Free Camping Great Ocean Road

Best Free Camping along the Great Ocean Road

Free camping grounds along the Great Ocean Road used to be quite prolific, years ago and when the region did not attract quite so many thousands of eager visitors.

Nowadays, the coastal sites are all paid and booked through Parks Victoria, but some free spots can still be found in the Otways, not too far from the Great Ocean Road and all the famous sights.

If you decide to partly free camp and maybe include a night somewhere special, read our list of 20 unique properties where you can indulge in a bit of luxury or quirkiness.


The work that has gone into many of the camping grounds is extensive and ongoing for Parks Victoria staff. It is not a surprise that most of the free camps are now at a cost- a site for 2 people costs under $20.00 which is very reasonable, even for solo travellers. It does take away the joy of rocking up to find a pitch of your choice but it also means that you can be assured of a campsite by pre-booking.

Some of the campgrounds listed are dog-friendly, so if you plan to bring your pooch camping and for some romps on beaches, it is possible to have a great time.

If you are looking for campgrounds with the full range of facilities, these are the regular caravan and camping parks along the Ocean Road.

Join our Great Ocean Road Facebook group to get the latest info and help planning an adventure. There is also a group for exploring the rest of Victoria.


FREE CAMPGROUNDS

Listed below are the best free Great Ocean Road campsites, all really well-managed by Parks Victoria. Conditions and regulations can change, please read any links that are attached to the details below.

Parks Vic managed paid campsites are also listed on this page, after the free campgrounds.


Angelsea – Hammond Road North Campground

The Hammond Road North free campsite, 12 km inland from Angelsea, is a basic camp area with limited sites. The site has tables and the toilets are in good condition and campsites clearly marked.

Pitching tents may not be as easy, the ground is fairly compacted. Make sure to take a mallet or use pop-up tents like ours and don’t peg down – but make sure they are weighted so they don’t blow away!

This site is Dog-Friendly

Get Directions to Hammond Road North Free Camping Area

Hammond Road North Free Campground – Pan around the image to see more.

Tanners Road Free Camping Ground, inland from Angelsea

Tanners Road free camping area has also had a facelift recently, it is a small campground with very limited sites. Horse yards are also available at no-cost, on a first-come basis. They are really solid! Numerous tracks head off into the bush from this popular site.

This site is Dog-Friendly

Get Directions to Tanners Road Free Camping Area

Tanners Road Free Campground Angelsea Great Ocean Road
Tanners Road Free Camp Great Ocean Road Horse Yards
4 Horse Yards, Free to use on a first come basis at Tanners Road Free Camp.

Free Camping Near Lorne

There is no free camping within an easy walk of Lorne, but not too far up in the Otway National Park behind Lorne, you can still one place to camp for free.


Sharps Camping Area, Lorne

Located about 5 km from Lorne, the campground is adjacent to Sharps Road.

No booking, no fees. Camping is on a first-in, first-served basis. There are 6 campsites available accommodating up to six people per site. All campsites are unpowered. Half the sites are set aside for tents only; the other sites are suitable for tents, caravans or camper-trailers. 

No toilets, campers need to be self-contained.

Get Directions to Sharps Free Camping Area

This site is Not dog-friendly

Sharps Free Camping Area Lorne
Sharps Free Camping Area Lorne. Set on a road that is closed from this point on but provides some good walking tracks.

Aire Crossing Campsite – As Remote As you Can Be

Aire River Crossing Track, Great Otway National Park is about as remote as you can camp in the Otways. It is basic bush camping by the river, which is good to cool off in on hot days. Very limited spaces & lots of mozzies… | Seasonal closures | Get Directions to Aire Crossing Free Camp

This site is dog-friendly though they are required to be on-leash.

Aire Crossing Free Camp – right out in the forest!

Beauchamp Falls Free Camp Area – Currently closed

Beauchamp Falls Camp Area
Beauchamp Falls Camp Area
Beauchamp Falls Camp Area
Beauchamp Falls Camp Area

This little campground has a grassy area with firepits that can be used when camping and for day use. Campervans etc. can stay overnight in the car park. It has long drop loos and is very close to the really pretty Beauchamp Falls.

This site is dog-friendly though they are required to be on-leash.

Get Directions to Beauchamp Falls Camping Area


Dando’s Free Campsite

Dando’s is quite a large campsite beneath tall, slender trees with quite a few tables and fire pits and by a large open grassy area that is ideal for kids to play (watch out for snakes).

From the main road, it takes about 20 minutes to drive in and feels quite remote.

The site has long-drop toilets and is on a first-come basis. It is deep in the Otways beyond Beech Forest, popular with 4 wheel drive clubs. Set beside the Gellibrand River, this is such a lovely spot.

This site is dog-friendly though they are required to be on-leash.

