Last updated on May 30, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Great Ocean Road

The 10 Great Ocean Road Hidden Secrets – From unknown waterfalls to unique beaches

The Great Ocean Road is most definitely a famous destination with over a quarter of a million visitors arriving each year.

There are popular spots like the 12 Apostles you need to queue up at every viewpoint. It can be frustrating, I know.

But what if I tell you there are still a few Great Ocean Road hidden secrets that are unknown to the most

I am talking here of amazing waterfalls where you can even walk under the water through a cave. Or an astonishing calm beach you will likely share just with a bunch of people. Or the hidden stairs of the Great Ocean Road

Or again a bay which is as beautiful as the 12 Apostles, however without any crowd, just a very small number of people, if any.

How do I know them? I have been regularly visiting the Great Ocean Road for over 15 years and I can’t stop myself exploring new areas

Ok, You got the picture. Now, let’s jump into the meaty stuff.

In this guide you will see

You can read also

Anchor at Wreck Beach
Part of a shipwreck at Wreck Beach

Great Ocean Road hidden gems – In a nutshell

Below is the shortlist of the hidden gems on the Great Ocean Road.

I suggest, however, to keep reading for a more detailed description of every spot, a video with all of them and finally a reference map.

The order of the things to see is based on the location, from east to west, starting with a beach close to Anglesea and moving west (with the sea on your left side)

  • Secret Stairs of the Great Ocean Road: often overlooked by most, located in Campbell Town, within walking distance of the main beach. You can’t actually walk down as access has been fenced off, nevertheless a great lookout point. Read more on the stairs below, including the exact location.
  • Roadknight Point: this is one of my favourite areas. On one side of this small peninsula, you have one of the most popular beaches for families, Roadknight Beach, with shallow and calm water. On the other side, the open-water side, you can have one of the most spectacular sunsets on the Great Ocean Road. A must-visit place if sleeping in Anglesea. Read more on Roadknight Point.
  • Lower Kalimna Falls: one of my last findings. It’s around 7km from Lorne and it’s probably one of the most spectacular and unique waterfalls along the Great Ocean Road. Why? Because you can even walk behind the falling water, in a sort of pool. Read more on these falls
  • Californian Redwoods Forest: an incredible and dramatic forest made of gigantic Californian Redwoods. It is absolutely a magic place. Read more on the forest below.
  • Triplet Falls: it’s a lovely waterfall, however, do not stop at the main viewing platform, keep walking along the loop and you will be able to access the best part of the falls, between enormous rock formations. Read more below
  • Wreck Beach: one of my favourite beaches for a walk. It’s accessible through an unsealed road off the Great Ocean Road, just after the Great Otway NP. You can still visit the remaining skeleton of two shipwrecks. Read more on the beach below.
  • Broken Head & Sherbrook River: impressive area west of the popular Loch Ard Gorge, but accessible from the same parking area. Walk down to the river for a superb and unique view. Great place also for a walk. Read more below.
  • The Grotto: one of the first attractions after Port Campbell. You walk down to a small grotto where you have an awesome view of the massive waves breaking into the reef. Really spectacular. Read more on the Grotto below.
  • Bay of Martyrs: this is a bay that in my opinion is as beautiful as the 12 Apostles (someone says even more), however, it does not have that big hype. This means you are going to share this spot with just a small bunch of travellers. You also have access down to the beach. Read more below
  • Childers Cove: the most beautiful of all the beaches along the Great Ocean Road, I believe. This is my secret spot, especially on a sunny warm day. Even with a strong northerly wind, the cove is well repaired. The watercolours go through all the blue tonalities, almost looking somehow saturated. A great contrast with the orange/red colours of the cliff around the beach. Read more on the cove below.

Just a quick note. I have added for a few attractions also a link to the PDF map. These are provided by Parks Victoria, the most trustable source.

Most unique things to do on the Great Ocean Road – The video

In this video, you can see all these secret attractions of the Great Ocean Road.

