Top Towns: Lorne

First published in Australian Traveller

October 27, 2022

A scenic seaside town on the world famous Great Ocean Road, Lorne has a casual, coastal vibe with an emphasis on soaking up the good life. Whether it’s food, culture or the great outdoors, Lorne’s beachside restaurants, bushwalks and waterfalls will lure you back again and again.


Savour views of Louttit Bay and the hinterland from the beer garden at the Lorne Hotel, the beloved 146 year old pub on the high corner of town. Order a satisfying steak or fish and chips, or dial it up a notch with a spiced lamb shank. Enjoy seasonal Cantonese and Thai flavours at Coda upstairs. Sydney-based Merivale group have just bought the pub so foodies have some new restaurants to look forward to.

Cafes line the main street to fuel the Melburnian coffee addicts. Summer days are made even sweeter with handcrafted ice creams and sorbets from Gelato Gelato

At Greek restaurant Ipsos, feast on local calamari with beetroot tzatziki or a slow cooked lamb shoulder with garlic labneh. Save space for the patsavoura, a dessert of orange custard encased in flaky filo pastry served with masticha ice cream.


From backpackers, riverside campgrounds and caravan parks, to tiny eco houses, airbnbs, standard motel accommodation, luxury apartments, tranquil cottages among the gum trees with a peek of an ocean view, and boutique five star accommodation, Lorne has something for every style of traveller, and every budget. The Mantra is the only beachfront property in town. With a gym, swimming pool, tennis courts and an Endota day spa, it’s great for conferences, weddings and larger gatherings.


Surrounded by the Otways National Park, in Lorne you can immerse yourself in nature. When not swimming, surfing or fishing, tackle either the Sheoak Falls or Erskine Falls walk. Tall ferns shade paths that lead through gullies and past cascading waterfalls. Also tucked away in the hinterland is the Qdos fine art gallery which hosts a rotation of curated exhibitions. The tranquil onsite cafe is bathed in light and looks out onto the forest. 

Each year in January, the Lorne Surf Lifesaving Club holds the Pier to Pub ocean swimming race, the largest event of its kind in the world. The 145km Great Ocean and Otway Classic Ride also passes through the town.

The vintage Lorne Theatre plays a combination of blockbuster and arthouse films. Kids will love the town’s imaginative playground, skatepark and grassy foreshore area for picnics and playtime. Don’t miss Live Wire Park, home of Australia’s most extreme zipline, high ropes courses and rock climbing walls.