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australia:vic:otways

Victoria's Otway Ranges and the Great Ocean Road

Point Lonsdale Lighthouse Live Webcam

Point Lonsdale beach, Barwon Heads in the distance

Web camera view of Point Lonsdale beachThis camera picks up the view of Point Lonsdale beach. At night the lights of Barwon Heads may be seen. Please note that the image updates every 60 seconds, click Refresh to reload and watch the sunset!

www.ayton.id.au_gary_photos_small_ga_otways_p2160948.jpg  www.ayton.id.au_gary_photos_small_ga_otways_p2160996.jpg

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Otway ranges:

  • temperate forest range along Victoria's coast line ranging from Anglesea to Port Campbell
  • on hot summer days, max temperatures are considerably lower than Melbourne - often by 6-10deg
  • if the beach is too hot, then head up to the peaks of the Otway Ranges, for example Mt Sabine tends to be a lovely 28degC when it is 34degC plus down on the beach in Apollo Bay.
  • ocean water temperatures rise from 12deg in early summer to 19deg by March-April
  • waves for surfing are usually best in April esp. if low pressure systems are off shore
  • 19 shipwrecks from Bells Beach southwards
  • whilst Torquay, Bell's Beach, Anglesea, Fairhaven and Mogg's Creek are primarily for beach goers and surfing (surfing all year round with wet suits as long as you are experienced and a strong swimmer), Lorne and Apollo Bay are more family-oriented beaches with some surf, but have the wonderful added benefit of close proximity to beautiful cool temperate rainforest walks and waterfalls which are enjoyable all year round even on wet days but are especially good on mild overcast days or when it is too hot for the beach.
  • Anglesea golf club is a great spot for dinner at dusk to watch the kangaroos grazing on the golf course.
  • the drive to Cape Otway lighthouse off the Great Ocean Road is usually a reliable track to see koalas perched on the tree branches.
  • even if you are pressed for time, make sure you take the pictureque 20min drive from the back of Apollo Bay down Paradise Valley and enjoy the lovely walk to Mariner's Falls - unfortunately this walk is now CLOSED for safety reasons, and then after returning to Apollo Bay, shortly after heading towards the 12 Apostles, enjoy the short 30min rainforest walk at Mait's Rest. These won't cost you any money but give you a taste of what the Otways are all about in addition to the beaches.
  • the tallest waterfall is Erskine Falls near Lorne but best flows as with most of the waterfalls in Victoria is best in Winter or Spring.

car travel times

  • allow 45-60min from Melbourne to end of the Geelong bypass freeway (M1)
  • from end of the M1 freeway, takes ~60min to Lorne off-peak which includes some 15 minutes of winding Great Ocean Road at average 50-60kph
  • from Lorne to Apollo Bay average speed off-peak is 60kph and takes about 50minutes without sight seeing stops
  • avoid from Xmas public holiday weekend onwards until end of school holidays (accommodation is usually very expensive and booked out well in advance anyway)
  • avoid Easter school holidays
  • avoid during major events such as Bell's Beach annual surfing championships (Easter), cycling events, etc.
  • 5km bumber-bumper sections with very slow driving near Anglesea and Lorne are common during peak periods
  • for sight-seeing it is best driving along the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne as the car stops are on the coastal side of the road
  • if you are returning to Melbourne from the 12 Apostles, Apollo Bay or Lorne, consider taking the various inland routes over the Otway Ranges for a change of scenery and access to more waterfalls, and avoiding the busy, slower Great Ocean road.