Remember to subscribe to the channel for more interesting stuff on the GOR, other destinations and plenty of Travel Photography tutorials

Secret Stairs of the Great Ocean Road

Ask anyone in town about the Secret Stairs on the Great Ocean Road and they will probably tell you they don’t know what you are talking about.

In fact, these hidden stairs are not visible from any point if not from the water itself.

They run down from the cliff to almost the water level, and they are very dangerous, especially in wavy conditions (almost every day). This is why they have been fenced off.

You can see still the stairs from the top but you can’t go down.

A video went quite viral on TikTok and this helped in the popularity of this spot, which the locals know as Prady’s Lookout.

Location: it’s just a few hundreds meters from Port Campbell Beach. If you are driving from the 12 Apostles, on the first roundabout in Port Campbell keep straight on Cairns Street (instead of right to the town centre), then take the first unsealed road on the left and you will be there.

Roadknight Point (great for sunset and good safe beach)

I have been coming to Roadknight Point for many years. It’s a small peninsula (700-800m long)

On one side, you have a small repaired bay, which I love.

There is a safe shallow and long beach, perfect for families with kids. Moreover, it has a nice break that creates gentle long waves which work great for surfing, beginners and surfers enjoying their time on longboards.

It’s also next to Anglesea, the first town after Torquay on the coast, one of the closest to Melbourne, therefore very accessible.

A few years back I was, however, sleeping in that area and I decided to go for a walk on the ocean side of the peninsula as the sun was coming down.

What a great choice! I experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets on the Great Ocean Road.

It’s today one of my favourite spots to close the day. 

Just keep in mind that this is not a good spot in windy days when the sea can become quite wavy and tough.

Roadknight Point - Amazing sunset location
Roadknight Point – Amazing sunset location

Lower Kalimna Falls (the most spectacular waterfall)

This is one of my last findings on the Great Ocean Road. 

I was exploring the area around Lorne and I was talking with a couple running a cafe (ask the locals, always a great source of info).

They mentioned the Lower Kalimna Falls as a must-visit place, their favourite waterfalls, and said by a local it means much more, isn’t it?

The direction is very simple, just follow the Garvey Track, an unsealed road behind the Lorne shopping area, for around 7km (see map at the end of the post).

You can park your car in a very tiny parking area and walk down to the fall (20 minutes).

You will arrive at a small pond where you will find the Lower Kalimna Falls. 

The spectacular part is that you can walk behind the fall, you will suddenly feel on a real adventure trip.

Usually, spring is the best season. That’s when the creek has the most water

You can download from this link the Victoria Parks Map of the area of Lorne where you can explore other waterfalls as well as the Lower Kalimna.

Lower Kalimna Falls
Lower Kalimna Falls

Californian Redwoods Forest (dreamland)

This is an incredible and dramatic forest made of gigantic Californian Redwoods.

As you go in, you will feel so small, compared to the massive size of the tree trunks, some of the biggest in Australia.

The sunlight barely makes it through creating a beautiful game of shadows and intense light.

You can also follow a dreamy creek that goes through the forest.

It’s almost like stepping in a parallel world of the Lord of the Rings

And if you love photography or video making this is one of the most amazing spots on the Great Ocean Road

Californian Redwoods Forest
Californian Redwoods Forest

Triplet Falls (unique walking loop)

The Triple Fall can be a hit and miss attraction.

Why?

Because most of the visitors make it up to the viewing platform and then head back to the car missing out on the most beautiful part.

Follow instead the walking loop in the park that will take you to a second viewing platform (number 2 on this map).

From there walk down to the creek where you can follow the waterfall jumping from rock to rock, some of them are really massive ones.

It’s not super challenging, however, it’s also not the easiest trek either.

To give you an idea, it was easier to go down to the creek with my 6 years old boy, however, it was more difficult to go around with him.

Triplet Falls
Triplet Falls

Wreck Beach (a romantic walk with shipwrecks)

This beach is accessible through an unsealed road off the Great Ocean Road, just after the Great Otway NP, called Moonlight Head Rd.

I would personally not suggest driving a 2WD during or just after a rainy day, it can be quite bumpy and challenging.

