Wye River locals – Camping with Cockatoos, Kookaburras and Koalas

Wye BeachYou are spoilt for choice when it comes to staying in picturesque, friendly towns as you travel along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, but we had a tip to definitely stay at Wye River between Apollo Bay and Lorne. Not one of the better known places maybe, and one we might have overlooked for a bigger town, but it all makes perfect sense if you like a caravan park in an idyllic location, teeming with wildlife, across the road from a beach and walking distance to a hotel with magnificent views. What’s not to love?

The Big 4 Wye River Holiday Park is a deceptively huge park, nestled in an elbow bend of the Great Ocean Road which passes directly in front and divides the park and the beach. It has very modern cabins, a large grassed play area with playground and bouncy pillow for the kids and the best bit is the Wye River cuts through the park so there are plenty of riverfront spaces to pull your van up to. You can fish in the river and even put the kayak in for a bit of a paddle apparently but there was only a very shallow trickle when we were there. I couldn’t fault anything about this park with very clean and modern amenities and with a bonus of being able to have a small campfire at your site at the right time of the year. You can hire fire drums from the park or use your own suitable drum.

The park is nestled at the bottom of rugged tree covered mountains which are dotted with houses that look a picture at night when lit up. The caravan park is abundant with wildlife and at your campsite you will be visited by very friendly Sulphur crested cockatoos, ducks and kookaburras. If you take a short walk around the park to the less populated spots you can spot kangaroos and koalas too. There is a river walk you can take to find a secluded lagoon as well.

The beach across the road is a popular spot to surf for both competent surfers and beginners, with surfing lessons held daily during summer holiday time. You can make a booking to take part in the lessons from the caravan park. Also within walking distance of the park is the Wye Beach Hotel which is in prime position overlooking the Great Ocean Road and the beach. We had dinner here and although I thought the food and especially the drink prices were a little bit too expensive to do too often, for a special one off occasion on holidays you’d be mad not to pay up and enjoy. Not your standard pub prices, but then not your standard pub food either.

One other location I would suggest visiting nearby is Kennett River, only a short 6 kilometre drive from Wye River. I had heard that there was a big koala population there so spotting them would be a certainty and we weren’t disappointed. There is a caravan park at Kennett River too and Grey River road that runs behind it is a well-known koala spotting area. As we drove along this dirt road it didn’t take long to spot a tell-tale lump in a gum tree that was indeed a snoozing koala. A few more stops along the road and we had spotted four more, only one of which was being active, well active for a koala that is. It was making a big effort to get more food, have a scratch and then a bit more of a snooze as is the koala’s day.

The trick to spotting koalas in the wild is to go slowly (lots of people were walking the road, although it can get pretty steep in places) check the forks of trees and up quite high, the more you look and know what to look for the more you will see. I don’t think you can ever get sick of seeing these animals in the wild.

Why not stop at Wye River.

Wye River


13 thoughts on “Wye River locals – Camping with Cockatoos, Kookaburras and Koalas

  1. I’m like a kid in a lolly shop when I come across koalas in the wild. WA don’t have them, so it’s special when we find some. First ones we came across was in a free camp near the SA border. There were dozens. I’ll remember to put Kennett River on the list when we next do the GOR.

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  2. We think alike.. but I got to say that the more I look at it carvaning, if you want a reasonable degree of comfort and want to keep moving, is not a cheap option. I think of the cost of setting up (current thinking is a higher end off-road van with all the extra’s that entails – incl tow vehicle) and look at the alternatives and think that the alternative might have it at the moment. I don’t want to go down the caravan route and not have the ability to have other overseas holidays as well….. ok I’m greedy lol. My partner says I overthink things and we should just do it!

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    1. We have never bought a new caravan, only second hand so starting out and building up to our van at the moment has been a slow and steady journey. I still can’t imagine buying a brand new van at the prices they are! I figure that when we want to move on from our current van to something a bit smaller and more off road, someone out there will be wanting to sell theirs and change to something else too. Anything reliable to get out there and enjoy our beautiful country is what it’s all about, I don’t really care too much about having perfect interiors etc… in a van – good enough for our purposes suits me. Actually, we have never had a brand new car either, for the same reasons!

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  3. A great spot to stay for sure. Without even owning a caravan (yet) I sometimes wonder about Big4 and the impact it has on other local campgrounds. Coming down the east coast after Easter we called into a small town for a coffee and cake in the local bakery and I could not help noticing a small, clearly struggling, caravan park across the road with a for sale sign that looked as if its been there for some time. Directly across the road, and I imagine strategically placed, in sight of all was a bus shelter adorned top to bottom with an ad for a Big4 Park a kilometre or so away. I get the notion that while Big4 has wonderful facilities they come at a high cost, especially if you are fully self contained and don’t always want a pool or a bouncy castle. No problem, if there are alternatives and they are not being pushed out of business. I am not sure …. any insight from, you, who actually does travel with a caravan?

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    1. I agree that Big 4 tend to be a bit over the top sometimes, we definitely don’t look for all the bells and whistles with playgrounds etc… anymore but sometimes a swimming pool and great camp kitchen and luxuries like that are really welcome on the road. We tend to mix it up a bit and stay with different parks, I would hate to see any one chain take over, there is definitely room for competition in the business I think. We are hoping to do more free camping or National Park type camping in future but every now and then a little luxury stay is nice. That is the trouble though with caravan parks getting more and more flashy is that the prices can be unbelievable! Sometimes they have you over a barrel too if it’s the only place to stay in town and there are unfortunately quite a few like this. All the more reason to force competition by finding and naming good free or low cost sites.


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