Sunday, 17 April 2011

Rainforests of the Otways

The Otways are part of the Great Otway National Park which is located in north west Victoria. The National Park covers a total area of 103,000 hectares and incorporates rainforest and coastal areas along the Great Ocean Road.

The Otway Ranges include an amazing rainforest with steep ridges and deep valleys with tall forests and fern clad gullies.  There are a number of spectacular waterfalls and a range of walks that allow you to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the forest.

A fern clad gully

 The dampness of the rainforest
creates an interesting eco system

You can walk to a range of falls including Stevensons Falls, Hopeton Falls, Triplet Falls and Sabine Falls.  For those who are unable to walk long distances Houpeton Falls can be viewed from above only a short walk from the car park.

One of the many waterfalls

Logging was once a big industry in the Otways and a railway line was built to transport the logs to the railhead and sawmills. Remnants of the old railway and plant can be found in some areas.

A bike trail has also been developed along the old railway line with two main sections one from Birnam station and picnic ground to Maggios Rd stretching 4.8 kilometres and the other Gellibrand to Wimba a distrance of 9.5 kilometres. Old Beechy Rail Trail

Thankfully logging is now limited to plantation timber but this still has impacts on habitat of native plants, birds and animals. 

Koalas and wallabies are often observed
 in their natural environment

Tourism is now a major part of the Park and minimal impact touring is important to ensure the long term sustainability preserves the area for generations to come.  In the summer the Otways provide a quiet, cool and peaceful environment. In the winter the waterfalls run and although it can be cold the Park is still enjoyable if you're suitably dressed.

Maits Rest is one of the most popular walks as its a short drive from Apollo Bay. Here you'll experience the beauty of the rainforest on a relatively easy walk. During the day you may be lucky to locate an Otway Black Snail. This is a carnivorous snail endemic to the region and recognised by a gold spot on its shell. At night you can experience glow worms.

Melba Gully is an interesting walk which includes a boardwalk constructed to minimise impact to the forest. The Gully is filled with myrtle beeches, blackwoods, tree ferns and there is an understory of low ferns and mosses.

The Otway Fly provides an opportunity to walk through the trees on a boardwalk and whilst wandering through the trees you gain a real sense of the majestic nature of this forest.

Otway Fly Tree top Walk

The Ridge Cafe is located in Beech Forest and recognised for its organic food. It has an amazing array of home made and tasty treats, our favourite is their chocolate pudding.  

The Forrest Brewery and Cafe is also worth a visit and was the site of this year's launch of the Apollo Bay Music Festival Forrest Brewery & Cafe

So if you're intending on visiting the Great Ocean Road don't forget to take the time to enjoy this beautiful rainforest.

2 Day Great Ocean Road Tour
3 Day Great Ocean Road and Grampians Tour


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