The Otways, Vic: Destination Guide

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While the lure of the Great Ocean Road is undeniable, head inland into the Otway ranges and you’ll discover an equally magical, breathtaking landscape.

Read on to discover the best things to do and see in the Otways, or find and book accommodation in the Otways today.

About the Otways

The Otways offer some of Australia’s premium rainforest scenery, and these lush, lofty forests provide a quiet escape from the coastal crowds where you can walk in solitude and discover secluded pools and swimming holes.  Exploring the Otways is tremendous fun and, with extensive coastline and undulating inland plains to explore, there are plenty of routes you might tackle. They also harbour an excellent trio of free forest camps. These are a surprising find in a region where campsites are at a premium, and it’s all thanks to their state forest boundaries.

Things to do

The Otways is a paradise for those that love the outdoors and exploring (what feels like) unchartered and mysterious lands. From discovering the hidden hamlets and their gourmet secrets along the Otway Harvest Trail to spotting an elusive platypus at Lake Elizabeth, there is no shortage of things to keep you busy.

To truly understand the beauty of The Otways though, it’s best to travel on foot, and the area has an excellent array of walks and hikes which are suitable for all fitness levels. With a waterfall around every corner, and trees so tall you’ll hurt your neck craning to see them, you’ll want to take it slow; but you can guarantee it won’t take long to immerse yourself in the heart of the rainforest.

Attractions

Stevensons Falls

Listen out for the thundering roar and head upstream of Gellibrand River through towering mountain ash trees to reach Stevensons Falls. Watch the falls plunge dramatically over the rock face at the viewing platform, or dip your feet in the refreshing water and relax at the pool below. Stevensons Falls also makes a great base for exploring the nearby historical timber town of Forrest, where you can fish the West Barwon Reservoir or seek out platypus at Lake Elizabeth along some excellent walking trails.

Otway Fly Treetop Adventures

One of the most thrilling attractions is the nearby Otway Fly Treetop Adventures where you can stroll the treetop boardwalk 30m above the forest floor and climb the Spiral Staircase to eyeball rainforest giants stretching 45m high. The easiest retreat from these lofty heights might be to retrace your steps, but you can also choose to zip line down, coasting along a network of steel cables for a thrilling two-and-a-half hour fly through the forest.

Cape Otway Lighthouse

Built in 1848, Cape Otway’s historic sandstone lighthouse continues to guide ships sailing across Bass Strait and was originally powered by whale oil, then kerosene, before the onslaught of diesel generators and electricity, along with radio and GPS. Today it is considered one of Australia’s best-preserved lightstations and you can judge for yourself by joining a guided tour, which also permits access to a telegraph station, the lightkeepers’ quarters, a World War II radar station, and an Indigenous cultural centre showcasing local Gadubanud culture.

When to visit the Otways

Offering cool respite from the heat and the beach-going crowds during summer, The Otways is a refreshing holiday alternative to the typical sun and surf option most Australians opt for in the warmer months. Visit during the autumn/winter period though, and you’ll see the rainforests at their most enchanting – think overflowing waterfalls and misty, lush conditions with are brimming with flora and fauna. There really isn’t a bad time to visit this magnificent region.

Getting there

The Otways are located south-west Victoria, about 210km from Melbourne.

By car

The Otways are a two and a half hour car journey from Melbourne, along the Princes Highway and then via the spectacular Great Ocean Road.

Where to stay in the Otways

For accommodation options in and around the Otways, click here.