The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most scenic drives. A 250 km route that hangs precariously on soaring sea cliffs along Victoria’s coastline, it winds between pretty towns and beaches, all set against the backdrop of Australia’s few temperate rainforests.
Though for one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations, most visitors to the area sadly see very little, and most of that through a car window. But you won’t see the best sights from your car.
While the road can technically be driven in a day, you’re doing yourself a great disservice by not setting yourself up in one of the lovely towns along the route and making that your base for several days.
Much more than a scenic highway, this region is home to a myriad of coastal tracks, rainforest trails, and hikes which connect historic seaside villages, taking in ocean views and dramatic waterfalls.
While there are several towns offering accommodation along the route, if you’re looking to stay directly on the beach, one of the best options is Mantra Lorne.
Mantra Lorne: Where to Stay on the Great Ocean Road
Location: A Central Beach-side Base
Located just steps from the Lorne-Queenscliff Coastal Reserve with direct beach access, Mantra Lorne is situated in the most prime location in town. You can easily walk to the many cafés, restaurants, and unique shops or simply take advantage of the resort’s extensive lush grounds.
A breathtakingly beautiful 2-hour drive along the Great Ocean Road from Lorne will get you all the way to the famous 12 Apostles and all the famous sights in-between. Lorne is a very central town for exploring the road.
You will find many great walks and scenic landscapes right in Lorne as well, so be sure to plan a several days to not only take in the GOR but also to simply relax in this beautiful seaside town.
Mantra Lorne offers several accommodation options to suit all types of travellers and group sizes.
Modern resort rooms with a stylish beach feel will be more than enough to suit your needs for a short stay, while their one bedroom apartments are perfect for those planning an extended stay to take in the area.
One bedroom apartments are equipped with full kitchen facilities and can be adjoined with a standard resort room to create a two bedroom apartment if needed. Enjoy free parking, Wi-Fi, and Foxtel for those rare moments you aren’t at the beach.
For a truly unique experience, Mantra Lorne also offers rooms in the Heritage-listed Erskine House. We chose to set ourselves up in this 150+ year old guesthouse which is said to be the oldest and largest surviving guest house in the state of Victoria.
The guest house rooms blend history with a bit of a modern makeover to offer a pleasing option for those looking to step back in time.
The true highlight of the resort is its extensive well manicured grounds. Mantra Lorne offers plenty of room for its guests to spread out and this has made it a popular venue for large gatherings such as corporate functions and weddings.
You’ll find the largest residential conference venue in Victoria here, offering 16 rooms including the lovely Observatory, Heritage Ball Room, and a Convention Room which can house upwards of 500 people.
You’ll find a nicely equipped gym and heated pool indoors for those days when the weather isn’t cooperating, and plenty of outdoor fun around the grounds.
Guests of the hotel can enjoy tennis courts, lawn bowls, a croquet pitch, giant sized chess and checkers, golf practice area, and buggies to roam around the grounds. There’s so much fun on offer we would forgive you for being tempted to just hang around!
Find relaxation at the Endota Spa and be sure to grab a delicious meal beside the indoor fire or outdoor heaters at The Larder Restaurant. We enjoyed the taste of the fresh fish of the day paired with a sweet and delicious glass of Moscato.
Photos of the Grounds and Amenities
Things to Do Around Lorne
The Great Ocean Road isn’t only about the beaches; you’ll find 10 waterfalls within 10km of Lorne.
See the stunning 30m tall Erskine Falls which can be accessed via a short five minute walk from the falls’ car park or reach them by hiking the 7.5-kilometre Erskine River Track that leads from Lorne.
You’ll pass Straw Falls and Splitter Falls as you make your way along the river. For another easy to access waterfall, head to Sheoak Falls and don’t miss the nearby Upper and Lower Kalimna Falls.
Head to the top of George Street where you will find a lovely walkway offering incredible elevated views of the surf breaking into the mouth of the Saint George River as well as the rainforest covered gorge below.
You’ll find several great beaches around Lorne including the sheltered two-kilometer Main Beach right in town.
For incredible surfing head a bit further north to Bells Beach, home to the world’s longest continuously running surfing competition, the Rip Curl Pro.
Other beaches include Scotchmans Hill and Shelly Beach.
For even more excitement, be sure to check out the annual Falls Festival, a multi-day music festival with extremely popular acts that make Lorne the place to be towards the end of December.
The line-up for 2018 includes Amy Shark, Vance Joy, and Chvrches to name a few.
Great Ocean Road Highlights
For almost guaranteed sightings of wild koalas, walk or drive slowly along Grey River Road in Kennett River, only 30 minutes outside of Lorne. We saw over a dozen koalas, most of which were snoozing in the eucalyptus trees.
You may even hear the males calling in the trees. Keep an eye out for a variety of birds as well. The area around the holiday park is known to be covered in cockatoos, rosellas, and king parrots.
12 Apostles and the Gibson Steps
While there may only be 8 limestone apostles left off the coast of Port Campbell, the natural attraction is no less spectacular. Yes it is often crowded with tourists but it is a must stop if only for a few minutes to take in the incredible scenery.
Break away from the crowds a bit by climbing down the steep Gibson Steps to gain access to the beach and a different perspective of the Apostles.
The 12 Apostles are a 2 hour drive from your base at Mantra Lorne.
Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
Just a bit past the end of the GOR to the west of Warrnambool, you can hike through an inactive volcanic crater in search of emus, koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, and a wealth of waterbirds around the vibrant blue lakes.
This ia a great stop for those looking to get close to wild local animals.
Other Notable Stops
Other notable pull offs along the Great Ocean Road include London Arch, The Grotto, Loch Ard Gorge, and the Bay of Islands.
For more information, or to make a booking, visit the Mantra Lorne website: mantralorne.com.au
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