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Wildlife in the Otways

The Otways are home to many of Australia’s favourite locals including kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, platypus, koalas, glow worms, birds, seals, penguins and even the occasional migrating whale. 

Koalas

You don’t have to look hard to spot a Koala in the Otways! Despite appearing rather slow moving, koalas are actually quite agile, particularly when it comes to climbing trees. If you’re on the lookouts, try casting your eyes upwards – you’ll generally find a Koala wedged in the nook of a tree branch and most often fast asleep. 

Did you know that koalas spend as much as nineteen hours of every day sleeping? Visit some of the popular viewing spots – at Kennett River & Cape Otway. 

The Elusive Platypus

To spot a platypus, you are going to need some sharp eyes and a little bit of luck. The elusive creature lives in the banks of rivers and lakes, spending much of its time protected by fallen trees and burrows in the muddy shores. Coming out to feed, keep a close eye for ripples on the water’s surface, formed as a platypus comes up for air.
Your best chance of spotting a platypus is at Lake Elizabeth a few kilometres from Forrest. Holding an interesting story of its own, Lake Elizabeth was formed when a flood created a landslide some 50 year ago. The ‘perched lake’ engulfed several trees that now stand as dead trucks protruding from the water’s surface. 

Did you know the platypus is one of only two egg laying mammals? 

Glow Worms

Take the 6km drive along the Grey River Road to the picnic area to view a spectacle of effervescence by night. From Kennett River the gravel road twists and turns until you reach the picnic area and nearby trails. Go when it’s dark, switch off your lights (never shine your headlights or torch directly at the glow worms) and watch the embankment on the roadside come to life. By day the short walk from the picnic area through the rainforest is one of the Otways‘ best.  

Whale Watching

Each year, the coastline along the Otways plays host to 25 different species of migrating whales, including Southern Right Whales, Humpback Whales, Blue Whales and Killer Whales (Orcas). Many of these whales breed here and socialise with each other before heading off to feed in sub-Antarctic waters. 

Southern Right Whales give birth to their calves in sheltered bays right along the south-west coast of Victoria. Both whales and dolphins are Cetaceans – a group of marine mammals made up of baleen whales and toothed whales. Baleen is a fibrous, bristle-like substance used by whales to sieve small prey from the sea.  

More on whale watching

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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawuurung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Ancestors, 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.