Feel humbled amongst the ancient giants of the Otways Ranges. The striking cool temperate rainforest of the Great Otway National Park boasts one of the highest rainfalls in the state with waterfalls flowing year-round. Walkers of almost any ability can trek around the Otways, discovering the Great Ocean Walk, waterfalls, lush forests, cliff top walks, heritage and coastal trails. Whether you go inland or hug the rugged coast, the Otways is a place for adventure, romance and discovery.
Click on image below to download a detailed Otways Walks & Waterfalls Guide:
Hopetoun Falls has a viewing platform 20 mertres from the carpark which offers spectacular views of the falls as they crash into the Aire River. Or you can take the steeper walk down to the pool at the base of the falls. The walk starts from the carpark located on the Aire Valley Road in Beech Forest.
Distance: 1km return | Time: 30 mins | Difficulty: Moderate
Beauchamp Falls crashes over a ledge into a large pool just outside Beech Forest, this 20-metre waterfall rewards a somewhat strenuous walk. To get to the falls, take the walking path from the picnic area, located off the Aire Valley Road. The three-kilometre path is an hour's walk return, and requires reasonable fitness. The descent to the falls leads to a viewing platform (there is no access to the falls). The path back is steep and has steps that can be slippery when wet. Take care when walking in damp conditions.
Distance: 3km return | Time: 1 hour | Difficulty: Strenuous
GREAT OCEAN WALK
Strap on your boots, open the back gate and take your first step into one of Australia’s most iconic coastal walks. Apollo Bay is the starting point for the 100 kilometres of trail making up the Great Ocean Walk. With walking itineraries ranging from a stroll to 8 days, weekend wanderers and seasoned trampers can uncover breathtaking vistas exploring the Great Otway and Port Campbell National Parks.
Day hikes range from short, well made paths to more challenging, full day treks. A great starting point is the 2km Shelly Beach walk, only a 10 minutes drive from Apollo Bay. From there, shine your gaze towards the Cape Otway Lighthouse, the haunting shores of Wreck Beach and everything in between.
With the aid of vehicle or pre-arranged shuttle, single and multi day hikers along the coastal trail can be mixed and matched to create an itinerary based upon the time and distances you want to travel. Anything from 1 night – 7 nights is possible.
At the remarkable Californian Redwoods, let your imagination come to life along this enchanting walk, where fairytales seem to come alive! This remarkable stand of the world's tallest tree species have thrived in Otway soil, far from their native California. Towering on the sheltered river flat at the Aire Valley Plantation, these Sequoia Sempervirens Trees were originally planted in 1936 by Victorian forresters for experimental purposes. While still in their youthful growth phase, the Otway Redwoods may one day claim the title of tallest trees in the world. A walk for the first time between the massive trunks flanking the river creates a special feeling of awe and reverence - not to be missed.
Distance: 500m return | Time: 15 mins | Difficulty: Easy
Triplet Falls is one of the iconic visitor sites in the Great Otway National Park. Nestled amongst the ancient forests of Mountain Ash and Myrtle Beech with large sections of expanded metal boardwalks, you will discover three distinct and impressive cascades flowing through shady rainforests and glades of mossy tree ferns. The walk is quite close to the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures located on Phillips Track near Beech Forest. The walk begins with some sections of steep steps so while it's not long, it is not suited to people with limited mobility. There are some very large Mountain Ash trees along the track which are estimated to be around 200 years old. Continuing on the loop back to the carpark, you come to the site of Knott's #1 Mill which operated for more than 20 years from 1909. The remains of a steam boiler overgrown by ferns is now the only evidence of one of the largest timber mills that operated in the West Otways region.
Distance: 2km return | Time: 1 hour | Difficulty: Moderate
Click on image below for Triplet Falls Park Notes:
Maits Rest is a relatively short, circuit walk virtually beside the Great Ocean Road about 15 minutes west of Apollo Bay. It is a great introduction to a true rainforest gully and has been protected since the early 1900s to give an idea of what the pre-European Otways were once like. It is home to a couple of spectacular trees, including some towering Mountain Ash and a massive Myrtle Beech tree estimated to be at least 300 years old. It also includes plants that are remnants of the forests that dominated this area 100 million years ago when it was part of Gondwanaland.
