48 Hours in the Otways
Enjoy an escape to the idyllic Otways region, just two hours west of Melbourne. By Mark Fitz
HOME TO A CAPTIVATING COASTLINE, picturesque national parks and an abundance of fantastic food, the Otways region is a delight to your senses. With so much to explore and experience, here’s how to get the most out of 48 hours in the region.
WHERE TO EXPLORE? Otway Park Trees Adventure
There’s no better way to get the blood pumping than on a high ropes course tour! Once you’re geared up and have had the safety briefing it’s then straight out onto one of the courses, which range from easy through to more advanced. My favourite activity on the course is the flying foxes—the adrenaline rush you get as you’re high in the sky and zipping through the bushland is a lot of fun!
A 30-minute drive south of Otway Park Trees Adventure is the magnificent Stevensons Falls. From the carpark, the falls are a 500-metre 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 Marriners Lookout, which boasts 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. Built in 1848, the Cape Otway Lightstation is widely recognised as Australia’s most important lighthouse. Perched high above the meeting point of the Southern Ocean and Bass Straight, this was the first glimpse of Australia for thousands of people including convicts and early settlers. 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 metres high and are a magical part of the Great Otway National Park. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic so make sure you grab some scallop pies and sandwiches from the Apollo Bay Bakery before you head out!
Only three kilometres from the Redwoods is one of the most iconic and photographed waterfalls in Victoria, Hopetoun Falls. There is a viewing platform at the carpark but the best way to experience the falls is at their base. It’s about a 15-minute walk to the bottom where you’ll be 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”.
Otway Fly Treetop Adventures
See the rainforest from a whole different perspective with a treetop walk and zip line tour over the Otway forest. The treetop walk is 600 metres long and reaches a height of 47 metres at the lookout. Feeling more adventurous? Try the zip line tour for a bird’s-eye view of the forest. Don’t forget to strap a camera to your helmet to capture the moment! This tour goes for around two and a half hours, where you’ll also learn about the history and features of the area from experienced guides.
WHERE TO EAT?
After all those activities, you’ll be hanging out for something to eat and the restaurants in this region know how to put on a feast!
Forrest Brewing Company
Just 15 minutes from the Otway Park Trees Adventure is the Forrest Brewing Company. This family-owned business was established in 2010 and has a microbrewery and restaurant. This was our first meal in the Otways region and the food and beer here were top class.
Great Ocean Road Brewhouse
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 over 100 different craft beers available there is something for everyone and the Tastes of the Region behind the Brewhouse is a fantastic way to sample the local produce.
Chris’s Beacon Point Restaurant
With an emphasis on the fabulous freshly caught seafood of the ‘Bay’ along with Chris’s trademark Mediterranean cooking and incredible views, Chris’s Beacon Point Restaurant is culinary excellence! 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 vistas.
Hello Coffee Roastery and Cafe
Coffee would have to be the most important food group and the only way to start your day! The Hello Coffee team have their award-winning Daily Blend for you to get your fix. You can find Hello Coffee in the Industrial Estate of Apollo Bay. It’s a cosy locals’ secret with a relaxed atmosphere and a fantastic array of breakfast or lunch options.
WHERE TO STAY? Holiday Great Ocean Road
If you enjoy uninterrupted ocean views and built-in deck spas or just a family holiday house, Holiday Great Ocean Road has lots of beautiful holiday properties. Holiday Great Ocean Road were extremely welcoming and couldn’t do enough for us while we were in the region.
There’s so much to do in the Otways, you simply can’t fit it all into one day. Come and stay a few nights in the Otways and tick off a number of adventures. From waterfalls to zip lining in the forest and, of course, the incredible food, you won’t want to leave.
For more information visit, iamotways.com.au and iamapollobay.com.au
Holiday Great Ocean Road accommodation view. Photo: @_ markfitz.
Forrest Brewing Company. Photo: @_ markfitz.
Cape Otway Lightstation. Photo: Belinda Van Zanen.