Top Places To Live Along The Great Ocean Road

Decorative image of Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is a must-see for any tourist planning to spend time in Melbourne. However, it’s so much more than a long drive, with stops along the way that simply can’t be fully experienced over the course of a quick holiday. For those looking to relocate, the Great Ocean Road may not even crop up on your radar given its tick-list association, but there is so much more to see and do in this beautiful part of Victoria beyond The Twelve Apostles.
This article will take you through some of the townships along this marvellous road and shine a light on each one, to provide you with a new perspective and alternative lifestyle to consider, along this truly beautiful landscape we have at our fingertips.


The official start of the Great Ocean Road, Torquay is a surfer’s paradise, home to the Australian National Surfing Museum and surrounded by beautiful landscapes such as the iconic Bells Beach. You’ll find everything from ultra-modern apartments to cosy beach cottages – but be prepared to pay for them. At roughly a 90 minute drive from Melbourne’s CBD, Torquay could be just about feasible as a commute if you work in the city a few times a week but are desperately craving that fresh, salty air. Consider your car finance options as well as housing costs before thinking seriously about moving, as like any town along the Great Ocean Road, having a reliable vehicle is essential, since there are very limited public transport options and townships are far and few in between.
Torquay is great for those seeking an active lifestyle, with a similar coastal feel to Byron Bay. If surfing’s not your thing, there’s also a strong focus on self care and wellness for those in the health sector, as well as local breweries, distilleries and a vineyard. This idyllic coastal destination also boasts a large shopping centre and the Torquay Common where events are frequently held, making it a town with a stronger community feel, rather than simply a tourist stop-off.

Aireys Inlet

If you’re looking for a quiet neighbourhood in a small coastal town that promises a relaxed way-of-life without being too remote, Aireys Inlet is the perfect pick. It has all the essentials; a hospital, library and over 50 places to eat and drink to choose from, but misses out on the hustle and bustle of some of the busier spots along the way. This could make it an ideal location for retirees, or those looking to purchase a summer home away from the city.
What makes the place so charming is its cosy feel boasted by regular craft markets and family appeal. There’s also plenty of places to fish, take walks, and opportunities to try your hand at snorkelling or scuba diving around the many beaches and rock pools. Find a place to nest on top of the cliffs next to Split Point House or pick up your morning walk from somewhere along the Surf Coast Trail, where you’ll soon grow used to breathtaking views from right outside your window, and a garden that stretches as far as the eye can see.

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay is a quaint fishing town that celebrates high quality, fresh, local produce, so it’s great if you’re a farmer, fisher, chef, or craftsman, where you’ll be able to sell your produce in a local market, or one of the many brewhouses, bakeries or restaurants. Award-winning Dooley’s ice creamery, crystal-white patrolled sandy crescent beaches and Bimbi Holiday Park where you can ‘camp under the koalas’ half-an-hour’s drive away, Apollo Bay is packed with things to do for children.
Away from the hubbub of the town centre, you’ll struggle to have a dull weekend, with a redwood forest, rainforest walk, glow worm gully and the famous Cape Otway all in driving distance as just some of the places to explore. It’s the halfway point on The Great Ocean Road, so you couldn’t be better placed to soak up all that the area has to offer.


For those who really just want to get away from it all, and have their heart set on a house somewhere out in the sticks, Princetown is just one of the many small villages on the Western side of Cape Otway that will leave you undisturbed, completely immersed in the wonders of nature. The Twelve Apostles are right on your doorstep, with bushland reserves, national parks and glistening beaches in-place of your noisy neighbours. 
The Gellibrand River virtually isolates Princetown from the rest of the landscape, placing you on an ‘island hill’ to admire your surroundings for miles. You’ll be easily connected to The Great Ocean Walk and have fishing opportunities, but in terms of finding a job, this one might be better suited to remote workers. You’ll also probably have to take the 20 minute drive to Port Campbell for your shopping, so keep in mind you won’t have easy access to every amenity.


Right at the other end, Warrnambool is a small city marking the end of the road, catered more for city-dwelling folk whilst still offering breathtaking nature a stone’s throw away, and a friendly ‘small town feel’. It’s great for young families and professional couples with a vibrant arts and music scene, food markets, multiple schools and a college. For nature lovers, you’ll find a whale-watching platform and waterfall hiking trails a quick drive away.
For geologists and ecologists, nearby Tower Hill is a significant nature reserve formed from the eruptions of a now-dormant volcano, home to emus, koalas, kangaroos, and our other famous Australian wildlife. You’ll also find a hot spring sanctuary where you can wonder at the sensory caves and the marvel of its naturally heated pools. There’s a train line that will get you to Colac in 90 minutes, and Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station with a 4.5 hour inland journey.
This article has barely scratched the surface of the neighbourhoods you’ll find along The Great Ocean Road, but has hopefully given you an idea of the sorts of living environments you can discover there, as well as an indicator of where might be most suitable depending on your work set-up and family dynamic. 
If you’re based in Colac, why not take a trip down and discover for yourself the atmosphere of each place, before deciding if it’s somewhere you could picture yourself living. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s certainly a spot along the 234 km of road that you just might find yourself calling ‘home’.

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