National Parks

Great Otway National Park

From Torquay to Princetown and through the hinterland towards Colac, the Great Otway National Park features rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, rock platforms and windswept heathland. In the north are tall forests, fern gullies, magnificent waterfalls and tranquil lakes—1,000 square kilometres of nature lover’s paradise!

Explore the park all year round, although according to locals, the best time to visit the Otways is during winter, when impressive waterfalls and whale watching at the coastal hamlets and Cape Otway—and cosy accommodation options—attract plenty of visitors.

Things to do in the Great Otway National Park

Immerse yourself in nature – the list of activities around this part of the region is endless. Whether you love mountain biking, discovering waterfalls, watching wildlife, strolling, hiking, tree top adventures, or you’re just looking for more things to do around the Great Ocean Road region, the Otways will not disappoint.

 

1. Marvel at waterfalls in the Otways

Blessed with plenty of rain and stunning landscapes, the Otways region has many waterfalls and streams—relax, swim or simply admire nature’s beauty in forested surroundings full of wildlife.
Our favourite Otways waterfalls are Hopetoun Falls, Beauchamp Falls, Stevensons Falls, Triplet Falls, and Sabine Falls—it has lots of steps if you want more adventure!

 

2. Discover The Redwoods

Walk amongst the giants at the remarkable Californian redwood forest in the Great Otway National Park. It’s awe-inspiring to imagine these enormous trees planted in 1936 may one day become the tallest trees in the world.

 

3. Ride mountain bike trails

Bring your bikes as there are plenty of fantastic trails for families available throughout the park, with many suitable for small children. One of Australia’s top mountain biking destinations in Forrest offers 16 trails ranging from easy two-kilometre rides to a Super Loop for the pros. Get a local brew and lunch at the bike-friendly Forrest Brewing Co.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT RIDE FORREST

 

4. Find the elusive platypus at Lake Elizabeth

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 in the middle of the Otways will help you leave your troubles behind while you discover the inspiring beauty of this tranquil place. You can come at dusk or dawn to try and find the elusive platypus that live in the lake, take a walk, or even a canoe tour.

4. Walk tracks through unspoiled nature

A bushwalkers paradise, the Great Otway National Park boasts a range of walking tracks across diverse terrain. Choose from cliff top, coast, rainforest or bush—or all four!
Don’t miss the lush and temperate emerald-green rainforest at Melba Gully, the Jewel of the Otways. Visit after dark to see the twinkling lights of the glow worms.
Another must-do is the 800-metre Maits Rest rainforest circuit trail with its fern gardens and trees up to 300 years old. Walks around the calm waters of Lake Elizabeth deep in the Great Otway National Park are another hidden gem.

 

5. Hike the Great Ocean Walk

The Great Ocean Walk extends 100 kilometres east to west between Apollo Bay and the Twelve Apostles, and takes around eight days. As it winds through tall forests, coastal heathland, wild rocky shores and windswept cliff tops, experience amazing views as nature unfolds at every turn. Detour off the trail to enjoy comfortable accommodation and excellent local meals, or pitch your tent at wild and picturesque campgrounds along the way.

 

6. Picnic and camp in the Otways outdoors

Picnic grounds with lovely settings can be found at many of the park’s main attractions. Stock up at the general stores in Forrest or Wye River and enjoy the serenity.
Excellent designated camping areas throughout the park cater for your tastes, whether you want a family-friendly place to park your caravan or a solitary night under the stars. Check out the campsites run by Great Ocean Road Parks for some amazing spots.

7. Make magical family memories

Whether you hike, discover the history of Cape Otway Lightstation, spot whales in winter, or explore nearby beaches, enjoy the park’s many family-friendly adventures.
Thrill-seekers will get a kick out of the Otway Fly Treetop Adventure walks and zip line tours, while the action-hungry will love the flying foxes at Treetop Adventures Yeodene Park.
Further afield, the Wildlife Wonders sanctuary near Apollo Bay is another of the many things to do around the Great Ocean Road region. Take a guided walk to find koalas, plant trees to create future habitats and explore spectacular bushland.

 

8. Watch Wildlife

Great Otway National Park has native wildlife like nowhere else. Along with well-known native animals such as koalas, kangaroos and wallabies, find glow worms at Melba Gully, platypus around Lake Elizabeth and the rare black carnivorous snail which eats worms and slugs!

 

9. Explore the Otway Coast Hamlets

Along the coast, get off the tourist trail at several small tiny towns and hamlets. Explore the secluded beach at Kennett River, enjoy lunch at Kafe Koala, then spot the real thing on the Koala Walk. Admire the view from Teddy’s lookout, then discover the cliffs and beach of Cumberland River.
Enjoy the birdlife at Separation Creek as you walk Paddy’s Path to Wye Beach, then have lunch or dinner at the general store and cafe, or the Wye Beach Hotel. Treat yourself to a luxurious stay at nearby Wongarra.

 

10. Eat and drink

After visiting the hamlets, take a 30-minute drive inland from Apollo Bay for a foodie tour in and around Forrest, the starting point for the Otway Harvest Trail, which showcases great produce.

Accommodation near the Great Otway National Park

Looking for somewhere to stay?

Accommodation around the Great Otway National Park caters for all tastes. Find your perfect place in and around the Otways region, depending on what your perfect break looks like.

For mountain biking, adventure and great local produce, Forrest is a great spot to stay.

Great for families, with amazing bushland and beaches, Wye River, Kennett River or Separation Creek will be your go-to’s, with a big range from holiday houses to camp spots.

If you want to stay on the Great Ocean Road with lots of amenities, shops and restaurants close by – but with easy access to explore the Otways each day, either Apollo Bay or neighbouring Marengo and Skenes Creek are great options.

For a stunning range of holiday homes around and in the Otways, Great Ocean Road Holidays are your go-to.

For camping, Great Ocean Road Parks have that perfect beachside campsite.

 

Before you visit the Great Otway National Park

Conditions can change in parks for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the Parks Victoria website. Be bushfire ready in the great outdoors. Refer to the Bushfire Safety section on the Parks Victoria website for tips on how to stay safe.

Things to do near the Great Otway National Park

This region is packed with opportunities whether you are looking for adventure, natural attractions, serenity or relaxation. Whether you visit with the family, a group of friends or as a couple, the abundance of activities and spectacular locations will satisfy your needs.

There are too many things to do for just one visit! Learn more about the Great Ocean Road region and browse through a wide range of information to help you plan your trip. Find things you’d like to see and do, decide where you want to stay, and discover tours and events in the area.

 

And of course, don’t forget to share your experience with us by tagging #visitgreatoceanroad on your social posts, we’d love to see it.

All Accommodation

Fernhouse

Apollo Bay

Casuarina Cabins

Nelson

100OPR

Peterborough

Loch Ard Motor Inn

Port Campbell

All Things To Do

Places To Eat & Drink

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.