Anglesea:

  • surf town at the start of the Great Ocean Road
    • 20min (16km) to Torquay
    • 30min (28km) to Lorne
  • Go Ride A Wave surfing lessons
  • Anglesea paddle boats, canoes, aqua bikes - Go Paddling ph: 5263 2111
  • Anglesea Golf Club
  • horse riding:
    • Spring Creek Trail Rides
  • art galleries:
  • massage:
      • accommodation 
      • heated indoor pool; tennis court; BBQ area;
      • massage, body wraps, exfoliation 
    • Purely Natural Massage:
      • Anglesea shopping village ph: 5263 2660
  • Pt Addis:
    • Ironbark Basin Reserve:
      • the basin was under the sea 40m years ago and was uplifted to form hills at a fault line that extends from Jan Juc to Cape Otway
      • cliffs show sediment of low grade coal soil with gypsum in the vertical cracks
      • inland from the cliffs are areas of red ochre which was quarried in the 1920's by a company called Jarosite Products, and this pigment was used to paint Melbourne's “red rattler” trains which were decommissioned in the 1980's.
      • eucalypt forests:
        • tall open forest of ironbark (E. tricarpa) with its fissured black trunks and undergrowth of mosses, lichens, ground orchids, wattles & grasses
        • open forest of messmate stringybark (E. obliqua) with its stringy, fibrous bark
          • areas with undergrowth of grass trees, red correa, horny conebush, silver banksia, white daisy
      • low heathland
      • naturalist beach - clothing optional (ie. nude) - easy walk to Southernside beach near Bell's Beach
      • Koori cultural walks
  • camping grounds:
  • B&B/Cottages:
  • real estate:

Airey's Inlet:

  • see also Airey's Inlet
  • 35min from Geelong, Fairhaven surf beach
  • Split Point lighthouse c1891
  • horse riding: 
    • Blazing Saddles Horse riding:
      • bush ride;  beach ride at low tide only;
      • ph: 03 5289 7322 or A/H 5289 7149 or 0418 528 647
  • gliding: Gliding High
  • canoeing - G.O.R.A.T.S. Adventure ph: 03 5289 6841 - also has downhill mountain bike hire/tours
  • accommodation:
    • Split Point Cottages ph: 5289 6566 - 2BR, 300mm thick rammed earth walls, tennis court, outdoor spa
    • New Beginnings cottage ph: 5289 6550 - bush setting; dbl or twin share; short walk to beach;
    • Airey's Inlet Getaway 2-3BR villas with spa, OFP; walk to beach, lighthouse, shops; pool; spa; tennis; BBQ
    • Bambra Countrywide Cottages rural farm setting, good for pets;

Lorne:

  • 90min drive from Melbourne & 30min (28km) to Anglesea
  • 50-60min (45km) to Apollo Bay
  • 2hr 15min (132km) to 12 Apostles
  • 40min (45km) to Winchelsea via forest drive
  • tides are 17min before Port Phillip Heads times
  • extremely popular ocean resort town to escape the summer heat
  • forest walks in Angahook Lorne State Park - several small camping areas - most need to bring drinking water & firewood, no litter;
  • waterfalls eg. Erskine Falls
  • conference facilities eg. Cumberland Resort
  • annual pier-to-pub swim late December
  • folk dance & music weekend Erskine House 2nd weekend May 2002
  • camping grounds:
    • Lorne Foreshore 
      • 7km past Lorne, cabins, un-powered sites, kiosk, fishing, swimming, walks, glow-worms
      • ph: 03 5289 1790

Wye River:

  • 15km from Lorne
  • this area was severely impacted by bushfires Dec 2015
  • Wye River Foreshore Reserve ph: 5561 2611 - adjacent river near beach; Dec-Apr only;
  • Wye River Valley Tourist Park - cabins, camping; ph: 03 5289 0241
  • Wye River Heritage Walk 50min (Paddy's Path) or 90min walks covering local sawmilling and shipping history
  • Mt Defiance lookout between Lorne & Wye River - panoramic ocean views towards Artillery Rocks, a geological international heritage site, which are 5km north of Wye River and consist of feldspathic sandstone rocks exposed on a shore platform dipping seaward (SE) 
    • see sketch drawn in 1887 here and photo taken ca 1888-1910 here

Kennett River:

  • Kennett River Caravan Park ph: 5289 0272 - river frontage adjacent beach; showers/toilets
  • koalas in the wild on Grey River Road
  • coastal views at Cape Patton lookout 

