Lorne holiday & travel guide Lorne holiday & travel guide

The ultimate travel guide toLorne

Having earned a reputation as one of Victoria’s quintessential beach towns, Lorne’s residents could easily rest on their laurels and capitalise on the steady stream of visitors that will undoubtedly make their way through while riding the Great Ocean Road. And yet, the list of drawcards for this small coastal town only seems to get longer: boutique hotels are setting up shop, a handful of big-name Melbourne restaurants have launched outposts here, and you can’t move for coffee shops.

 

But Lorne is not only a great place to wind down and mosey around; it’s also a great launch pad for adventurous exploits. Journey inland just a couple of ticks, and you’ll wind up in the greenery soaked bush of the Great Otway National Park. The so-called ‘waterfall capital of Australia’ also has a plethora of cascades right on its doorstep, not to mention scenic clifftop lookouts to visit.

Top things to do in Lorne

Beaches & nature

Located just across the road from the town’s main strip of shops and restaurants, Lorne Beach is wildly accessible, and as a result quite popular too. This stretch of golden sand is also the only one in Lorne to be patrolled during the summer season. Drink in coastal views from Scotchmans Hill, on the beach’s southernmost edge: it’s a lovely shady spot for a picnic or barbecue. See also the Shipwreck Plaque Walk, on the Lorne Foreshore.

Waterfalls

Welcome to waterfall country. Within just a 10-minute drive of Lorne there are more than 10 different cascades to explore, set among the eucalyptus trees and rocky gorges of the Great Otway National Park. Erskine Falls is arguably the jewel in the region’s crown, plunging some 30 metres into a tree fern gully. But there are plenty of other worthy contenders, such as Kalimna Falls, Sheoak Falls, and Phantom Falls.

Activities & attractions

Gawp at panoramic views from atop Teddy’s Lookout, which takes in verdant valleys, the meandering Saint George River and the many blues of the Southern Ocean. On the walk up to the clifftop viewing platforms keep your eyes peeled for koalas, cockatoos or kookaburras.

 

When high-octane adventure calls make for Live Wire Park, just on the fringes of town. There’s a treetop walk to take, and an elevated trampolining net park for little ones, but most visitors come to test out the 525-metre-long Shockwave ZipCoaster, a hybrid zipline-rollercoaster experience.

Lorne accommodation

Hotels & resorts

There are only six individually designed rooms at the boutique La Perouse Lorne – arguably the pick of the bunch in town – and all of them have north-facing private verandahs with ocean views. If you can afford to splash out, go for the Deluxe Room which features an outdoor bath on your private terrace.

 

Those looking for a touch more space and the option to self-cater should check out the Great Ocean Road Cottages. The cottages sleep between two and five people, and even though they’re located just a few minutes from the town centre the bushland setting makes them feel far removed.

 

There’s nothing flashy about the rooms at the Lorne Hotel, but what they lack in extras the hotel makes up for with its location right on the beach and the town’s main street.

Camping & caravan parks

You’d be hard pressed to find another campsite so conveniently located: just steps from town, the Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park has two sites for campers to choose from. One runs along the Erskine River, and the other is perched upon a bush-covered hillside above the Lorne Pier.

 

For total peace and tranquillity, the Kennett River Caravan Park is practically unmatched. It’s a 30-minute drive from Lorne but surrounded by the Great Otway National Park.

Holiday homes

Try this restored timber cottage (sleeps two), this wheelchair-friendly home with an incredible deck (sleeps 8), or this huge modern house with ocean views (sleeps 13), all through Airbnb.

 

Lorne restaurants & cafes

The choice of Lorne restaurants has ballooned in recent years, and visitors to this seaside resort town no longer need to accept overpriced and underwhelming food just because of the scenic location.

 

A Melbourne transplant, the Lorne outpost of MoVida serves up the same high-end Iberian tapas that the city’s residents have come to know and love, such as the signature Cantabrian anchovy on a crouton with smoked tomato sorbet. It’s part of the Lorne Hotel complex, which also has its own bistro, plus a beer garden with ocean views. And as of 2021, the hotel’s top floor has now become the permanent home of another Melbourne heavy hitter, Coda. Expect a seafood-heavy, pan-Asian menu at this beachside venue.

 

Another first-class Lorne restaurant well worth the outlay is IPSOS Restaurant & Bar: a hatted, Modern Greek eatery that revolves around seasonal, locally sourced produce, to create fresh-tasting dishes that spotlight both meat and seafood and feature plenty of herbs, spices and nuts.

 

Bringing a bit of South American flair to the Great Ocean Road, Mestizo has won a legion of loyal followers for its flame-grilled meats and punchy cocktails.

 

​​If you’re in the mood for burgers then head straight for The Bottle of Milk. A tried and true diner/cafe, there’s a host of beef, chicken and veggie options to pick from, not to mention a rather stellar breakfast line-up too.

 

Get your caffeine fix at almost any of Lorne’s establishments, such as quaint little Riverbank Cafe, Moons Espresso Bar or Lorne Central.

Getting to Lorne

Lorne is located approximately 140 kilometres west of Melbourne (roughly a two-hour drive away). Public transport options are extremely limited, so driving is your best option. Melbourne’s Avalon Airport is the closest to the coastal town, at just 90 kilometres away. But rather than rushing straight there, take it slow and take in the Great Ocean Road on your way.

Best time to visit Lorne

Each season offers visitors something a little different, so plotting when to visit depends a little on your hobbies and tastes. Come spring the local waterfalls are in full flow, green foliage is at its most abundant and wildflowers are in bloom. Come summer the beaches are licked with sunshine and eateries spill onto the streets. And come autumn/winter (May to September) it’s whale watching season.

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