Well howdy all! It’s time to tell you about my latest little getaway – to the Otway Ranges at the start of the month. The Otways are located well west of Melbourne’s CBD, a little over 2 hours to drive there from Melbourne City if you take the inland route via the M1, the Princes Highway which basically loops around Australia. We stayed at Apollo Bay (see my review of the Apollo Bay Seal Apartments HERE) which is on the coast, and that is part of the Great Ocean Road, which stretches west from Geelong to Port Campbell. We took the Great Ocean Road on the way back, and it’s an incredible drive by some fierce waves hitting beaches, cliffs and more. However that does add probably 40 minutes or more to the drive. On the plus side we could stop at Torquay for lunch instead of a service station attached to McDonalds or the like on the M1.
Anyways, we sped down the M1 and cut across/over/around the mountains towards Apollo Bay to be amazed by the European-style beauty of the place. Dense forests (albeit with quite a few gum trees), ferns, open green fields with sheep and cattle, and then down to the Great Ocean Road at Apollo Bay to our new apartment. It was all tempered by the fact that it was raining on and off through the drive, and well into the night the rain was quite heavy at times. There was little opportunity to do anything on that afternoon, although we did have dinner out at a place called ‘The Birdhouse’ which was pretty decent.
So the second day was the main day for ‘doing things’. The weather was better than the first day, which end in heavy rain over night, however we did experience patches of rain through the day, luckily nothing that stopped us doing what we wanted to do.
I had done a bit of ‘interweb research’ before leaving as one does, and discovered ‘Otway Fly’ which is a collection of outdoor activities which included ziplining, an ‘Enchanted Forest’ and a treetop walk on a highly elevated metal track. The only thing that was open was the treetop walk, which was fortunate because that’s what I wanted to do although I am keen to try a bit of ziplining which I have never done before in my life but looks like fun and not too scary.
The treetop walk was great being somewhere up near the top of many of the trees. The whole region is covered in forest with a lot of ferns as well so it’s beautifully green. We took a road to get there as prescribed by Google Maps, the drive was a good forty five minutes. I am going to do a full post on Otway Fly, so I won’t go into anymore detail here.
From there we went to the Art Reach Café in the small town of Beech Forest and had toasties for lunch. It’s a lovely little community of artists and there is lots of arts and crafts for sale. Beautiful setting next to a little Anglican church.
From here we went to the Mait’s Rest Trail (walk) which was back near Apollo Bay. Google Maps wasn’t really working at this point as we had no data up in the hills, although we did have GPS. Luckily we had a relevant map already up on our phones but it was lacking in detail, but I saw at the Tourist Information at Beech Forest there appeared to be an unsealed road that cut through back to the Great Ocean Road near Apollo Bay which was only around 21 kilometres, well under half what we had taken on the main loop road. It was a bit of a leap of faith as the road wasn’t sign posted the name on the Tourist Information Map, and I nearly turned back several times, but it came through for us and it wasn’t that bad a road (I mean, I drive a small car so I had to be careful)!
We came out 1-2 kilometres from Mait’s Rest which was perfect, and the walk was easy to find and a really pleasant, if short (around 30 minutes) walk through ferny gullys over gushing rivers with the most magnificent sound of birds calling out through the forest. Finches are everywhere in the Otways and their sounds are soothing to the soul!
Finally for the day we headed to CAPE Otway, which juts out from the mainland. It has hiking trails through it and amazing coastal cliffs (like much of the Great Ocean Road). Old dead trees stick out of the lower lying tea trees and are quite a sight. It’s home to a famous lighthouse too, which sadly is closed Wednesday and Thursday (although there is accommodation there – rather expensive) and of course we were there on a Thursday! We hiked a special trail for viewing the lighthouse, it said ten minutes but it was somewhat longer than that until we actually got a decent view of the lighthouse. And what a view it was! Sadly from quite a distance, but still.
And would you believe it, we walked about 10 km in total I think over three walks (quite a walk at the Otway treetop walk to get to the treetop walk) we were back in our apartment by 6pm! We ate in that night.
The final day was a drive along the Great Ocean Road back to Melbourne. We were only maybe halfway along it so we didn’t get near the Twelve Apostles (if you are wondering) but we did lunch in Torquay which was actually really nice after taking ages to choose where we would eat. We ate at a place called ‘9 grams’ which U can recommend.
It was another short, but worthwhile getaway and it’s a fantastic place to visit if you’re into nature and visiting Victoria! Thanks for popping by today. Take care wherever you are in the world, and May the Journey Never End!