Lorne is one of the main towns along the Great Ocean Road and it’s a favourite getaway for Melbourne families, especially in summer. There is the beach of course, plus great cafes and restaurants, play spaces and the Great Otway National Park on your doorstep.
If you’re visiting this popular coastal town, here are my tips for things to do, places to eat and where to stay in Lorne with kids. It’s doable in a day trip (140km from Melbourne, approximately 2 hours drive) but to make the most of your visit I recommend staying overnight.
Things to do in Lorne with kids
1. Lorne Beach
Naturally, the beach is a big drawcard at Lorne. Frolic in the (icy) water, build sandcastles and take a walk or bike ride along the foreshore until you get to the pier, the starting line of the famous Pier to Pub swim race.
There is also a large foreshore playground with a maritime theme.
Lorne Foreshore Park, Mountjoy Parade, Lorne
Jumping on the trampolines by the Lorne Sea Baths is one of Lorne’s great traditions. However the cost is pretty steep compared to some of the trampoline parks in Melbourne where you get to stay for an hour (or more).
So instead I spend $10 for two kids to run for 10 minutes around and around the floating Aqua Orb!
General pool entry includes access to the 33m pool, splash pad, heated hydro baths, showers and sun lounges. There are also bumper boats and a fairly easy mini golf course, both of which cost extra.
Note that Lorne Sea Baths is only open during the warmer months.
Lorne Sea Baths, 81 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne (03) 5289 2077
3. Qdos Arts
Visit the sculpture garden at Qdos Arts, a contemporary gallery hidden in the bushland. Lots of room for kids to run around and the cafe here does excellent cake and babychinos.
Lorne is surrounded by beautiful bush. There’s a great short bush walk from Sheoak falls which even small kids can manage. A visit to nearby Erskine Falls is also worthwhile although be aware there are lots of steps for little legs.
Related: Best waterfalls in Victoria for kids
At either end of Lorne’s main beach are plenty of rock pools which are great for exploring with kids. See how many sea creatures you can spot!
At Live Wire Park you can glide, zip and climb through the Otway treetops on each of the park’s circuits.
It’s a great outdoor adventure for adrenaline junkies age 7+ years! Read my review.
Live Wire Park, 180 Erskine Falls Road, Lorne 1300 548 394
7. Glow Worms
Grey River Picnic Area, a short drive from Lorne near Kennett River, is a forest cutting where you’ll be able to see glow worms.
There are other glow-worm spotting locations around the Great Ocean Road. Grab an Otways Trails Glow Worm leaflet from the Lorne Visitor Information, 15 Mountjoy Pde, 1300 891 152.
Grey River Picnic Area, Grey River Rd, Wongarra
Where to eat in Lorne with Kids
Ipsos, 48 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne
Swing Bridge Cafe is right at the entrance of Lorne when you’re coming from Melbourne and its stunning outlook can’t be beaten.
By day this is a great South American inspired cafe with good coffee and an interesting menu of breakfast and lunch dishes. In the evening during Summer there are South American influenced barbecues and paella.
Swing Bridge Cafe & Boathouse, 30 Great Ocean Rd, Lorne 0423 814 770
10. Mexican Republic
The cheap and casual Mexican cantina is perfect for holiday eating. Note they don’t take reservations.
Mexican Republic, 1A Grove Road, Lorne 03 52 891686
11. Gelato Gelato
Gelato Gelato is a little walk away from the beachfront, located on the main street of Lorne. It’s worth the walk to try their Italian style gelato made fresh on the premises.
Gelato Gelato, 8 Mountjoy Pde Lorne
12. Pizza Pizza
The best pizzas in Lorne are found at the tiny Pizza Pizza, which serves Italian-style wood fired pizzas. It’s takeaway only but there is one outdoor table.
Pizza Pizza, 2 Mountjoy Pde Lorne 0352891007
13. HAH Lorne Beach
Healthy food right on the beachfront, what’s not to like?
HAH Lorne Beach is relaxed, vegetarian and vegan-friendly health food cafe offers pram access, high chairs, a few games and amazing views. You can also hire surfboards, stand up paddle boards and bikes there.
HAH Lorne Beach, 81 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne 0406453131
The burgers at Bottle of Milk are sensational but more importantly, so is the coffee. They also have an outpost in Torquay.
The Bottle of Milk, 52 Mountjoy Pde Lorne
15. Lorne Hotel
For a hearty meal or drink with the best views in town, the Lorne Hotel is the place to be. This is a large venue with indoor and outdoor dining, regular live music gigs on the deck, a favourable kids menu and kids play area.
Currently there is a temporary kids play space while the kids zone is planned to undergo a full refurbishment, completion due sometime in 2023.
Lorne Hotel, 176 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne, (02) 9114 7398
Chopstix Noodle Bar brings to Lorne the finest in authentic Asian and Thai cuisine.
Experience the vibrant ambiance of a hip noodle bar, complete with long outdoor wooden tables and street art. It’s a great spot for savouring delectable sushi, pad Thai, and refreshing cocktails.
Chopstix Noodle Bar, 96 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne, (03) 5289 1205
17. Raas Leela
Explore the culinary wonders at Raas Leela, where authentic Indian cuisine emerges with a contemporary twist.
Anticipate genuine flavours harmonized with unexpected and visually delightful presentations. High chairs are available.
Raas Leela, 116 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne, (03) 5207 7296
Where to stay in Lorne with Kids
Whenever I’m looking for family-friendly accommodation my first place to research is always AirBnB. Here are my particularly recommended places to stay in Lorne.
Right on the beachfront, the Mantra offers apartment style accommodation with cooking facilities which work well for families. There are tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool and activities like movie nights over Summer.
Mantra Mountjoy Parade, Lorne. From $200 a night for two people.
19. La Tienda
We stay at La Tienda (disclaimer – it’s owned by a friend’s family member) which has four bedrooms, ocean views and its own tennis court with basketball ring which is great for kids to play in. From $220 a night for up to nine people.
Great Ocean Road Cottages and Backpackers is one of the cheapest places to stay in Lorne. Great views over Loutit Bay and you can walk down the hill to the beach and shops.
Great Ocean Road Cottages and Backpackers, 10 Erskine Avenue, Lorne
Check out more accommodations at https://www.lornevictoria.com.au/
You can also stay in nearby towns such as Wye River and Anglesea, both of which are 30 minutes drive.
Nestled just a 3-minute stroll from Lorne Beach, Lornebeach Apartments beckon with private balconies boasting ocean or courtyard panoramas.
Delight in the convenience of a barbecue area, perfect for family gatherings, while free parking and WiFi ensure a carefree stay.
Positioned minutes away from Lorne’s best attractions and eateries, this haven provides an air-conditioned retreat with all the comforts of home. The apartments also come with laundry facilities and a fully-equipped kitchen.
Lornebeach Apartments, 106 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne, (03) 5289 2180