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Nature & Wildlife

In a region that is best known for the pristine natural environment, there are loads of ways to get back to nature or have encounters with wildlife.

Nature puts on an exhilarating show at every turn on the Great Ocean Road.  With sparkling ocean one side and towering rainforest the other, it is a truly breathtaking journey.

The natural environment is just as spectacular in the water, with world class scuba diving sites and an amazing diversity of marine life right around the coastline.  Swim with the dolphins and seals at Queenscliff, snorkel at marine sanctuaries throughout the region or dip a toe in the water at any of the beaches - this is nature at its dramatic best.

There is plenty of wildlife to be seen in the region.  There are wild koalas throughout the Otways, particularly around Kennett River and Wye River.  Scores of kangaroos share the Anglesea Golf Course with club toting players.  After dark, glow worms come to life in the Otways.  And the elusive platypus can be seen at dawn or dusk on Lake Elizabeth.

There are zoos and sanctuaries in the region too.  The Werribee Open Range Zoo takes visitors on an African safari.  Jirrahlinga in Barwon Heads is a wildlife rescue centre with lots of native animals to view. 

Alternatively, take yourself off the beaten track and explore the 10 waterfalls within 10 kilometres of lovely Lorne, with the help of the Lorne Walks and Waterfalls guide. 

Highlights

Great Otway National Park

The Great Otway National Park stretches from Torquay through to Princetown and up through the Otways hinterland towards Colac. The park features rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, rock platforms and windswept heathland. In the north, the park features tall forests, ferny gullies, magnificent waterfalls and tranquil lakes. Walking The Great Ocean Walk, stretches 91 kms from the idyllic resort town of Apollo Bay to Glenample Homestead (adjacent to the 12 Apostles). It passes through the National Park and overlooks the Marine National Park. The walk has been designed so that walkers can 'step on and step off' the trail at a number of places, completing short, day or overnight hikes. Horse riding and mountain biking Experience and enjoy the natural environment on horse back or on a mountain bike. A permit is required for horse riders to ride in the National Park and Parks Victoria staff can assist you with this. The formed roads and tracks provide ideal trails for these active endeavours. Picnicking and camping Picnic opportunities abound, with lovely settings at many of the waterfalls as well as Blanket Leaf, Sheoak, Distillery Creek, Moggs Creek, Paradise, Melba Gully, Shelly Beach, Triplet Falls and Blanket Bay to name a few. There are excellent camping opportunities throughout the Parks. Whether you are looking for a family friendly place to park your caravan or a solitary night under the stars there's something to cater to every need. Before you go Conditions can change in parks for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the relevant park page on 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.

Whale Watching around Lorne

Whales have long known what we humans are just coming to realise – the Great Ocean Road is a wonderful spot for a winter break. Sightings are most common during June, July and August, though whales have been spotted as early as February and as late as November. On the migration from Antarctica – humpback whales pass Lorne en route to Queensland and southern right whales spend time on the sheltered Victorian coast to breed and raise calves. To help land-based visitors make the most of this special time, a range of ‘Whale Watch’ initiatives are in place to provide notifications when whales have been spotted off the coast. At Lorne, Wye River, Onion Bay and Apollo Bay, dedicated whale-sighting flags will be hoisted when a verified spotting of one or more of the massive creatures has been spotted nearby, letting people know to cast their eyes to sea for a chance at seeing them too. The ‘Whale Watch’ blog on this site has a diary of confirmed sightings with times, locations, numbers and, where possible, breed of whale. Members of the public can use the blog to report a sighting in the region. ‘Whale Watch’ has hundreds of separate whale sightings reported each year, sometimes with up to six whales in a pod.

