If you're planning a road trip itinerary along Australia's stunning Great Ocean Road, you'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the perfect place to rest your head!

With so many charming towns and breathtaking coastal vistas, deciding where to stay on the Great Ocean Road can be overwhelming.

great ocean road

This guide will help break it down for you, so you can plan an unforgettable trip!

Best places to stay on the Great Ocean Road

There are a variety of accommodation options on the Great Ocean Road, from larger towns like Lorne to quieter spots like Apollo Bay.

For surfers, Torquay is a perfect choice, being the start of the Great Ocean Road when driving from Melbourne, and Port Campbell is the ideal place to stay for the 12 Apostles. While Warrnambool, Port Fairy, and Cape Otway offer a more relaxed atmosphere without the crowds.

1. Where to stay for first-time visitors: Lorne

Lorne is one of the best places on the Great Ocean Road if you're in search of a beachside town, offering a range of accommodation options, restaurants, and outdoor activities.

During your stay, make sure to check out Teddy's Lookout, just a short walk away, for an amazing view! When it comes to dining, The Bottle of Milk is a must for the best burgers.

lorne great ocean road

Lorne Town is known for its stunning coastline, picturesque waterfalls, and lush rainforest. With its vibrant atmosphere and scenic surroundings, Lorne is one of the best towns for exploring the Great Ocean Road.

Lorne is the best area to stay for:

  • First-time visitors

  • Beach lovers

  • Adventure seekers

The best Lorne hotels

Sandridge Motel

Sandridge is a Lorne hotel with beautiful ocean views, well-equipped rooms with great facilities, including a kitchenette, and guest amenities such as free parking, WiFi, and laundry facilities.

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Lorne World

Lorne World Apartments is a colorful and conveniently located hotel with great reviews, just a stone's throw from Lorne Beach, offering free parking and self-contained accommodation with a balcony.

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Cumberland Lorne Resort

Cumberland Lorne Resort is a beachfront hotel with modern apartments featuring amenities such as a swimming pool, fitness centre, sauna, hot tub, squash courts!

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cumberland lorne resort

The Pole House

The Pole House is a stunning beachfront holiday home in Aireys Inlet with spacious rooms filled with natural lighting, a balcony with amazing views, as well as a fireplace to relax by and take it all in.

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2. Where to stay on the Great Ocean Road for families: Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay is a quiet coastal town located on the Great Ocean Road, offering a relaxed atmosphere and stunning ocean and beach views. It's the perfect place to stay if you're looking for beautiful walks along the beach, the harbour, or through the rainforest.

If you do choose to stop over here, I'd recommend trying the local seafood! In particular, check out Apollo Bay Fisherman's Co-Op. It's guaranteed to be some of the best seafood you've ever had!

where to stay great ocean road australia

Its pristine beaches, rugged coastline, and tranquil surroundings make it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway.

Apollo Bay is the best area to stay for:

  • Nature Enthusiasts

  • Families

  • Relaxing

Best hotels to stay in Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road

Chocolate Gannets

Chocolate Gannets is a luxury accomodation option on the Great Ocean Road with 5-star villas offering stunning ocean views, wood fireplaces, spa baths, and a welcome pack of provisions, just a short drive from local restaurants and the main attractions around. This is the perfect retreat!

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Apollo Bay Eco YHA

This environmentally budget-friendly hostel is located just one street away from the Great Ocean Road, featuring communal kitchens, a rooftop terrace, an organic herb garden, and shared living areas.

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Sandpiper Motel

Sandpiper Motel is a stylish motel just 100m from Apollo Bay Beach, offering free WiFi, satellite TV, and free off-street car parking, as well as easy access to Great Otway National Park.

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sandpiper motel apollo bay

3. Where to stay on the Great Ocean Road for surfing: Torquay

Torquay is a popular beach town and the official start of the Great Ocean Road. It is known for its great surfing and beach culture and has a lively atmosphere during peak tourist season.

If you're staying in Torquay, you should make sure you check out the Surf World Museum. Whether you're into surfing or not, this is one of the visitor's favourite stops.

where to stay on the great ocean road australia

Torquay is also home to the famous Bells Beach, a world-renowned surf break that hosts an annual pro-surfing competition. Going for a surf at this iconic beach is a must!

However, if you are a beginner, I'd recommend booking a surf lesson at Torquay Front Beach, which provides a much more relaxed atmosphere.

Torquay is the best area to stay for:

  • Surfers or those who want to learn

  • Young travelers and backpackers

  • Learning about surf history

Best hotels to stay in Torquay

Torquay Foreshore Caravan Park

This beachfront caravan park is a great budget accommodation option and campsite on the Great Ocean Road! It offers cabins with full kitchens and air conditioning, just a minute’s walk from Torquay Surf Beach and local cafes and restaurants.

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The Sands Torquay

The Sands Torquay is a 4-star hotel room in Torquay with excellent reviews, offering an indoor pool, fitness center, restaurant, bar, and tennis court, along with free WiFi and free private parking.

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the sands torquay

RACV Torquay Resort

RACV Torquay Resort is a luxurious accommodation option in Torquay with an indoor pool, spa, sauna, fitness centre and multiple dining options.

