Outside the city, seaside resorts along the way to the Great Ocean Road, including Lorne, Anglesea and Queenscliff, have accommodation ranging from resort to backpacker.
If it’s really nature you’re after, however, camping is the best way to experience this beautiful part of Victoria. There are loads of camping reserves around the Great Ocean Road, some on the banks of rivers and others right on the foreshore. Australian camping is mostly elemental: that is, just you and nature. There are picnic tables and toilets and often taps but no restaurants or swimming pools – food is cooked on fires, and the ocean is your pool. The kids will never forget the fun of whole days just mooching around with a stick, collecting shells, leaves and insect bites. (Note to worried Brits: millions of Australian children spend their entire childhood without ever seeing a snake or being bitten by a poisonous spider, but do read up on which ones to look out for and know the emergency procedures.)
In Melbourne itself, a budget option for family holidays, with the benefit of self-catering kitchens, are the Melbourne Short Stay Apartments, which include an indoor pool.