Lorne Walks & Waterfalls

The Great Otway National Park is a spectacular area of native forest, and there are plenty of opportunities to get closer to nature with walking tracks and trails in the area, many leading to spectacular crashing waterfalls. There are seven waterfalls within the bushland surrounding Lorne, with different accessibility levels – some are a quick ten minute stroll from the carpark, others are a more strenuous rainforest hike rewarded with the majestic roar of a waterfall. CORA LYNN CASCADES Car park options: - Blanket Leaf picnic ground carpark (4 km return walk to the falls) - Cora Lynn Cascades carpark (7 km return walk to the falls) - Allenvale Mill carpark (8 km return walk to the falls) Walking track information: - Start: Blanket Leaf picnic ground, off Erskine Falls Road - Finish: Allenvale Mill car park - Distance: 4 km return to Cora Lynn cascades, 12 km return to Allenvale Mill - Duration: 2 hours to Cora Lynn cascades, 5 1/2 hours to Allenvale Mill - Difficulty: Moderate (to Cora Lynn cascades), Strenuous (to Allenvale Mill) Details: The Cora Lynn Cascades walk passes through fern gullies and rocky gorges to Cora Lynn Cascades (about 2 km from the picnic area). The next section (from the Cascades to the Cora Lynn carpark) is only for experienced walkers. From the carpark the track continues on to Phantom Falls to Allenvale Road. From here you can walk east along Allenvale Road then turn left onto the Green Break Track which joins up with Erskine Falls Road which leads back to the picnic area. Another option is to follow Saint George River from the Allenvale Mill site to the coast. ERSKINE FALLS & STRAW FALLS Car park options: - Erskine Falls car park (300m return walk to falls 1st lookout, 700 m to 2nd lookout) Walking track information (Erskine River Track): - Start: Erskine Falls car park - Finish: Lorne - Distance: 7.5 km one way - Duration: 3 hours - Difficulty: Strenuous Details: Erskine Falls is a short drive out of Lorne on appropriately named Erskine Falls Road. It is one of the most popular falls in the Otways and easily accessible. A five-minute walk from the car park brings you to a lookout of the falls, cascading 30 metres into a beautiful tree fern gullyYou also can take steps down to the Erskine River to view the falls from below. . Straw Falls are a 15m cascade on the Erskine River and are a further 400m downstreams of Erskine Falls. Experienced walkers can follow the river from Erksine Falls to Lorne. The 7.5km one-way walk takes about three hours and passes Straw Falls and Splitter Falls. It should not be attempted when water levels are high. HENDERSON FALLS, THE CANYON & PHANTOM FALLS Car park options: - Sheoak Creek Picnic area carpark, along Allenvale Rd (21/2 hours return walk to Phantom Falls) - Allenvale Mill site, on Allenvale Road (90 minute return walk to Phantom Falls) Walking track information: - Start: Sheoak Creek Picnic area carpark - Finish: Sheoak Creek Picnic area carpark - Distance: 6.5 km return - Duration: 21/2 hours - Difficulty: Strenuous Details: Henderson Falls, the Canyon and Phantom Falls are reached from the Sheoak Creek Picnic area, along Allenvale Rd. There are barbecue facilities, toilets, picnic tables, fireplaces and drinking water. From the Canyon, you can return to Sheoak picnic area by the same track or continue on to Phantom Falls and then down to the Allenvale Mill carpark and along Allenvale Rd back to the Sheoak picnic area. On the way is also Won Wondha Falls. Henderson Falls is about 8 to10 meters, Panthom Falls about 15 meters high. The total distance of this circuit is around 9 km. KALIMNA FALLS (UPPER & LOWER FALLS) Car park options: - Sheoak picnic area carpark (2.5 hours walk to Lower Falls, 31/2 hours to Upper Falls) Walking track information: - Start: Sheoak picnic area carpark - Finish: Sheoak picnic area carpark - Distance: Lower Falls – 6.5 km; Upper Falls – 8.5 km - Duration: Lower Falls – 21/2 hours: Upper Falls – 31/2 hours - Difficulty: Easy Details: The Sheoak picnic area, is a 4km drive from Lorne. The Kalimna falls are fringed by tall rainforest trees and dense tree ferns. The Lower Falls are not large, but you can get behind them and look out through the falling water to the large pool surrounded by mossy logs and rocks. The Upper Falls are a series of cascades viewed from a platform. The walk follows the route of an old tramway and some of the old sleepers can still be seen. The return walk to the picnic area can be made along Garvey track. SHEOAK FALLS Car park options: - Sheoak picnic area carpark (10 minutes walk to Sheoak Falls) Walking track information: - Start: Sheoak picnic area carpark - Finish: Sheoak picnic area carpark - Distance: 7 km return • Duration: 3 hours - Difficulty: Moderate Details: Head south-east from the Sheoak Picnic Area along Sheoak Creek to Swallow Cave (where swallows nest in the rock crevices in spring) and on for another 400 m to the 15-metre Sheoak Falls (this section of the walk should not be attempted when water levels are high). While not falling for a great distance, the water passes over a dark rock face within a natural amphitheatre, making for spectacular viewing. Return a very short distance towards Swallow Cave then branch off to the left along the Sheoak/Castle Rock Track. After about 1.3 km there is a track junction. Turn left to Castle Rock where there is a lookout then return to the junction. Keep to the left, following the Sheoak Track north to Garveys Track which leads back to the Picnic Area. CUMBERLAND FALLS Car park options: - Picnic area carpark at the mouth of the Cumberland River (3 hours walk return) - Sheoak picnic area carpark Walking track information: - Start: Picnic area carpark at the mouth of the Cumberland River - Finish: Picnic area carpark at the mouth of the Cumberland River - Distance: 9 km return - Duration: 4.5 hours - Difficulty: Strenuous Details: About 6 km south of Lorne along the Great Ocean Road is a picnic area at the mouth of the Cumberland River. You can take the Cumberland Falls Walk by following the river for about 3 km past some excellent clifftop scenery to the Cumberland Cascades (not to be attempted when the river level is high). Return the way you came for nearly 1 km but then take the track on the left which follows a ridge north to Garveys Track. Turn right onto the latter but turn right again almost immediately onto the Sheoak Track to Castle Rock. From Castle Rock return along the track for a couple of hundred metres to the track junction and turn right. The track leads to Sheoak Falls then on to the Great Ocean Road carpark which can be followed back to the Cumberland River Reserve. CURRAWONG FALLS (AIREYS INLET) Car park options: - Lower carpark, Distillery Creek picnic area (near Aireys Inlet) Walking track information: - Start: Distillery Creek picnic area carpark - Finish: Distillery Creek picnic area carpark - Distance: 12 km return - Duration: 4 hours - Difficulty: Strenuous Details: The Currawong Falls are at their best in the winter and spring and the site offers fine views of the surrounding countryside. The walk reveals a fascinating range of habitats: ironbark and other eucalypt forests, melaleuca swamps, fern gullies, sheoak stands on high ridges with panoramic views, and steep-sided gorges.

