Soak up the views along one of the world’s most epic drives.
Australia’s most spectacular drive, the Great Ocean Road takes you along the wild and windswept coastline of the Southern Ocean, past world-class surfing breaks and isolated beaches, through pristine rainforest and charming seaside towns, and to the famed rugged limestone stacks known as the Twelve Apostles. The 151-mile (243-kilometer) drive starts at Torquay and ends at Allansford is a popular daytrip from Melbourne but Hipcampers can make the most of the scenery by slowing down and settling in to some of the great camping sites, from beaches to bush, along the way.
Surfers won’t want to skip Torquay: Next to Bells Beach, it’s famed for its big swells and hosts the world's best surfers at the annual Rip Curl Pro, held around Easter. Those who prefer to stay on dry land can embark upon the 27-mile (44-kilometer) Surf Coast Walk to Airey’s Inlet. A little farther south, Lorne has inviting white-sand beaches and a relaxed atmosphere, and is a great place to see migrating whales between May and September. Powered sites at the centrally located Torquay Holiday Park have access to a heated swimming pool, camp kitchen, and laundry, while, just south of Lorne, Cumberland River Reserve is set in lush surroundings and has unpowered sites with access to hot showers, laundry, and barbecues.
Set at the foothills of the Otways, the little town of Apollo Bay is a great place to base yourself for embarking on walks into the hinterland and around Great Otway National Park, as well as for exploring the 65-mile (104-kilometer)-long Great Ocean Walk, which starts in Apollo Bay and ends at Gibson Steps near the Twelve Apostles. This is also a great spot for wildlife spotting: Look out for platypus at Lake Elizabeth and koalas around Kennett River Holiday Park, which has powered and unpowered sites with access to laundry, camp kitchen, and barbeques. Just outside Apollo Bay, Marengo Holliday Park is similarly well-equipped, while the more adventurous can find basic hike-in campsites along the Great Ocean Walk, including Johanna’s Beach Campgrounds, tucked behind sand dunes near a popular surfing beach.
The Great Ocean Road’s star attraction, the seven rocky stacks of the Twelve Apostles jut out from the ocean and can be seen from a network of viewing platforms around the clifftops: Visit around sunset and you might also spot penguins come into shore after a day’s fishing. The closest campsite to the Twelve Apostles, Princetown Recreation Reserve and Camping offers powered and unpowered sites with access to hot showers, laundry, and a barbecue area, as does nearby Apostles Camping Park and Cabins. Twenty minutes east, Port Campbell Recreation Reserve is set in a natural reserve and has powered and unpowered sites with access to hot showers, laundry, barbecues, and free wifi.
At the end of the Great Ocean Road, the attractive city of Warrnambool is famed for its whales, best seen from Logans Beach between June and October. You can also dive into the city’s lively arts scene, discover the history of the Shipwreck Coast at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, and admire the historic lighthouses, whitewashed cottages, and maritime charm of nearby Port Fairy. Powered and unpowered sites with access to the camp kitchen, barbecue, laundry, and shower are available at Surfside Holiday Park on Warrnambool’s foreshore, just steps from the popular swimming beach, while nearby family- and pet-friendly Warrnambool Holiday Park and Motel has powered sites, some ensuite, with access to a heated swimming pool, games room, kitchen, laundry, barbecue, and wifi.