Great Ocean Road climate & weather

Great Ocean Road weather and climate

Thanks to its varied geology and range of distinct ecosystems, the Great Ocean Road has a changeable climate and the weather on any given day can vary greatly from place to place. While the rainforests around Cape Otway may be sweltering in hot, humid conditions, the coastal towns of Lorne, Apollo Bay and Warrnambool might be receiving a cooling ocean breeze; and as Forrest gets a soaking from another winter downpour, Aireys Inlet could be experiencing a clear blue sky. There are numerous different ecosystems standing shoulder to shoulder here.
The Otways
The Otways were once an island range, isolated from the rest of Victoria for over a million years. Consequently this region developed its own unique habitat. Rainfall is high here and three major rivers rise in the region, so soil is rich and the atmosphere is damp – ideal conditions for plant life to flourish. There are both temperate and sclerophyll rainforest ecosystems including large tracts of mountain ash, myrtle beech, blackwood and manna gums, and numerous endemic species of plants and animals that are found nowhere else make their homes under this rich canopy. The climate here is humid and sudden showers are common.

Find out more about the Great Otway National Park

Coastal
Away from the Otways conditions are very different. The coast between Torquay and Aireys Inlet is characterised by red rock, while further east towards Princetown there is grey sandstone exposed on the cliffs and large areas of coastal heath. These areas are more arid and nutrients are scarce; low shrubs are able to grow but trees are few, and the climate is much drier – not to mention windier!

Wetland
North of the Otways the basalt plains formed by lava flows from the surrounding volcanic hills are dotted with shallow lakes and areas of wetland. The wetlands support numerous waterbirds and the grasslands in this area are home to large numbers of eastern grey kangaroos. As this region is away from the coast and sheltered by the hills, temperatures are often higher here.


Regional
The region as a whole is temperate with winds from the Southern Ocean keeping winters warmer and summers cooler than in other parts of the state.

Generally temperatures here don’t reach the dizzy heights of the forty degrees mark, and humidity is usually fairly low thanks to the freshening breezes and the propensity for storms along the coast. In summer the sun can be very strong and sunscreen should be warn at all times.

There is often a cool breeze along the coast so if walking in exposed areas, bring a light jumper or jacket. Even in winter, the weather is usually warm enough that just a light jumper will be enough to keep you warm throughout the day and evening.

Overnight temperatures can get quite low but hardly ever dip below freezing. You will need wet weather gear though, especially when visiting the rainforest region around Cape Otway. Remember that in the southern hemisphere the seasons are reversed, so when it’s summer in Europe it’s winter in Australia, and vice versa. The most settled weather occurs in late summer (February and March) when average temperatures along the coast tend to hover around the mid-twenties. Mid-winter (July and August) sees the most rainfall, with the lush rainforest region of Cape Otway and the Otway Ranges receiving the lion’s share of the downpour.

The following table provides a guide to the average weather conditions in key locations throughout the region:

Aireys Inlet Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mean max temperature 22.4 22.9 21.3 18.9 16.2 13.8 13.3 14.4 16 17.9 19.3 20.9
Mean min temperature 13.9 14.5 13.4 11.4 9.9 8.1 7.3 7.4 8 9.2 10.7 12.2
Mean rainfall 34.3 39 30.1 51.9 48.4 57.6 67.6 64.7 58.3 59.3 60.5 39.7

Apollo Bay Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mean max temperature 21.9 21.8 20.1 18 15.7 13.6 13.1 14 15.8 17.6 19.2 20.6
Mean min temperature 13.9 14.6 12.8 11.5 9.5 8.3 7.3 7.9 8.9 9.5 10.6 12.2
Mean rainfall 51.8 50 67 82.6 97.4 108.4 115.4 124.4 108.8 98.2 80.7 63.9

Portland Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mean max temperature 21.8 21.9 20.7 18.4 16.1 14.1 13.6 14.4 15.8 17.3 18.8 20.5
Mean min temperature 12.7 13.1 12 10.3 8.7 7.5 6.5 6.9 7.8 8.9 10.3 11.6
Mean rainfall 35.3 33 42.6 65 88.7 99.8 108.3 107.8 84.9 69.2 52.3 44.6

Forrest Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mean max temperature 24.6 24 22.4 18.1 14.6 12.1 11.7 12.6 14.9 17 18.6 21.8
Mean min temperature 10.3 11.4 10 7.5 5.8 3.9 3.4 3.7 4.7 6.1 7.4 8.9
Mean rainfall 44.6 48.3 57.6 80.9 97.6 112.1 118.6 127.9 110.6 100 78 60.2


Find out more about touring routes around the Great Ocean Road
Responsible Travel would like to thank Tourism Victoria for their sponsorship of this guide
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