Teddy's Lookout

At the end of George Street, Teddy’s Lookout offers spectacular views of the St. George River and the Great Ocean Road coastline. There is walking trail connecting Teddy’s Lookout with two other lookouts, and takes about 30 minutes return.

Cora Lynn Cascades

Car park options: - Blanket Leaf picnic ground carpark (4 km return walk to the falls) - Cora Lynn Cascades carpark (7 km return walk to the falls) - Allenvale Mill carpark (8 km return walk to the falls) Walking track information - Start: Blanket Leaf picnic ground, off Erskine Falls Road - Finish: Allenvale Mill car park - Distance: 4 km return to Cora Lynn cascades, 12 km return to Allenvale Mill - Duration: 2 hours to Cora Lynn cascades, 51/2 hours to Allenvale Mill - Difficulty: Moderate (to Cora Lynn cascades), Strenuous (to Allenvale Mill) Details The Cora Lynn Cascades walk passes through fern gullies and rocky gorges to Cora Lynn Cascades (about 2 km from the picnic area). The next section (from the Cascades to the Cora Lynn carpark) is only for experienced walkers. From the carpark the track continues on to Phantom Falls to Allenvale Road. From here you can walk east along Allenvale Road then turn left onto the Green Break Track which joins up with Erskine Falls Road which leads back to the picnic area. Another option is to follow Saint George River from the Allenvale Mill site to the coast.

Cumberland Falls

Car park options - Picnic area carpark at the mouth of the Cumberland River (3 hours walk return) - Sheoak picnic area carpark Walking track information - Start: Picnic area carpark at the mouth of the Cumberland River - Finish: Picnic area carpark at the mouth of the Cumberland River - Distance: 9 km return - Duration: 4.5 hours - Difficulty: Strenuous Details About 6 km south of Lorne along the Great Ocean Road is a picnic area at the mouth of the Cumberland River. You can take the Cumberland Falls Walk by following the river for about 3 km past some excellent clifftop scenery to the Cumberland Cascades (not to be attempted when the river level is high). Return the way you came for nearly 1 km but then take the track on the left which follows a ridge north to Garveys Track. Turn right onto the latter but turn right again almost immediately onto the Sheoak Track to Castle Rock. From Castle Rock return along the track for a couple of hundred metres to the track junction and turn right. The track leads to Sheoak Falls then on to the Great Ocean Road carpark which can be followed back to the Cumberland River Reserve.

