Beech Forest, located 43 km south of Colac on the northern edge of the Otway Ranges. In 1902, the railway from Colac arrived. It was a narrow gauge railway and when it was extended to Crowes it became the longest narrow gauge railway in Victoria. The railway provided transport for local timber and huge stands of beech, blackwood and ash were cut down. This historic route is now home to the popular Old Beechy Rail Trail, where walkers or cyclists can experience picturesque forests, farmland and abundant wildlife.
During the period from the end of World War I, the town became a major centre for potato production because of its acclaimed fertile soil. In 1919 a bushfire destroyed the town, it was rebuilt to the east of the original site.
Named after the Beech (myrtle) trees which abound in the local area, the town was first settled by Europeans in the 1880s as a result of pressure to open the Otway Ranges to settlement. The first land selection occurred in 1884 and the first pub was built four years later. It is claimed that the pub was completed using timber from a single giant mountain ash.
With the abundance of this kind of timber, Beech Forest quickly became a major centre for the local timber industry. There were 29 timber mills in the district at one point.
The Treetop Walk is a one-hour rainforest walk experience that is approximately two kilometres in total and features a 600 metres long and 30 metre high steel structured treetop canopy walkway that takes you right into the treetops – great for the whole family.
Now Beech Forest is the home to many wonderful food and primary producers as well as the centre of the Otway Harvest Trail.
The unique combination of aspect, soils, climate and farming practices of the Otway hinterland produce distinctive and exceptional flavours in our produce that cannot be found anywhere else.
The Otway Harvest Trail is a celebration of the seasons that bestow their rich bounty on a luscious part of Victoria.
Beech Forest is a central point to access some of the Otways most beautiful waterfalls and scenic drives:
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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.