The Otway Rip, about two hours train ride from Melbourne, is an absolute banger of a gravel bikepacking trip. With waterfalls, beaches, temperate rainforests, and some stunning campsites, what more could you want from a weekend route that’s also accessible by public transport?

Quick Overview

The Otway Rip is a 267km beginner to intermediate gravel route located along the Great Ocean Road in the Otways National Park, Victoria. It can be ridden over two, three, or four days with plenty of options for camping and food along the way.

About the Otway Rip

If you like spending time on two wheels then the Otway Rip is for you. The itinerary is flexible enough that you can go hell for leather, or spend a few cruisy days exploring the best South West Victoria has to offer. Your experience will probably be pretty unique based on the weather, road conditions, and the time taken to do it. But if you’re like me, you won’t be able to get empty gravel roads at sunset, pristine waterfalls, and temperate rainforests out of your head.


The Otway Rip History

The Otways and Shipwreck Coast are chock full of cultural history. The Gulidjan and Gadubanud People are the Traditional Owners of the land and have lived in the forest and on the coast for thousands of years.

How to Get to the Otway Rip

The beauty of bikepacking routes is that a lot of them are accessible by public transport, and the Otway Rip is no different.

By Train

The Otway Rip starts at Camperdown Train Station in South West Victoria and ends at Birregurra Train Station. You can catch a V/Line train out there, leaving from Southern Cross Station, which takes about three hours. At the end of your ride, the trip back to the city will take around an hour.

Be sure to check that V/Line isn’t running replacement buses, as you can’t bring your bike on those.


By Car

You can drive to Birregurra, like I did, and catch the train to Camperdown from there so you end your ride back at your car. The advantage of this is you then don’t have to rush to make the train and can spend as much time as you want at Forrest Brewing Company on your last day.

The drive from Melbourne to Birregurra Train Station takes one hour and 45 minutes.


Where to Stay Along the Otway Rip

Depending on how many nights you spend riding, you’ll probably stay at different locations, but great options along the way include:

  • Port Campbell Recreation Reserve
  • Princetown Recreation Reserve
  • Johanna Beach Campground
  • Beauchamp Falls Reserve Campground

You’ll also pass through some towns if you’re looking to flashpack AKA spend your nights between four walls instead of under canvas and eat at the pub every night.

Skill Level


The Otway Rip is probably a beginner bikepacking route, but you’d want some intermediate outdoors skills if you’re new to bikepacking. You’ll want a decent gravel bike, some really lightweight camping gear, and basic knowledge of bike repair.

Read more: What Should You Carry in Your Bike Repair Kit?

We rode the route in summer on some 30°C+ days and staying hydrated and avoiding heatstroke was definitely a consideration. In winter you’d need to make sure you kept dry and warm, and mud would definitely be part of the game.

Lastly, you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness, depending on how many days you want to ride it in, and some grit to get through 100km+ days.


Distance / Duration / Elevation Gain of the Otway Rip

267km / 16 hours of time on the bike over two days / 3,750m of climbing

If you’re interested in the breakdown, check out the route and GPX file.

Essential Gear for the Otway Rip

Coming from a hiking background, getting the hang of bikepacking gear was an adjustment. There are lots of complete guides to bikepacking gear out there, but some essential gear for the Otway Rip includes:

  • 35mm+ tyres
  • Basic bike and tyre repair kit
  • Powerful bike light
  • At least two litres of water-carrying capacity
  • Hydrolite
  • High-energy food and carbs (you can pick up some food along the way)
  • Bike computer, watch, or phone that can track your ride
  • Insect repellent


What it’s Like to Ride the Otway Rip

My friend Rowan and I rode the Otway Rip over 48 hours, starting late Friday afternoon, riding into the evening, and then finishing on Sunday arvo. You could definitely do it faster and I know people who’ve ridden it over one night or even in a single push. But there’s so much to see and so many beautiful spots to enjoy, why rush? 



You’ll be treated to some Great Ocean Road cruising, empty gravel roads surrounded by temperate rainforest, and plenty of hills. This was my first bikepacking trip and my first time riding more than 60km in one day, but I’d been doing a few day rides in the build-up to this and had a solid level of base fitness. If you’re keen to push yourself for your first ride – or are just looking for an absolutely stunning and achievable weekend ride – then you don’t need to look any further than the Otway Rip.


