Lorne, a coastal town bordering Louttit Bay, is much more than a pit stop along the Great Ocean Road. There are many facets to Lorne, rendering the Victorian town a popular getaway base in its own right. Lorne is surrounded by natural beauty, with the rugged shores of the Southern Ocean on one side and a thriving hinterland of waterfalls and rainforests on the other. As the multitude of beach houses along the Main Street and quaint cottages in the bush attest, Lorne has been a thriving holiday spot for over a century.
Only two hours from Melbourne, Australia’s culture capital, Lorne boasts a vivacious arts scene. QDos is the town’s creative hub, offering a sculpture park and gallery. See the works of local and international painters, photographers and ceramic artists, then go for an inspiring walk amidst the statues. Visits to QDos are free. Painting, drawing and clay modelling classes are offered throughout the year.
In addition to QDos, culture buffs must catch a screening at the Lorne Theatre. This cinema presents foreign and art house movies that are generally only viewed in major capitals. However, the Lorne icon isn’t all about repertoire: you’ll find the latest blockbusters advertised alongside avant-garde films.
To bring a piece of the Surf Coast back with you, visit Edge Gallery, which showcases photography by local artist Will Dielenberg. Dielenberg has immortalised the Great Ocean Road in his works for over 40 years and prints of all sizes are available for purchase, guaranteeing there’s something just right for your home.
Family-friendly attractions abound in Lorne, with something for youngsters of all ages. For example, Lorne’s Foreshore Park features a sea-themed playground. There’s plenty of equipment to climb on, including a ship little ones can pretend to steer. Bring your chosen meat and fire up the onsite BBQ to refuel in the shade after an afternoon of playing outside.
Older children and teenagers may prefer to give Lorne’s skate park a try. Newly-built, the skate park has become a favourite gathering spot for local teens, as well as visitors. This welcomed addition to Lorne’s leisure scene has a deep bowl which benefits from street lighting, so parents can let their kids skate at night with peace of mind.
You can easily spend the day at the Lorne Sea Baths, conveniently located on the foreshore. The Sea Baths house an outdoor trampoline park, where guests can jump around while taking in the foreshore scenery. Trampoline sessions can be purchased separately at extremely affordable prices, or as part of a “Family Fun” package, granting access to a number of other activities.
After the waterfront trampolines, spend some time in an Aqua Orb- a giant, transparent ball floating in the pool. Walk or run on water while staying dry and enjoy a thrill-packed workout. To travel between outdoor activities, you can rent a Segway, the best method of transportation to get around the Sea Baths. (Segway transporters are only available to the public during the off-season.)
The Lorne Sea Baths are equally known for their spa and wellness centre, so parents can rejuvenate while their kids get rid of their pent-up energy outside. Indulge in a holistic massage or release your inner Yogi and take part in one of the group yoga sessions, before treating your skin to some salt therapy.
For a change of scenery, discover some of the bushwalks around Lorne, many of which start near the Visitor’s Centre in town. The Doug Stirling Walk on the south side of the beach stretches from the pier to the Life Saving Club. Guests can learn about shipwrecks that occurred in the region thanks to commemorative plaques. Alternately, head north along the foreshore for photo opportunities of Lorne’s swing bridge. Low tide makes it possible to walk along the sand.
The 30m waterfall known as Erskine Falls is only a short drive from town. A path leads travellers to two lookout points, the first of which is above the falls and easily accessible. The second lookout, within a fern gully, requires visitors to descend 300 steep steps. A good workout, but worth it for the view!
Lorne truly comes alive in the warmer months but offers a number of activities year-round. Victorian weather can be dreary from June through to September, so if you’re counting on spending your days outside, opt to travel over the summer. But if you prefer the peace and quiet of an off-season visit, a number of holiday rentals offer discounted rates- and as a bonus, you’ll get Lorne all to yourself!