Erskine Falls and Straw Falls

Car park options - Erskine Falls car park (300m return walk to falls 1st lookout, 700 m to 2nd lookout) Walking track information (Erskine River Track) - Start: Erskine Falls car park - Finish: Lorne - Distance: 7.5 km one way - Duration: 3 hours - Difficulty: Strenuous Details Erskine Falls is a short drive out of Lorne on appropriately named Erskine Falls Road. It is one of the most popular falls in the Otways and easily accessible. A five-minute walk from the car park brings you to a lookout of the falls, cascading 30 metres into a beautiful tree fern gullyYou also can take steps down to the Erskine River to view the falls from below. . Straw Falls are a 15m cascade on the Erskine River and are a further 400m downstreams of Erskine Falls. Experienced walkers can follow the river from Erksine Falls to Lorne. The 7.5km one-way walk takes about three hours and passes Straw Falls and Splitter Falls. It should not be attempted when water levels are high.

Henderson Falls, the Canyon and Phantom Falls

Henderson Falls, The Canyon & Phantom Falls Car park options - Sheoak Creek Picnic area carpark, along Allenvale Rd (21/2 hours return walk to Phantom Falls) - Allenvale Mill site, on Allenvale Road (90 minute return walk to Phantom Falls) Walking track information - Start: Sheoak Creek Picnic area carpark - Finish: Sheoak Creek Picnic area carpark - Distance: 6.5 km return - Duration: 21/2 hours - Difficulty: Strenuous Details Henderson Falls, the Canyon and Phantom Falls are reached from the Sheoak Creek Picnic area, along Allenvale Rd. There are barbecue facilities, toilets, picnic tables, fireplaces and drinking water. From the Canyon, you can return to Sheoak picnic area by the same track or continue on to Phantom Falls and then down to the Allenvale Mill carpark and along Allenvale Rd back to the Sheoak picnic area. On the way is also Won Wondha Falls. Henderson Falls is about 8 to10 meters, Panthom Falls about 15 meters high. The total distance of this circuit is around 9 km.

Kalimna Falls

Car park options - Sheoak picnic area carpark (2.5 hours walk to Lower Falls, 31/2 hours to Upper Falls) Walking track information - Start: Sheoak picnic area carpark - Finish: Sheoak picnic area carpark - Distance: Lower Falls – 6.5 km; Upper Falls – 8.5 km - Duration: Lower Falls – 21/2 hours: Upper Falls – 31/2 hours - Difficulty: Easy Details The Sheoak picnic area, is a 4km drive from Lorne. The Kalimna falls are fringed by tall rainforest trees and dense tree ferns. The Lower Falls are not large, but you can get behind them and look out through the falling water to the large pool surrounded by mossy logs and rocks. The Upper Falls are a series of cascades viewed from a platform. The walk follows the route of an old tramway and some of the old sleepers can still be seen. The return walk to the picnic area can be made along Garvey track.

Koala and wildlife Spotting

The coastal bushland between Lorne and Apollo Bay is home to a large population of koalas. A short drive up Grey River Road is usually rewarded with a sighting and, as soon as you’ve spotted one, you’ll be an expert spotter! During cooler months whales are often spotted offshore as they migrate from Antarctica or use the sheltered beaches in the region to deliver and nurse calves. A nocturnal visit to the Kennett River picnic ground will also reveal tiny but glorious glow worms.

The Surf Coast Walk

Whether you're a nature lover or a fun lover, whether you take an hour, a day or a week, the Surf Coast Walk puts a stunning and unique coastal environment within easy reach. - Offering natural beauty and easy access - A world-class walking destination for all to enjoy - On the edge of the stunning Great Ocean Road - Do a section or do it all; at your own pace - More than a walk, over half the track is suitable for bikes Relish the rich ochre of the Bells Beach cliffs, the deep blue of Bass Strait and the leafy green of eucalypt forects. Discover traditional Wathaurung country, fascinating surf culture and abundant wildlife as the walk connects you with the coastal town comforts of Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.

Wildlife spotting in the Great Otway National Park

The park has abundant wildlife - swamp wallabies, koalas, ring-tailed possums and grey kangaroos are common, and tiger quolls and yellow-bellied gliders are present, though rarely seen. Much land was cleared by early settlers, but extensive forest remains. Not far inland, rainforests and mountain ash trees contrast with coastal heathlands and open woodlands. Towering Myrtle Beech trees and their under-storey of dense tree-ferns can be seen on the Maits Rest walk and at Melba Gully.

