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Johanna - Cities, Towns and Localities

Just west of Victoria’s Great Otway National Park and south of Lavers Hill, Johanna is a small coastal township less than 10 km from the iconic Great Ocean Road.

This quiet location of farmland and holiday lets can be reached by either the Red Johanna Road or the Blue Johanna Road. Located in a beautiful region whose rugged coastline overlooks the Bass Strait, there is also Johanna Beach, a place where the Schooner Joanna was wrecked at the mouth of the Johanna River on 23rd September 1843.

The rugged coastal cliffs is part of the scenic beauty, with beach walks, fishing and surfing popular activities. The area is also a great place to visit the many other popular regional attractions of the Great Ocean Road and the nearby Great Otway National Park.

Check out our listing of Johanna accommodation, Great Ocean Walk accommodation and Great Ocean Road accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre

Great Ocean Road Visitor Information Centre - Apollo Bay
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Johanna Attractions

Shipwrecks and the Loss of the Joanna

LOSS OF THE "JOANNA." - We regret to learn that this new colonial trader, the property of Mr. Cassidy, is ashore on the coast of New Holland. She left the heads on the 18th, with a cargo for Portland Bay and Port Fairy. On the 22nd Captain Irvine experienced a tremendous gale, and in consequence of the wind suddenly shifting from N.W. to S.S.W. it was found impossible to keep off the shore. At three a.m. the vessel was among the breakers; and the first sea which rolled on board cleared the decks of the boat, galley, &c., and unfortunately swept away William Cooper, one of the seamen, who was drowned. The crew clung to the vessel, and did not attempt to land until daylight, when it was discovered that the Joanna had been driven high on small sand bank, with rocks close a-head and astern. As soon as the drawback of the surf permitted, the people got on shore. The spot where the vessel was left is to the westward of Port Phillip, between Moonlight Head and Cape Otway - about ninety miles from Geelong by water, and one hundred and thirty by land. The master did not attempt to land any of the cargo, in case the natives should plunder it while the crew were absent, but started for Geelong to procure assistance. On the third day the whole of their provisions were expended; and if they had not accidentally fallen in with a dead whale, they would have perished before they could have made that place, which they reached eight days after they left the wreck. The Domain, cuttter, was then engaged to bring up the cargo of the Joanna, if it could be procurred, and the mate of the latter vessel returned to the wreck to superintend the transfer. The Joanna was 22 tons register. We believe this is the second small vessel it has been the lot of Mr. Cassidy to lose. He is a respectable, frugal, and hard-working man, with a family to provide for; and his case will excite sympathy for his misfortunes.


Source: National Library of Australia - Australian Trove - Digitised newspapers and more: Launceston Examiner Saturday 7 October 1843,

Whilst the Joanna is not visible from the land, several other shipwreck relics are visible at Wreck Beach on the Great Ocean Walk near Johanna.

The name Wreck Beach derives from the anchors of two ships wrecked on the beach, the Marie Gabrielle in 1880 and the Fiji in 1891. The Marie Gabrielle was on route from China with a load of tea when it hit the reef in strong winds.

Wreck Beach is a 2 hr drive from Otway Coast but worth the visit if you have the time.

Another ship named Joanna (1856-1857) is a significant shipwreck being the best preserved and the earliest known example of a Victorian built sailing ship located in Australian waters. This Joanna is located about half a kilometre from shore on the Western Bank of the West Channel, between Swan Island and St Leonards.1

Great Ocean Walk
• The Great Ocean Walk is one of those opportunities to experience the beauty of Victoria’s spectacular west coast, stretching for some 104 km and traversing a wide variety of coastal landscapes as it takes in some of the spectacular coastline region, that include temperate rainforest, rarely visited remote beaches such as Johanna Beach, national parks, native flora and fauna, and local communities. Johanna makes a great base to explore this part of walk.
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• Johanna Pet-Friendly Destinations
• Great Ocean Rd Pet Friendly Accommodation
Pet Friendly Areas
• Parks Victoria Information Centre • Ph: 13 19 63
• Johanna Beach is a dog friendly location, but the current status can change so please confirmed with Parks Victoria. There are also some dog friendly locations in the Otways Region.
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Johanna Distance

Distance to Johanna
• Following are some approximate distances by road to Johanna :
• Apollo Bay 42
• Hordern Vale 19
• Glenaire 11
• Geelong via Torquay 156
• Lavers Hill 11
• Melbourne via Torquay 236
• Yuulong 21
• Wye River 70
Distances given are only approximation, they should be verified with the appropriate maps.
The Australian Automotive Motoring Associations also offer select access to travel trip planners.

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Johanna Other Links

• Johanna Community/Local Government Links

1 Department of Planning and Community Development: Joanna. Retrieved 20 April 2011 from / Dive information sheet
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