It’s the road trip that needs no introduction – the Great Ocean Road is one of the most iconic coastal routes in the world. Originally built as a project for soldiers returning from World War One, the Great Ocean Road attracts thousands of visitors year-round.

It takes about 9-10 hours to complete altogether, without stopping. To really take it in, you’ll have to factor in a lot of picture-stops and a few overnight stays. There’s loads on offer along the drive, so it can be really tricky to pick the best places for your needs.

That’s where we come in! Combining our own personal experience with hints and tips from locals and travel experts, we’ve figured out the four best places to stay on the Great Ocean Road. Whether you’re looking for laid-back vibes, astonishing scenery or a hip surfer town, we’ve got you covered.

So, let’s dive right in!

Where to Stay on Great Ocean Road

Best Airbnb on Great Ocean Road – Saltbush

Saltbush Great Ocean Road

AirBnB Plus properties are specially selected for their gorgeous interiors, unbeatable service and outstanding locations. This stunning guest suite provides a relaxing space where you can unwind after a day of exploring. You’ll even get to enjoy a complimentary breakfast in the morning!

Best Hostel on Great Ocean Road – Warrnambool Beach Backpackers

Warrnambool Beach Backpackers Great Ocean Road

Australia’s not cheap, but luckily has some of the best hostels in the world. Warrnambool Beach Backpackers comes with fantastic guest ratings thanks to its great location and regular social events.

Best B&B on the Great Ocean Road – Apollo Bay Guest House

Apollo Bay Guest House Great Ocean Road

This five star accommodation that goes above and beyond to cater to your every need. Interiors are traditional, and terraces enjoy unspoiled ocean views. It’s quite secluded, perfect for a peaceful escape from the road.

Great Ocean Road Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN GREAT OCEAN ROAD
Lorne Great Ocean Road
FIRST TIME IN GREAT OCEAN ROAD

Lorne

Lorne is one of the largest and most popular resort towns on the Great Ocean Road. It is best known for its vast beaches where you can marvel at the beauty of the crystal clear waters.

ON A BUDGET
Warrnambool Great Ocean Road
ON A BUDGET

Warrnambool

Warrnambool is the largest city on the Great Ocean Road making it the most popular destination for backpackers. Thanks to this, you’ll find some great deals on accommodation. Even if you do choose to splurge on somewhere to stay, you’ll find many of the restaurants and bars have great deals on.

FOR FAMILIES
Apollo Bay Great Ocean Road
FOR FAMILIES

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay is similar in spirit to Lorne, but it enjoys a calmer atmosphere. For this reason, we reckon it is a great pick for families. There are bushwalks here that cater to all levels, and it’s perfect for both young kids or super active teens.

AWESOME SURF DESTINATION
Torquay Great Ocean Road
AWESOME SURF DESTINATION

Torquay

Torquay is the closest destination to Geelong and Melbourne. It’s also a surfer’s paradise! The town has long held a strong reputation among wave chasers in Victoria, and it’s easy to see why. The stunning beaches are well equipped and come with plenty of hire shops.

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Great Ocean Road’s Top 4 Neighborhoods to Stay in

The Great Ocean Road is a stunning Australian road trip offering scenic resorts, cool surfer spots and charming coastal towns. You’ll likely be making a few overnight stops along the way, so it’s handy to be aware of your options.

About an hour and a half from central Melbourne, Torquay is a popular starting point for those taking a trip along the Great Ocean Road. It’s one of the best places to surf in Australia, and is a worthy place to explore in its own right.

Heading a little further along the route, Lorne is one of the largest resorts in the region. With crystal clear waters and bustling beaches, Lorne is full of excursions and activities that will help first-timers get to know the best of the region.

Apollo Bay has a laid-back vibe, perfect for families looking to pitch up for the night. There are some great rainforest walks in this area, so everyone can get out and give those legs a stretch.

Last but not least, Warrnambool is the largest city on the Great Ocean Road. Traveling in Australia can get expensive, but Warrnambool happens to be the backpacker capital of the Great Ocean Road!

Still undecided? Don’t worry, we’ve got some more detailed guides on each place below. We’ve also included our top accommodation and activity picks in each to help kickstart your epic Australian adventure.

