Camping in the heart of Beech Forest in the Otways
Tucked away in the Great Otways National Park, hide away and camp in the rain-forest when traveling along the Great Ocean Road or head here directly via the inland route through the Otways, both options providing a stunning drive no matter where you’re coming from.
Aire Crossing Campground is surrounded by huge Eucalyptus trees and ancient Tree Ferns. Right in the heart of the Otways National Park, just next to Aire River (about a 50 metre downhill walk) approximately three hours west of Melbourne.
The campsite is about 50 metres from Aire River, which has a really beautiful small area on the bank of the river where you could spend hours listening to the running water or in the shade of the forest giants.
Just near Triplet Falls, the Red Woods forest, Otways High Wire and plenty of day hikes & bush walks, there’s loads to do in the area, even if you’re not going near the Great Ocean Road or the coast.
Like most campgrounds in national and state parks throughout Victoria these days, Parks Vic have built and maintain drop toilets with a tank and tap next to it (not suitable for drinking). This makes things a little easier and keeps the area a bit nicer.
There’s an additional car park allowing you to get a bit more room at your campsite if you don’t need your vehicle right by your side.
You’re not allowed fires here anymore, it’s worth keeping this in mind and planning ahead with the lighting and meal prep.
Fishing at Aire Crossing
Just a short 30 second walk downhill from Aire Crossing campsite is Aire River. With a few bends and a rock pool between 1-2 metres deep, it’s ideal for fishing.
You can find Brown Trout around 2kg and 50-60cm in length, alongside eel, Blackfish, Estuary Perch and Australian Grayling.
There’s not many places where you can camp near such huge trees and feel super remote while so close to incredible, world-class and diverse scenery, such as the Great Ocean Road & 12 Apostles, the ancient Otways Rainforest and the Surfcoast. This makes Aire Crossing campground another one of our favorite spots and one we like to think of as a bit of a hidden gem.
The fact that it is a little more remote than some of the other campsites in the Otways makes it a bit more of an effort for some of the less adventurous campers, therefore there is usually less people around which is always a plus.
If you’re spending time down at the river, sometimes you don’t even hear or see a car go by.
Realistically, there is only enough space for about 2 or 3 groups of people if you want to be comfortable. This campsite is first in first served so make sure you get there early! A 4×4 isn’t normally necessary but when its wet it might be preferred as the track down to the sight can get a little rough.
Triplet Falls is a close drive, which is well worth the visit for a beautiful rain forest walk and photos of the amazing falls which are spectacular, especially after some good rain.
To get to Triplet Falls, turn right when coming out of the campsite back towards the larger road, it’s a 4×4 track, although we did it in our Subaru Forester’s – if you don’t have a 4wd, may be best to go to the main road and it still isn’t too far – a one to two hour walk, depending how fit you are or a 15 minute drive.
Fees & Booking Aire Crossing Campground
There are no fees and you can’t book the campsites. We’ve never had a problem finding a place to set-up our tent, but it does often fill up on weekends, public holidays and school holidays, so try and get there early in peak periods.
A clever move is to head there as early as possible, even if you detour, set-up your tent and then head off exploring again.
Getting to Aire Crossing, Beech Forest
If you’re traveling along the Great Ocean Road from the east (Melbourne side), then head straight into the forest after Apollo Bay and you’ll turn off the Great Ocean Road about 45 minutes later.
If instead, you’re coming direct from Melbourne, Geelong or anywhere north or west, head to Colac, then the drive is stunning as you drive through the Great Otways National Park and head into the rain forest!
It’s about 2.5-3 hours from Melbourne with a lot of twists through the national park.