10 Things to do on the Otways Coast of Victoria

Victoria is a state of diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes and nestled within its embrace lies the Otways Coast – a region that exemplifies nature’s grandeur in every aspect. From lush rainforests and pristine beaches to rugged cliffs and captivating wildlife, the Otways Coast is a veritable Eden for those seeking adventure, tranquillity and natural wonder.

In this article, we embark on a journey through this remarkable part of Victoria, uncovering ten essential activities that will make your visit an unforgettable experience. If you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventurer, or a connoisseur of culture, you should be intrigued by what the Otways Coast offers.

What towns are in The Otways?

What towns are in The Otways

The Otways Coast, also known simply as The Otways, is a captivating region along Victoria’s southern coast. It encompasses diverse landscapes, from temperate rainforests to rugged coastlines, making it a natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts and a haven for those seeking serenity amidst breathtaking scenery.

Several towns and settlements are scattered throughout the Otways Coast, offering unique charm and attractions. Here are some of the key towns and areas you can find in this remarkable region:

Lorne: Lorne is a popular seaside town and one of the gateways to the Otways Coast. Nestled between lush green hills and the sparkling waters of Louttit Bay, Lorne is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant arts scene, and a range of dining options. It’s also the starting point for the Great Ocean Road, making it a bustling travel hub.

Apollo Bay: Further along the Great Ocean Road, you’ll come across Apollo Bay. This picturesque coastal town is between the Otway Ranges and the Southern Ocean. Apollo Bay is a great base for exploring the Otways National Park and offers excellent opportunities for fishing, swimming, and enjoying fresh seafood.

Port Campbell: Port Campbell is a charming coastal village near the famous Twelve Apostles. It’s a convenient place to stay when visiting this iconic natural wonder. The town also serves as a hub for exploring other notable rock formations along the coast, including Loch Ard Gorge and the London Arch.

Cape Otway: Cape Otway is home to the historic Cape Otway Lightstation, which stands sentinel on towering cliffs overlooking the Southern Ocean. This area offers a unique blend of maritime history and rugged coastal beauty. The nearby Cape Otway National Park is a haven for wildlife and nature lovers.

Princetown: Princetown is a tranquil settlement situated close to the Twelve Apostles. It’s an ideal spot for those seeking a quieter retreat near the famous rock formations. The Gellibrand River Estuary and surrounding landscapes provide excellent birdwatching and nature photography opportunities.

Forrest: Nestled in the heart of the Otway Ranges, Forrest is a small town renowned for its mountain

biking trails. It’s a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts wanting to explore the lush forests and challenging bike paths. Forrest is also home to a microbrewery that’s popular among visitors.

Johanna: Johanna is a coastal hamlet known for its stunning beach, Johanna Beach. This area offers a serene escape from the crowds, making it perfect for those who want to relax by the ocean or explore nearby attractions like the Cape Otway Lightstation.

Warrnambool: Located just beyond the Otways Coast, Warrnambool is a vibrant city known for its whale-watching opportunities, historic sites like Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village and beautiful coastal landscapes. It’s often considered the western gateway to the Great Ocean Road.

Each of these towns and areas within the Otways Coast offers a unique experience, whether you are interested in exploring natural wonders, indulging in coastal cuisine, or immersing yourself in the region’s rich history and culture.

Overall, the Otways Coast embodies the beauty and diversity of Victoria’s southern coastline, making it a must-visit destination for travellers worldwide.

Things to do in the Otways

Heading to the Otways? Here are 10 things to do in the area:

1. Take a Scenic Drive Along the Great Ocean Road

Take a Scenic Drive Along the Great Ocean Road

No trip to the Otways Coast is complete without embarking on one of the world’s most iconic road trips – the Great Ocean Road. This winding coastal highway stretches 243 kilometres and offers jaw-dropping views at every turn.

The drive begins in Torquay and takes you through charming seaside towns like Lorne, Apollo Bay, and Port Campbell.

The highlight of the Great Ocean Road is undoubtedly the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks that rise majestically from the Southern Ocean. These natural wonders are incredibly captivating during sunrise and sunset when the changing light casts a warm glow on the rugged cliffs.

As you cruise the road, stop at lookouts like Teddy’s Lookout and the Loch Ard Gorge to admire the coastal panoramas. Watch for local wildlife that often appears along the route, including kangaroos and koalas.

2. Explore the Otway National Park

Explore the Otway National Park

The Otway National Park is a sprawling natural playground filled with lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. The park covers approximately 103,000 hectares (254,000 acres) and offers many outdoor activities for outdoor enthusiasts.

One of the best ways to experience the park’s beauty is by strolling its ancient rainforests. The Maits Rest Rainforest Walk and the Melba Gully Walk provide easy access to the stunning fern-filled gullies and towering eucalyptus trees that define this region.

You can also discover the hidden treasures of the Otways by hiking to its numerous waterfalls. Triplet

Falls, Beauchamp Falls, and Hopetoun Falls are some of the most picturesque waterfalls in the park, offering refreshing swimming spots and tranquil picnic areas.

The Otway National Park is a haven for wildlife lovers. So, keep your camera ready to capture glimpses of koalas, wallabies, echidnas, and various bird species as you explore the park’s diverse ecosystems.

3. Visit the Cape Otway Lightstation

Visit the Cape Otway Lightstation

Perched dramatically atop towering cliffs, the Cape Otway Lightstation is a historic landmark that has guided ships safely along Australia’s treacherous southern coastline since 1848. A visit to this site provides a fascinating glimpse into maritime history and spectacular coastal vistas.