1. Lorne – Where to Stay on Great Ocean Road for your First Time

Visiting Lorne is a must-do for first timers on the Great Ocean Road!

Lorne is one of the largest and most popular resort towns on the Great Ocean Road. It’s best known for its vast beaches, where you can marvel at the beauty of the crystal clear waters. In the town itself, you will find some great Australian-style dining and quirky local boutiques.

As the most popular destination, Lorne is also where you will find plenty of excursions along the Great Ocean Road. It also has great transport links, making it a fantastic choice for those visiting Melbourne without a car. It’s ideal for first time visitors, as you’ll get to soak up a little bit of everything the Great Ocean Road has to offer. 

Best Airbnb in Lorne – The Cabin

The Cabin Great Ocean Road

This dreamy cabin sits in the hills just outside Lorne. The modern interiors create a calm and soothing vibe, while the balcony gives you gorgeous views over the bush and hills. With one bedroom, this is the perfect retreat for a couples’ getaway.

Best VRBO in Lorne – Bay Panorama

Bay Panorama Great Ocean Road

This apartment is a stone’s throw away from popular restaurants, bars and Lorne Beach. Staying here, you’ll get to enjoy ocean views from the balcony and panoramic windows.

Best Guesthouse in Lorne – Great Ocean Road Cottages

Great Ocean Road Cottages

These cottages give you the privacy of your own holiday home with the convenience of a resort. Nestled among the bush lands, you’ll get to enjoy peace and quiet away from the main tourist strips.

Things to See and Do in Lorne:

The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a bucket-list destination
  • Don’t have a car? Take a guided tour along the Great Ocean Road – we love this epic experience departing from Lorne.
  • The Pier Seafood Restaurant not only offers some of the best fish in Victoria, it also comes with unbeatable panoramic views of the ocean.
  • Take a drive up to Teddy’s Lookout, known for its stunning views over the Australian bush and towards the ocean.
  • The beach is easily the most popular attraction in Lorne – it stretches for 3kms and is flanked by local boutiques and cute little cafés.

2. Warrnambool – Where to Stay on Great Ocean Road on a Budget

Warrnambool Great Ocean Road

Warrnambool is the largest city on the Great Ocean Road, making it the most popular destination for backpackers traveling on a budget. Thanks to this, you’ll find some great deals on accommodation.

Beyond the great price, Warrnambool has some unique coastal attractions and cultural artefacts. Port Campbell National Park is also only a short drive away, home to the famous 12 Apostles.

Best Airbnb in Warrnambool – Sunset Over Sea

Sunset Over Sea Great Ocean Road

We’ll admit this isn’t the most budget friendly, but it’s still considerably more affordable than AirBnbs elsewhere along the route. You’ll get to enjoy views of the rolling hills from the large windows, and stunning sunsets in the evening.

Best Hostel in Warrnambool – Warrnambool Beach Backpackers

Warrnambool Beach Backpackers Great Ocean Road

Hostels in Australia are known for being sociable, and Warrnambool Beach Backpackers is no different. You’ll only be a five minute walk from the beach, and minutes from the best bars in the city.

Best Motel in Warrnambool – Mid City Motel

Mid City Motel Great Ocean Road

Despite its four-star rating, this motel is super affordable and is a firm favourite among road trippers traveling between Melbourne and Adelaide. In the motel itself, you’ll have access to a swimming pool, BBQ area and fantastic restaurant.

Things to See and Do in Warrnambool:

Warrnambool Great Ocean Road
source: Zoya Avenirovna (shutterstock)
  • Australia is known for its farm to table restaurants, so why not visit a working farm during your trip? We love this experience just outside Warrnambool.
  • Take the trip to Port Campbell National Park, home to the 12 Apostles and some of the most beautiful scenery on the coast.
  • Visit Flagstaff Hill Memorial Museum, which contains a replica of an old Australian maritime village.
  • Head to Logan Beach where you can enjoy a short walk to the whale viewing platform. There are also some great bars nearby.

3. Apollo Bay – Best Area on Great Ocean Road for Families

Apollo Bay Great Ocean Road

Apollo Bay is similar in spirit to Lorne, but enjoys a calmer atmosphere. For this reason, we reckon it is a great pick for families traveling the Great Ocean Road. There are bush walks here that cater to all levels and age groups, and some great dining options offering the best of Australian cuisine.

