Beauty and serenity Lake Elizabeth in the Otways.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of life and immerse yourself in the absolute stillness of nature. Spending some time at Lake Elizabeth will help you leave your troubles behind while you discover the inspiring beauty of this tranquil place, hidden deep within the Otways.
When flooding caused a landslide in the area over fifty years ago, this valley and forest were covered by water and a lake, forming what is now known as Lake Elizabeth. Today the calm waters of the drowned forest are home to the elusive platypus. You might be lucky enough to spot one! Early in the morning or at dusk are your best chance.
A two-hour drive about 165 kms from Melbourne, Lake Elizabeth is located in the Great Otway National Park just over six kilometres from the town of Forrest, a mountain bike trailhead hub.
From Forrest, reach Lake Elizabeth via a short 10-minute drive along Kaanglang Road. If you are travelling the Great Ocean Road, the lake is just over 40 kilometres north of Apollo Bay.
Lake Elizabeth is a fantastic place to explore, especially with kids, and there is plenty to do!
The calm waters of the large lake are accentuated by petrified tree trunks, and the reflections make it a popular place for photographers.
Birdlife is very active in the lake area. Expect to see wrens, robins, grey shrike thrush, along with waterbirds on the lake itself. Satin bowerbirds can be seen around the campground, and pink robins and rufous bristlebirds are also found in the area.
Walking, kayaking, canoeing and fishing are just a few outdoor activities to fill your day when visiting Lake Elizabeth. Hire a mountain bike at Forrest, the trailhead for 16 mountain bike trails with a total distance of around 61 kms. Join a tour to spot wildlife. You can also visit other nearby attractions such as the Redwoods and Hopetoun Falls.
If you’re staying at the Lake Elizabeth campground, go for a fun evening walk with the children at night to spot glowworms. Staying will also give you a chance to glimpse a timid platypus around the lake and koalas in the trees.
The Lake Elizabeth Campground is a short 1km walk to the lake itself – the perfect spot to stay to try and spy the platypus at dawn or dusk!
This campground is suited to tents only. Park at the unloading bay close by your campsite to unload your gear, then park in the car park, a two-minute walk from the campground. Non-flush toilets, shared firepits and picnic tables are provided (just be sure to check the fire bans before you visit). Dogs are permitted but must be kept on a lead.
Pitch a tent on one of the 20 campsites beside the river amongst the tall eucalypts and without any mobile phone reception, enjoy the quietness of this spectacular place.
There is also a day visitor area.
It might seem like you are one of the first explorers as you walk the almost hidden pathway between the ferns and along the East Barwon River to the lake. Once you reach the picturesque valley of Lake Elizabeth, take in the view of a pristine environment that is home to a wide range of wildlife.
An absolute hidden gem, this destination is fortunate enough to get a lot of rain. Come prepared and bring your wet weather gear during most seasons. This walk is pleasant and the distance of just under one kilometre is easily achievable.
If you are an avid hiker with a passion for rainforests, you can extend your walk and continue along the Lake Elizabeth Loop Walk. The trail will take you around the lake’s perimeter for roughly 4.7 kms and is reasonably flat. There are several lookout points and it is recommended that you take the right hand path at the lake, as the views are better when walking anticlockwise.
There is also a challenging seven-kilometre walk from Forrest to Lake Elizabeth.
Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times, but are welcome!
Canoeing and kayaking at Lake Elizabeth is a fantastic way to see the lake as you drift amongst the trees and photograph their reflections while spotting birds. Enjoy the tranquillity of your surroundings and discover some wildlife that you may not usually don’t see, like the platypus!
Otway Eco Tours offers a “Platypus in the Wild” tour as they guide you across the calm waters of Lake Elizabeth. Featured by Australian Geographic and Lonely Planet, this ecotourism certified and accredited business has offered guided tours to see platypus in the wild for over 18 years, and has, wait for it, a 95% sighting success rate!
As well as camping, there are plenty of attractive accommodation options in the nearby town of Forrest and further afield. Get to know the locals by staying for a night or two and immerse yourself in the area’s charms.
If you are willing to drive a bit further, explore Apollo Bay or stay in beach view holiday homes near Wye River. There are options to suit everyone’s taste and budget.
The peace and tranquillity of Lake Elizabeth is hard to beat. It’s a great place to wind down, connect with nature, and see animals and birds in their natural habitat. Camp at Lake Elizabeth, base yourself in the town of Forrest, or stay elsewhere in the area while exploring the region.
Lake Elizabeth is just one of many attractions in the Otways – there is something for everyone to discover and enjoy here.
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, 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.