The name Colac comes from the Colagjin people, meaning ‘fresh water’ in reference to Lake Colac.
Less than 2 hours drive from Melbourne, Colac is built aside the huge Lake Colac and is on the doorstep of the Great Otway National Park and Great Ocean Road. As the largest town in the district, Colac serves as a hub for the region, packed with high quality shopping ranging from quaint country gift shops, antique dealers and specialty stores.
The Colac Botanical Gardens are a must see for everyone that loves the great outdoors and the Lake Colac boasts a great range of birdlife.
The Old Beechy Rail Trail is also a highlight, a 50km walking/cycling trail, located between Colac and Ferguson. The trail follows much of the original path of the narrow gauge railway “The Beechy” which ran from 1902 until 1962.
On the Lake Colac foreshore, the Botanic Gardens were redesigned by William Guilfoyle in 1910. The slope facing the lake was terraced to provide viewing for events such as rowing regattas, while the original caretakers cottage now houses a café. This is only one of two drive-through botanic gardens in Victoria.
The Red Rock lookout, 12 km from Colac, is one of Australia’s youngest volcanoes. Forty separate eruption points have been found, and many of the craters are now full of water.
The area is the third largest volcanic plain in the world and estimated to be 8,000 years old. The volcanic complex consists of overlapping maars, scoria cones and small lava flows.
From the lookout, the magnificent 360 degree views include the topography of the volcanic plain and the 25,000 hectare Lake Corangamite.
Colac and surrounding areas have a vibrant arts precinct where you could find yourself in the home studio of a local artist during ‘Open Studios’ at Birregurra , being awe struck by the beauty and depth of our local history and heritage in historical centre’s or by exploring one of the many heritage trails, expanding yourself in an artist lead workshop or experiencing internationally acclaimed music and exhibitions in Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre or the Red Rock Regional Theatre & Gallery at Cororooke.
Looking for something to do in Colac? Why not try…
Bluewater Fitness Centre – Colac’s premier aquatic and recreation centre including a 25 meter swimming pool gymnasium, two indoor sports courts, group fitness program room, spa and steam room.
Beeac is a township approximately 20 km northeast of Colac and the aboriginal name for ‘salt water’ or salt lake, referring to the high salt levels in nearby Lake Beeac.
The town was first settled in the 1860’s. In 1884 a railway line connected Beeac to Colac and Ballarat, this line is no longer but you can see some remnants. Beeac has created a windmill museum with windmill parts scavenged from farms, to showcase the varying designs of windmills once built locally. Be sure to explore more along the Beeac History Trail.
Lake Beeac (Ramsar listed) is an important wetland and water-bird habitat. Its high salinity level gives the lake its milky white appearance. Brine shrimp thrive in the water, an important food source for water birds. In the 1860’s salt was harvested from the lake (see stone markings in lake bed).
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.