HOME TO THE OTWAY HARVEST TRAIL
Discover Beech Forest - rich in the history of timber, potato farming and early post war settlement. Now home to many wonderful food and primary poducers, you will find yourself in the centre of the Otway Harvest Trail. Beech Forest is the central point to access some of the Otways most beautiful waterfalls and scenic drives:
Beech Forest, located 43 km south of Colac on the northern edge of the Otway Ranges, is a tiny township which achieved its moment of national fame in 1983 when a 61-year-old local potato farmer, Cliff Young, won the Sydney to Melbourne Ultra Marathon.
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.
Otway Harvest Trail
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.
Walks and Waterfalls
Beech Forest is a central point to access some of the Otways most beautiful waterfalls and scenic drives:
- Triplet Falls & Little Aire Falls - 4 km west of Beech Forest.
- Beauchamp Falls & Hopetoun Falls - approximately 7km south east of Beech Forest
- Old Beech Rail Trail
- California Redwoods - a spectacular forest of giant Californian Redwoods (Sequoia trees) planted in 1939.
- Turtons Track - east of Beech Forest, this is a beautiful 17km tourist route through thick rainforest vegetation.
- Otway Fly Treetop Adventures - a spectacular 600 metre long, 25 metre high elevated treetop walk.