The Otways are full of family friendly activities from short walks, to wildlife spotting and plenty of adventure in between. Grab the kids and explore one of Victoria’s most picturesque regions.
Take the family on a drive to Cape Otway Lightstation to check out Australia’s most famous lighthouse. Built in 1848, the lighthouse towers on sea cliffs 90 metres above the ocean. A visit will offer astounding views from the Lighthouse Balcony across Bass Strait. Guides are on hand to tell tales of tragic shipwrecks along the coast. Whales often frolic in the seas below from June to October, and koalas are commonly spotted in the forest drive to the lighthouse from Great Ocean Road. Make sure not to miss the nearby Aboriginal Cultural Site for a lesson in painting, spear throwing, and other traditional activities. Stop by the Lightkeeper’s Kitchen Café in the original Assistant Lightkeeper’s cottage for a quick snack or coffee before hitting the road.
The whole family will love experiencing the Otways at its finest: on foot. Walkers of almost any ability can trek around and discover magical spots in the Otways such as the following… Check out our walk recommendations here.
Take to the water! Time on the beach and out on the sea is one of the Otway Coast’s greatest drawcards. Pristine beaches are plentiful including Apollo Bay, Johanna, Wye River and Kennett River. One of the best ways to explore the coastline is by renting a kayak or stand-up-paddle board. You can even take a trip out by boat or kayak to visit the local seal colony at Marengo. Surfing is also a great option to get out and enjoy the waves.
Explore long rock formation with incredible sculptures formed by the sea. There are small and large rockpools, armchair ledges and cave-like hollows to be found along the coast. Between Wild Dog Creek and Wongarra is a delightful stretch. Encourage children to find the small crabs scuttling for cover or fossick for shells near the Skenes Creek and Marengo campgrounds.
Join a guided rockpool ramble or coastal discovery tour over the summer holidays with the Junior Rangers program courtesy of Parks Victoria.
In the Otways, you don’t have to look hard to spot a koala! Despite appearing rather slow-moving, koalas are actually quite agile, particularly when it comes to climbing trees. If you’re on the lookout, try casting your eyes upwards – you’ll generally find koalas wedged in the nook of a tree branch and most often fast asleep.
Best locations for koala spotting include Kennett River (take Grey River Road) or Cape Otway – remember to find a safe place to park before stopping to view.
Horse rides at Bimbi Park cater for all ages and levels of ability. Rides are carefully graded, there are experienced horses, qualified instructors, safe trails and approved safety helmets. The sandy soil of the region makes for good riding even after rain. Trail rides in the Otways are exciting affairs. You can ride along marvellous beaches where the wild windswept waves of the Southern Ocean form an exhilarating background. You can amble through lush expanses of forest and long the cliff tops at sunset. Rides also take you to Cape Otway Lighthouse, scenic lookouts and some of the pretty bays that dot the Otway coastline.
Get the entire family to give rock climbing a go! Bimbi Park has a state of the art, 3-storey rock climbing structure offering 8 separate tracks ranging from easy to extremely hard, suitable for all ages and skill level. All equipment is provided (bookings essential).
Families can also enjoy a round of mini-golf on Bimbi Park’s custom-built course surrounded by beautiful native bush on Cape Otway.
Available for kids from age 10 years upwards, the 52 acres bush setting at Planet Mud is perfect for paintball! Where possible, smaller groups be combined to meet minimum number requirements.
The Planet Mud globe is an 11 foot high inflatable transparent sphere which you can ride inside. Two feet of air protect you from the ground enabling you to globe ride down hills at high speed. An exhilarating experience – get strapped in – and get ready for the ride of your life!
The balls stand 3 metres high so adventurers must be at least 4ft 10 inches high. The maximum joint weight must not exceed 28 stone (180kg).
Specifically designed to manouver varied terrain and handle the most demanding applications, the Segway® takes you on an off road adventure. A hugely popular activity for everyone aged 10 or over.
The Otways rainforest is green, dense, and majestic. The Otway Fly is a Treetop Walk and Zip Line Tour is the ideal place to immerse the whole family in nature. There are over 600 metres of elevated walkways to traverse, suitable for strollers and with all access options (see below). The Otway Fly is the world’s highest treetop walk and is suspended up to 30 metres above the forest floor with an optional 50 metre high lookout tower. The suspended cantilever arm provides an extra thrill or why not quicken your pulse on the Zip Line Tour. Harness in and zip from cloud station to cloud station above the magnificent Otways!
Come and experience breathtaking flying foxes and navigate your way through the native bushlands of the Otways! Comprising 23 Flying Foxes and over 80 Challenges, there are easy courses for those scared of heights to courses for the extreme thrill seeker! Suitable for age 4yrs+, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.
Equipment and safety training are provided before you take off on a self-guided experience through the trees (you are attached and secured at all times).
Numerous berry farms surrounding Pennyroyal Valley offer pick your own (PYO) berries. Apart from being scrumptious, PYO is a lot of fun, especially for the littler ones. Fill your buckets with vine fresh strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries and bramble berries within the November to March season. Pennyroyal Raspberry Farm is the oldest working berry farm in the south west of Victoria and grows everything organically.
After working up a country appetite, most of the berry farms have an onsite cafe that know just the trick.
Colac Otway Shire is home to over 148 beautiful parks, gardens, playgrounds and recreation areas. Playground options include (but are not limited to) the following:
Apollo Bay Foreshore Playground
Beeac Park Playground
Colac Botanic Gardens
Memorial Square Playground
Dubbed Australia’s #1 mountain biking destination, the area of Forrest has certainly got a lot to offer riders for all capabilities. Forrest has 16 mapped trails starting at easy 2km rides right through to the Yaugher Super Loop at 11.5km rated ‘More difficult’. The maps are available online so you can plan your ride in advance. Designed around the village of Forrest, the trails showcase the natural beauty of the Great Otway National Park, passing through tall eucalyptus forests, dry heathy scrub and dense fern gullies. The trails have been designed and built with real mountain bikers in mind and offer experiences for beginners and the most hardcore dirt fanatics. rideforrest.com.au
Leaving from the little town of Forrest, the Paddle with the Platypus Dawn or Dusk canoe tour will allow you to discover Australia’s most elusive animal. Share some time with the unique 100 million year old egg laying mammal in its natural habitat. This is a rare chance to see Platypus in the wild. Lake Elizabeth is a is a remote mountain lake formed by a landslide and a beautiful place to spend some time searching for the Platypus. Fantastic photographic opportunities and a surreal experience that you will remember forever. Bookings essential.
Book your dusk or dawn paddle experience with Otway Eco Tours
The Otways is a great family fishing destination. There is freshwater fishing in many locations for trout or native blackfish and the surf beaches provide salmon during the winter, as well as rock platforms for anglers who want to chase snapper, trevally and whiting.
Feel alive in nature’s playground… Apollo Bay offers a variety of adventures that showcase the charming coastal town and its surroundings.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.