The wilder side to the Great Ocean Road, Great Otway National Park possesses everything from exquisite waterfalls, unsealed dirt roads, tranquil creeks, treacherous coastlines and sandy beaches to low-lying heathland and deep temperate forests. The forest is where many of the region’s attractions lie, with compacted dirt roads cutting through the region to guide visitors to the natural highlights of the park.
|Location||Great Otway National Park is located 160 km west of Melbourne, close to 3 hours drive.|
|Best time of year||November to May, as some roads and tracks are closed after rain and during winter.|
|Weather||The climate changes dramatically depending on whereabouts in the park you are. Temperatures tend to be higher inland compared to the coast. It is usally drier and windy the closer to the coastal areas you are. It can get quite cold in winter.|
|Fees & permits||No fees or permits are required to enter the park.|
Most of the Otways is accessible one way or the other from the Great Ocean Road. Those looking to find some solitude off the beaten track there are more than 50 small, secluded 4WD tracks throughout the region, mostly easily navigated dirt roads that can become muddy and potential bog hazards after rain.
Camping fees and site closures apply. To book, check availability or for more information please go to Victoria Parks or call 13 19 63.
|Camping area||Site details|
|Aire Crossing||5 sites. Toilets. Non-potable water. No campfires.|
|Aire River East||5 tent only sites, 15 tent/caravan sites. Toilets. Picnic area.|
|Aire River West||8 tent only sites, 32 caravan sites. Toilets. Information booth. Picnic area. Boat ramp. Fireplace. Non-potable water.|
|Allenvale||16 tent only sites. Toilets. Picnic area.|
|Big Hill||6 tent only sites, 6 caravan sites. Toilets. Picnic area. Non-potable water. Fireplace.|
|Blanket Bay||13 tent only sites, 9 tent/camper trailer sites. Toilets. Picnic area. Non-potable water. Fireplace. Beach access.|
|Hammond Road||6 tent only sites, 4 caravan/campervan sites. Toilets. Parking. Picnic area. Fireplace. Non-potable water.|
|Jamieson||3 tent only sites, 3 tent/caravan sites. No facilities. No campfires or dogs.|
|Johanna Beach||25 tent/caravan sites. Toilets. Non-potable water. Beach access. No campfires.|
|Lake Elizabeth||20 tent only sites. Disabled parking. Loading zone. Toilets. Picnic area. Fireplace. Non-potable water.|
|Parker Hill||20 tent only sites. Toilets. Information booth. Non-potable water.|
|Sharps Rd||3 tent only sites, 3 tent/caravan sites. No facilities.|
|Wye Road||3 campgrounds. 3 tent only sites, 8 tent/caravan sites. No facilities.|
Bushwalking and hiking
The Otway’s serene natural setting and easy accessibility makes it a haven for bushwalkers, with over 40 official walking trails in the area.
(Image: Maits Rest Rainforest Walk)
|Great Ocean Walk||The Great Ocean Walk transports visitors to another world, where they will have the chance to explore some of the most diverse, culture rich and rarely visited areas in Australia. Popular stopping points include Ryan’s Den and Station Beach, as well as Wreck Beach, where visitors can view the anchors of a shipwreck embedded in rock.|
|Maits Rest Board Walk||
The Maits Rest Rainforest Board Walk will take visitors through 800m of ancient rainforest, complete with giant rainforest trees and fern gardens. The trees alone are believed to be 300 years old. Visitors will want to look out for the inhabitants of the rainforest, including koalas, wallabies and grey kangaroos.
|The Gables Lookout Walk||The Gables Lookout Walk is an 800 meter journey across a Casuarina grove and it ends with a spectacular view over the Moonlight Head reefs. Whales and seabirds visit this area during the period between June and September, and the view can be appreciated from what is believed to be the highest sea cliffs on the Australian mainland.
|Otway Fly Tree Top Walk||The Otway Fly Tree Top Walk covers two kilometres and takes visitors across 600 meters of treetop canopy walkway. This 30 meter tall steel structure is a guided tour through the rainforest, from an angle that most people have never seen before.|
|Old Beechy Rail Trail||The Old Beechy Rail Trail takes visitors through forest, farmland and hills as they follow the path where the gauge railway once stood. The old railway once ran from Colac to Crowes, and passed the Otway Ranges. The trail spans 45km and changes from a gentle to a steep slope as the journey progresses.
