Home of the Apostles
Princetown is on the Great Ocean Road and the closest town to the 12 Apostles. Being only seven kilometres away, you can even walk to the Apostles with-in a couple of hours along the last stretch of the Great Ocean Walk.
This tiny village is made up of one small hill that is pretty much an island as it’s surrounded by the Gellibrand River and Princetown Wetlands.
It’s a beautiful place to spend a night or two when your exploring the Great Ocean Road or Shipwreck Coast.
The main part of town is a quiet pub and caravan park, so there isn’t a lot of activity going on. It’s an ideal place to relax and take things a bit slower on your holiday.
After heading to the Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, there are some things worth taking a look at in Princetown.
During the morning or late afternoon, visit the old Cricket Oval to see dozens or sometimes hundreds of Kangaroos grazing the nearby grass. Between the Cricket Oval and the town centre, there’s a stunning boardwalk that takes you through the reeds and wetlands, also providing some decent spots to have a barbecue and a couple of beers for lunch while launching the kayaks into the safe, calm and slow moving river.
There are three main places to stay right in Princetown, which includes camping or affordable accommodation options, however there are a few really nice permanent tents, cottages and holiday homes on AirBnb in the area.
As you turn off the Great Ocean Road into Princetown, you’ll drive up a small hill and arrive in the centre of Princetown.
Here, you’ll the 12 Apostles Inn, which is a pub and affordable, neat and cosy accommodation. This place also acts as a bit of a general store as the official store across the road closed down about two years ago.
Across the road from the Apostles Inn is the Apostles Camping Park where you’ll also find some cabins. You can book online or give the owner a call, the phone number is on their website or usually written on a small sign near the old general store.
If you’re after more accommodation options, then try Port Campbell which is only about a ten minute drive from Princetown, it’s ten kilometres past the Apostles. Port Campbell is an amazing beach town, small but much larger and has everything from luxury accommodation options to backpacker hostels and camping parks.
Camping at Princetown
There are two places to go camping in Princetown.
Right in the centre of Princetown on the hill is the Apostles Camping Park, which is a small, neat and quiet park where you’ll have views of the wetlands. Here, you can bring your caravan, stay in a cabin or pitch a tent.
Between the Apostles Camping Park and Gellibrand river mouth is the Princetown Recreation Reserve. This is a great, cheap place to set up your tent. You’ll camp right beside Kangaroos and hear the ocean crashing into the cliffs beside the river mouth.
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit more remote, try Johanna Beach Campground or Aire Crossing Campground.
Things to do in & around Princetown
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing what to do when you’re staying in Princetown.
When you’re Princetown itself, it’s a lot of fun to walk along the board walk and down to the Gellibrand River. You can continue walking all the way along the river for about ten minutes to get to a rugged beach with huge sandstone cliffs towering on each side of the river mouth.
About 7 kilomteres to the west of Princetown are the 12 Apostles, which are Australia’s most visited tourist attraction. The Great Ocean Walk that starts in Apollo Bay and finishes at the Apostles, comes through Princetown, so you can take part of this track to the Apostles, which will also take you to Gibson Steps and past the impressive Gog & Magog ancient sandstone stacks.
Heading only minutes past the Apostles by car will take you to Loch Ard Gorge, which is a short walk from The Razorback, Mutton Bird Island, Thunder Cave and Sherbrook River and is one of the most interesting places to explore on the entire Great Ocean Road.
Other than the dozens of places that are worth exploring along the coast, heading back east from Princetown (away from the Apostles) for about 15 minutes is the Great Otway National Park which is full of huge trees, giant ferns and home to an ancient cool-climate rain forest. It’s a must-see if you didn’t stop in there along your Great Ocean Road trip to get to Princetown.