Things to do around The Otways Victoria

Otways-daniel-pelaez-things-to-do-Travellarks

The Otways is a rugged and picturesque region located in the state of Victoria, Australia. The Otway ranges stretch from just south of Geelong to the border of South Australia and are renowned for their lush rainforests, towering eucalyptus trees, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. The Otways are a nature lover’s paradise with numerous walking trails and hiking paths offering a perfect blend of wilderness, adventure, and tranquillity.

Getting there from Melbourne along the southern coastline of the Otways is part of the Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s most scenic coastal drives. Travellers can enjoy breath-taking views of the Southern Ocean and dramatic cliffs while driving along this iconic route. Your getaway will need overnighting especially when you clap eyes on how much there is to see and do in Colac and The Otways.

Take to canoeing, mountain biking trails, cycling, hiking, wildlife, idyllic walks, birdwatching, picnics in the forest, shopping and more.

Wellness & Pampering

  • Enter the calm and relaxing  Otway Botanicals in Apollo Bay. who use products as natural and chemical free as possible.
  • Saltair Day Spa has many salons across Victoria. In Torquay Saltair Spa is set amongst manicured gardens and water features in keeping with the beauty of the region. Treatments for all genders, couples and prenatal pampering sessions.
  • Award winning and highly reviewed Miss Kit is located in Colac offers a full range of beauty services.
  • Adore Skin and Body Therapy skin therapy offer a range of skin treatments by qualified skin care therapists.
  • Salon 7 One in Colac has a wide ranging suite of beauty therapies, including hair if you’ve become a bit windswept and unkempt!
  • CL Beauty Room in Colac East
  • Situated on Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast is Port Fairy Day Spa, Port Fairy. Its menu of packages is extensive and are best known for the healing hands of its masseuses.