Skene's Creek:

  • 6km north of Apollo Bay
  • Skene's Creek Beachfront Park ph: 5237 6132

Apollo Bay:

  • 75min (90km) to the 12 Apostles
  • 60min (71km) to Colac
  • 150min (112km) to Geelong via coast or 120min (146km) via Colac
  • tides are 28min before Port Phillip Heads times
  • Otway National Park - several small camping areas - most need to bring drinking water & firewood, no litter;
  • Great Ocean Walk:
    • 91km walk passes through Otway & Port Campbell National Parks taking 8 days and 7 nights but can be experienced in shorter walks.
  • Marriners Lookout - 30min return walk gives panoramic views
  • Maits Rest 30min loop rainforest walk - perhaps the best in the region.
  • Blanket Bay - isolated rocky beach
  • Cape Otway lighthouse - southern-most point of western Victoria - self-guided tours from 9am - check entry fee
  • The Gable lookout - views to Moonlight Head
  • Red Rock lookout - Victoria's youngest volcano - last erupted 6,000yrs ago - lookout is 230m above sea level and gives views across volcanic plains, craters, cones & lakes.
  • Apollo Bay Airfield - 12 Apostles air tours ph: 5237 7370
  • see also:
  • rental accommodation:
  • B&B:
  • holiday parks:

Cape Otway

Aire Valley / Hordern Vale / Glenaire:

  • picturesque, quiet, remote coastal valley with river/estuary/surf fishing in the region.
  • Johanna:
  • wild unpatrolled surf beach at a river inlet - you may wish to return on the bitumen rather than “shortcut” back on the gravel road.
  • accommodation:
  • see also: SW Victoria

non-coastal regions:

  • the top areas of the Otway Ranges is a few degrees cooler and generally wetter than the coast, so bring rain gear and warm clothes, and be prepared for footwear to be a little muddy after walks
  • many of the walks are steep although steps are usually provided on the main walks - hiking poles may be useful!
  • Forrest:
    • 25min (32km) from Colac
    • 35min (39km) from Apollo Bay
  • Barramunga:
  • Beech Forest:
    • small town within this cool temperate rainforest with annual rainfall 2000mm (80“) 
    • 50min from Apollo Bay via Lavers Hill or for a beautiful rainforest drive, access via Skene's Creek and take the Turton's Track which is bitumen but slow and beautiful.
    • Otway Fly rainforest walk & tree-top walk ~$32/family allow 1hr for the walk; cafeteria;
    • Triplet Falls
      • near the Otway Fly
      • can also do the more strenous 2hr 4.5km circuit to Little Aire Falls
      • 2km 1hr loop with easy-mod walk down steps
    • Beauchamp Falls
      • 1hr return “mod-difficult” walk, camping area - bring drinking water & firewood; no litter;
    • Hopetoun Falls
      • easy walk down steps - if you are short for time, do this one and perhaps Triplet Falls
      • ~0.5km past the turn off to the falls is a lovely little picnic ground at a bridge over the river with a unique peaceful, tall Californian Redwood forest plant planted in 1939
    • narrow gauge railway built from Colac to Beech Forest in 1902 which allowed development of sawmilling in the region including at Melba Gully.
  • Lavers Hill:
    • the highest point on the Great Ocean Road & the end of the Otway Ranges, half-way between Apollo Bay & Port Campbell
    • nice cafe
    • 45min (53km) to Apollo Bay
    • 30min to 12 Apostles
    • Aire Falls
    • Melba Gully State Park:
      • take a torch just after dusk to check out the glow-worms (larvae of the fungus gnat) at night along path on soil banks with overhanging ledges - but don't touch or shine torches on them
      • 30min return walk with optional steep climb to view the Big Tree
      • a dense rainforest of Myrtle Beech, Blackwood & tree ferns with an under-storey of low ferns & mosses best seen after rain which brings the colours out.
      • a popular picnic & lunch spot with tea rooms for bus tourists in the 1930's and 1940's until the tea rooms were closed in 1948 after a bus length limit was imposed. Property was sold in 1958 and then given to the Vic. Conservation Trust in 1975 who later transferred it to be managed by Parks Victoria.

