Our handy guide will help you plan your stay, along with burning off some energy between car rides and meal stops whilst on your way.
Let’s go on a road trip, they said; it’ll be fun, they said. How often have you heard this as a parent, and in the end, the holiday doesn’t turn out as you had hoped. Relaxed drives to see beautiful natural attractions along the way turned into kids whining the whole day, asking, ‘are we there yet?’
We have been there and want to make sure you can thoroughly enjoy our beautiful Great Ocean Road scenery whilst making unforgettable memories with the whole family. Our list of the top 10 things to do with kids along Great Ocean Road proves that this beautiful stretch of road has more to offer than the Twelve Apostles.
Whether you are planning an extended Great Ocean Road family holiday, want to travel the Great Ocean Road with a baby in tow, or are struggling to put together a Great Ocean Road itinerary with toddlers, there are plenty of things to do with kids along the scenic route and off the beaten track.
Here are the top 10 things to do with children around the region:
The many beaches along the way are lovely nature playgrounds for the little ones to swim, snorkel, walk, boogie board and build sandcastles. The safe rockpools at Aireys Inlet, Marengo and Pea Soup Beach in Port Fairy provide the perfect conditions to spend the day, find fish and crabs, or enjoy the shallow lagoons.
Our favourite family-friendly beaches will provide hours of safe fun with toilets, cafes and shops nearby.
Imagine eight hectares of giant slides, flying foxes, maze and boat rides. The Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground in Warrnambool is a paradise for kids and has beautiful walking trails around the lakes–an excellent place to test your bikes and scooters. The park also features fantastic barbeque facilities, picnic areas, tennis courts, mini-golf and a skate park nearby.
The Coogoorah Reserve Pirate Ship playground in Anglesea is a great place for all, especially for families. Themed like a pirate ship, it is great for younger or older children and thanks to the many trails and bridges over wetlands, there is a fun maze for all.
Want more playground inspiration? Discover the best playgrounds along the Great Ocean Road and play your way across the region.
Visitors delight in free chocolate and ice-cream tastings at this food experience and have rated it as one of the top things to do near Torquay for families. This chocolaterie and ice creamery is set on 15 acres of landscaped grounds and is a great place to learn, taste and shop.
Why not book a class or workshop and learn about the chocolate and ice-cream making process and sustainable chocolate. The cafe is open all day, offering dine-in and take-away options that will melt every family member’s heart.
A popular sport with young and old; there are plenty of mini-golf options along the Great Ocean Road to tee off from. Mini golf is one of the many great activities to do on the Great Ocean Road that will be fun and create long-lasting memories for your family.
Next to Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground and adjacent to the foreshore, you can find Mini Golf By the Sea in Warrnambool. Why not combine the two and make it an adventure-packed day that will tire everyone out.
Cobden Rotary Mini Golf provides miniature train rides and a children’s playground, making it a great stop on your itinerary for young ones and toddlers.
Other excellent mini golf facilities to visit along your travels are Great Ocean Road Mini Golf in Aireys Inlet, Bimbi Park in Cape Otway and the BIG4 caravan park in Port Fairy.
Immerse your children (and yourselves!) into a world of wonder, nature and excitement by joining some of the family activities offered through the Visitor Inspiration Program. Go on a high-tech treasure hunt, stargaze or investigate as a digital detective; endless fun awaits your young explorers whilst seeing the Great Ocean Road from a different perspective. Visit the Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre for all the gear hire and information.
The Great Ocean Road is world-renowned for koala spotting as this is one of the best places to see these grey bundles of joy in their natural habitat. They can be found in the wild around the Otway region and the Kennett River, which has a walking path named after the koala.
To guarantee a sighting, you can visit wildlife parks and experiences such as the Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park in Princetown and Warrnambool Wildlife Encounters in Cudgee. One of the most popular things to do around Apollo Bay for families is visiting Wildlife Wonders. They offer a school holiday program and educational information about Australian fauna all year round.
Tip: If you are after a unique and thrilling experience for children and adults, take them on a night-time quest to find glow worms in Melba Gully.
The amazing Otway Fly Treetop Adventures offers outdoor fun for the whole family. This includes zipline tours for the adventure-seeking adults and children, treetop walks for all ages and the Enchanted Forest for the little pixies and fairies amongst us who love to explore.
Like a classroom amongst the giant trees, this is a gorgeous and innovative way for kids to be amongst nature to learn in an exciting environment.
Tip: Look out for other nature-charged super zip lines and treetop adventures if you are visiting Lorne or Yeodene.
Why not bring along your fishing rods for the ultimate Great Ocean Road family holiday, as it is a wonderful bonding experience for kids and adults. Teach the kids how to attach the bait, throw out the line, enjoy the scenery while patiently waiting and then reel in your catch.
If you haven’t had much luck, don’t despair as there are plenty of fish and chip places around. Spend the afternoon at the Port Fairy Wharf and munch on your fish and chips from The Wharf. Simon’s Waterfront in Warrnambool, Fish by Moonlite in Anglesea River and the Fisherman’s Co-op at the Apollo Bay Harbour will fill tired and hungry bellies at the end of the day.
Every kid’s favourite holiday game is finding the best ice cream shop en route. Nothing beats the giant smile on a child’s sticky face after a visit to a local ice cream shop.
The top 10 best ice-cream shops along the Great Ocean Road will help you plan your travels so you don’t miss out on the best gelato along the way.
Anglesea Paddleboats and Canoe Hire offer two-person kayaks and paddleboats to fit an adult and a child for some safe fun on the water. You can also opt for a motorised fun boat or an aqua bike to explore this stunning scenery.
Once everyone’s arms and legs are exhausted and you have seen the region from the water, why not finish the day with a dinner at Last One Inn or the Aireys Pub? Aireys Pub is a local favourite that burned to the ground during Ash Wednesday in 1983. It was later purchased and renovated by a group of locals to reinstate it as one of Australia’s greatest coastal pubs.
Find holiday inspiration now and relax when away
As you can see, there are plenty of activities to do in the Great Ocean Road and the region has so much on offer for every age. Why not book an extended family holiday and make the most of your time away? Travel at a slower pace and see all the main tourist sights, explore off the beaten track and support small communities. The Great Ocean Road region is the perfect place to unwind, relax and take in the casual atmosphere of the beach towns along the way.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.