surfers and dogs: The breaks at Johanna Beach Campground make it a great surfing stop along the Great Ocean Road. Plus, on-leash dogs are welcome.
- Best for fishing and wildlife: The Aire River East and West Campgrounds sit on the banks of a serene estuary teeming with fish and birdlife.
- Best for families: Bring the kids to swim in sheltered waves and snorkel around rockpools at Cape Otway’s Blanket Bay Campground.
Tips for Snagging a Campsite Reservation
- The 22 campsites at Blanket Bay always fill up quickly, especially during summer and school holidays. Be ready to snag your spot by checking the peak season release dates on the Parks Victoria website.
- If you’re planning to tackle the Great Ocean Walk, book well ahead at the seven hike-in campsites along the way, as space is limited.
- Beauchamp Falls, Wye River, Meredith Park, Dando’s, Stevensons Falls, and Aire Crossing camping areas are first-come first-served, so plan to arrive early. There are no fees for these campsites.
When to Go
Peak season begins with Melbourne Cup weekend (the last weekend in October) and runs through January. Easter and Labour Day weekends are also busy. For lighter crowds and lower fees, go mid-week or in February and March. In springtime, the heathlands around Anglesea are covered with vibrant blooms. Winter is prime whale-watching season, but be prepared for coastal wind and chilly temps.
Know Before You Go
- Most campgrounds in Great Otway National Park are basic, and none have showers.
- Bring your own drinking water.
- Check the Parks Victoria website for any road closures and other updates.
- Fires are banned at many camping areas, so check restrictions and plan to cook on a gas stove. Check the Parks Victoria website for Total Fire Ban days.