The Great Otway National Park is Australia’s hidden paradise. The park covers rugged coastlines and mountain ranges. You can see waterfalls, springs, streams, and lake dotting the Otways. It is also home to many different varieties of plant and animal species.
Traveling to the Otways through the Great Ocean Road is such an exciting experience. From spectacular coastal views to naturally carved landscapes, from giant beech and redwood trees to spring wildflowers, from cascading streams to a serene lake, from lazy koalas to the elusive platypus, and from flying falcons to the lovely parrots. These are fair enough reasons why you should explore this Victorian paradise.
The Otways covers the towns of Torquay through the hinterlands of Colac. The quaint towns of Lorne, Apollo Bay, and Anglesea are some of the gateways to the park.
At the Otways you can do a lot of things on your adventure. You can have a lazy picnic or an adrenaline-infused zipline tour. You can take photos of wildlife or spend your time birdwatching. You may relax and enjoy the minty cool breeze of the forest or reflect on your image like Narcissus on the lake. Perhaps you could stretch those legs for nature walks. I would choose the last one.
Here’s the list of my suggested walks to take when you’re at the Otways:
- Nearby the town of Lorne, you can stroll along the trail to Cora Lynn Cascades under the giant eucalyptus trees and tree ferns. It only takes a little more than two-kilometer walk from Blanket Leaf car park. Let the cascades freshen up your senses.
- Or you may take a three and a half-kilometer hike from Allenvale Mill to Phantom Falls. When you get into the waterfalls you can climb up to Sheoak Picnic Area. The majestic Phantom Falls is such a beauty to behold. At Sheoak, you can have a quick visit to Swallow Cave where you can witness the swallows nesting in the cave.
- From Sheoak picnic area you can stretch your legs hiking along the trail towards Kalimna Falls. It is an eight-kilometer walk tracing the old timber tramway route. Just be always on the lookout for some native wild animals and lovely birds as you listen to the music of nature.
- From Aire River information center you can have a little over twelve-kilometer beach hike to Johanna Beach campground. As you pass through the heathland don’t miss the spring wildflowers and the amazing ocean views. You can even spot some peregrine falcons flying above as you cross Johanna River.
- If you’re in Melba Gully picnic area near Apollo Bay and Layers Hill it will be a great opportunity to take an easy hike along a 1-kilometer stretch of Madsens track under the giant myrtle beech and blackwood trees. The track is beside Johanna River. Just enjoy the experience of being in the midst of a dense forest.
- From Erskine Falls car park you can challenge yourself to 7.5-kilometer hike down the Erskine River track to the river’s mouth at Lorne’s seashore. Be ready to step on slippery stones, fallen logs, and river crossings. You will end up at Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park.
- If you’re in Cape Otway exploring the light station, might as well take a 10-kilometer hike to Aire River. Enjoy the picturesque landscapes — sand dunes, cliffs, and coastal views. You can also have a stop at Rainbow Falls, then follow the route to Aire River lookout. This 10-kilometer adventure walk will be worth it.
- From Aire River Bridge take a 4-kilometer walk to Aire River Escarpment lookout where you will have the reward of having the best view of the Hordenvale Wetlands. You may also spot some kangaroos and wallabies along the way.
So pack your things up and let’s adventure to the Otways!