North:

  • Werribee:
  • Anakie:
  • Geelong:
  • Birregurra:
    • just south of Princes Hwy between Geelong & Colac
    • 15min (19km) from Colac
    • B&B:
      • “Elliminook” ph: 5236 2080 - National Trust homestead c1865; children by arrangement; 
  • Winchelsea:
    • alternate route to Lorne from Geelong - 40min (45km) to Lorne via forest drive
    • Barwon Park colonial mansion - Wed and Sundays 11-4pm $10 fee
      • 1860's bluestone mansion built by the Austin family who introduced rabbits into Australia and founded the Austin Hospital in Melbourne
  • Colac:
    • volcanic plains region on the main highway 60min (75km) from Geelong
    • Red Rock Lookout - overlooks volcanic plain of scoria cones, craters and over 40 eruption points
    • Lake Corangamite - Australia's largest inland permanent salt lake - 30,000 hectares
    • alternative inland route to coast:
      • 60min (56km) to Lorne
      • 60min (71km) to Apollo Bay
      • 60min (91km) to 12 Apostles via Simpson
      • 80min (106km) to 12 Apostles via Lavers Hill
      • 80min (112km) to Warrnambool
    • see also: Colac Otway website

East (Bellarine Peninsula):

  • Torquay / Jan Juc / Bell's Beach:
    • centre of surfing in Victoria, 99km from Melbourne (75min drive); 45km from Lorne (45min drive)
    • surf retail/factory outlets & Surfworld surfing museum
    • protected life guard patrolled family front beach; 
    • life guard patrolled surf beaches: Torquay Surf Beach; Jan Juc;
    • world renown Bell's Beach surf beach - World Championships held each Easter
    • to the west of Bell's Beach is a clothing-optional beach which leads to Pt Addis naturalist beach
    • Tiger Moth World Adventure Park - tiger moth flights incl 12 Apostles & sky diving, mini golf, flying fox, canoes, BBQ
    • Spring Creek Trail Rides ph: 5266 1541 - horse riding along beach
    • visitor information ph: 5261 4219
    • accommodation:
      • Cedars Cottages - rural setting near Bells Beach, dbl masseur spa baths, indoor solar heated pool, gym, gas BBQ
      • Grossman's Family Country Cottages - up to 6 people per cottage; rural farm; ph:5261 2656
      • Ocean Road Retreat ph: 5261 2971 - near Bell's Beach; bush setting; 1 cottage; 3 spa suites;
      • Gateway to the Great Ocean Road B&B ph: 5261 2441 - overlooks golfcourse
      • Pride of Torquay B&B ph: 5261 4127
      • Beach Cottage Torquay ph: 5261 4010 - 2 storey cottage 100m from beach; 3BR, sleeps 6; 
      • Atelier Apartments Bells Beach ph: 5261 4836 - golf practice range; rural; luxury studio & 2BR;
