Camping at Johanna Beach
Johanna Beach Campground is paradise on the Great Ocean Road. It’s in the Great Otways National Park on the infamous Shipwreck Coast, surrounded by Eucalyptus forests with several ancient cool-climate rain forests nearby. Putting the surroundings aside, the campground is well maintained and on perfect and comfortable grass with shrubs protecting the the campsites from the strong ocean winds that pound Johanna Beach.
A short walk from the campground is the massive, gold sandy beach that stretches for 3.6kms with waves averaging 1.5+ metres and the Johanna River mouth right in the centre of it all.
Johanna Beach is a bit more than half way along the Great Ocean Road and less than an hour from the Port Campbell National Park and 12 Apostles. It’s the perfect place to go camping along the Great Ocean Road and if you can, stay a few nights as there are loads of places to explore in every direction.
The campground is stunning and attracts a lot of people, not just to spend the night but also to visit Johanna Beach for day. Although the place is normally pretty busy and buzzing with people when the weather’s right, don’t forget that you are still quite remote, so there aren’t a lot of modern comforts.
Johanna Beach is very well maintained. It’s a bush campground.
There are non-flushing drop toilets and you’ll need to bring along your own drinking water.
No barbecues and there are no fire pits as fires aren’t allowed at this campground.
There are 25 spacious campsites on comfortable, thick and well groomed grass with minimal privacy.
Dog friendly campground & beach
There aren’t too many campgrounds or beaches along the Great Ocean Road where you can bring your dog, where as Johanna Beach and the campground are dog friendly.
You will have to keep your dog on a lead but they are still going to love walking along the huge beach and small trails near the campground.
There are some other places throughout the Otways that also allow dogs on a lead.
Swimming & Surfing at Johanna Beach
Johanna Beach is on the world surfing map. Surfers from right across the globe can almost always be found here when the surfs up and it was even home to the Surfing World Championships in 1970.
It’s said when there’s no surf at Torquay and along the start of the Great Ocean Road, then head here in the waves will be barrelling into the beach that faces a south-west direction.
The average wave is over 1.5 metres and they usually roll in over a bunch of differnt sandbars and small reefs along the massive beach that stretches over three and a half kilometres. Some of the sandbars create 3 metre lefts and rights and 3 metre waves can be found along the edges of the many rips along the beach. The most well-known and popular left is at the eastern head of the beach which is called Rotten Point. Slippery Point is at the western end of the beach.
The Johanna River enters the centre of Johanna Beach and rips can be found about every 350 metres along the beach. There are usually eight rips at any given time with sandbars in-between them that are held there and anchored by small reefs, pushing out nice barrelling waves on a good day.
Johanna Beach is an incredible place for experienced surfers that’s right next to the campground. There are some mild places where you could go swimming, but due to the rips and large average waves, it’s probably best that you head to Port Campbell if you’re looking for safe beach to have a swim.
Fishing at Johanna Beach
Johanna Beach can be a high yielding surf fishing spot.
It’s a popular beach for locals to come down to with good chances of catching Salmon and Gummy Shark straight from the beach. Some locals have said that it seems the Salmon numbers have been growing in the area in recent years.
If you’re only heading to Johanna Beach to go fishing, then there’s no need to go to the campground and you can access the beach via either Red Johanna Road or Blue Johanna Road.
Other places worth exploring near Johanna Beach
Johanna Beach and the campground are both incredible themselves, yet that’s not the only reason that you would want to head to this area.
If you’re traveling along the Great Ocean Road from the east (Melbourne), then you can visit the Surf Coast and take a look at some other amazing word-class beaches for swimming and surfing. At the end of the Surf Coast or if you take the most direct route from Melbourne or Geelong, then you’ll go through the Great Otways National Park, and this is the national park in which Johanna Beach campground is home to.
The Otways is a large forest with a few rain forests that you have to explore. The Otways forest surrounds Johanna Beach and if you head about 15 minutes into the forest you’ll see it’s filled with giant native Australian Eucalyptus Trees and Tree Ferns that can often be found along creeks and near some of the spectacular waterfalls with-in the national park. If you’re looking for a campsite among the giants and just near a river that’s much more quiet than Johanna Beach, try Aire Crossing Campground.
Driving west along the Great Ocean Road for another 45 minutes or so from Johanna Beach, you’ll arrive at the Port Campbell National Park. The Port Campbell National Park has some of the countries most beautifully rugged coastline and natural wonders, including the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge that are now Australia’s most visited natural tourist attraction.
In any direction you’ll come across something incredible and Johanna Beach is right in the middle of it all.