Distance: 1km return | Time: 30 mins | Difficulty: Easy
LAKE ELIZABETH WALK
Head to Lake Elizabeth hidden deep in the Otways and 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 shy Australian natives. The loop trial follows the lakes edge and is best suited for moderate walking ability. Otway Eco-Tours also offer guided platypus tours by canoe to maximise viewing potential. There is National Park Camping at the walk-in campground (approx 100m from carpark) next to river, where dogs and fires are permitted. For a guided experience to paddle with the Platypus contact Otway Eco Tours.
Distance: 1.5km return (lake) OR 4km return (circuit) | Time: 1hr (lake) OR 2hr (circuit) | Difficulty: Easy (lake) OR Easy - Moderate (circuit)
Stevensons Falls track begins at the campground and meanders along the edge of the Gellibrand River to the day visitor area. From there, the walking track crosses the river and continues through stands of Douglas Fir trees and then back down to the river. The track ends at the viewing platform at the base of the falls. For the shorter walk, start at the day carpark via the second bridge. There is a large free camping area in peaceful valley, close to river & pines, where dogs and fires are permitted. Located on the Colac-Skenes Creek Road near Barramunga.
Distance: 500m return (short) OR 4.6km return (long) | Time: 20 min (short) OR 1.5hr (long) | Difficulty: Easy
MELBA GULLY - MADSEN'S TRACK NATURE TRAIL
Melba Gully (Madsen's Track), aptly known as the Jewel of the Otways, is one of the wettest places in the state. The gully has prolific plant growth and is a dense rainforest of Myrtle Beech, Blackwood and Tree-ferns, with an understorey of low ferns and mosses. The Madsen's Track Nature Walk provides an adventure into a world of ancient, mossy trees and cool fern gullies. Located near Lavers Hill, this short walk is a good spot to see the remarkable glow worms at night.
Distance: 1.2km return | Time: 30 mins | Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Click on image below for Melba Gully - Madsen's Track Nature Trail Park Notes:
OTWAY FLY TREETOP WALK
The Otway Fly Tree Top Walk is located in Victoria's magnificent Otways, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to view the forest from a bird's eye view. The Tree Top Walk is the longest and tallest elevated walk of its kind in the world. At 600 metres long and 30 metres above ground level. The walk is a 1.9 kilometres round walk starting from the visitor centre and takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour to complete.
RED ROCK (VOLCANIC) LOOKOUT
The Red Rock lookout, 12km from Colac, is one of Australia’s youngest volcanoes. Forty separate eruption points have been found, and many of the craters are now full of water. The area is the third largest volcanic plain in the world and estimated to be 8,000 years old. The volcanic complex consists of overlapping maars, scoria cones and small lava flows. From the lookout, the magnificent 360 degree views include the topography of the volcanic plain and the 25,000 hectare Lake Corangamite.
Distance: 500m return | Time: 15 mins | Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Carisbrook Falls is a short and easy walk. It's only 10 mins from the carpark on an evenly graded path to a lookout over the gorge to the falls which are one of the highest along the Great Ocean Road. They do not drop vertically, however tumble down a sloping rockface - best viewed after heavy rain. The walk starts from the carpark located just off the Great Ocean Road, 12kms east of Apollo Bay.
Distance: 1km return | Time: 20 mins | Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
LITTLE AIRE FALLS
Little Aire Falls track takes you through Mountain Ash and rainforests ending at a cantilevered viewing platform with spectacular views over the falls. There are some creek crossings on bridges passing through beautiful fern gullies before reaching the suspended viewing platform. It is a steep climb back up to the carpark. The walk starts from the Triplet Falls carpark located on Phillips Track, just 3km past the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures.
Distance: 5km return | Time: 2 hours | Difficulty: Moderate