      • Addiscott Rise B&B Bells Beach ph: 5261 4256 - sandstone home with 2 guest rooms, shared bathroom; $95/n per room;
      • Zeally Bay Caravan Park - quiet family park opposite the beach ph: 5261 2400
      • Torquay Public Reserves Caravan & Camping Ground ph: 5261 2496 - backs onto surf beach; 660 powered sites; 11 cabins;
      • Bernell Resort Caravan Park - solar heated pool & heated spa; tennis courts
      • Bells Beach Backpackers - Torquay
    • real estate:
  • Barwon Heads / Ocean Grove:
    • Jirrahlinga koala & wildlife sanctuary Barwon Heads ph: 5254 2484 - 10am -5pm
    • A Maze 'N Things giant maze Wallington
    • Adventure park Wallington
    • Tuckerberry Hill blueberry picking mid-Dec to mid-Feb
    • camping/cabins:
      • Collendina Caravan Park ph: 5255 1966
      • Green Valley Caravan Park ph: 5255 1605
      • Ocean Grove Holiday Park ph: 5256 2233
      • Riverview Family Caravan Park ph: 5256 1600
      • Wynndean Holiday Resort ph: 5255 1766
      • Barwon Heads Park ph: 5254 1118
      • Rondor Caravan Park Barwon Heads ph: 5254 2753 
  • Point Lonsdale:
    • overlooking The Rip - the entrance of Port Phillip Bay - one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world 
    • back beach - surf life saving club
    • lighthouse
    • foreshore reserve camping, fishing
    • tides times are Port Phillip Heads times
  • Queenscliff:
    • on south-western part of Port Phillip Bay, near its entrance
    • became a fashionable seaside resort in 1880's
    • Queenscliff music festival late November (eg. 22-24 Nov 2002)
    • Queenscliff-Sorrento car & passenger ferry - every 2hrs; ph: 5258 3244
    • Sea-All Charters ph: 5258 3889 - swim with dolphins & seals
    • Bellarine Peninsula Railway ph: 5258 2069 - tourist railway; Sundays & pub.hols except Xmas, Good Friday & Anzac Day
    • Fort Queenscliff tours & museum - weekend & pub. hols tours 1-3pm
    • Queenscliff Maritime Museum - M-F 10.30am - 4.30pm; w'ends 1.30-4.30pm;
    • Marine Discovery Centre
    • Game & recreational fishing charters ph: 5258 2302
    • Great Ocean Rd Golf Tours
    • Historical tours & bike hire
  • St Leonards:
    • established in 1840 as a fishing base for Geelong
    • foreshore reserve camping, fishing
    • St Leonards caravan park ph: 5257 1490
  • Indented Heads:
    • safe family beach, foreshore reserve camping -  largest on peninsula, fishing
  • Portarlington:
    • north-east shore of Bellarine Peninsula on Port Phillip Bay - sheltered family beach, fishing
    • Dylene Caravan Park ph: 5259 2873
    • Fairhaven Caravan Park ph: 5259 2231

