The closest airport is at Avalon, with several Jetstar flights from various capital cities. Alternatively, Melbourne Airport at Tullamarine is about two hours’ drive from Queenscliff or 21/ hours to Forrest.
Tarndwarncoort Homestead, 5km from Birregurra, is a heritage-listed farming property in a beautiful location. See tarndwarncoort.com Number 35 B&B in Point Lonsdale has four large suites. See numberthirtyfive.com.au
See dolphinswims.com.au for information about cruises on Port Phillip Bay, dolphin swims and trips to South Channel Fort. See platypustours.net.au to check out Bruce Jackson’s Otway Eco Tours. The Otway Fly is open daily. See otwayfly.com.au Southern Ocean meeting the Otway Ranges’ V-shaped topography.
The northern side of the Otways is usually dry, as are the beaches on the southern side. In the middle – between Forrest and Gellibrand south to Beech Forest and Cape Otway itself – the weather is normally wet.
This unusual topography has blessed the Otway Ranges with stunning wet sclerophyll rainforest. Though logging has taken its toll, remnant stands of towering mountain ash interspersed with Australian myrtle beech, ferns and rare flora exist in pockets, protected mostly by the Great Otway National Park.
The Otway Fly opened this decade to help educate visitors about the wonders of the Otway Ranges’ ecology. Outside the hamlet of Beech Forest, the Otway Fly is open yearround all day. While treading metal boardwalks suspended at tree canopy height is interesting, I’mtaken by the notion of flying through the canopy.
A zip line began operating early last year. Hanging from a thin cable, zippers speed from tree to tree, stopping just long enough to unhook gear from one zip line to another, an exhilarating way to get up close and personal with the rainforest.
Two guides accompany 10 zippers at all times. Their knowledge of Otway biodiversity is impressive and I’m charmed by their enthusiasm for the contemporary adventure travel aspects and the impact the ancient forest has on us all.
During the longest zip, 120m from tree to tree, I have a flashback to the previous evening when I was canoeing on Lake Elizabeth looking for a platypus – slow paddling one day, fast flying the next. No beaches. No crowds, either. And I’ve become used to the constant rain. The writer was a guest of Geelong Otway Tourism.