01 September 2018

WALKS, WILDLIFE & NATURAL ATTRACTIONS OF THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD

by SHERYL ALLEN

Walks, wildlife and natural attractions of the Great Ocean Road

Wild things make my heart sing. For me, it’s a spring thing – that new-season urge to get out and explore new places, commune with nature and re-centre myself.

Nowhere does spring better than the Great Ocean Road region, where nature and wild creatures know no bounds. From wedge-tail eagles to wallabies, from clifftop adventures to riverside strolls, and from towering forests to ocean-carved coastlines, there are countless ways to go natural. These are a few of my favourite spring things.

12 Apostles Coast Hinterland Great Ocean Road Victoria 053A9940 684x478
Walk this way.

Blow off those winter cobwebs with a laid-back stroll along the Anglesea Riverbank. Amidst the tranquillity, there’s mini-adventure to be had: paddleboat fun, canoeing or poking around the public art along the 1.6km section of the Surf Coast Walk. You don’t need to venture far from the café strip to appreciate this easy, do-able walk.

I step up the pace with the Princetown to 12 Apostles leg of the famous Great Ocean Walk. The stunning, slow reveal of wave-crashed rock stacks as you round the clifftop is unforgettable. No need to backtrack – at the 12 Apostles Car Park, board the free 12Amorningexpress bus (weekdays during school term) to Princetown, then let the story unfold on your 7km discovery walk.

Spring evenings are made for torch-light treks on the Melba Gully Loop Walk (near Lavers Hill). Allow around 45 minutes for a secret after-dark exploration of Anne’s Cascades, soaring trees alive with nocturnal critter chatter, and fern gullies sparkling with glow-worms.

Princetown Walking Great Ocean Road Victoria 053A8901 684x477

 

Great Ocean Walk Great Ocean Road Victoria 053A6906 684x477

Where the wild things are.

They’re closer than you think! At Anglesea Golf Course, the roos are right there grazing on the greens. Take a 30-minute Kangaroo Tour and get amongst them.

anglesea golf kangaroo tour great ocean road 053A1640 684x477

At Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve (Koroit) get close to some of Australia’s most iconic feathery and furry creatures including emus, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, reptiles, wedge-tail eagles and magpie geese. It’s a sublime setting for authentic close-range viewing of wildlife in natural habitat. Explore on your own or opt for a guided tour (day or twilight).

Wander along the Princetown Boardwalk to spy intriguing birdlife and kangaroos grazing on the Gellibrand River’s estuarine flats. Visit at dawn or dusk and experience the spiritual beauty of this natural environment. Follow-up with a visit to nearby Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park and get ticking off your list of Aussie animal must-meets.

Natural eye candy.

I call it “eye candy” because it’s my sweetspot for re-energising – standing among nature’s beauty. You’ll find it here in all its glory.

The majesty of the iconic 12 Apostles and Port Campbell National Park is always on my list. Its ever-changing vistas are sun-blessed and sparkling one day, moody and dramatic the next.

Deep in the Otways, an unexpected plantation of Californian redwoods stretch 60 metres into the sky. Wandering among them, you’re dwarfed by nature, yet very much at one with the world.

Tower Hill’s volcanic landscape is an other-worldly place of crater lakes, cones and spheres, all fringed by thriving vegetation and wildlife habitats. The look-out view is magical.

Tower Hill Port Fairy Great Ocean Road Victoria 053A4305 684x477

And then there’s the Petrified Forest at Cape Bridgewater that’s not a forest at all. It’s nature’s trickery – tubes of limestone, some up to 20 metres tall, eroded by millions of years of rainfall.

Petrified Forest Portland Great Ocean Road Victoria 053A2451 684x478

Stay natural.

It takes me a good couple of days to get a feel for spring, the longer days, the glorious sunsets, the pre-breakfast sojourns. Why rush? This region boasts a plethora of close-to-nature places to stay.

In the east, Serenity Torquay Holiday Rentals offer stunning ocean views. Relax and wake up in a luxurious beachside getaway, just a stone’s throw from long walks on the beach.

serenity accommodation torquay great ocean road 684x478

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the west, hook up with Hearn’s Port Fairy Accommodation for a holiday home or studio with absolute beach frontage – see (and hear) the waves as you re-set to nature’s rhythm. Sigh.

Port Fairy Lighthouse Artist Great Ocean Road Victoria 053A4034 570x400

About the Blogger

SHERYL ALLEN

OVER THE PAGE

Sheryl Allen is a storyteller based in Geelong, from where some of Australia’s finest touring destinations are only a daytrip or weekend break away. She’s a “petrol tank half-full” type who loves nothing more than hitting the road early with an open travel guide and anticipation for what’s ahead. If that includes a cracking sunset and a class or two of local vino, she’s happy.

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