Explore & Discover

  • Cape Otway is home to the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia, the Cape Otway Light station. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding coastline.
  • Whilst there, check this one out…Dinosaurs in The Otways? Myth, legend or fact?  The Otway Ranges date back to the Cretaceous period, around 120 million years ago, when Australia was connected to Antarctica as part of the supercontinent Gondwana. Dating back 65 million years ago, when shifting continents moved to what we have today, in 1984, and a team of palaeontologists began a decade-long dig at a remote location along the Great Ocean Coastline, now named ‘Dinosaur Cove’. The first dinosaur fossil in Australia was discovered in 1903, and many since. Getting to Dinosaur Cove is difficult to get to which is west of Cape Otway and best to take a guided, difficult walk. Visit Inspiration Outdoors.
  • Still speaking dinosaurs…The Otway Ranges Coastal Cretaceous site extends all the way from Lorne to Moonlight Head. Most of the locations were found by luck with someone spotting a bone sticking out of a weathered rock as they walked past. Not all localities are created equal, however, and one of the best is a site called Eric The Red West (after a shipwreck back in the 19th Century) located near the Cape Otway Light station. Scoped out in 2011 and, with the discovery of a fossil bearing conglomerate exposed at surface.
  • The region is rich in wildlife, and visitors might encounter various species of birds, wallabies, kangaroos, and if you’re lucky, the elusive platypus. Birdwatchers particularly enjoy the Otways for its diverse avian population.
  • The Otways waterfalls are dotted with numerous waterfalls, each more beautiful than the last. Some of the most popular ones include Triplet, Beauchamp, and Hopetoun Falls. These waterfalls are surrounded by lush greenery and provide excellent photo opportunities.
  • Cycling enthusiasts – beginners or advanced – can rent a bike and get on the trails. Try one in Forrest in advance through Rent My Bike who offer a range of high quality bike rentals including mountain bikes and e-bikes or Forrest Bike Hire. Biking in the Forest Trails Network range from easy to more difficult is well worth while.
  • Mountain Biking enthusiasts (MTB). New trails opened in 2023 to suit all levels of fitness and expertise. For up-to-date information about the trails or information about events visit Ride Forrest. Loads of different rides to experience.
    • The Northern Loop (Yaugher) has an extensive range of trails for all skill levels. To get to the Yaugher trail head for the Forrest township, take a short 5 minute ride up the Tiger Rail trail to Yaugher road. Travel a few minutes up Yaugher Road and you’ll find the trail head. Eight 8 wicked trails to ride.
    •  The Southern Loop: Having undergone a recent $2.32M redevelopment, the southern trails surround the township of Forrest and offer riders 16 great (Flow and XC) trails ranging for easy to more difficult.
  • Fancy seeing a platypus in its natural habitat? Lake Elizabeth is a short drive away from Forrest. Hidden deep in the Otways, you can discover its inspiring beauty with heavily timbered flanks and calm waters punctuated by the trunks of dead trees, drowned when the valley was flooded more than 50 years ago to form this “perched lake”. The elusive platypus can be found in the waters of the lake – wake up early or head to Lake Elizabeth at dusk to catch a glimpse of these very cute, shy Australian natives. Lake Elizabeth is regarded as one of the best places to see Platypus. Here’s a Lake Elizabeth Walking map. Beware of snakes in summer and glow worms at night.
  • Melba Gully Walk is known as the Jewel of the Otways, Melba Gully is one of the wettest places in the state. It’s most fascinating inhabitants are glow worms (take a torch for night time) seen at night along the walking tracks. The 35 minute Madsen’s Track Nature Walk departs from the picnic area (so take that hamper), providing an adventure into a world of ancient, mossy trees and cool fern gullies. Picnic tables, a gas barbecue and toilets are provided here, but camping is not permitted. More info I am Otways.
  • Visit West Barwon Reservoir that collects rainwater from the Barwon River and surrounds and is the main water storage for the Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula and Surf Coast regions.
  • Located on the outskirts of Forrest, the Len Sprague Reserve provides a carpark and
    BBQ/toilet facilities making it an ideal picnic location. Pick up great picnic lunch items from the General Store. There are numerous walking tracks around this area. Once down at the base, you can walk along either side of the river on fairly flat paths to Kaanglang Rd. There are a couple of bridges along the way which allow you to cross the river for a shorter loop. Track 1 Forrest Loop also intersects with the walking track along the west side of the river but then heads back up into town via a steep hill where it joins back onto Hennigan Cres.
  • The Otways are dotted with numerous waterfalls, each more beautiful than the last. Some of the most popular ones include Triplet Falls, Beauchamp Falls, and Hopetoun Falls. These waterfalls are surrounded by lush greenery and provide excellent photo opportunities.
    Chase Forrest’s Stevensons Falls which is a rainforest experience just a short drive south of the township in the Otways Forrest Park.