|Surf Coast Walk||
The Surf Coast Walk is a 44km journey that will allow visitors the chance to choose between short, long and even a multiday experience. The walk offers astounding ocean views from the Anglesea River to Fairhaven Surf Life Saving Club.
|Triplet Falls Walk||
The Triplet Falls Walk takes visitors to the breath taking Triplet Falls waterfall, which is situated in Great Otway Park. This walk lasts about an hour and loops through the rainforest, via Mountain Ash. Visitors can view the spectacular falls from various, elevated viewing points and the walk in total spans about 1.8km.
|Little Aire Walk||Little Aire Falls, located in the ancient Beech Forest, is another spectacular natural wonder of the Otway Ranges. The Little Aire Walk spans a distance of about 5kms and takes about 2 hours complete. During the walk, visitors will make their way through mountain ash forest and view the falls from a handy, elevated position.|
|Wreck Beach Walk||The Wreck Beach Walk is a tricky walk through 2km of sand and rock. The journey begins and ends at Wreck Beach, where visitors will be able to catch glimpses of the Fiji and Marie Gabrielle anchors – two vessels that came to an end on this treacherous part of the ocean. This walk is for experienced hikers only, since it tends to be somewhat tricky to traverse and should only be attempted during the low tide due to the large sea swells.|
|Shelly Beach Circuit Walk||
The Shelly Beach Circuit Walk is a 2km journey that will take visitors across Shelly Beach, through coastal scrub and fern gullies. The walk is a relatively easy one and allows travellers to get up close and personal to some of the inhabitants of the area, including koalas and gliders.
Common within the Otway Ranges are stunning waterfalls, significant examples being the three-tiered gem Triplet Falls, and others such as Hopetoun and Beauchamp falls that are straight drops to the waiting pools below.
(Image: Triplet Falls)
|Triplet Falls||38.6713° S, 143.4934° E|
|Beauchamp Falls||38.6469° S, 143.6119° E|
|Hopetoun Falls||38.6684° S, 143.5679° E|
|Erskine Falls||38.5068° S, 143.9132° E
|Phantom Falls||38.5432° S, 143.9466° E
|Sheoak Falls||38.5689° S, 143.9650° E
|Marriners Falls||38.7192° S, 143.6417° E
Experience the Otway Fly
For more adventurous souls there is also zip line tour named the Otway Fly, which sends visitors flying around 30m above the forest floor for a unique view of the ecosystem. Go to Otway Fly Tree Top Adventures for more information and prices. (38.6496° S, 143.5046° E)
Melba Gully State Park
Melba Gully is also called the Jewel of the Otways and is known for its astounding plant growth. It is believed to be among the wettest areas within the state and is home to glow worms, which are visible at night as they traverse the forest floor. While camping isn’t allowed, visitors can make use of toilets, picnic tables and gas barbeques available in this location. (38.6974° S, 143.3695° E)
Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road
The Twelve Apostles is the name given to the rock stacks that emerge from the Southern Ocean. The limestone cliffs situated in this area began to erode between 10 and 20 million years ago, creating this natural wonder. The best views of these stacks are at sunrise and sunset, when they brighten up and appear to take on a yellow colour. (38.6621° S, 143.1051° E)
Lake Elizabeth is home to a flooded valley that was created more than 50 years ago. It is in this lake that visitors will be able to catch glimpses of the well known platypus. The banks of the river are lined with trees and dead tree trunks peek out from the water. A campground is based on the Barwon River, where visitors will find shelter underneath the Eucalyptus trees. (38.5522° S, 143.7584° E)
Cape Otway Lighthouse
Cape Otway’s Lightstation is the most well known lighthouse in Australia, as well as the most important. It was built in 1848 and towers 90 meters above the South Ocean ad Bass Straight. This perch is a great location for whale watching. (38.8566° S, 143.5117° E)
California redwoods are located along the road to Beech Forest. These rare giants are scarce even in their native homeland of North America, with each impressive specimen capable of reaching over 100m high.
Phone: 13 19 63