Situated near the mouth of the Glenelg River, and 5km from the South Australian Border, Nelson is a popular holiday destination. 

This tranquil location offers ocean, estuary, river and two National Parks – something for every-one.

Nelson was named and surveyed by Lindsay Clarke in 1852. He names the town in honour of Lt. James Grant and his vessel ‘The Lady Nelson’.

Major Mitchell names the Glenelg River after the then Colonial Secretary in the House of Commons.


Accommodation at Nelson is varied, with camping and caravan sites, cabins, historic hotel, motel, guest house, bed and breakfasts, holiday houses for rent and a group/conference centre.

Further information can be found at the Visitor Information Centre.

Events & Other Attractions

Activities suit a range of interests, and include: boating, rover and ocean fishing, swimming (Estuary Beach), snorkeling, bird watching, water skiing, canoeing, bush walking, wildflowers, cycling and tennis.

Most newcomers are surprised at the substantial size of the Glenelg River. You can enjoy its beauty in a hired craft, or take a cruise upstream past magnificent white limestone cliffs to the Princess Margaret Rose Cave.

Suggested Walks

Lower Glenelg National Park
The Gorge Walk – 10km, 3.5hrs
Sapling Creek Walk – 4.5km, 1.5hrs

Discovery Bay Coastal Park
Livingstone Island Walk – 3km, 1.5hrs
Lake Monibenong Loop Walk – 15km, 4.5hrs

Great South West Walk
Short walks on and around Great South West Walk
Great South West Walk Maps – 250km

Further details are available from the Visitor Information Centre

Places of Interest

  • Portland Maritime Discovery Centre
  • The Lady Nelson Visitor and Discovery Centre Mount Gambier
  • Casterton – Visitor Information Centre
  • Dartmoor – World War I Avenue of Honour Memorial Carvings & The Couch House Museum
  • Heywood – Wood, Wines & Roses Drive
  • Cape Bridgewater – Fue seal colony
  • Penola Connawarra – wine growing areas
  • Port McDonnell – Southern-most Rock Lobster port
  • Volcanic Discovery Trail – Mount Eccles National Park (VIC) & Mount Schank (SA)
  • Nelson Road to River Festival Weekend – held annually in March

Accommodation Nearby

Things To Do Nearby

Places To Eat & Drink

Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.