    • Stevensons Falls has walking track provides a beautiful stroll along the end of the Gellibrand River to the day visitor area. The walking track then continues across the river, through Forrest and down to the edge of the river where you can start to hear the distant roar of Stevensons Falls. The hiking trail ends at a viewing platform at the base of the falls.
    • Beauchamp Falls is one of several waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park, south west of Forrest, near Beech Forest. A beautiful 20-metre waterfall rewards a reasonably challenging walk from a picnic area just off the Aire Valley Road from Beech Forest Road.
      It’s about a three-kilometre return walk to and from the viewing platform, however there isno access to the falls. Also located south west of Forrest near Beech Forest are Hopetoun Falls, which fall 30 metres into the Aire River, also in the Great Otway National Park. You can take in the falls from an upper platform which is just a short walk from the car park, or you can descend about 200 stairs to the base of the falls, which is about a one-kilometre round trip.
    • One of the more renowned waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park is Triplet Falls, also located near Beech Forest, three kilometres past the iconic Otway Fly. The pristine waterfalls are beautifully set in ancient forest, with the area providing views into the lower cascades and the main falls. There is a small picnic area, as well as a car park and public toilet facilities, and from which the waterfalls are about a two kilometre round trip.
      More information about the waterfalls, walking tracks and other nature walks can be found at Walks of the Surf Coast.
  • The Forrest History Trail is well worth satisfying your curiosity over, is an easy one hour walk that delves into Forrest’s past
    For the true rainforest driving (or riding) experience, Turton’s Track is a section of road between Beech Forest and Tanbryn in the Otway Ranges near Apollo Bay. It is 17km long and you’ll travel at 40km per hour only due to the sometimes loose surface, tight turns and low visibility, but well worth the trip.
  • Far from native California, stand these magnificent redwoods, the world’s tallest tree species have thrived in Otway soil – explore more about the Otway Redwoods. It’s a 500m easy return and the walk will take you 15 mins and combine this with some of the waterfalls nearby.
  • Town and day tripping in your car is wonderful especially places like From Apollo Bay, Beech Forrest, Birregurra, Deans Marsh  Forrest, Red Rock, and places in between, the Otways delivers something for everyone.
  • The Otways have significant cultural and historical importance to the local Gadubanud people, the traditional custodians of the land. There are sites in the region where visitors can learn about the Aboriginal heritage and the deep connection indigenous people have with this land. Learn more and take a deep dive into Aboriginal history, culture and customs in the area, visit Aboriginal Sites and Experiences or Responsible Travel.
  • Go ziplining with Tree Tops Adventures in Yeodene. Soar through the messmate trees of the Otway Forest! Ride through the air on a pegasus or relive your playground days on the 15m high monkey bars.
  • Vineyards, Breweries & Distilleries in The Otways:
    • The “Heroes” vineyard at 495 Murroon Rd, Murroon has 8 acres under vine, with Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and a new planting of Chardonnay. using slightly unconventional techniques they take the opportunity to make wines with minimal intervention, naturally reflecting the site or terroir.
    • Blake Wines in Deans Marsh is family owned and only 12Kms from Lorne.
    • Otways Distillery near Apollo Bay showcases the native and farmed botanicals and foods of the region in small batch spirits and gin.
    • Railway Shed Timboon Distillery whisky is made on site. It is a true, small batch, single malt whisky distilled in copper pot stills using Australian malted barley. Distiller and owner Josh Walker draws on inspiration from the great single malts of Scotland and the Isles. Open 7 days with an eatery menu designed for sharing. Lunch sittings at 11am, noon, 1pm & 2pm. With limited seating for each sitting, bookings are requested via phone on (03) 5598 3555. Don’t miss their macadamia and whiskey tart! Or their Whiskey Tours led by our Brand Ambassador, Charlie Johnson, you’ll get to see our stills and learn how they make beautiful, single malt whisky. Charlie will also lead you to our bond store for a tasting experience amongst the barrels. Tour takes 60 minutes and includes a Timboon Tote bag, etched Glencairn whisky tasting glass and bottle of water.
    • Alt Wines is a family run vineyard hand-crafting wine in the Otway Hinterland, located in Winchelsea South.
    • Babenorek Estate wines is a boutique vineyard and olive grove situated in the beautiful Pennyroyal Valley, at the foot of the Otway Ranges.
    • Brown Magpie Wines located at Modewarre, in the hinterland of the Great Ocean Road.
    • One of a handful of families pioneering grape and wine production in the Otway Hinterland, Dinny Goonan Wines have won numerous awards since the first commercial release in 2001.
    • Keayang Maar Vineyard located in Dixie is a family-run, vine-to-bottle operation, that’s passionate about delivering unique experiences. OPen Wednesday to Sunday 11:00am to 5pm. Events can be hosted there.
    • Great Ocean Road Brewhouse for craft beer, beer garden, live music and family friendly.

Overall, the Otways are a nature lover’s paradise, offering a perfect blend of wilderness, adventure, and tranquillity. Whether you’re interested in hiking through ancient forests, marvelling at cascading waterfalls, or simply relaxing amidst nature, the Otways have something to offer for every traveller.

