16 August 2017
48 HOURS IN THE OTWAYSby MARK FITZ
48 HOURS IN THE OTWAYS
An enchanting, nature lovers idyllic escape lies only 2 hours west of Melbourne and at the heart of the Great Ocean Road. Home to a captivating coastline ,picturesque national parks and an abundance of fantastic food, the Otways region is a delight to your senses. With so much to explore and experience I've put together a guide to help you get the most out of your weekend in the region.
Where to Explore?
Otway Park Trees Adventure After a 2 hour drive from Melbourne there's no better way to get the blood pumping than a high ropes course tour! Once you re geared up and had the safety briefing its then straight out onto the course and into the action. There are a number of courses available to try, ranging from easy through to the more advanced. My favorite activity on the course was the flying foxes, the adrenaline rush you get as you're high in the sky and zipping through the bush land is a lot of fun!
A 30 minute drive south of Otway Park Trees Adventure is the magnificent Stevensons Falls. From the car park, the falls are a 500m walk through the forest and along the Gellibrand River. A couple of days before my visit there had been significant rains which meant there was plenty of water rushing over the falls. There is also a campground in the valley which is quite popular during the holiday periods.
At the northern end of Apollo Bay is Mariners Lookout and some of the best views in the region, especially at sunrise or sunset. The lookout is situated on private land however the landowners have kindly allowed the public access, so please make sure you respect it and take any rubbish with you. Its also a popular place for hang gliders and you may be lucky enough to see some launch from here.
Great Ocean Ecolodge
Established and operated by the Conservation Ecology Centre, this eco lodge is an awardwinning retreat set amongst pristine bushland. On site researchers offer guided tours and you can also take part in Koala and Tiger Quoll Conservation
projects. All profits are reinvested into wildlife conservation which include habitat restoration and rehabilitation as well as the operation of a 24hour wildlife rescue service.
Cape Otway Lightstation
Built in 1848, the Cape Otway Lightstation is widely recognised as Australias most important lighthouse. Perched high above the meeting point of the Southern Ocean and Bass Straight, this was the first glimpse of Australia for thousands of people including convicts and early settlers.
An Indigenous Cooking Display is also available here where you can learn about the local Koori culture at the Indigenous Cultural Centre.
Nestled alongside the Aire River is the colossal Californian Redwoods forest. Planted in 1939, the Redwoods now reach up to 60 meters high and are a magical part of the Great Otway National Park. Its the perfect spot for a picnic and we were lucky enough to
be treated to a delicious feast by the amazing Apollo Bay Bakery. My favourite time of day to visit here is the early morning, the rays of golden sunlight beaming through the towering forest is an amazing sight and it makes for great photos!
Only 3 km from the Redwoods are one of the most iconic and photographed waterfalls in Victoria, Hopetoun Falls. There is a viewing platform at the carpark but the best way to experience them is at the base of the falls. Its about a minute walk to the bottom where
you greeted by the roaring falls, a mass of beautiful ferns and the creek rushing past.You ll be filled with a sense of awe and wonder and if feels like youre in Jurassic Park. Take your time here, theres a bench to sit on and soak in the views and make sure you bring your camera!
Otway Fly Treetop Adventures
See the rainforest from a whole different perspective with a treetop walk and zip line tour over the Otway forest. The treetop walk is 600m long and reaches a top height of 47m at the lookout. Feeling more adventurous? Try the zip line tour for a birds eye view of the forest. Dont forget to strap a camera to your helmet to capture the moment, everyone at home will be jealous when they see your video! This tour goes for around 2.5hrs where you ll also learn about the history and features of the area from experienced guides.
Where to Eat?
After all those activities youll be hanging out for something to eat and the restaurants in this region know how to put on a feast!
Forrest Brewing Company
Just 15 minutes from the Otway Park Trees Adventure is the Forrest Brewing Company. This family owned business was established in 2010 and has a microbrewery and restaurant. This was our first meal in the Otways region and the food and beer here were top class. Its easy to see why it has become so popular with locals and visitors to the area!
Great Ocean Road Brewhouse
If youre staying in Apollo Bay and looking for a great meal and a beer, then be sure to stop in at the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse. With over 100 different craft beers available there is something for everyone and the Tastes of the Region behind the Brewhouse is a fantastic way to sample the local produce.
Chriss Beacon Point Restaurant
Gourmet food with incredible views are the perfect drawcard to entice you to Chriss Beacon Point Restaurant. Located high above Apollo Bay, there is
also the added bonus of being able to stay here in one of the vilas with amazing ocean views.
Coffee would have to be the most important food group and the only way to start your day! The Hello Coffee team have their award winning Daily Blend for you to get your fix. You can find Hello Coffee in the Industrial Estate of Apollo Bay. Its a cosy little spot with a relaxed atmosphere and a fantastic array of breakfast options, just what you need before a big day of adventures in the Otways!
Rounding out our dining experiences was the incredible Fusion Restaurant in Colac. Id Recommend visiting here after the Otway FlyTreetop Adventures and make sure you are hungry as this is some of the best food in the region!
Where to Stay? Holiday Great Ocean Road have a number of beautiful properties to choose from and I was Lucky enough to stay at the Dolphin Apartments. You couldnt get a better location, its right in the centre of Apollo Bay and just across the road from the beach. Sitting back with a glass of wine on your balcony and taking in those sensational ocean views is the perfect way to end your day!
There's so much to do in the Otways, you simply cant fit it all into one day. Come and stay afew nights on the Great Ocean Road and tick off a number of adventures. Seriously- from waterfalls to ziplining in the forest and the incredible food, you wont want to leave!