Nature & Wildlife

My favourite places to recentre and commune with nature

When I feel like it’s time to clear the cobwebs, I like to explore new places, commune with nature and re-centre myself. This time, I chose the Great Ocean Road region.

Throughout the Great Ocean Road region, there is abundance of diverse natural environments.

So, when it was time for me to clear the cobwebs, I ventured into this part of regional Victoria to explore, commune with nature and re-centre myself.

I started my road trip at Anglesea and finished at Port Fairy.

Here’s what I discovered along the way:

1. Anglesea

Anglesea is very tranquil, but it’s also a hub for lots of adventure! You can take it easy with a walk along the beautiful Anglesea River, or do a section of the Surf Coast Walk.

There’s lots of operators to help you try surfing, paddle boats or canoeing.

Check these out:

Anglesea Surf Centre
Anglesea Paddleboats and Canoe Hire
Go Ride a Wave, Anglesea
Wondering where the wild things are? At Anglesea Golf Course, there are dozens of kangaroos grazing on the greens. Take a 30-minute Kangaroo Tour and get amongst them.

2. The Otways

Deep in the Otways, an unexpected plantation of Californian redwoods stretch 60 metres into the sky. Wandering among them, you’re dwarfed by nature, yet very much at one with the world.

3. The 12 Apostles area

The 12 Apostles

I call it “eye candy” because it’s my sweetspot for re-energising – standing among nature’s beauty. You’ll find it here in all its glory.

The majesty of the iconic 12 Apostles and Port Campbell National Park is always on my list. Its ever-changing vistas are sun-blessed and sparkling one day, moody and dramatic the next.

 

Great Ocean Walk

I stepped up the pace with the Princetown to 12 Apostles leg (about 7km) of the famous Great Ocean Walk.

The stunning, slow reveal of wave-crashed rock stacks as you round the clifftop is unforgettable.

No need to backtrack, the Walk 91 shuttle service or Great Ocean Road Shuttle can shuttle you back to your car or accommodation.

 

Glowworms

Spring evenings are made for torch-light treks on the Melba Gully Loop Walk (near Lavers Hill). Allow around 45 minutes for a secret after-dark exploration of Anne’s Cascades, soaring trees alive with nocturnal critter chatter, and fern gullies sparkling with glow-worms.

 

Gellibrand River

Wander along the Princetown Boardwalk to spy intriguing birdlife and kangaroos grazing on the Gellibrand River’s estuarine flats. Visit at dawn or dusk and experience the spiritual beauty of this natural environment. Follow-up with a visit to nearby Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park and get ticking off your list of Aussie animal must-meets.

4. Tower Hill

Tower Hill’s volcanic landscape is an other-worldly place of crater lakes, cones and spheres, all fringed by thriving vegetation and wildlife habitats. The look-out view is magical.

At Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve (Koroit) get close to some of Australia’s most iconic feathery and furry creatures including emus, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, reptiles, wedge-tail eagles and magpie geese. It’s a sublime setting for authentic close-range viewing of wildlife in natural habitat. Explore on your own or opt for a guided tour (day or twilight).

5. Cape Bridgewater

Just 20 minutes west of Portland is the Petrified Forest at Cape Bridgewater. It’s actually not a forest at all, but rather nature’s trickery – tubes of limestone, some up to 20 metres tall, eroded by millions of years of rainfall.

Where to stay

It takes me a good couple of days to get a feel for spring, the longer days, the glorious sunsets, the pre-breakfast sojourns. Why rush? This region boasts a plethora of close-to-nature places to stay.

  •  Serenity Torquay Holiday Rentals offer stunning ocean views. Relax and wake up in a luxurious beachside getaway, just a stone’s throw from long walks on the beach.
  •  Hearn’s Port Fairy Accommodation for a holiday home or studio with absolute beach frontage – see (and hear) the waves as you re-set to nature’s rhythm. Sigh.

 

About The Author

Sheryl Allen

Blogger

Sheryl Allen is a storyteller based in Geelong, from where some of Australia’s finest touring destinations are only a daytrip or weekend break away. She’s a “petrol tank half-full” type who loves nothing more than hitting the road early with an open travel guide and anticipation for what’s ahead. If that includes a cracking sunset and a class or two of local vino, she’s happy.

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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.