The Great Ocean Road without the crowds! The Aire River Campgrounds are minutes away from clifftop views and beach hiking – get your toes sandy!


Highlights

  • Camping near the beach
  • Quiet camping near a tourist hotspot
  • An epic clifftop walk to a secluded beach
  • Prime backflip locations

Quiet Camping & Cracking Clifftops // Aire River - Great Ocean Road (VIC), photo by Lachlan Fox, beach, backflip

Aire River Campgrounds

Although the Great Ocean Road is home to a ridiculous amount of tourists each year, there are still plenty of lesser-known campgrounds and spots that escape the path of the tourist buses.

Aire River East and Aire River West campgrounds are located roughly a half-hour past Apollo Bay – sitting around 3 hours out of Melbourne. Hidden away off the Great Ocean Road, the campgrounds are right on Aire River, a 15-20 minute walk to the exposed beachfront.

Quiet Camping & Cracking Clifftops // Aire River - Great Ocean Road (VIC), photo by Lachlan Fox, beach, cliffs

As it’s further around the coast than many other typical Great Ocean Road spots, the beachfront cops the full force of the open ocean – with the exposed coastline a spectacular backdrop for walking and hiking.

Aire River To Castle Cove Lookout

The area has plenty of day hikes to try out (and longer ones if you’re keen!) but one of the top picks is the Aire River to Castle Cove Track. The track winds for 6km along the coastline, giving solid views of the cliffs that drop into the waves below.

Quiet Camping & Cracking Clifftops // Aire River - Great Ocean Road (VIC), photo by Lachlan Fox, cliffs, waves, ocean

Although the track follows the coast to well past Castle Cove lookout, it’s a good spot to turn around for a cruisy day hike. Castle Cove is spectacular, with huge cliffs falling into a beach full of big surf.

Quiet Camping & Cracking Clifftops // Aire River - Great Ocean Road (VIC), photo by Lachlan Fox, cliffs, waves, ocean

One downside is that swimming is likely to be off the cards – the beach has no swimming signs for good reason – hefty rips and a super-strong undertow are a genuine danger. The area is also well known for its marine wildlife, and if you’re lucky you might even spot a seal or shark swimming about on a clear day!

Quiet Camping & Cracking Clifftops // Aire River - Great Ocean Road (VIC), photo by Lachlan Fox, beach, sunset

Keep Safe: How To Stay Safe Around Water // Swimming Hole Safety

Essential Gear

How To Get There

The Aire River campgrounds (East and West) are situated off the Great Ocean Road, roughly half an hour past Apollo Bay. To get to the campgrounds, turn off the Great Ocean Road at Horden Vale road and follow that through to the camps. Often it can be hard to get internet there so make sure to download the map beforehand!

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Surfing (for experienced surfers)
  • Swimming (be very careful of rips in this area)
  • Photography

Skill Level

Beginner – the track is 6km through scrub and along clifftops, there’s some climbing and soft sand to walk on.

 


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