Australia’s Great Ocean Road is a global bucket list destination and here you can learn about the best accommodation along this stretch of the dramatic and beautiful Australian coastline.
The majority of the accommodation on the Great Ocean Road consists of small B&Bs. This means you’ll want to book in advance to secure the best options and Great Ocean Road hotel deals. This means planning out your itinerary before, and particularly where to stay. For the best 1, 2, 3, 4-6 and 7 day itineraries, see my Great Ocean Road Itinerary post here. For a guide to the main attractions the length of the Great Ocean Road see my Great Ocean Road Holiday Planning Guide here.
Great Ocean Road Map
Larger towns along the Great Ocean Road
There are no big cities along the Great Ocean Road, however, there are a few towns if you prefer to stay somewhere a bit more bustling than the very peaceful seaside coves.
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Torquay acts as the official starting point for the Great Ocean Road (on the Melbourne side), so many visitors choose it as their base. It is very convenient for the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. So, if you want to maximize the amount of time actually on the Great Ocean Road, Torquay may be a great choice.
The town is particularly famous for its affiliation with surfing. Nearby Bell’s Beach (more on that soon!) is well known as one of the world’s best surfing beaches, so Torquay is much-loved by members of the surfing community. Fun fact – the international surf brand Rip Curl started right in Torquay. You can learn to surf or – if you’d rather keep your feet on the ground – you might like to pay a visit to the Australian National Surfing Museum.
Even if you’re not a surfing fan, you can still find plenty to do while staying in Torquay. There are several beautiful coastal walks, and mountain-biking is another popular way to explore the trails.
If it’s something more relaxed you’re after, then you’ll be thrilled to hear that Torquay is also famous for its scrumptious food scene. You’ll find many great cafes and restaurants in Torquay, as well as a nearby vineyard and winery known as The Minya.
Distance from Melbourne: 95 kilometers
Distance from Torquay, beginning of the Great Ocean Road: 0 kilometers
Distance from Allansford, end of the Great Ocean Road: 243 kilometers
Distance from 12 Apostles: 176 kilometers
Adrenaline junkies and outdoor adventurers, those wanting to start early and see the Great Ocean Road in a day.
Best Places to Stay in Torquay
RACV Torquay Resort – A 5-star luxury resort only 100 meters fro the beach. Great facilities including two indoor swimming pools, a fitness center, and a tennis court. Spa and wellness center, free w-fi and great reviews!
Peppers The Sands Resort Torquay – a 4.5-star modern resort with ocean views and situated around a large outdoor landscaped resort-style swimming pool. Friendly staff and quiet, comfortable rooms in a well-reviewed location.
Wyndham Resort Torquay – a 4.5-star modern resort with ocean views and situated around a large outdoor landscaped resort-style swimming pool. Friendly staff and quiet, comfortable rooms in a well-reviewed location.
OnShore Torquay is a lovely resort for families. The property has an outside resort-style pool, an indoor pool, large apartments, and facilities to self-cater.
Although Lorne is only about 1/10th of the size of Torquay, it’s a popular place to stop along the Great Ocean Road. This means the town’s population swells with visitors, especially during the busy summer season. As such, it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a bustling place to stay along the Great Ocean Road.
Its small size does mean it has a laidback, friendly atmosphere that’s perfect for families. If you’re exploring the Great Ocean Road slowly, then you may even like to stay a couple of nights in this sleepy but charming town. It’s right on the coast, so beach lovers will love wandering along the soft sand of Loutit Bay or Main Beach. During whale season, you might even catch some frolicking sea mammals!
In-land, you’ll find the stunning Otway National Park, which offers many beautiful walks. Inside and around the National Park, there are also more than ten gorgeous waterfalls, which are a favorite of bushwalkers and photographers. It’s no wonder that Lorne has been described as ‘where the bush meets the beach’.
For those craving some more cosmopolitan comforts Lorne also offers some great cafes and boutique shops. There’s certainly more than enough to keep you busy for a few days in Lorne.