Day 1 – Camperdown to Port Campbell

Distance: 60km
Duration: 3 hours riding time

We started the Otway Rip on a Friday arvo with plans to be home for dinner on Sunday night. Parking at Birregurra Station, we took a V/Line train to Camperdown and started riding at about 5.30pm.

The first 40km were a gentle descent along a rail trail, and with the late summer light on our side, we stopped at Timboon for a pub meal and then cruised on to Port Campbell while the sun set.



There’s a recreation reserve you can camp at there and plenty of spots to throw up a sneaky bivvy in case you want to stop earlier.


Day 2 – Port Campbell to Beauchamp Falls

Distance: 115km
Duration: 7.5 hours riding time

With a big day of climbing ahead, we started early and rode the Great Ocean Road at sunrise. The added benefit was stunning views and no cars – a big drawcard when bikepacking. There aren’t any bike lanes here, so riding during the less busy times of the day will certainly be less nerve-wracking, and bike lights here are essential!



After a quick stop to top up water at Princetown, we dove into the Otways and began a nice hot climb up to Lavers Hill. One of my favourite things about bikepacking is that with all the calories you burn, it’s actually a necessity to stuff your face – and we did just that at the bakery at Lavers Hill.

After lunch, we broke out of the food coma with a looooong cruise down to Johanna Beach. That was meant to be the end of our day but we arrived pretty early in the afternoon, and after a dip thought it would be nice to ride through the evening on to Beech Forest. The fact that Beech Forest has a pub and Johanna Beach doesn’t didn’t even cross our minds…

Post-pub we rolled along to the stunning free campground of Beauchamp Falls with ice-creams in hand. It sits just down the road from Beech Forest and we arrived in time for a stunning sunset.



Day 3 – Beauchamp Falls to Birregurra

Distance: 90km
Duration: 5 hours riding time

We were a bit sore from the big day before, but with the finish line on the horizon and the promise of beautiful Otway roads, we took off with glee. Luckily we had a fast, smooth descent into the Redwood Forest to get us started, before we headed inland towards the town of Forrest.

After a couple of slow climbs and much faster descents, we arrived at Forrest Brewing Company, the brewery at the centre of the mountain biking town. With only 30km left, we took our time sipping beers before rolling the last flat kilometres into Birregurra.

As the first bikepacking trip for me, it was an absolute doozy. I couldn’t recommend it enough to others. In fact, I loved it so much that I’m planning to head back again this summer and do it even slower with some mates.


Tips for Riding the Otway Rip

This route is pretty stock-standard so there aren’t too many tips you need for the Otway Rip. The only one that caught me by surprise was how hot it became and how quickly we finished our water. Definitely take more carrying capacity than you need and a few hydrolite sachets won’t go astray.


FAQs The Otway Rip

Where is the Otway Rip located?

Unsurprisingly given its name, the Otway Rip is located in the South West of Victoria in the Otway National Park along the Great Ocean Road.


How do you get to the Otway Rip?

The easiest way to get to the Otway Rip is by driving to Birregurra Station and then taking a train to Camperdown. You’ll then finish at Birregurra and can jump in your car and head home.

Otherwise, take a train from Melbourne to Camperdown Station. You then finish at Birregurra Station and can get a train home.


When is the best time to ride the Otway Rip?

The Otway Rip is doable all year round, but the best time to ride it is in summer to make the most of the long days and some swimming opportunities. It can get pretty muddy and wet during winter.


Is the Otway Rip good for beginners?

If you’ve got some riding experience, a good base level of fitness, and some experience in the outdoors then you could absolutely ride the Otway Rip as a beginner. But with 270km and 3,500m of climbing, you’ll want to know what you’re getting yourself into.


How long does it take to complete the Otway Rip?

We rode the Otway Rip in 48 hours (two nights), but you could do it in any timeframe from one day (if you’re a bit crazy) to four days to really soak it all in.


How long is the Otway Rip?

The Otway Rip is 270km from end-to-end with 3,500m of climbing.


Can you swim on the Otway Rip?

Yep! There are a couple of waterfalls along the way as well as Johanna Beach and beaches at Port Campbell. Just be aware that Johanna Beach can be very dangerous with big waves and strong currents. There are many days when you can get swept out even when the water is only knee-deep.


Is the Otway Rip free?

The Otway Rip is free to ride and there are free camping spots along the way.