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4. Where to stay near the 12 Apostles: Port Campbell

Home to a very popular attraction, Port Campbell National Park, is this small coastal town located at the heart of the Shipwreck Coast and one of the best places to stay on the Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve Apostles.

It's best known for its ideal location, as it's only a short drive from some of the coast's most breathtaking natural wonders.

great ocean road accommodation

Port Campbell offers a more laid-back atmosphere compared to other towns along the Great Ocean Road, making it perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Port Campbell is the best area to stay for:

  • Nature lovers

  • Short trips

  • Photographers

Best hotels to stay in Port Campbell

Loch Ard Motor Inn

Loch Ard Motor Inn is a budget hotel that offers comfortable beachfront rooms with free parking, a kitchenette, private balconies, and easy access to the 12 Apostles and other major coastal attractions.

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Daysy Hill Country Cottages

These cute country cottages are situated on 55 acres of land, offering individually designed cottages with beautiful gardens, stunning views of Newfield Valley, and some rooms with a log fire and spa bath. This is the perfect place for a romantic getaway!

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Sea Foam Villas

Sea Foam Villas is a beachfront property with a great location in Port Campbell, supplying everything you need for a comfortable stay, including cooking facilities, free WiFi and on-site parking.

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sea foam villas

5. Where to stay near the 12 Apostles without the crowds: Warrnambool & Port Fairy

Both Warrnambool and Port Fairy are the best towns located to the west of the 12 Apostles and are a great base for exploring the region. These towns have a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere compared to the busier towns further east with too many visitors.

Warrnambool is the largest town in the region, while Port Fairy is a small and charming historic town with plenty of colonial-era buildings.

great ocean road where to stay

While it is a quieter, more peaceful area, there is still plenty to do! Port Fairy holds a farmers market on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month, which is a great place to get fresh produce and artisanal goods.

I'd also recommend taking a walk along Moyne River, which is a beautiful river that runs through the downtown area.

Warrnambool & Port Fairy are great towns for:

  • History buffs

  • Whale watchers

  • A peaceful stay

Best hotels to stay in Warrnambool

Comfort Inn Warrnambool International

The Comfort Inn is a budget-friendly Great Ocean Road hotel offering air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and a flat-screen TV, just a short walk from the city center.

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City Heart Motel

Conveniently located just 75 m from Liebig Street, City Heart Motel offers comfortable rooms with free WiFi and an outdoor barbecue area, making it a great choice for travelers exploring Warrnambool.

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Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs

This luxury accommodation on the Great Ocean Road is a unique open-air hot spring sanctuary featuring geothermal rock pools, sensory caves, aromatherapy pool, hydrotherapy, foot spas and more, located on a peninsula between Lady Bay and Stingray Bay in Warrnambool.

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deep blue hotel

Best hotels to stay in Port Fairy

Merrijig Inn

Merrijig Inn is a charming bed and breakfast located in the small town of Port Fairy, overlooking the wharf, offering antique-style accommodation with free breakfast and an on-site restaurant serving locally sourced produce.

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Cherry Plum Cottages

These cosy Cottages in Port Fairy are a great choice for couples seeking a peaceful and comfortable retreat, with their tranquil garden setting and comfortable rooms featuring flat-screen TVs and free toiletries.

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Seacombe House Motor Inn

This is a unique 4-star property spread across three buildings with a variety of accommodation options, including cottages and private rooms, some with an open log fire and a hot tub, all just a stone's throw away from local shops, boutiques, and restaurants.

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6. Where to stay on the Great Ocean Road for nature lovers: Cape Otway

Cape Otway is a nature lover's paradise located on the western coast of Victoria and offers the perfect Great Ocean Road accommodation for couples.

The area is known for its pristine rainforests, stunning beaches, and the historic Cape Otway Lighthouse, which has been guiding ships along the treacherous coastline since 1848.

great ocean road cape otway

If you choose to stay overnight in Cape Otway, make sure to check out the Melba Gully State Park, where you have the chance to see glow worms at night! It's also a great spot to have dinner or a picnic as it has BBQ facilities.

Cape Otway is the best area to stay for:

  • Seeing wildlife, especially koalas

  • Stunning coastline

  • Lighthouse lovers

Best hotels to stay in Cape Otway

Cape Otway Lightstation

Cape Otway Lightstation offers unique and historic accommodation options, including the Lightkeeper's B&B suites and fully self-contained Lighthouse Lodge, with stunning views of the Southern Ocean and the lighthouse itself.

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Sky Pods

The sky pods are one of the most unique places to stay on the Great Ocean Road! For a unique and eco-friendly getaway, the Sky Pods and Sky Ships offer stunning ocean and forest views, a remote-controlled queen-sized bed surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, a fully equipped kitchen, and an immersive movie experience, all while being completely off-grid.

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sky pod cape otway

Bimbi Park

Bimbi Park Camping Under Koalas is a unique holiday park that offers guests the chance to stay among the trees and wildlife of Cape Otway, with a range of accommodation options and fun activities for the whole family.