- Distance from Melbourne: 142 kilometers
- Distance from Torquay, beginning of the Great Ocean Road: 46 kilometers
- Distance from Allansford, end of the Great Ocean Road: 193 kilometers
- Distance from 12 Apostles: 131 kilometers
Those looking for a relaxing base, with beaches and nature within easy reach. It is particularly well suited as an early stop, being roughly 1/4 of the way along the Great Ocean Road.
Best Places to Stay in Lorne
Lorne World – Lorne’s only 5-star accommodation, these highly reviewed studios are 300 meters from the beach.
Chatby Lane Lorne is a 4.5-star adult-only boutique hotel. Partial sea views from your balcony or patio, excellent wifi and clean, modern apartments and suites, this hotel is well situated close to restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets.
Lornebeach Apartments – A lovely 4.5-star boutique hotel with two indoor pools, free wifi and located rights across from the beach.
Cumberland Lorne Resort – Another great 4.5-star Great Ocean Road resort. It is an ocean-view apartment-style hotel, a few minutes walk from the beach and surrounded by restaurants.
Another wonderful place to stay along the Great Ocean Road is Apollo Bay. With its long horseshoe-shaped beach and laid back atmosphere, this charming town wins over many visitors. In fact, you might just meet a few locals who visited and never left.
As with many of the popular towns along the Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay offers up amazing views and unforgettable walking trails. Apollo Bay is also close to the stunning Otway National Park, where you’ll find some of Victoria’s best walks and mountain-biking trails.
Historically, Apollo Bay was popular with fishermen – of the commercial and hobbyist variety. There are still plenty of recreational anglers around, and the love of fishing also means there are several amazing seafood restaurants in Apollo Bay. If you’re a foodie, you’ve definitely got to try a seafood platter here.
If all that exploring has you thirsty, you’d best also drop into the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse to try a hometown beer. Even your four-legged friends are welcome to visit!
- Distance from Melbourne: 190 kilometers
- Distance from Torquay, beginning of the Great Ocean Road: 116 kilometers
- Distance from Allansford, end of the Great Ocean Road: 150 kilometers
- Distance from 12 Apostles: 87 kilometers
Those looking for a convenient and all-round fabulous half-way stop, as well as foodies who especially love seafood.
Best Places to Stay in Apollo Bay
Chocolate Gannets – A perfect 5-star luxury apartment stay for couples. These two self-contained villas look over the beach. The seafront villa has full ocean views and has excellent reviews.
The Dolphin Apartments are the best 4.5-star self-catering apartments in Apollo Bay. They are located a 10-minute walk into the main part of Apollo Bay and the penthouse has ocean views.
Captains at the Bay is an upscale B&B that includes a kid’s club and an executive floor. With a restaurant and bar, a fitness room and excellent reviews, this is a great accommodation option right in the heart of Apollo Bay.
Apollo Bay Waterfront Motor Inn – Along with Captain’s at the Bay, this is Apollo Bay’s best 4-star accommodation. Directly opposite Apollo Bay, some rooms have ocean views. The rooms are very clean, the staff are friendly, the wifi is good and the Motor Inn has very high reviews.
Beachcomber Motel & Apartments are by far the best-reviewed 3.5-star accommodation in Apollo Bay. Free wifi, a garden, restaurant, and very clean rooms give this property its good reviews.
Right at the other end of the route, Allansford is another option for where to stay along the Great Ocean Road. Perhaps due to its more inland location, it’s not as popular with visitors as Torquay, Lorne or Apollo Bay – but it’s still worth considering.
The biggest drawcard of Allansford is the Allansford Cheese Factory. As the name suggests, this is a paradise for those who love cheese. Here, you can taste all different varieties, and also enjoy a tasty meal in the restaurant/café. Even if you don’t stop overnight in the town, you can’t miss this GOR highlight!
Another attraction close to Allansford is the Logans Beach Whale Watching Platform – a great spot to catch some playful whales between May and September. Or, head further north and find yourself at the Hopkins Falls Scenic Reserve, with its picturesque falls.