Apollo Bay would also make a dreamy spot for a romantic break. You’ll get to enjoy sunset views every evening and peaceful walks along the coast. Like Warrnambool, it’s also pretty close to Port Campbell and the 12 Apostles. 

Best Villa in Apollo Bay – Cypress Hill

Cypress Hill Great Ocean Road

This modern villa can sleep up to eight guests, making it a fantastic choice for families or groups. The glass walls provide plenty of natural light and panoramic views of the luscious scenery.

Best Airbnb in Apollo Bay – Contemporary Hillside

Contemporary Hillside Great Ocean Road

AirBnB Plus properties are hand selected for their stylish interiors, epic locations and unbeatable service. This villa comes with a balcony and beautiful views across the hills, and is suitable for couples looking for a romantic escape.

Best Luxury B&B in Apollo Bay – Apollo Bay Guest House

Apollo Bay Guest House Great Ocean Road

This stunning bed and breakfast just outside Apollo Bay boasts unspoiled ocean views. The Golf Club is only a short walk away, and the Apollo Bay Coastal Reserve has rewarding hiking trails. A continental style breakfast is included in the price.

Things to See and Do in Apollo Bay:

Apollo Bay Great Ocean Road
source: Maythee Voran (shutterstock)
  • This unique forest bathing and shamanic drum experience takes you deep into the heart of the rainforest, helping you unwind and connect with nature.
  • For a truly unique way to see the 12 Apostles, you can hop on board an aerial tour of the region and make unforgettable memories.
  • Marriner’s Lookout offers stunning views across the town, and is a short walk away from Marriner’s Falls.
  • Bayleaf Cafe offers typical Australian fare at budget friendly prices alongside stunning coastal views.

4. Torquay – Where to Stay on Great Ocean Road for Surfing

Torquay is a surfer’s paradise near Melbourne! The town has long held a strong reputation among wave chasers in Victoria, and it’s easy to see why. The stunning beaches are well equipped, and come with plenty of hire shops. Lessons are also available if you’ve never surfed before!

As one of the first destinations, it’s common for those travelling the Great Ocean Road to spend their first night here. Traffic out of Melbourne can get busy, so this makes a much better starting point. You can also grab a guided tour here if you don’t have a car.

Best Private Room in Torquay – Saltbush

Saltbush Great Ocean Road

This gorgeous AirBnB Plus apartment is a great choice for couples. The room is attached to a larger house, and your hosts will be more than happy to provide tips and recommendations. A breakfast including homemade muesli and sourdough is provided every morning.

Best Airbnb in Torquay – Villa Sukha

Villa Sukha Great Ocean Road

If you’re looking for something a little more affordable, this modern retreat sleeps up to four people and is ideal for families or couples. There’s a clifftop walking trail right outside the front door, perfect for adventure travelers. It’s part of a larger resort, with a yoga studio and upscale café.

Best Resort in Torquay – RACV Torquay Resort

RACV Torquay Resort Great Ocean Road

The five-star RACV Torquay Resort combines convenience with luxury. It comes with its own private golf course, multiple swimming pools and a lavish spa. It’s about a five minute walk from the centre of Torquay, giving you some peace and quiet away from the big tourist crowds.

Things to See and Do in Torquay:

Torquay Great Ocean Road
The best place to watch surfers, or do it yourself!
source: Shuang Li (shutterstock)
  • Surfing! Head down to Torquay Beach and prepare to catch some waves, or take lessons if you’ve never tried it before.
  • Tiger Moth World Adventure Flights offer a unique experience where you can hop on board an authentic World War 2 biplane.
  • Quiksilver and Rip Curl have their headquarters here, you can browse their ranges at Surf City.
  • Fishos is a local institution offering the best seafood in Torquay.

Final Thoughts on Where To Stay on Great Ocean Road

Awe-inspiring scenery, laid-back beach towns and quirky cultural attractions await those who journey along the Great Ocean Road.

It’s likely you’ll be staying in multiple towns throughout your trip. If you do dedicate more time to one place, you can’t go wrong staying in Apollo Bay. With its rainforest walks and proximity to the 12 Apostles, you’ll get to experience the best of the region.

We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options for your upcoming trip on Australia’s Great Ocean Road.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

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