The beautiful Otways are a paradise for a rich collection of flora and fauna and provide the visitor with lots of opportunities to see animals at close quarters.
Animals you can see in this area are Koalas, Swamp Wallabies, Ring-tailed Possums, Echidna and Grey Kangaroos which are all quite common. Birdlife is in abundance. Tiger Quoll and Yellow-bellied Gliders are also residents of the Otway Coast area but are rarely seen.
Koalas especially are easily seen on the Otway Coast with many spots around the villages providing easy viewing of Koalas feeding and sleeping in trees. The Otway Coast is one of the best places in Australia to see Koalas in the wild. There are many big colonies in and around the Otway Coast towns so you will be guaranteed close sightings. Because they are now a protected species Koalas are fearless and snooze and eat on manna and blue gum everywhere. They also inhabit trees in gardens in the villages and they cross the road occasionally and sit on people’s balconies.
Koala Cove Cafe and Kennett Caravan Park at Kennett River are popular spots. Drive further along the Grey River road adjacent to the Cafe and you will be guaranteed to see Koalas every day. Or stay at one of the holiday houses in these villages and you may be able to get close to Koalas in the trees surrounding the houses.
The Spot-tailed Quoll, or Tiger Quoll, is the largest surviving marsupial carnivore on the mainland of Australia. The Quoll is a very good climber but it spends most of its time on the forest floor looking for the small animals it feeds on, like possums, gliders, birds and rabbits.
The Quoll has been threatened by many years of logging and is listed as an endangered animal. For more information on the Quoll and the work the Cape Otway Conservation and Ecology Centre visit their website
Whales are commonly spotted migrating along the Otway coast in the cooler months between May and October. Find a pew and keep your eye peeled on the ocean. Sometimes whales will come in close to beaches however the best chances of seeing them are from elevated locations. Select from cosy Otway Coast Hamlets accommodation options so you can spot the whales in comfort! Read more about whale watching.
Grey Kangaroos and Southern Rock Wallabies can be found throughout the Otways. You can pick the difference by the size of the animals; A grey kangaroo is much taller and has a lighter grey fur whilst wallabies tend to be much smaller and are a darkish brown colour. Dusk and dawn are the best times to spot them. Take care on the roads at these times.
The most common birds you can see almost all day and every day include Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Kookaburras, Satin Bowerbirds, Pink Robin, Rufous Bristlebird, Currawong, Fairy Wren, Crimson Rosellas, Forest Raven, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Bassian Thrush, Brush Bronzewing and Chestnut-rumped Heath wren. Lesser often seen but loved by all are the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos.
At night the almost magical forest of the Otways and many parts of our towns with dense tree scapes comes alive with Twany Frogmouth Owls, Barn Owls and Powerful Owl or Masked Owl.
Bird watching on the Otway Coast can be as easy as sitting on your balcony or outside your cabin and caravan (with glass of wine in hand) and watching all the birds gather around a bird feeder.
Or as easy as going to the Wye Beach Pub for a drink and trying not to share your crisps with the Kookaburras.
Or bird watching can be as hard (read invigorating) as going for a strenuous bush walk in thick forest and scrub to see those birds that are a little more shy like the Rufous Bristlebird. Choose your bird watching method and enjoy.
Relax and energise and connect with nature by observing the beauty, song and habits of wild birds in this region.
The Great Otway National Park has been identified by Bird Life International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it supports populations of Rufous Bristlebirds, Striated Field Wrens and Pink Robins, species that are not common but also many other more established species.
The Otway Coast Hamlets area is famous not only for the many different species of birds, but also for the large numbers. Visitors are often amazed at visible and frequent birds are.
Victoria has some of the best pelagic birding in the world. Along the Great Ocean Road there are many such birds and usually the best way to see them is being out in a boat. Occasionally however you can also see them from the coast or beach.
The endangered Hooded Plover occurs all along the coastline in small numbers, check any suitable looking ocean beach. Fenced off areas protect the birds when breeding. Please do not disturb these areas when you walk near them and keep your dog on a leash.
Key species depending on the time of year —
Australasian Gannet, Little Penguin, Shy Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Yellow-nosed Albatross, Wandering Albatross, Southern Giant-Petrel, Northern Giant-Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Great-winged Petrel, Wilsons Storm-Petrel, White-faced Storm-Petrel, Grey-backed Storm-Petrel, Cape Petrel, Fairy Prion, Common Diving-Petrel, Fluttering Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater, Huttons Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater and Crested Tern. (List courtesy of Firetail Bird Watching Tours.)
1. When you see them gathering lots of food in their beaks. Usually birds will just feed themselves but when you see them with full beaks and then they fly away, you can be sure they are flying to a nest of young.
2. Also when you notice more males than females, the females will be incubating the eggs.
The Christmas Day 2015 bushfire in Wye River and Separation Creek resulted in tree losses in the higher parts of the villages. The local residents and holiday house owners felt strongly about supporting their local birds and helping them with nesting opportunities during the time it would take for trees and scrub to regrow. A nesting box program was started by the community which planned to put up over boxes for varied species.
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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.