Sayers Track, Gillibrand. Get Directions

Dandos Free Campground Otways
Dandos Free Campground Otways
Dandos Free Campground Otways
Dandos Free Campground Otways
Dandos Campground, near the Gellibrand River
Dandos Free Campground, Great Otway National Park

Stevenson’s Falls Free Campground

Stevensons Falls Great Otway National Park Victoria
Stevenson’s Falls, Great Otway National Park, Victoria

There is an awesome free campground with a beautiful walk to the nearby Stevenson’s Falls, one of the prettiest waterfalls in the Otways. The camping area is a good size and the drive into Stevenson’s Falls camping ground has some wonderful views down into the valley. Watch out for kangaroos, we saw some really large mods of Eastern Grey roos on a quick getaway camp we did to Stevensons Falls (this is our go-to gear for a quick overnight camping trip).

It has basic toilet facilities and about 50 un-powered campsites –  the area can become very muddy after heavy rains. It is on a first-come basis and does get crowded at peak times. Access is from the Colac-Skenes Creek Road near Barramunga.

Get Directions to Stevensons Falls Free Campground

This site is dog-friendly though they are required to be on-leash.


PAID CAMPSITES MANAGED BY PARKS VICTORIA

These sites are low-cost and booked online through Parks Victoria. The prices are very reasonable for what is provided and the maintenance required.


Hammond Road Campsite – Angelsea

This site is just up the road from the free Hammonds Road North Camping ground. It has recently been upgraded with toilets, bbq pits, and some tables. It is a good open site with lots of visiting kangaroos and other wildlife. Book through Parks Victoria.

Not Dog-Friendly.

Hammond Road Paid Campground. New planting, fire pits, toilets off to the right and bays for campers and caravans with a firm gravel base as well as tent areas. Loads of roos!

Allenvale Mill Bush camp – Lorne

The camping area is about 3 km beyond  Lorne off Allendale Road on the banks of the St George River.

This is a walk-in camping area, although it’s only a short walk to the campground (around 200 metres). No booking, no fees. Camping is on a first-in, first-served basis. There are 16 campsites available. All campsites are unpowered and are suitable for tents only. Long drop toilets are provided. Read More…

Get Directions to Allenvale Mill Walk-in Campground

This site is not dog-friendly

Allenvale Mill Walk in Free Campground,

Big Hill Track Campground, 11 km from Lorne

This unpowered campground, 11km / 15 mins from Lorne has some open grassy sites surrounded by bush. It is suitable for school groups, motorhomes, caravans and has a couple of camping sites.

Subject to seasonal closure between 1 June and 31 October inclusive.

12 campsites are available on a first-come basis.  Half the sites are set aside for tents only whilst the other half are suitable for tents, caravans, and camper-trailers.

Long-drop loos, BYO water.

Located near the intersection of Big Hill Track and Lorne-Deans Marsh Road, Benwerrin.

Get Directions to Big Hill Campground

This site is Not dog-friendly

Big Hill Free Campground Lorne Great Ocean Road
Big Hill Free Campground

Jamieson Creek Campground – Wye River, Ocean Views

Jamieson Creek is one of the best spots to camp for bushwalks, fabulous ocean views, and easy access to the Great Ocean Road. The camping area is not too far from Lorne and it is a quick drive or a pretty walk into the tiny seaside township of Wye River. A short hike down to the beach and visitors can enjoy exploring rock pools at low tide or relaxing on the beach.

With lots of new planting and recent improvements including toilets, gas bbq’s and seating overlooking the Bass Strait from the viewpoint, this is an awesome spot to spend a few days.

Jamieson Creek campground is supposed to be open for booking from March, we will update this post when it is open. Join our Facebook group to get updates and info.

Book a campsite at Jamieson Creek Campground

This site is Not dog-friendly

This short video was made when the camping ground had been newly planted and upgraded, over time the planting will grow and it will look less open in the camping area. We plan to spend a few days down here to really explore the area and will update the video, subscribe to our Youtube channel (link in video) to be notified of new uploads.

Pan around the image, scroll to zoom in, to see the viewpoint at Jamieson Creek camping ground. We were here on a gloomy day… but it was still spectacular.


Lake Elizabeth Campground – Wildlife, Bike Trails, Secluded

Up high in the Otways near Forrest, the Lake Elizabeth Campground is a gem. Walk to Lake Elizabeth, do the circuit, watch for Platypus early in the morning or at dusk. The area is a mountain biker’s paradise with miles of specially marked trails.

Dog-friendly on a lead at all times.

More information and booking – Parks Victoria


Blanket Bay, Cape Otway

Nestled neatly beneath Manna Gums to the east of Cape Otway Light Station and with quick access to the sheltered beach, Blanket Bay is a fantastic little camping site. It is a good koala spotting area and popular with snorkellers (byo gear) and is ideal for exploring rock pools and local walks. It is also one of the stops along the Great Ocean Walk.

More information and booking – Parks Victoria


Parker Hill Campground, Cape Otway

This idyllic little campground is set up on a hill beneath stringybark trees with plenty of visiting wildlife. It’s a short walk to the beach and hikers keen to explore can walk to Point Franklin with awesome ocean views. It is on a section of the Great Ocean Walk.