- Distance from Melbourne: 335 kilometers
- Distance from Torquay, beginning of the Great Ocean Road: 92 kilometers
- Distance from Allansford, end of the Great Ocean Road: 243 kilometers
- Distance from 12 Apostles: 65 kilometers
Those who would prefer to forego the coast for the countryside. And cheese lovers!
Best Places to Stay in Allansford
Secluded Homestead– A sweet, light and comfortable cottage with one bedroom in this secluded and peaceful B&B set within the Australian bush.
Technically Warrnambool isn’t part of the Great Ocean Road, but it’s so convenient for the end of the route that it’s worth including. Warrnambool is also the largest town on this list, with over 34,000 permanent residents.
The sprawling town spreads out around Lady Bay, a picturesque beach that’s popular with both locals and temporary visitors. Beach lovers are sure to love the ease with which you can pop across to enjoy the sun, surf, and sand.
While Warrnambool is mostly a residential city, there are several tourist attractions as well. One of the most significant is the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum, which has won various tourism awards. Most famously, it has many objects salvaged from the 19th Century shipwreck, the Loch Ard.
As the largest town on this list, Warrnambool is well-equipped with various restaurants, shops and accommodation options. Even if you don’t stay overnight in the town, it’s a good option to stock up on essentials like groceries for your onward travel.
- Distance from Melbourne: 345 kilometers (via GOR)
- Distance from Torquay, beginning of the Great Ocean Road: 248 kilometers
- Distance from Allansford, end of the Great Ocean Road: 10 kilometers
- Distance from 12 Apostles: 73 kilometers
Those who prefer to stay in a busier and better-equipped town while traveling along the Great Ocean Road.
Best Places to Stay in Warrnambool
–Gallery Apartments – A dazzling 4.5-star modern boutique hotel that includes a kids pool and room service and a lovely outdoor swimming pool.
– Quest Warrnambool is a well-known hotel chain with free wifi and a great location. It is well-reviewed with spacious rooms and lovely balconies.
Seashells on Banyan Apartment– This is my favorite 4-star apartment in Warrnambool. It is pretty, modern, and stylish with almost all perfect reviews.
Small towns and villages along the Great Ocean Road
Although there is much to love about the larger towns along the Great Ocean Road, it’s equally charming to base yourself in some of the smaller townships. Here are five of the most interesting.
The charming and lively town of Port Campbell is a popular stopover point for one big reason: it’s convenience to the 12 Apostles. If you’re hoping to get up early to beat the crowds at the 12 Apostles, then staying at Port Campbell is an excellent choice.
The 12 Apostles is certainly not the only attraction near Port Campbell, however. The town itself is small but has a charming atmosphere. There are several quaint cafes and typical country bakeries, which are perfect for tasty and informal meals.
The jetty is also famous, and no visit to Port Campbell is complete without visiting it. From the jetty, you’ll have a beautiful view of the surrounding limestone cliffs.
- Distance from Melbourne: 283 kilometers
- Distance from Torquay, beginning of the Great Ocean Road: 187 kilometers
- Distance from Allansford, end of the Great Ocean Road: 55 kilometers
- Distance from 12 Apostles: 11 kilometers
Those wanting to be close to the 12 Apostles, which is great if you’re looking to get up early
Best Places to Stay in Port Campbell
Alkina Lodge – has quickly become synonymous with Great Ocean Road accommodation luxury. The Lodge lies between Port Campbell and the 12 Apostles. It is one of the most luxurious boutique accommodation to be found along the Great Ocean Road and receives stunning reviews.
Southern Ocean Villas – stylish and contemporary, these lovely villas have decks as well as free wifi, air conditioning, massage services, and is close to the restaurants of Port Campbell.
Anchors Beach House is perfect family accommodation. A contemporary residence with the Port Campbell foreshore within walking distance.
Portside Motel has great views, air-conditioning and large rooms that have private balconies. It’s hard to go past the Portside Motel for the best budget hotel in Port Campbell.
