52 Great Weekends

No 33: Wye River

There’s a million reasons ‘Wye’ to visit this hidden hamlet.

Nestled between the pristine ocean beach and the mountains of the lush Otway Ranges, Wye River lies at what is regarded as one of the most picturesque locations on the Great Ocean Road. Away from the busy tourist towns, this is where you can relax and connect with nature. Slightly bigger than its closest neighbours, Wye River is one of the smaller townships spanning the length of the Great Ocean Road known as the Otway Coast Hamlets.

Take a sunrise stroll along Paddy’s Path, discover secluded sandy bays and cool off with a splash in the sparkling water of Wye Beach. Step off the sand straight into the riverside general store café and to dinner and drinks at the town’s only pub. Return to your luxury home among the gum trees and drink in the magnificent beach views framed by a rugged mountain backdrop. Then spend your Sunday chasing over 400 waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park.

Friday

DRIVE THE MOST SPECTACULAR SECTION OF THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD

On the way to Wye River the drive is part of the adventure! Many visitors vote the coast drive from Lorne to Apollo Bay via Wye River and Separation Creek as the most spectacular part of the Great Ocean Road as the high cliffs soar above the waves crashing on the rocks below. Take the time to stop at the scenic lookouts including the birds eye views of Mt Defiance, Teddy’s and Cape Patton Lookouts.

Saturday

PM: STAY AT KEMBALI HOUSE 

The word Kembali is used in Indonesian meaning return and as soon as you see the enviable location, stunning architecture and ocean views I am certain that you will.

Nestled into the Wye River landscape, a mere 120m stroll down to the beach, this spectacular 4 bedroom home (sleeps 12) is the perfect coastal destination for your family and friends. The fit for a chef kitchen, 12 seater dining in the treetops, ocean view lounging, multiple deck areas to chase the sun and let’s not forget resident koala ‘Kenny’ makes for a contemporary, earthy and fun holiday. Come once and I am sure you will come again.

Saturday

6.30AM: SUNRISE STROLL ALONG PADDY’S PATH

Start your Saturday with a sunrise stroll along the original tramway track linking the timber mills at Wye River to Separation Creek. In 1989, the local residents named this track ‘Paddy’s Path’ in honour and admiration for Patrick (Paddy) James Harrington, a legendary member of the Otway pioneering family. A bushman, builder, firefighter, champion axeman, timber craftsman Paddy built 73 homes in the area.

Newly reopened in 2019 this solid path and timber walkway offers dozens of spectacular spots to take in the views over the beaches and rocky outcrops. Stop to admire the rockpools midway between the towns and the abundant wildlife. The bird life is prolific and native animals including koala, kangaroos, wallabies and possums have made the bush around Wye River their home. No wonder!

BRUNCH: THE WYE GENERAL STORE CAFE

This riverside café is cosy all year round. And the all-day ‘brunch’ style menu boasts both breakfast and lunch items meaning you can have whatever you want whenever you want it! Whether you’re looking for a coffee and French butter filled pastry, a Bloody Mary and a beef burger, a local wine and brunch or perhaps a pot of chai and vegetarian salad this relaxed dining destination has got you covered. If you’re there in the summer months, they have got you sorted for dinner too! Adults will love the kicking back in the spacious alfresco area overlooking the river, ocean and the wooden playground that the kids will love too.

WYE GENERAL STORE

If you’re looking to pick up some wholesome food and everyday supplies pop next door to The Wye Store. They have everything you need from daily eggs, fresh fruit and veg, small goods, cheese, milk and house made breads to personal goods, camping supplies, souvenirs and the daily paper. There’s even a post office to send a postcard to make your nearest and dearest jealous!

6PM: DINNER AND DRINKS AT THE WYE BEACH HOTEL

Step off the sand and straight into the Wye Beach Hotel, the town’s one and only pub. Sitting upon the hill above Wye River’s idyllic beach the relaxed atmosphere hotel serves up one of the best pub views in Australia year-round. It’s the perfect place to stop for a drink and a bite in a family friendly setting. The menu focuses on providing food and beverages from small-scale and independent producers, both from the local area and further afield. So sit back, relax and drink up that amazing view.

Sunday

10AM: EXPLORE SHEOAK FALLS AND THE SWALLOW CAVE

The Great Otway Ranges are famous for its waterfalls, rumour has it there are over 400 waterfalls in the area, many unmapped. We set off for Sheoak Falls. This short walk (although there are plenty of steps), weaves its way from the coastal woodland at the mouth of the Sheoak Creek and through wet forest to the hidden cascades of Sheoak Falls. The waters of Sheoak Creek cascade 15m down a sheer rock face into a tranquil pool surrounded by trees.

If you fancy a longer stroll on your Sunday, continue up the trail to see Swallow Cave. The climb is worth it when you see the alternative views of the falls along the way. This trail also requires a river crossing, so it might be impassable in the winter. At Swallow Cave, look out for Tree Martins, which live in the grotto during spring, summer and autumn. These birds use mud from the creek to build their nests.

For a longer and more challenging hike, you could park your car at Sheoak Picnic Area and walk the 3.6km trail (one way) to Sheoak Falls. Sheoak Picnic Area has better facilities than Sheoak Falls Carpark, including toilets and picnic benches. A great way to stretch the legs before the drive home.

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Top 5 things that made the weekend great

  • Staying in relaxed luxury at Kembali House

  • Wandering Paddy’s Path at sunrise

  • Swimming in the sparkling blue water of Wye Beach

  • Dinner and drinks with the best pub view on the Great Ocean Road

  • Exploring Sheoak Falls and the Swallow Caves

‘Wye’ not make it a great weekend in Wye River.

 

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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawuurung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Ancestors, 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.