Good Eats

  • The Forrest Brewing Company prides itself in local and manual method brewing. Centrally located in Forrest. Open Friday-Monday for
    breakfast and lunch, and Friday/Saturday nights for dinner. We recommend booking. Offer bar snacks, crown favourites, kiddies menu and of course their brewing best!
  • Dar Tèta (means ‘Grandma’s House) serves authentic Middle Eastern meals in a relaxed setting. Book and don’t miss out.
  • A classic country pub, with classic country food, the Terminus Hotel is a family friendly pub, and of course ice cold local beers, including locally brewed Forrest Pale Ale.
  • Brae Restaurant is a fine dining experience. It’s ever-changing set menu incorporates produce from Brae Farm, the surrounding land and local, ethical, sustainable producers to showcase a unique Australian cuisine built on an immense respect for nature and seasonality. Organic farming and regenerative practices. The property is designed for guests to explore, with dedicated walking paths and interpretative signage reconnecting visitors to their food and the place it comes from. Limited hours, so you must book.
  • Yield, Birregurra has an interesting, heartfelt approach to food. Located in Birrega,  an extension of their home. They like guests to come into their intimate dining room for 14 people, and feel like they’re a friend for Simon to cook for. It’s a place that champions local – the makers, the growers, the farmers – a place that brings them all together. It’s a place of connection.
  • Roost at The Perch at Lavers Hill located on the highest point of the Great Ocean Road, 1/2 an hour from the 12 Apostles located at 1/15 Great Ocean Rd, Lavers Hill VIC is reopening following renovations. With panoramic two story windows overlooking the beautiful Otway ranges, The Perch is officially a winery and the perfect place for outdoor eating, dine-in- or in store collection for your holiday.
  • The Gellibrand River Hotel has an interesting menu has all the standard fare until you caste your eyes over the “Parma Wall”!
  • Contemporary and casual dining at Graze Dining Hidden in the back streets of Apollo Bay. Fully licensed with a focus on regional wines, beers, liqueurs and spirits
  • Cafe La Hoot is located in Winchelsea and overlooking the Barwon River, Cafe La Hoot is a favourite stop amongst travellers for a snack to break your journey or to stock up for a picnic on the riverbank.
  • The Beechy Hotel located at 35 Main Rd, Beech Forest VIC serves cold beer alongside a warm welcome.
  • The Sandy Feet Cafe & Health Foods located at 139 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay VIC is a wonderful drop in for wholesome food and beverages.

Foodies

  • The Forrest General Store is cuisine on steroids. Whether you want to cook with fine local delicacies, take some back home after your visit or need catering during your stay, they have a range of bread, pastries, pies, cheeses, ready made meals and some groceries to select from and are open every day from 8am to 4 pm. You’ll find nature, wildlife and artisan crafts and souvenirs too!
  • Otway Artisan Gluten Free is just what is says, located in Birregurra, Victoria. A small bakery, they are dedicated to the production of the finest handmade gluten free bread products. What a find! Enough to make you convert.
  • Yield in Birregurra, VIC is also a providore and restaurant. See above.
  • The Store Deans Marsh is located in the hinterland of the Otways Ranges, and is your all-in-one hub consisting of a cafe, restaurant, traditional general store with bottle shop and post office! It’s a celebration of local produce, paddock to plate dining, tasty treats, best coffee (for miles) for your regional travels and an extensive range of gifts and homewares.
  • The Otway Kitchens a not for profit enterprise producing a wholesale range of traditional and gourmet jams, chutneys, pickles and relishes hand made in small batches to retain flavour and quality. Their products are free from artificial colours and additives, and avoid gluten if possible. The freshest seasonal produce and locally sourced ingredients are used.
  • Connoisseurs of tea, here’s your mecca. Otway Chai have been blending, making, brewing, sharing, serving, tasting, drinking and loving Chai Tea for over 10 years.
  • Pick your own pesticide free blueberries at Otway Blueberries in Gellibrand. Turn up ready to pick with your containers. During season (from late December to April) their opening hours are 9am to 5pm daily, 7 days a week (yes, open public holidays too!). Frozen blueberries available. The Little Organic Paddock is located next to Otway Blueberries in Gellibrand, and grows blueberries and strawberries, and are certified organic and are certified with AusQual.
  • Travelling to the Otways looking for a coffee stop? Home baked goodies? Try Sweet Thyme Cafe at Winchelsea located at 33, Main Street Winchelsea. Serving a range of vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and meat dishes, with breakfast available all day. They use Zoetic Loose Leaf Teas and Blend Co “Ants Pants” coffee are available. Caravan Eggs, Goddard’s Olive Oil, Meredith Dairy and Zeally Bay Organic Sour Dough.
  • Champion Whey Cheeses discovered and devoured at Apostle Whey Cheese  located in Cooriemungle for a $1.00 cheese tasting. Toasties and coffee available all day. Watch the cows being milked daily!
  • Find the finest single-origin, limited-edition raw honey made in the heart of the western district on Victoria’s volcanic plains at Buukaar Waaruung Apiary & Artisans. Apiarist,  Dr Anna Carrucan is a second-generation beekeeper, with a PhD in botany. The Beekeeper offers on-site & on-line consultations to create a garden haven for bees and avid or budding apiarists.
  • Hot Chilli Mama is a boutique chilli business based in Deans Marsh in the foothills of the Otway Ranges, VIC.
  • Markets to fossick in:
    • Check here for opening times for The Deans Marsh Market located on Deans Marsh Reserve at 10 Pennyroyal Valley Rd, Deans Marsh, VIC. Held on the first Sunday of each month, 8am-1pm. Check their socials for additional single dates.
    • The Birregurra Markets located on Main St Birregurra are held 9am-2pm, second Sunday of the month between November & May.  Check their Socials for additional dates.
    • The Kawarren markets located on East Rd Kawarren are held on the fourth Sunday each month, year round from 9am – 2pm, Echidna House, Kawarren Reserve.
    • Winchelsea Makers & Growers Market located on the charming historical Bluestone Town Hall opposite the Winchelsea Shopping Centre. Held first Sunday of every month except January at the Old Shire Hall, 9am-1pm.  Indoor and outdoor.
    • Camperdown Rotary Market located on Manifold Street, Camperdown, VIC spruiks the usual local produce and offers something special. You can climb the Gothic style clock tower to inspect the clock mechanism and enjoy the panoramic views of our historic town before heading to the heritage centre to learn more about the area and its fascinating history.