When you get there, climb to the top of the lighthouse for breathtaking views of the Southern Ocean and surrounding landscapes. Be sure also to explore the nearby Telegraph Station and the WWII radar bunker for a deeper understanding of the area’s history.

The surrounding area is home to various wildlife, including kangaroos and bird species.

4. Enjoy the Serenity of Johanna Beach

For those seeking a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, Johanna Beach is a hidden gem on the Otways Coast.

This pristine stretch of coastline boasts golden sands, powerful surf, and a sense of solitude that is hard to come by in more crowded beach destinations.

Pack a picnic, spend a day unwinding on the beach, or explore the surrounding cliffs and rock pools. Johanna Beach is also popular with surfers, so if you want to catch some waves, this is the place to be. Just be sure to check local surf conditions and be mindful of any safety warnings.

5. Discover the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures

Elevate your Otways Coast experience by visiting the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures.

This attraction is located near Lorne and offers a unique perspective of the region’s lush rainforests. The highlight of the experience is the 600-meter (1,969-foot) long treetop walkway that takes you high above the forest floor, allowing you to walk among the treetops.

As you stroll along the elevated walkway, you’ll have the opportunity to spot native wildlife and appreciate the incredible biodiversity of the Otway rainforest. For the more adventurous, the Otway Fly also features a thrilling zip-line tour that allows you to soar through the canopy at exhilarating speeds.

6. Savour Fresh Seafood in Apollo Bay

Savour Fresh Seafood in Apollo Bay

The seaside town of Apollo Bay is a charming coastal destination and a paradise for seafood lovers. With its proximity to the Southern Ocean, Apollo Bay boasts some of Victoria’s freshest and most delectable seafood.

Head to the local fisherman’s co-op or one of the many seafood restaurants in town to savour dishes like freshly caught fish and chips, succulent lobster, and creamy seafood chowder. Pair your meal with a glass of regional wine to complete your culinary experience.

7. Go Mountain Biking in Forrest

Go Mountain Biking in Forrest

Nestled in the heart of the Otway Ranges, the small town of Forrest has become a mecca for mountain biking enthusiasts.

With its extensive network of purpose-built mountain biking trails, Forrest offers riders of all skill levels the chance to experience thrilling off-road adventures.

The Forrest Mountain Bike Trails cater to a wide range of abilities, from beginners to advanced riders. You’ll find it all in Forrest if you’re seeking flowy singletracks, technical descents, or breathtaking views. If you’re new to mountain biking, you can rent bikes and gear in town or sign up for guided tours.

8. Visit the Great Ocean Walk

Visit the Great Ocean Walk

The Great Ocean Walk is a must-do for hikers and nature enthusiasts along the Otways Coast. This long-distance walking trail stretches 104 kilometres and takes you through some of the region’s most scenic landscapes.

The trail begins in Apollo Bay and winds through lush rainforests, coastal cliffs, and remote beaches before culminating at the iconic Twelve Apostles. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to spot local wildlife, including kangaroos, echidnas, and various bird species.

You can tackle The Great Ocean Walk in its entirety over several days or enjoy it in shorter sections, depending on your preference and available time. Camping facilities are available at designated sites along the trail, but book in advance during peak seasons.

9. Discover the Glowworms at Melba Gully

Discover the Glowworms at Melba Gully

Experience the natural world’s magic in the enchanting Melba Gully, where thousands of glowworms illuminate the night. This unique natural phenomenon occurs in the rainforest of the Otway National Park, creating an otherworldly scene that’s both mysterious and captivating.

To witness the glowworms, visit Melba Gully after sunset. The best time for viewing is on a clear, moonless night. As you explore the walking trails, watch for the faint blue-green lights that dot the forest floor and walls. These lights are the bioluminescent glowworms, which use their radiant glow to attract prey.

Melba Gully offers a peaceful and mystical experience as you walk through the dimly lit rainforest. It’s a fantastic opportunity for nature photography and a serene way to connect with the beauty of the Otways at night.

Remember to bring a flashlight with a red filter or use red cellophane wrap over your light to minimise disturbance to the glowworms. These creatures are sensitive to light and may dim or disappear if exposed to white light.

10. Experience the Local Arts and Culture

Experience the Local Arts and Culture

While the natural beauty of the Otways Coast takes should occupy much of your time, the region also boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene worth exploring. Here are a few ways to immerse yourself in the local culture during your visit:

Art Galleries: Discover the work of local artists at the various galleries scattered throughout towns like Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Fairy. These galleries showcase a wide range of artistic styles, from traditional to contemporary and often feature pieces inspired by the stunning landscapes of the Otways Coast.

Festivals and Events: Check the local event calendar for festivals and events that celebrate the region’s culture, music and arts. For example, the Port Fairy Folk Festival is a renowned annual event that brings together musicians, artists and performers from all over Australia and the wider world.

Local Markets: Explore the vibrant atmosphere of local markets, where you can sample delicious regional produce, handmade crafts and artisanal products. The Apollo Bay Farmers Market and Lorne Market are excellent places to mingle with local residents and taste fresh, locally sourced goods.

Historical Sites: Take a step back in time by visiting historical sites like the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in Warrnambool or the Port Campbell Discovery Walk in Port Campbell. These sites offer fascinating insights into the history and maritime heritage of the region and are best viewed on guided tours.