It is about 16km from the village of Marlo on the coast of Bass Strait. Orbost is the service centre for the primary industries of beef, dairy cattle, and sawmilling.
More recently, tourism has become an important industry, being the major town close to several national parks, including the Snowy River National Park, Alpine National Park, Errinundra National Park, Croajingolong National Park and Cape Conran Coastal Park.
The national parks are showcased in events such as The Wilderness Bike Ride, a community event managed out of Orbost, which won the Best Event 2004 Regional Tourism Award for East Gippsland. The Orbost region has four State primary schools, one Catholic primary school, and Orbost Secondary College (Government). Orbost has a regional airport YORB (RBS).