The Otways is enchanting, captivating, picturesque and just two hours west of Melbourne. If you’ve only got 48-hours to spend in the area, photographer Mark Fitz has pulled together ‘the best of the best’ itinerary.
An enchanting, nature lovers idyllic escape lies only two hours west of Melbourne in the Great Ocean Road region: the Otways. This nature-based destination is home to a captivating coastline, picturesque national parks and an abundance of fantastic food. With so much to explore and experience, I’ve put together a guide to help you get the most out of your 48 hours in the region.
After a two hour drive from Melbourne there’s no better way to get the blood pumping than a high ropes course tour at Trees Adventure Yeodene Park.
Once you’re geared up and had the safety briefing it’s then straight out onto the course and into the action.
A 30-minute drive south of Live Wire Park 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.
This place as the name suggests, is a place of wonder. Sitting just out of Apollo Bay in Marengo, you can stop to grab lunch and a coffee and watch the emu’s watching you, and then take a guided tour with an ecologist and learn about the native vegetation of the Otways while spotting the native wildlife with your binoculars (provided). It’s wheelchair friendly and fun for kids too, and at the top of the tour is an amazing view of the coast you get from nowhere else.
Built in 1848, the iconic Cape Otway Lightstation is perched high above the meeting point of the Southern Ocean and Bass Strait.
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. It’s 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 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 three kilometres from the Redwoods are one of the most iconic and photographed waterfalls in Victoria – Hopetoun Falls. There is a viewing platform at the car park but the best way to experience them is at the base of the falls. It’s about a minute walk to the bottom where you are 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 it feels like you’re in Jurassic Park. Take your time here; there’s a bench to sit on and soak in the views and make sure you bring your camera!
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. Don’t forget to strap a go-pro 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.
After all of those activities you’ll be hanging out for something to eat and the restaurants in this region know how to put on a feast!
Just 15 minutes from the Otway Park Trees Adventure is the Forrest Brewing Company. This family-owned business has a microbrewery and restaurant. This was our first meal in the Otways region and the food and beer here were top class. It’s easy to see why it has become so popular with locals and visitors to the area!
If you’re 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 more than 100 different craft beers available, there is something for everyone.
Gourmet food with incredible views are the perfect draw-card to entice you to Chris’s Beacon Point Restaurant. Located high above Apollo Bay, there is also the added bonus of being able to stay here in one of the villas with amazing ocean views.
Holiday Great Ocean Road has a number of beautiful properties to choose from, and I was lucky enough to stay at the Dolphin Apartments.
You couldn’t get a better location; it’s right in the centre of Apollo Bay and just across the road from the beach. Sitting back with a glass of wine on the balcony and taking in those sensational ocean views is the perfect way to end your day!
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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.