The Otways and the Colac region is full of a lot of hidden secrets! On today’s tour we’ll take you to some of the region’s historical townships and stunning volcanic landscapes.
Located just two hours west of Melbourne, the botanical city of Colac is our starting point.
A nature lovers escape lies only two hours west of Melbourne in and around the botanical city of Colac. Colac is the gateway to the stunning Otways and Great Ocean Road regions; today we are heading north and taking you on a ‘locals tour’ of the region’s historic and volcanic past.
We start our journey at the Colac Botanic Gardens. Established in 1865, the Gardens are one of Victoria’s largest regional botanic gardens. There are lots of walking paths around the gardens and even a road which makes the gardens accessible to everyone. The views over Lake Colac are spectacular and the colors and fragrances of the rare and native plant species in the gardens were something special.
Ideally, allow for at least an hour to explore the gardens and Lake Colac foreshore, Colac also has some lovely eateries, if you want to stock up for your trip.
Cororooke is a rural village 8 km north-west of Colac. The township is located in the fertile Warrion Hills between Lakes Colac and Corangamite. The town has a quaint general store that serves great coffee and some sweet treats; keep an eye out for the recently commissioned mural on Factory Road too! The area has an abundance of potato, onion, and dairy farms; the remnants of the old Fonterra Factory also abuts the new Cororooke Open Space.
The Cororooke Open Space History Trail is a great place to stop to stretch your legs. There’s an excellent playground for the kids and an interpretative history walk that sets the scene for the region’s volcanic, indigenous, and prehistoric history. Both big and little kids will enjoy learning about the Megafauna that once inhabited the area…..and if you are watchful, you might even be able to track a Diprotodon.
Lake Corangamite is the largest permanent saltwater lake in Australia, with a surveyed area of over 23,000 hectares. The lake is listed as a RAMSAR site and provides permanent and seasonal habitat for several local and international rare and threatened flora and fauna species.
The area is beautiful and peaceful and it has lots of information to digest; a visit to Lake Corangamite shouldn’t be rushed.
The Red Rock lookout is near the town of Alvie and only a few minute’s drive from Lake Corangamite. Red Rock is one of Australia’s youngest volcanoes. Forty separate eruption points have been found, and many of the craters are now full of water.
Honestly, you’ll take about 100 photos from the lookout as the area and views are stunning and best of all, nice and quiet. We also highly recommend taking a short-minute drive from the lookout to Coragulac Hill. Coragulac Hill provides a different perspective, a potential meet and greet with cows, and another 50-odd photo’s.
After leaving Red Rock we travelled via Melrose Road towards Warrion. Melrose Road has lots of great examples of dry stone walls. Western Victoria has up to 3,000km of dry stone walls, with many visible along the local roads and highways.
Learn more about the history of the dry stone walls here.
Warrion is situated between Lakes Colac and Corangamite, in an area with fertile soil of volcanic origin. The township has some beautiful old buildings; the Ti Tree Hotel is an idyllic spot for a coffee, or, a sneaky amber refreshment.
Beeac is a township that celebrates its history. The buildings are beautifully restored, there are some great little historical markers scattered around the township and the windmill park provides a unique point of difference and a snap shot of the town’s past.
We chose to have lunch at the Farmers Arms; the meals were tasty and post lunch, food coma spread quickly amongst our group. We walked the Beeac History Walk, there’s a downloadable map and the walk signage was incredibly interesting. My highlights were the Avenue of Honor and stumbling across the Beeac Lollie shop.
For the budding photographers, I would recommend a trip to Lake Beeac. While personally, I wasn’t able to capture a good shot, the way the light and colours glistened off the lake was magical.
After a full day of walking and touring, we chose to retreat to Coragulac House and Cottages to cook up the local produce we collected on our journey.
Coragulac House is a historic 30-room Bluestone Homestead built in 1873 situated on 140 acres of pristine western district farmland, available for private guided group tours and special events including weddings. Coragulac House Cottages has two accommodation cottages available for guests or groups to stay and experience a truly unique accommodation experience.
Hope this helps you to embark on your tour of Colac’s historical towns and volcanic lakes!
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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.