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  • Writer's pictureKristin

3-Day Great Ocean Road Family Camping Itinerary

This road trip is probably one of the most iconic road trips of Australia, which as a result, I’m sure you’ll find no shortage of information out there about it. However, if you are a bit limited on time, and are traveling with a family, this is how we broke down our 3 days in the area. We also were camping as we drove along the route. Therefore, our days were a bit shorter for exploring due to the fact that we tried to get to the campsite before sunset at night & had to pack up in the morning before hitting the road again. This 3-Day Great Ocean Road Family Friendly Itinerary worked well for us and we hope it might be beneficial for you too!


Torquay & Urquhart Beach:

As you leave Melbourne you’ll start to be greeted with various seaside towns and beautiful beaches. Many of these beaches are popular for surfing. We stopped at Urquhart Beach to spend some time on the beach, as well as watch the surfers catching the waves off the shoreline. We personally didn’t visit Torquay, but it is home to the Surf Coast Walk, which is a system of 44 km of trails along the coast, if looking for opportunities to hike.

Teddy’s Lookout:

Once you hit the town of Lorne, this the start of the most scenic portion of the Great Ocean Drive. Between here and Apollo Bay you drive on the highway edging the coastline. Make sure not to miss Teddy’s Lookout in Lorne, which provides an aerial view of the Great Ocean Road below. While we were there, we also spotted several Kookaburras, parrots & other birds and even a koala on the drive out. If you have time, there are several trails where you can hike along them as well.

Kennett River Koala Walk

Just past Wye River is Kennett River. Here you can find the Koala Café, where you can stop at if passing through to go on the Koala Walk. However, as our daughter is obsessed with koalas we decided to spend the night at the Kennett River Family Caravan Park, which turned out to be a perfect spot to see koalas in the wild. Even just walking around the campground, we spotted a couple koalas in the trees & there were so many parrots flying around the trees at the campground too.

The Koala Walk is technically Grey River Road that goes for several kilometers, but you don’t have to go that far in to see koalas. Even in the first 200-meter section we saw quite a few. There were a few vehicles that drove on the dirt road in search of koalas, but it is harder to locate them in a vehicle, so much better to walk along and crane your neck & search the trees for them.

However, even if not camping you can still access the Koala Walk, as there is public parking at the Koala Café right off the road and access to the hike is free of charge. The general recommendation is to look for them either in the morning or the later afternoon when they tend to be more active.


Otway National Forest – Beauchamp Falls & California Redwood Forest

After waking up in Kennett River, we deviated inland to Great Otway National Forest. Here there are lush valleys, waterfalls and numerous hiking opportunities through the rainforest. It was only about a 50-minute drive where we stopped at Beauchamp Waterfall. They had a free campground at the trailhead that we considered staying at, but we decided to keep going back down to the coast instead after visiting the Otways, as it was a bit cooler up in the hills of the forest at that time of year (end of April).

Beauchamp Falls was about a 90-minute return hike. The hike was great as our daughter had just finished learning about different eco systems, so being able to see the rainforest was a great way to reinforce it. The trail was lined with ferns and other plant life. Once you got to the end of the trail the waterfall was a beautiful one to take in as well.

After the hike, we headed over to California Redwoods. Here is a spot home to some of the California Redwood trees that have been planted and are some of the largest trees in Australia. It was such an eye catching spot to walk under the trees and the kids thought it was the perfect spot to play hide and seek.

California Redwoods at Otway National Park along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia.
Family photo in front of the Majestic California Redwoods at Otway National Park.

If you have more time in the area, other possible things to do in Otway National Park include: hiking Melba Gulley, which has some glow worm caves, and visiting waterfalls such as Steven Falls, Triplet Falls, Little Aire Falls and Hopetoun Falls, which is a short hike from the parking lot.


This day was spent exploring most of the iconic rock formations along the coastline. If you are interested in seeing several of them, you definitely need a FULL day to explore this section of the Great Ocean Road.

Gibson Steps

We started our morning at Gibson’s Steps & then worked our way westbound. Gibson Steps allows you the opportunity to descend down to the beach along the cliffside right before the 12 Apostles. To avoid the crowds try to come in the morning, when the tourist buses from the city haven’t arrived yet.

The Twelve Apostles

These rocks are easily the most iconic section of the Great Ocean Road. However, did you know there are not actually 12 of them? Currently there are only 7 Apostle rocks still standing, as one collapsed due to erosion. However, there were only 8 of them in total. Here you park your vehicle in the large parking lot across the road and then take a trail under the roadway to access the viewpoint. Beach access here is not possible, but best to visit earlier in the day as well, or off-season.