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The best things to do on the Great Ocean Road

While the 12 Apostles may be the most well-known attraction on the Great Ocean Road, there is so much more to see and do in the surrounding areas!

where to stay on the great ocean road

From surfing, and hiking, to ziplining adventures, there. you won't find any shortage of activities to keep you busy in this area!

Here are some other highlights worth adding to your Great Ocean Road itinerary:

Loch Ard Gorge: A breathtaking gorge with a tragic history, just a short drive from Port Campbell.

Gibson Steps: A unique experience to walk down to the beach at the bottom of the cliffs, just a short drive from the 12 Apostles.

The Grotto: A natural sinkhole in the cliffs located near Peterborough.

Otway Fly Treetop Adventures: A walk through the treetops of the Otway Ranges, complete with zip lines and a skywalk.

Lighthouse tours: The Cape Otway Lighthouse and Split Point Lighthouse both offer tours with stunning views.

Adrenaline: Take a helicopter tour to see the Great Ocean Road from a different perspective.

Wildlife encounters: Koalas can often be spotted in the trees along the road, especially around Kennett River and along Otway Lighthouse Road.

Whale watching: The whale migration season is from June to September.

Beaches: The Great Ocean Road is known for its beautiful beaches, including Bells Beach, Fairhaven Beach, and Apollo Bay Beach.

Waterfalls: Hopetoun Falls, Triplet Falls, and Beauchamp Falls are just a few of the beautiful waterfalls worth making a detour for in the Otways.

More waterfalls: Yes, there are more, and they need to be on the list too! Stevenson Falls and Erskine Falls are great photo opp moments on the Great Ocean Road.

Food and Beverages: The Great Ocean Road is home to many great restaurants and tastings. I'd recommend checking out the Apollo Bay Distillery for good food and good gin!

Romantic restaurants: IPSOS Restaurant & Bar in Lorne, Squire's Loft in Torquay and The Perch at Lavers Hill, a little more inland, are some of the Great Ocean Road's best restaurants for a great atmosphere or date night!

Coffee: It's always nice to start your day with a good coffee, especially when you're on a road trip! Check out Little Crumb Bakery in Apollo Bay and Onda Food House in Aireys Inlet for some of the best.

where to stay great ocean road

Wineries: Visit one of the many wineries such as Mt Dundee Estate, Brown Magpie Wines, or Clyde Park Vineyard and Bistro, all close to Geelong.

Historic townships: Port Fairy, Queenscliff, and Lorne are just a few of the charming historic towns to explore along the Great Ocean Road.

Surfing: Torquay is a surfer's paradise, with world-renowned surf beaches and surf shops.

Fishing: Anglers can try their luck at various locations along the coast, including at the mouth of the Gellibrand River.

Scenic drives: Take a drive through the Otway Ranges or along the coast between Lorne and Apollo Bay for stunning views.

National Parks: The Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve is often overlooked but well worth exploring to see wildlife!

Where to stay on the Great Ocean Road – Frequently Asked Questions

📍 What’s the main part of the Great Ocean Road?

The main part of the Great Ocean Road is the stretch of road that runs along the coastline of Victoria, Australia, from Torquay to Allansford.

However, many people choose to venture further along the coast and make plenty of detours inland along the way! If you're in for a longer road trip, I love the drive all the way into South Australia and staying in Adelaide for a few nights at the end.

⭐ Which town is the most recommended to stay in along the Great Ocean Road?

I'd recommend making sure to stay at least one night in Lorne, as it's one of the most popular towns and the best overnight stops on the Great Ocean Road trip! Lorne has a central location, beautiful beaches and a variety of accommodations and attractions for families and couples alike. That being said, any of the towns mentioned above are nice places to stay, depending on your individual preferences.

📅 How many days do you need to drive the Great Ocean Road?

I recommend giving yourself at least 3-4 days to drive the Great Ocean Road. It's a total of 243 km and essentially could be driven in a day, but that wouldn't give you enough time to enjoy all attractions along the way.

You could also easily spend a week driving the Great Ocean Road if you're looking to take your time and want to spend multiple nights in different areas.

☀️ When is the best time to visit the Great Ocean Road?

The best time to visit the Great Ocean Road would be during the months of March to May and September to November when the weather is nice and crowds are smaller.

While many people love the summer months, between December and January, for the warm weather, this is where you will find the most traffic. If you do plan to travel within these months, make sure to book accommodation in advance as it can get quite busy.

🚗 Is it safe to drive the Great Ocean Road?

Driving the Great Ocean Road is safe as long as proper precautions are taken. Always make sure you are driving at safe speeds and being aware of changing weather and road conditions, as well as wildlife.

It is important to be alert and cautious, particularly when driving along the winding coastal roads. The Great Ocean Road region has stunning scenery, which can be distracting, but there are plenty of places to pull over and soak it all in.

Where to stay on the Great Ocean Road – Final Words

From caravan parks on the Great Ocean Road to luxurious hotels with ocean views, there's no shortage of options when it comes to where to stay on the Great Ocean Road.

You're guaranteed to find something to suit every budget and preference!

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