A Short Guide to the Great Otway National Park
Just as no visit to Victoria is complete without a Melbourne tour, no Great Ocean Road tour is complete without a visit to the Great Otway National Park. Covering the distance between Torquay and Princetown and the terrain through the Otways hinterland towards Colac, the Great Otway National Park abounds with beautiful landscapes, scenery and varied experiences.
On a trip to the Great Otway National Park you can expect to see gorgeous beaches, heathlands, rock platforms and numerous kilometres of rugged coastline. The park itself features amazing forests, gullies, lakes and waterfalls — all of which offer spectacular scenery and wonderful opportunities for activity or relaxation.
Things to see at the Great Otway National Park:
1: Cape Otway Lightstation
The Cape Otway Lightstation is the oldest surviving officially built lighthouse on the Australian mainland. It is situated just 14 kilometres from the Great Ocean Road and is set in an impressive complex.
Guided tours of the lighthouse (which stands at a height of 18 metres) are available and highly recommended, but need to be booked in advance.
Other tours are also available at the Cape Otway Lightstation.
- Koori tours take visitors to significant locations in the vicinity of the lighthouse and, throughout the tours, a guide provides information and insight into the culture, history, lifestyle and practices of the Koori people who previously lived on the Cape.
- Palaeontology tours allow visitors to understand more about the prehistoric plants and animals that are unique to the area, including seven different types of dinosaurs.
2: Triplet Falls
Triplet Falls is a stunning area situated in an ancient forest. Visitors are able to gain new and very impressive views of the spectacular falls and perhaps enjoy a picnic in the specially designated area at the site.
Triplet Falls is also a wonderful place to take a walk and immerse oneself in the history and natural features of the rainforest.
3: Wreck Beach
Wreck Beach is well worth a visit in order to see the anchors of two famous shipwrecks: the Marie Gabrielle and the Fiji.
4: Blanket Bay
Blanket Bay is such a popular camping spot that, during the summer and Easter holidays, it is only possible to secure a campsite by ballot. At other times, the campground is occupied on a first come, first served basis.
Blanket Bay is a beautiful and relaxing spot to camp — its popularity is completely understandable.
5: Melba Gully
Melba Gully is famed for being one of the wettest places in Victoria. Often referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Otways’, this gully is full of plant life and a significant rainforest that is comprised of Myrtle Beech, Blackwood and tree ferns. The understorey of the gully is made up of low ferns and species of moss.
One of the most highly recommended and special ways to see Melba Gully is to follow the walking tracks at night where you will see the amazing glow worms.
6: Erskine Falls
Ten kilometres west of Lorne, at the end of the Erskine Falls Road, is Erskine Falls. These falls cascade over one of the Otways’ highest drops and there is a wonderful vantage point for seeing this above the falls. A walking track can then be followed to the base of the falls.
Things to do in the Great Otway National Park
1: Great Ocean Walk
By following this 96-kilometre stretch that begins at Apollo Bay, visitors walk through beautiful national parks, secluded and pristine beaches and witness incredible marine sanctuaries. This walk also exposes people to some of the Great Ocean Road’s most famous sites, such as the Twelve Apostles.
The beauty of this walk is that people can take it at their own pace, stop and look at the things in which they are most interested, camp or stay in great accommodation and enjoy fabulous food.
There is a range of fabulous camping opportunities within Great Otway National Park, from romantic private spots to family-friendly sites.
Take advantage of the park’s many beautiful locations for a picnic or use one of its designated picnic areas.
The Great Otway National Park is a spectacularly beautiful location that showcases much of the best that is offered along the Great Ocean Road.