Twelve Apostles from viewpoint on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia
Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road

As you continue west, there are several more rock formation viewpoints that you can stop. However, we found the kids quickly tired of them, so we didn’t get to stop at as many spots as originally planned, but these were some that we did visit.

Loch Ard Gorge:

There were lots of things to see at this particular stop, including some trails to access different viewpoints. It is here that the rocks used to be connected by a natural stone bridge that collapsed almost a decade ago.

The Loch Ard Gorge also offered stairs to access the beach.

After the Loch Ard Gorge Viewpoint, we choose to take the Geology Trail, which was only a few hundred meters long, but took us to a viewpoint to see the Razorback Rock Formation.

Razorback Rock Formation on the Geology Trail (900 m) along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia.
Razorback Rock Formation on the Geology Trail

Thunder Cave is another attraction located right off of this turn-off, but it isn’t as popular so it tends to be a little less crowded. As its name suggests, it is supposed to sound like thunder there.

Some other popular viewpoints include: London Bridge & The Arch.

The Grotto

Just past the town of Port Campbell is The Grotto. This is one of the more unique formations on the Great Ocean Road, as it is essentially a sinkhole. However, it has formed a cave and archway that creates a unique viewpoint. There are some stairs that lead down to the viewpoint within the Grotto.

Family in front of The Grotto on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia.
The Grotto just west past Port Campbell, Victoria.
Bay of Martyrs & Bay of Islands

From the Grotto & continuing westbound, the crowds really thinned out on the Great Ocean Road, as we assume most tours don’t really go much further west. However, because of less crowds, we really enjoyed the section west of Port Campbell. The Bay of Martyrs was a beach area that was accessible by a few stairs and was a fun spot for the kids to just play & build their own little fort on the beach.

The next stop westbound was the Bay of Islands. This was a cool viewpoint, as the coastline feels similar to the Twelve Apostles Section, but is much quieter and not many people there.

Bay of Island Views Eastbound along the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia.
View of coastline from Bay of Islands Lookout
Logan’s Beach Whale Watching Platform near Warrnambool

Depending on what you read, often times Warrnambool is often considered the western end of the Great Ocean Road. As we were continuing west to Adelaide, it made sense for us to stop on these western sections. However, if pressed for time if you make it only as far west as Port Campbell you will see the most iconic sections of the Great Ocean Road.

If there during the winter months, a stop at Logan’s Beach Whale Watching Platform (or ‘Nursery’ as the road signs refer to it) might be worth the stop. Here there is a large platform where you can look out to sea to look for Southern Right Whales that breed & calve near the shoreline during the winter months. We unfortunately, didn’t spot anything but we were there on the shoulder season. However, the wind can be strong there so make sure to pack layers if stopping. However, there is also beach access to walk along the shoreline here.

Although you have officially finished the Great Ocean Road, there are still numerous things to see and do along the coastline further west. If continuing to head westbound, we really enjoyed this great hike & animal sighting spot that made it a Day 4 option of our Great Ocean Road Itinerary.


As we continued westbound, we decided to stop near Cape Bridgewater in an attempt to see some Australian fur seals. The Great South West Walk is a huge trail system set up along the coastline and if you chose you could do the 260 km loop walk over several days.

Two children walking along the trail to the seal colony at Cape Bridgewater, Victoria.
Walking along the scenic Cape Bridgewater Seal Colony Walk.

They have broken the trail up into smaller trails and one such section is the Seal Colony walk at Cape Bridgewater. This 3 km return hike is beautiful in itself as it follows the cliff along the Bridgewater Bay. At the top point of the peninsula you get rewarded with seeing the colony of seals on the rocks from the viewpoint above. This is supposedly the only inland seal colony in Australia & New Zealand, the rest are located on islands off the mainland. The hike involves a few mild steep parts, but easily doable for young families. We were kept very entertained on the hike as we could occasionally see seals out in the bay fishing, as well as some birds, grazing sheep & even a small group of kangaroos in the fields.

There are also several other attractions and animals to see in the area, including the Gannet Colony at Point Danger, as well as the Petrified Forest & Blowholes further along the coast.

As with anywhere in Australia, it feels like you could spend several days anywhere; unfortunately, we had to keep moving. However, a bonus to this area is that there are several free campgrounds available you could stay in this region, as we didn't find as many free campgrounds in the more busier sections of the Great Ocean Road.

Our drive along the Great Ocean Road was a memorable part of our trip and offered so many different viewpoints & interesting areas to check out. If you come to Victoria, it would be a shame to miss this section of the state. Even if pressed for time, hopefully this 3-day Family Friendly Great Ocean Road itinerary might help you make the most of your time there!


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