The amazing long and wide beach, as well as the remaining skeleton of two shipwrecks, are the main reasons to visit this attraction.

There are no signals indicating where is actually the shipwreck, however, if you keep walking for around 20 minutes west (leaving the sea on your left side), you will clearly spot an anchor and part of the wreck next to it.

Three important tips here:

  • be prepared for the 400 steps, or 800 return, from the parking area to the beach. It can be tiring but really well worth the effort,
  • plan it on low tide otherwise, the wreck will be mostly underwater,
  • do not be fooled by the shortcut running from the parking area to Princetown (called Old Coach Road). It can save you many km but it’s really a challenging one, even for 4WD
400 steps to Wreck Beach
400 steps to Wreck Beach

Broken Head & Sherbrook River (as impressive as intimidating)

Loch Ard Gorge is probably the second most popular attraction along the Great Ocean Road. 

It is interesting, however, that most of the visitors do not make it to Broken Head and the Sherbrook River, on the west side of the wide parking area shared with Loch Ard Gorge.

This is a tremendous spot when the sea is a bit rough with the massive waves breaking over the huge rock/cliff at the entrance point of the river.

The view is absolutely impressive here. You really come to understand the power of the sea.

If you visit this area in low tide the river actually does not make it to the sea.

The long beach creates a sort of isthmus where you can have a lovely walk.

Broken Head and Sherbrook River
Broken Head and Sherbrook River
Broken Head viewpoint
Broken Head viewpoint

The Grotto (the instagrammable spot)

This attraction comes just after the small town of Port Campbell.

Leave your car in the wide car park and start your walk descending to a first viewing platform, a fantastic spot for photos.

However, the best has still to come.

Walk down to the bottom of the long stairs and you will discover a grotto from where you can spot the massive waves breaking over the rocks

From here try to make a photo of your partner/kid/friend with the waves breaking in the background.

A quick tip, shoot a burst of photos (continuous photography) and select later the best one.

This is the famous technique “spray and pray” πŸ˜‰

The Grotto from the upper platform
The Grotto from the upper platform

Bay of Martyrs (better than the 12 Apostles)

Many people say that a visit to the 12 Apostles should always be in the things to do on the Great Ocean Road bucket list.

Sometimes I disagree on that.

If you visit the 12 Apostles in the off-season (May to November) then expect a reasonable amount of people around, mostly on the weekend. It’s livable. 

During the summer, however, it can be really packed, up to the point you need to queue up and wait for every single viewing platform.

During the Christmas holiday, the 12 Apostles must be the most popular stop in Australia.

Visit instead the Bay of Martyrs. There are a few reasons for that:

  • it’s as beautiful and spectacular
  • it’s not popular, at all! This means that you will share it with just a bunch of people. I was there last time after the NYE and I shared the platform with only my friends.
  • you can walk down to the beach (something you can’t do on the 12 Apostles), really lovely, and have a swim too.
Rare people at Bay of Martyrs
Rare people at Bay of Martyrs
Bay of Martyrs
Bay of Martyrs

Childers Cove (a small lagoon)

This is really THE hidden secret of the Great Ocean Road. 

It’s an amazing lagoon that you can easily reach from a small sealed road, almost at the end of the GOR.

It’s not that rare, in summer, to experience the hot northerly wind with temperatures hammering sometimes even over 40C degrees.

It’s a very dry and annoying strong wind, however, in Childers Cove, you are fully protected from it.

From the parking area, it’s an easy 10 minutes walk.

There is the main beach and a small one on the side that you can reach only by swimming there.

The watercolours go through all the blue tonalities, almost looking somehow saturated. A great contrast with the orange/red colours of the cliff around the beach.

Childers Cove
Childers Cove

There are no bars or facilities, however, if you drive 10km from there you will end up at Cheese World

My last tip. Order a tasting board and more chilly cheese on the side. Absolutely gorgeous!

Map of the secret spots to visit on the Great Ocean Road

Map of the secret locations on the Great Ocean Road
Map of the secret locations on the Great Ocean Road – Check the Google Interactive Map here.
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

Leave a Comment