 

West:

History:

  • 1803:
    • Convict William Buckley, the “Wild White Man”, escapes from Sullivans Bay - Port Phillip's first European settlement -near what is now Sorrento. He wanders to the other side of the bay and is the first white man to explore the rugged coast, past the future sites of Breamlea, Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. Just past the site of Lorne, at Mt Defiance, he not only discovers a good food source, but it is also where his contact with Aborigines begins. The relationship lasts 32 years, with Buckley living a nomadic life along the coast and inland.
  • 1843: First detailed coastal survey undertaken
  • 1846: William Urquhart does the first land survey of the area to set the boundaries for the County of Grant.
  • 1859:
    • Modern telecommunications comes to the coast when the electric telegraph line from Melbourne is established. It follows a route to Geelong and then inland to Winchelsea. From Winchelsea, it heads for the coast at Moggs Creek, near Aireys Inlet, before following a coastal route to Cape Otway. Here it links with the submarine cable to King Island and Tasmania. A bridle path along the telegraph line's route becomes a well-used, albeit extremely challenging and dangerous, track to settlements at Lorne and Apollo Bay.
  • 1874:
    • Mining engineers reporting on the coalfields at Lorne and Apollo Bay, describe the remoteness of the coast, the dangers it presents to vessels and the rugged and winding nature of the path. One suggests developing a new, less formidable route that coul one day form the basis of a permanent road.
  • 1890:
    • Lands Department officer Malcolm Taylor suggests an ocean road between Geelong and Apollo Bay as a defence line. Commandant of the Victorian Forces, Sir Charles Hollard Smith, and Colonel Appleton review the plans but reject them on the grounds the road would help an invader and allow easy access to Melbourne.
  • 1891: Split Point lighthouse opening in September at Aireys Inlet prompts residents' call for road between Anglesea and Lorne.
  • 1909:
    • A high-rainfall year makes the inland route between Deans Marsh and Lorne almost impassable. Calls grow for a coastal road linking Lorne with Geelong via Aireys Inlet, Anglesea and Torquay. “There is no question as to Lorne being an ideal place for a holiday, either in summer or winter, but to ensure it remaining so, the approaches will have to be improved and made easier for travellers, although its very remoteness is one of its greatest charms.”
  • 1912: The Country Roads Board (CRB) is formed. Hopes are high that something will be done towards a coastal road.
  • 1915: CRB opens road from Bellbrae (then known as Jan Juc) to Anglesea, which follows part of the coast. It comes under fire for its rough state.
  • 1916:
    • The motor car craze starts to take hold. Although the only road into Lorne is a rough track from Deans Marsh, the proprietors of Erskine House build a garage capable of accommodating 50 cars. In October, a press report highlights the pitfalls of travelling the road: “A car from one of the Geelong garages got through yesterday, but passed on the way another car stuck up two miles from Lorne, which at one stage of the journey, had lost a wheel. Cars bound for Lorne are advised to leave their passengers at Deans Marsh and let them be carried the remainder of the distance by coach, or to proceed by other means.”
  • 1918: Officially, the Great Ocean Road Trust is founded at Colac on March 22, 1918, and a promotional brochure extolling the road's potential virtues as “Our Boys” memorial, “a worthy memorial to all Victorian soldiers and a national asset for Victoria” launched.
  • 1922: The Governor of Victoria, Lord Stradbroke, officially opens the The Great Ocean Road but still needs substantial improvements. An upcoming solar eclipse provides the cash-strapped Ocean Road Trust with a new source of funds. The plan is to sell up to 20,000 “eclipse gazers” for one shilling each (10 cents), raising 1000 pounds ($2000) for the trust. But eventually the road is closed for construction works and reopens in December with tolls (25c per car) which remain for next 14 yrs.
  • 1930: road is extended to Cumberland River then to Wye River where blocks of land were sold to help fund the road.
  • 1931: the ocean route from Geelong to Lorne finally becomes superior to the Deans marsh route.
  • 1932: ocean road now allows travel from Geelong to Warrnambool but metal finish takes a few more years.
  • 1939: Ocean Road Trust sells its last assets - land in Wye River, Big Hill and at Eastern View. The second memorial arch over the road is erected. It weighs 50 tons, has a clearance of 25 feet (8.3 metres) to traffic and is 50 feet wide (16.7 metres).
  • 1954: ocean road is closed after heavy floods cut the road;
  • 1971: Thousands of tonnes of rock threaten to crash onto the Great Ocean Road at Windy Point, eight kilometres from Lorne towards Apollo Bay. The CRB moves to indefinitely close the road to all traffic. Wye River residents complain the closure is harming their town. They now have to travel 144 miles (232km) for a return trip to Lorne, which is only 10 miles (16km) away. Road reopens in December after being closed for 6 months.
  • 1983: Ash Wednesday bush fires:
    • The devastating Ash Wednesday bushfires along the Great Ocean road claim three lives and destroy more than 700 houses. The fire starts near Deans Marsh and quickly spreads through the bush to Lorne. A southerly changes the fire front hurtling towards Eastern View, Fairhaven, Aireys Inlet and Anglesea. The fire destroys a number of bridges on the Great Ocean Road and the famous memorial arch at Fairhaven.
  • 1985: floods:
    • April 2: Torrential rain and flash flooding cut the Great Ocean Road between Lorne and Apollo Bay. Forty caravans and five cars are swept into the sea at Cumberland and Wye rivers. The flooding causes the road to drop five metres in some places and washes away bridge approaches. Parts of the road remain closed for several days.
  • Dec 2015: bushfires severely impact Wye River valley with over 100 houses destroyed
australia/vic/otways.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/19 22:20 by gary1