More information and booking – Parks Victoria


Aire River West

Set beside the Aire River and close to the coast, this campsite is popular with larger groups and has open sunny camping sites. Basic amenities and unpowered. A fantastic little campsite, west of Cape Otway, with local walks to explore.

More Information and booking – Parks Victoria


Aire River East

The first time we stayed here was when the kids were small, they had packed their own bags and out of the crammed full case of the youngest (3years old) popped a big stuffed teddy bear… and no clothes or knickers. It is one of the best family camping memories we cherish. Camping and hiking with kids is brilliant fun.

The sites are more sheltered than at the Aire River West campground and it is a good place to take kayaks and SUPS to explore the river.

More information and booking – Parks Victoria


Johanna Beach – Surfing & Dog-Friendly

Johanna Beach campsite is about an hour from the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge and the most popular camping ground for surfers along the Great Ocean Road (the beach is unpatrolled and remote).

It’s the perfect spot for getting away from the world for a while and enjoying the ocean scents. Johanna Beach is also popular for surf fishing and a section of the Great Ocean Walk also passes through this location, so an ideal base for some day hikes.

Dog-friendly on a lead at all times.

More information and booking – Parks Victoria


Camping near the 12 Apostles

When visiting the 12 Apostles, it is possible to find budget-friendly campsites. The Princetown Recreation reserve is the best budget camping or caravanning option, closest to the Twelve Apostles, it is fairly basic but in a good location on the coast. If you don’t mind a 1-hour drive to the Apostles from your campsite, the Johanna Beach campsite is awesome (paid campground, details above).


Paid Camping & Caravan Parks

More camping and caravan sites can be found along the Ocean Road, some are low-cost and others are more expensive resort-style campgrounds with great facilities for families. Many of these camping and caravan parks are well located by the ocean and towns.


Free Camping near Warrnambool

The Panmure overnight camping area is the closest campsite to Warrnambool, it is close to the busy road so can be noisy at night, but it’s free and we can be happy.

Pet-friendly | Toilets | BBQs and tables | Tents, caravans, etc. allowed. | By a river | Less than 30 mins (29.4 km) drive to Warrnambool | 50 mins (60.8 Km) to the 12 Apostles

8830 Princes Hwy, Panmure, Victoria

Get directions to Panmure


Free Camping before reaching the Great Ocean Road

There is a 24 hour BP Petrol Station at Little River which is about 30 mins after crossing the West Gate Bridge when leaving Melbourne on Highway One. This is a popular overnight stop for people coming off the Spirit of Tasmania with caravans or motorhomes and heading towards the Ocean Road as it takes about 1 hour from Port Melbourne.

Near the service station is a large, unsealed, parking area that is generally accepted as a ‘free camping’ spot. This is not near the Ocean Road, it’s about an hour away.

No facilities and it is beside the noisy highway, campers need to be self-contained or use the toilet facilities (no showers) in the fuel station (which is allowed).

Little River BP Rest Stop - free camping Princes Highway
Little River BP Rest Stop. It is beside the major Highway 1, with constant traffic noise. Ideal as a quick overnight stop.

Car & Motorhome Hire – Get the best price

Car and Campervan Rental Melbourne Airport and CBD
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Self-drive touring along the Ocean Road is an ideal way to explore, going off the track a little into the Otways and taking plenty of time to experience the region. The driving route between Melbourne and Adelaide can include a trip down the Great Ocean Road too.


Waterfalls & 50 Things to Do Along the Great Ocean Road

The waterfalls in the Otways are beautiful and a few of these free campgrounds are very close to some of the best waterfalls as well as near excellent walking tracks.

See our map and list of 50 things to see and do in the region.

Free Camping in Victoria

Victoria has an incredible number of free camps, sadly, the Great Ocean Road does not offer many these days as fees were introduced some years back. It is not recommended to stop and sleep for the night in parking bays, as allowed in many parts of Australia, fines may be imposed.  However, many campgrounds are at low cost and affordable.

Read more about free camping in Australia…


Finding a free campsite at peak times:

Arrive early in the afternoon. Most people leave in the morning, arriving at a campsite early afternoon will provide the best opportunity to get a site in the more popular parks and during peak times. Not always guaranteed, but it does help.

Free campgrounds in Australia are usually on a first-come basis, Western Australia is trialling booking system for free sites, which takes away the ability to be spontaneous when travelling.

If you can’t find a free campsite, local recreation reserves generally offer low-cost sites. The Wiki Camps Au App is one of the best ways to find campsites, it costs under $10 to purchase for lifetime use and is available on Android and IOS.

GREAT OCEAN ROAD FACEBOOK GROUP – Join our FB group to ask questions and share your knowledge about anything to do with travel along the Great Ocean Road. Bushwalks, waterfalls, trip planning, great camping sites, campfire recipes…

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