For a town with just 50 residents, Kennett River sure garners a lot of attention! This tiny town is wedged between Lorne and Apollo Bay, and the main reason for its fame is the cuddly critters that call it home.
Most famously, Kennett River is the perfect place to engage in a bit of koala-spotting. It’s well-known as one of the best places to see these loveable marsupials, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you suddenly stumble upon crowds of visitors looking up!
While the koalas are a bit drawcard, Kennett River is also famously the home of many colorful and beautiful birds, including king parrots and rosellas. You can pick up some birdseed from the local shop, and they’ll eat right out of your hand!
You’ll find a caravan park as well as a few other options around Kennett River. You may also like to base yourself in Wye
- Distance from Melbourne: 164 kilometers
- Distance from Torquay, beginning of the Great Ocean Road: 68 kilometers
- Distance from Allansford, end of the Great Ocean Road: 172 kilometers
- Distance from 12 Apostles: 106 kilometers
Animal lovers, families and those who want to stay somewhere peaceful and relaxing.
Best Places to Stay in Kennett River and Wye
Big4 Wye River Holiday Park– A very well-reviewed 3-star holiday park
Kennett River Holiday Park– Another 3 star holiday park providing economical great ocean road accommodations
If it’s charm and charisma you want from your trip along the Great Ocean Road, then it doesn’t get much better than Port Fairy. This gorgeous historic town is like a time capsule, with row after row of 19th-century villas. It gives a true glimpse into the Australia of yesteryear.
That’s not to say that Port Fairy is a town that’s behind the times. In fact, despite its modest size, it’s quite the bustling hub. There’s a good selection of cafes, small artsy boutiques, and even a golf course.
Being on the coast, Port Fairy has long been associated with the sea. Many of the charming homes on display once belonged to fishermen or sailors, and there’s even a maritime heritage discovery trail.
Port Fairy is great all year round, but one highlight is the annual Port Fairy Folk Festival which is typically held in March, and attracts some amazing artists from Australia and abroad.
- Distance from Melbourne: 378 kilometers
- Distance from Torquay, beginning of the Great Ocean Road: 275 kilometers
- Distance from Allansford, end of the Great Ocean Road: 37 kilometers
- Distance from 12 Apostles: 138 kilometers
Those looking for a romantic and charming break towards the end of the Great Ocean Road (if coming from Melbourne).
Best Places to Stay in Port Fairy
– Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel can’t be matched in terms of its location. 4.5-star rooms with attentive staff. Large rooms, the restaurant, and its spectacular rooms make it a highly reviewed property.
– Clonmara Country House and Cottages – 4.5-star cottages a short drive from Griffiths Island Lighthouse and Tower Hill. A fitness center, jacuzzi, golf course, and free wifi are lovely extras but the rooms and food also get very high reviews.
Tides Apartments – 3 lovely, light and modern apartments with fantastic views. Very highly reviewed and with free wifi.
Hearn’s Beachside Villas are highly reviewed 4.5-star beachside villas. The 7 villas have free wifi and front a pristine piece of Australian coastland.
PIN IT FOR LATER
Further Links and Information
All of the Great Ocean Road Accommodation options can be viewed here
For the best 1, 2, 3, 4-6 and 7+ day itineraries, see my post here.
See my Great Ocean Road Holiday Planning Guide to the main attractions along the Great Ocean Road here.
Get Your Guide 12 Apostles activities and tours are here
[p-svg-icons icon=”tag” wrap=”b”] More detailed information on how to book transport, airfares, accommodation and travel insurance is available on my Travel Resources page
For other great things to do outside of Melbourne, see my blog post on wonderful walk and hikes to the east of Melbourne in the Dandenong Mountains and Yarra Ranges here
For 5 great reasons to visit the village of Gembrook in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, see my blog post here
And for another wonderful destination when you are planning travel to the Great Ocean Road Australia as part of a larger Australian holiday, see my blog post about Canberra’s hidden sculpture garden here
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