Keep your eyes peeled! The Great Ocean Road Region offers so many different wildlife experiences - on land and in water, in their natural habitat or ready made opportunities to get up close to the native fauna
All along the Coast you can spot whales migrating through the cooler months. Portland, Port Fairy and Warrnambool are likely places to see them - Logan's Beach in Warrnambool is considered a whale nursery where mothers will bring their calves for the sheltered waters. Cape Otway Lightstation is another great place to spot humpacks and Southern Right Whales. Subscribe to Whale Mail to get sighting alerts
Koalas love to eat and sleep. They can often be found in the Otways and around the Great Ocean Road Region. Great spots to look for them include Cape Otway (try camping under the koalas at Bimbi Park), Kennett River, Wye River, Wongarra and Lorne. Sometimes they even come into the townships so look up into the gum trees and you might get lucky.
You can see kangaroos all around the region. It's guaranteed at the Anglesea Golf Course (pictured) - they even do Roo Tours. Other great spots are on the Great Ocean Walk just west of Johanna Beach car Park and Princetown on the Gellibrand River Flats. If you're in the Otways you're probably seeing Wallabies - the smaller, darker cousins of the kangaroo.
A twitcher's delight, the region is a bird lovers paradise. Cockatoos are everywhere there are trees while the coast, estuaries and lakes are havens for waterbirds. In the Otways you will find parrots and colourful robins.The varieties are vast - scroll through to preview the kinds of brids you can expect to see when you visit.
Known spots to spot this remarkable and elusive mammal are Lake Elizabeth and Mount Emu Creek in Skipton. You can take a tour with Otway Eco-Tours at dusk or dawn to canoe Lake Elizabeth near Forrest to spot these stealthy locals. Keep your eyes peeled when near any of the rivers and estuaries - where there's a nice grassy embankment to hide you might be lucky enough to see one.
Explore by night and you could be rewarded with the dazzling experience of glow worms. They love the rainforest so can be found around Lorne on some of the waterfall walks and trails and in the Otways rainforest. Melba Gully near Lavers Hill and Maits Rest near Apollo Bay are the most likely places to see them. Note: it has to be dark so take a torch but don't shine it directly at them and turn it off to get the full effect.
They're certainly not native but they certainly are pretty cute sometimes! If you are travelling with family or just from the city and not used to seeing farm animals you'll appreciate the countless opportunities to see them due to the rich farming country throughout the region. You are likely to see cows, sheep, pigs, alpacas and even champion racehorses who have retired to greener pastures.
MEET THE MAREMMAS
Have you seen the movie "Oddball"? It's a true story (mostly). In Warrnambool you can meet the Maremma Dogs that have been trained to protect the penguins on Middle Island. Enquire at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village about tours.
WILDLIFE OF THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
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. Be inspired with these short videos.
The natural environment is just as spectacular in the water, with world class snorkeling sites and an amazing diversity of marine life right along the coastline. Snorkel or kayak the 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 region, in particular through the Otways. 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.
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.
Meet koalas, emus, kangaroos and many species of waterbirds roaming freely in Tower Hill, between Warrnambool and Port Fairy, which sits inside an extinct volcano formed some 30,000 years ago.
Nestled in Port Fairy is Griffiths Island, where some 80–90 bird species have been recorded especially seabirds and waders. There is a large breeding colony of short-tailed shearwaters, locally known as ‘muttonbirds’, with a viewing platform constructed to facilitate watching the birds as they return in a swarm to their burrows at dusk. Other animals resident on the island include swamp wallabies, short-beaked echidnas, blue-tongued lizards and tiger snakes.
Experience blow holes, enchanted forests, freshwater springs in Portland and surrounds.
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.
8 OF THE BEST WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS
Often out and about at dawn and dusk these unique creatures are found throughout the region enjoying fresh grass shoots and leaf tips.
Best Place to spot them: Anglesea Golf Course
Anglesea Golf Course is home to a large group of kangaroos. Please do not walk on the golf course to view kangaroos. They are best viewed from the road. Kangaroo tours available Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm, Saturday and Sunday by prior appointment only. Fees apply.
Discover more about the Anglesea Golf Course
These cuddly creatures are prolific in the foothills of the Otway Ranges and are often seen snuggled into the fork of a tree. They are actually quite territorial so best to keep your distance.
Best place to see them: Kennett River
Discover more about Kennett River
Swamp wallabies are common in the dense lush undergrowth of the rainforest and other species can be found around the region. A cousin of the larger kangaroo they are often smaller and darker in colour.
Best place to see them: Bay of Islands Coastal Park
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4. GLOW WORMS
These little creatures make their home along the walking trails generally in dark, damp places - like soil banks with overhanging ledges, along creek embankments. Glow worms are shy - torches, loud noises or touching them may disturb them and cause them to 'switch off' their light and retreat into the darkness.
Best place to see them: Melba Gully
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These large flightless birds can be found in family groups on the plains across the region, dining on seeds, fruits and small insects. Emus are generally peaceful animals, though it's recommended that you keep your distance as the bird can unleash a powerful kick or peck when threatened.
Best place to see them: Tower Hill
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Each year, roughly between late May and early October, Southern Right Whales return to their nursery at Logan's Beach to give birth and raise their calves. They migrate along the coast before returning to the waters of Antarctica and can be spotted as far east as Lorne. During the summer months, the Earth's largest mammal, the Blue Whale visits the waters of Portland. The average length of a Big Blue is about 22-24 metres and they can weigh over 100 tonnes. Blue Whales are mostly spotted from November to May. Cape Nelson and Cape Bridgewater are two of a few places in the world where Blue Whales can be seen feeding from land.
Best place to see them: Logan’s Beach, Warrnambool (winter months)
Discover more about Logan's Beach, Warrnambool
These solitary little spiky creatures are not easy to see but are quite common in rainforest and dry sclerophyll forest regions where their favourite meal of ants and termites can be found. Often spotted crossing the road at the most inopportune time these little guys are fascinating to watch.
Best place to see them: Port Campbell National Park
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These very elusive creatures are by far the hardest to see and are most active around dawn and dusk when they hunt for food.
The rest of the time is spent in their cosy riverbank or lakeside burrow.
Best place to see them: Lake Elizabeth
Discover more about Lake Elizabeth