Wye River Heritage Walk

The Wye River Heritage Walk takes visitors back to an era when the area was best known as a timber harvesting region. It details the historic cutting, milling and transport of timber in the Otways.

Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary

At the base of the Split Point Lighthouse, the 17 hectare Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary is home to a huge variety of marine life. Popular with snorkellers and scuba divers, you can expect to see a diverse range of invertebrates. The rockpools around the sandy coves in this area are also teeming with marine life and are terrific for families to explore.

Lake Elizabeth

Magically secluded and breathtakingly beautiful, Lake Elizabeth offers several walks of varying lengths and is home to a large variety of waterbirds and platypus. The tranquil lake was created by a massive landslide in 1952 and is perfect for walks, picnics and a dawn or dusk canoe tour to see the platypus.

Glow worms in the Otways

The Otways has worms. Glorious little glow worms can be found at sites throughout the Otway National Park after dark. They are generally found in dark, damp places - like soil banks with overhanging ledges, along creek embankments and beside walking tracks. The worms are not actually worms, rather they are the larvae of fly-like insects called fungus gnats. The larvae prey on small insects - as such they produce sticky threads. The glow emitted from their abdomen attracts insects who are then trapped in the sticky threads. Glow worms are shy creatures - torches, loud noises or touching them may disturb the glow worms and case them to 'switch off' their light and retreat into a crack. Glow worms are often found at Melba Gully, and near the Grey River Picnic Area at Kennett River. It's a good idea to take a torch to find your way along the tracks after dark, but avoid shining the light directly at the glow worms.

More Than A Tour

More than Tour offer their local knowledge will give you the very best opportunity of seeing a range of beautiful native animals in their natural environment. Short walks to the scenic attractions, lookouts, beaches and rain forests will be on well-defined tracks and board walks and requires a moderate level of fitness. Their guides will accompany you on all walks and your safety is their priority. Being a boutique tour company they will confirm your pick up point, departure and return times prior to departure. More Than A Tour also offers a Door to Door Service. More Than A Tour can tailor make tours to satisfy your groups desires, including Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island two day tours or a Great Ocean Road and Grampians two day tours. You could even have a tailor-made tour. Contact More Than A Tour for more details.
 

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Packages & Offers

BIG 4 Beacon Resort Blues Train Package

A unique musical experience! Toe tapping entertainment, a cool drink and a good laugh. Rock your stay in Queenscliff with Blues Train tickets and award winning accommodation at BIG4 Beacon Resort.

Seahaven Village - Taste of The Bellarine $495

Relax at stunning Barwon Heads Friday and Saturday night in a cosy 4.5 star one bedroom spa suite.

Barwon Heads Golf Club - Winter Escape with Free Golf

$240 per couple per night

BIG 4 Beacon Resort Blues Train Package

A unique musical experience! Toe tapping entertainment, a cool drink and a good laugh. Rock your stay in Queenscliff with Blues Train tickets and award winning accommodation at BIG4 Beacon Resort.

Phone: 1800 351 152 or visit BIG4 Beacon Resort Website for more information.
 

Seahaven Village - Taste of The Bellarine $495

Relax at stunning Barwon Heads Friday and Saturday night in a cosy 4.5 star one bedroom spa suite. Enjoy fabulous bonuses including:

  • A $70 dinner voucher
  • Welcome pack including wine, chocolates and a breakfast basket
Stay between Sunday and Thursday nights and receive THREE nights accommodation for the same price.

T: 03 5254 1066
 

Barwon Heads Golf Club - Winter Escape with Free Golf

This winter, guests who book a standard room at our normal Bed and Breakfast rate play golf for free. Want an even better reason to take a break? The Club is rated one of Australia’s Top 10 public access courses.

From $240 per room per night.
($120 p/p twin share)

  • Accommodation in a standard room with ensuite at Barwon Heads Golf Club
  • Fully cooked breakfast
  • A complimentary round of golf each person (normally up to $85 each).

Address: Golf Links Rd, Barwon Heads, Victoria 3227

To book:

Phone: 03 5255 6255
Fax: 03 5255 6266
Website: www.bhgc.com.au
Email: reservations@bhgc.com.au

T&C's: Valid Sunday to Thursday inclusive. 1st June to 31 August 2014. Dress requirements apply on course and in the clubhouse.