Retail Escapes

  • Pop into Farm Fudge for a spot of local, homemade indulgence, without preservatives and  as little sugar used as possible.
  • Need to top up your surfing apparel? Go to Apollo Bay Surf Shop located at 91 Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay, VIC
  • Hodgy’s claims this is where the surf meets the Otways. Definitely worth a drop in.
  • If you’re after flowers for whatever reason, try Apollo Bay Blooms.
  • Handmade jewels and natural fibre clothing can be found at SilknSilver
  • Sweet View is an iconic Apollo Bay sweetie shop with a cornucopia of confectionary, and even stock Great Ocean Road Rock!
  • Ziibo in Colac is a cornucopia of beautiful homewares, artwork and unique things for around the house. Ziibo’s focus is about sustainable, functional and well-designed products. A must stop for art lovers, home decorators, fashion conscious and a variety of lifestyle products.
  • Moontide clothing store located at 21 Nelson St, Apollo Bay VIC
  • Just Lovely specialises in beautiful, everyday lingerie.
  • Fern and Gum Otway Artisan Hampers are curated gift boxes that showcase the incredible producers of the Otway region, in South West Victoria. Beautifully presented, with a sustainable focus.
  • Tarndwarncoort  is a woolshop on a Sheep Farm Heritage listed Tarndwarncoort Homestead that offers a wonderful selection of wool products for craft, bespoke yarns and one off dye lots using the Polwarth wool grown on the farm – just as it has been since 1840.
  • Discover antiques and collectibles in Colac at Rae Street Relics
  • Continuing the fossicking, go to How Bazaar in Colac is an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of collectables, vintage items and the weird and wonderful. Literally tens of thousands of items spread across their huge 800 square meter factory building.
  • “FOUND:ling Reusery” located in the main street in Colac is a circular economy boutique, bringing you the best reused, repurposed and reimagined goods from across the region.
  • She Hunts is an op shop in Lorne is a quaint and quirky delight and only two hours from Melbourne.
  • Hawkeye Homewares located at 147 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay VIC

If you think Colac and The Otways sounds like an amazing holiday destination, why not see our Stays with a WOW accommodation.

Share

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
WhatsApp
Email

Comments

Search

May 2024

  • M
  • T
  • W
  • T
  • F
  • S
  • S
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31

June 2024

  • M
  • T
  • W
  • T
  • F
  • S
  • S
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
0 Adults
0 Children
Pets
Size
Price
Amenities
Facilities

Compare listings

Compare

Compare experiences

Compare
Fishcakes, Seal rocks, mid coast, NSW, Australia

JOIN THE ADVENTURE

Get first dibs on insider info and our latest WOW holiday accommodation!