7 Sites for Free Camping, Great Ocean Road Victoria
Free camping along the Great Ocean Road is an epic way to end your day on this world-famous route. Accommodation in Australia in general can be expensive, especially in popular tourist destinations. But despite the region’s popularity, there are surprisingly several free camping sites on Great Ocean Road. So, dust off the camping gear and get ready to pitch up under the stars to enjoy an adventure outdoors surrounded by some of the most stunning landscapes in Victoria.
Free Camping, Great Ocean Road Victoria
Find below a list of the best sites for Free Camping on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria. This list is perfect if you are planning a road trip on the Great Ocean Road.
After a day exploring Lorne Waterfalls, why not camp at the nearby Allenvale Mill campground located just 3km from Lorne on the banks of St George River.
If searching for free camping on the great ocean road to escape the crowds and traffic, Allenvale is perfect thanks to towering eucalyptus trees which surround the grounds from the outside world. There is also no power allowing you to switch off and fully enjoy the natural surroundings including the nearby St Georges River Walking Track or the 2.7km walk to the coast.
In efforts to protect the landscape, cars are not allowed inside the camping ground, instead there is a carpark around a 200-metre walk away and pitches are strictly tents only.
Like most free camping sites on Great Ocean Road, the pitches are on a first in, first-served basis so it is advised to arrive early to secure your spot, with each pitch clearly numbered and drop toilets also available on site.
Recommended: Things to do in Lorne
Located near the intersection of Big Hill Track and Lorne-Deans Marsh Road is this peaceful campground. Another ideal base for exploring the numerous things to do in Lorne as the picturesque seaside town is just a 15-minute drive away.
Soon after arriving at Big Hill, you will likely be acquainted with the site’s friendly permanent residents – the colourful king parrots. Although charming, these boisterous birds are renowned to forage for leftovers so ensure any food is well locked up.
There are 12 campsites available on a first-come basis with the site divided in two – half the sites are for tents, the other reserved for caravans and campervans. Note there are drop toilets only and you will need to bring your own water. When free-camping on the Great Ocean Road most campsites forbid fires, but Big Hill provides fire pits so remember wood if you plan on toasting marshmallows or a song or two around the campfire.
Around 11kms from Lorne and 5kms from Wye River, turn inland at the Jamieson Track to find this secluded gem which is suitable for campervans, caravans and tents. There are so many reasons Jamieson Creek is one of the best free camping sites on Great Ocean Road.
Firstly, its location – it is mere metres away from a stunning beach which is home to an epic sunrise if you set your alarm. Secondly, it is a favoured spot for local wildlife including koalas so keep an eye on the surrounding eucalyptus but also an eye on any food from inquisitive kangaroos. Finally, it is one of the best camping spots for stargazers as on a clear night you will be treated to a sky full of stars free from light pollution.
There is one negative with Jamieson Creek in that there are currently no toilets however upgrades are taking place to install some. When free-camping along the Great Ocean Road it is often easiest if you are in a self-contained campervan or have portable facilities to avoid damaging the natural landscape.
2022 UPDATE: Jamieson Creek Campground has now had upgrades and now needs to be booked through Parks Victoria to stay at a small fee. Read More here.
If you are lucky enough to secure one of the 5 sites at Aire Crossing, you will get to experience one of the most beautiful free camping grounds on the Great Ocean Road. It is located around 10 minutes from Lavers Hill with the stunning Triplet Falls also nearby.
The site is nearby the heritage-listed Aire River which is a popular spot with families who enjoy a refreshing swim in the Summer months. There are drop toilets available but ensure to take enough drinking water as there is no water supply on-site.
As a tip, when night falls, go for a little explore of the local woodland as you may be treated to a magical display of glow worms which are common at Aire Crossing.
If you have plans to explore the walking trails of Great Otway National Park, then Sharps camping area is an ideal base. It is located around 5km from Lorne, directly adjacent to Sharps track. The site is also just a 5-minute drive (or 25-minute walk) to Sheoak Picnic Area which is the starting point of many waterfall trails as well as the nearest flush toilets and electric barbecues as there are none at Sharps.
As usual when free camping along the Great Ocean Road, this campsite cannot be booked in advance and runs on a first come, first served basis. It’s advised to arrive mid-afternoon to secure a spot as there are only 6 spaces.
Also, expect wildlife in abundance as the peaceful atmosphere may be interrupted by a cheeky parakeet or two as well as an inquisitive kangaroo or koala who are known to frequent the campsite.
If you’re a family looking to go free camping along the Great Ocean Road, Dando’s is guaranteed to be a favourite. Not only does it offer spacious, flat pitches suitable for vans or tents, it also has toilets, BBQ facilities and fire pits as well as a welcoming family-friendly atmosphere.
There is a large open grassy area ideal for little ones to run around as well as the nearby Gellibrand River which has pools safe for a swim. From the main road, you will need to drive around 20 minutes inland to reach Dando’s which heightens the campground’s appeal as it feels remote, without heading too far off the Great Ocean Road.
Not only does Stevensons Falls offer one of the prettiest waterfalls in Lorne, but also one of the best spots for those free camping along the Great Ocean Road. Alongside basic toilet facilities there are around 50 pitches, each with their own fire pit so remember to bring wood.
Stevensons Falls campground is one of the most popular sites with families going free camping along the Great Ocean Road as it’s a short hike (around 25 minutes) to the stunning waterfalls, which is perfect for little ones who can’t manage the longer trails in the area. Although due to the campground’s location, it can be difficult to get a spot during weekends and holidays so plan in advance and arrive early if you hope to secure a space.
During the cooler months, the campground is renowned for getting very muddy with cars occasionally getting stuck so arrive early to ensure you have a good spot either shaded from the rain by the trees or slightly more uphill to allow any water to run off.
Best time to go camping on Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is one of Victorias most popular attractions, and one of the most famous day trips from Melbourne. However with so much to see, many decide to take a road trip and camping on the Great Ocean Road is common, especially for families who don’t want to drive too much in one day. Camping on the Great Ocean Road is popular all year round and each season has it’s advantages.
Summer (December-February): The best time to go camping on the Great Ocean Road if you are after sunny skies, stunning views of the coast, and warm weather to head to the beach. Summer is peak time though so free camping on the Great Ocean Road can get quite busy.
Winter (June – August) : If you are looking to ditch the crowds, then Winter is the perfect time to go camping on the Great Ocean Road. The camp sites aren’t as busy as in the Summer, and you can still visit all the nearby attractions. It can get quite cold in the Winter months so rug up!
Autumn Spring: March – May, September – November): Camping on the Great Ocean Road during Autumn and Spring is ideal if you are looking to visit off peak but with nice weather. In general this time of year has nice weather with plenty of sunny days. The camp sites aren’t too crowded, and you can explore the surroundings comfortably.
Free Camping Great Ocean Road Victoria
Hopefully, this guide has proved you’re spoiled for choice when free camping along the Great Ocean Road and that going off grid for a night or two is an adventure the entire family will enjoy. If you know any other spots for free camping on the Great Ocean Road let us know below, we would love to check them out! Make sure to see our full guide of Things to do on the Great ocean Road for more information!
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