When travelling the Great Ocean Road, one of the stops you must make is to see koalas at Kennett River. 

Kennett River is one of many charming little seaside towns along the Great Ocean Road. However, it has one major attraction – koalas. This little township is the perfect place to view koalas in the wild. Which is why you should be sure to stop there when touring the Great Ocean Road. 

In addition to koalas at Kennett River there are plenty of other things to do, if you are planning a visit. This tiny little hamlet is surrounded by beaches, bushland and wildlife, making it a perfect place to enjoy nature at its finest. 

Read on to find out all the things you can do – including spotting wild koalas – at Kennett River on the Great Ocean Road.

Where to see koalas at Kennett River 

Kennett River has become known for being one of the best spots in Victoria to see koalas. At Kennett River you can follow Grey River Road from the small township up into the surrounding bushland, and spot koalas along the way. 

The best way to spot them is to look closely into the eucalyptus trees – or if you spot other people looking upwards into the trees! If there are other people looking, pointing or taking pictures – it’s probably a koala!

The road itself is lined with eucalyptus trees, so it’s best to park at the cafe at the bottom of the hill and walk up the road. This way you can go slow and take a good look into the trees to see koalas in their native environment. 

What else to do at Kennett River

Spot other wildlife

There is a wildlife walk in Kennett Rover that takes you along the river and into bushland. It is a great place to spot kangaroos (usually at dawn or dusk), native birds and perhaps even some more koalas. It is a short and easy walk, with information signposts along the way. Keep an eye out for birds such as kookaburras, cockatoos, rosellas and king parrots. 

Dine at the cafe

The Kennett River cafe has some great coffee or cold drinks, as well as plenty of food options. If you need to refuel, check out their lunchtime meals, or an array of cakes and slices. It’s a great place to sit and enjoy your surroundings. You might even get a cheeky bird or two coming to say hello. Be sure not to feed them as they are wild birds!

Swim or surf at the beach 

Kennett River beach is a small hamlet with some excellent waves. It is great for surfers but is also patrolled in summer so is a good option for swimmers as well. There is plenty of space on the sand and the koalas are a short stroll away on the other side of the road. 

Stay overnight in the holiday park 

The Kennett River holiday park is a great place to camp and be surrounded by nature. Stay a night or two to properly explore the local area. You might even find a koala or two resting in the trees above you. 

Hiking to see koalas near Kennett River 

The Great Otway National Park has many great walking trails. In particular, the Cumberland River Trail near Kennett River is a great place to explore the bushland and look for koalas. The trail follows Cumberland River through a leaf valley and you can discover many waterfalls along the way. 

However, the full Cumberland River Trail is 20.5km long and is a challenging hike, so make sure you are prepared if you want to hike it all. This means having the correct equipment and making sure you do not hike alone. 

If you’d prefer to just walk a section of the trail to spot some koalas, you can park near the Cumberland River holiday park and set off along the trail. Look up into the trees to spot sleepy koalas, while walking only as far as you want to. Then return back along the same trail to the car park.

Where else to see koalas on the Great Ocean Road

In addition to the koalas at Kennett River, you can also spot them in the Otway Ranges, another hours drive along the Great Ocean Road takes you up into the rolling green hills and lush forests of the Otways Ranges. Here, in particular along the Cape Otway Lighthouse Road, you might be able to see koalas in their natural environment. 

However, the trees in this area are a lot taller than the ones at Kennett River. So you may need to strain your eye a bit to see the koalas perched up high. It’s best to pull over and park safely off this road to get out of your car and cast your eyes upwards. 

Koala Fun Facts 

Koalas are marsupials that often get mistaken for bears. In fact they are not even related to bears at all. They are more closely related to wombats – another native Australian animal. However, wombats do not climb trees, they live on the ground and sleep in burrows.

Koalas live high up in the trees. In particular eucalyptus trees because it is these leaves that make up their rather peculiar diet. Koalas only eat eucalyptus leaves. They have a  digestive system that is capable of digesting these leaves which, for most other animals, are poisonous. 

Koalas need to eat a lot of leaves so they are usually found in native bushlands and forests. Because of their poor diet, they are very sleepy animals and can usually be found perched between the forks of the tree branches. 

Koala babies are called joeys, and like other marsupials they are born premature. However they continue to develop in their mother’s pouch for around six months. After six months they will leave the pouch only to ride on their mothers back but return to the pouch to feed and sleep.

See Koalas on Tour with Go West

On both our Great Ocean Road Day Tour or Sunset Tour of the Great Ocean Road you can view koalas at Kennett River. We stop in to take the walk along Grey River Road and look for the koalas in the eucalyptus trees. It is a highlight of the Great Ocean Road for many visitors!


Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au