Monday, 8 January 2018

2016 Victoria Trip - The Great Otway NP & The Great Ocean Road Part 1

I think every traveller in Aust wants to drive the Great Ocean Road  (GOR) & finally our turn had arrived too. The GOR is an Australian National Heritage listed stretch of road along the southern coast Victoria between Torquay & Allansford 243 kms further west,
It was grey skies when we drove through the sign depicting our GOR entrance, we were travelling west, & in my opinion by far the best direction to be travelling as the ocean is on our left & there are many pull over areas to stop on the left & whilst driving the passenger can also take random photos from the open window.

We chose to drive straight to Kennett River Caravan park as we were towing the caravan. 
We based ourselves here for 2 nights to do some exploring in that area.

This pretty Banksia Bush was near our caravan.

In the trees near to our caravan were a few koalas.

1 of our 1st pull over stops.

The Great Otway National Park also encompasses the stretch of road from Airey's Inlet to about
50 kms west of Apollo Bay. The Great Otways covers rugged coastline, beaches & mountainous ranges. There is a lot to explore there including many great walks through Australia's best rainforest amongst tall trees, ancient plant life & lush ferns. there are tall tree ferns at Maits Rest, Glow Worms at Melba Gully, several waterfalls including Triplet Falls.

1 such waterfall is Carisbrook Falls & lookout.

Picnic ground along 1 of the drives north through the NP.

Beautiful tall Mountain Ash trees.


We chose a loop drive through the Otways from Skennes Creek north through the community of Forrest, across to Deans Marsh & south towards to coast again coming out at Lorne. As we drove higher we were amongst low clouds.
The gravel back roads were quite good.

We take a walk to Lake Elizabeth through the pretty forest.

A smaller lake en route to Lake Elizabeth.

We didn't get to see any Platypus.

Further on & we arrive at Erskine Falls.

The fungi in this National Park were very interesting & as you've seen, I like to take plenty of photos of these unusual formations.

During our 1st day drive from the GOR entry area, we were confronted by thousands of hectares of burned rainforest next to the road around the area Wye River to Separation Creek.
Tens of thousands hectares of pristine National Park  burned & > 100 homes lost during the week long fire that started by a lightening strike 6 days before Christmas Day 2015 north of Wye River.

The trees will regenerate, but it may take years. 6 months later in early June we could already see the smaller shrubs & ferns growing.

Some of the cliffs are sparse of vegetation along the drive.

After 2 days exploring Lorne - Skennes River section, we pack up camp & move to Marengo Caravan Park just west of more popular & tourist filled Apollo Bay. We again can hear the waves crashing into the rocky coast near our caravan. The weather has been occasional showers for over 24 hrs now, so we enjoy walking around Apollo Bay instead & have lunch in 1 of their cafe's.

The next day drive back o Skennes River & take a loop west through Beach Forest community so we can visit Triplet Falls & The Otway Fly. 

The start of Triplet Falls, a 2 km loop walk.
We walked through Mountain Ash & Myrtle Beech forest with interpretive signs giving the history of the region when it once was logged in the early 1900's. A railway line was built around 1902 in the remote western regions of the Otways & many of these magnificent trees were felled to the forest floor.  The nearby mill processed over 3,600 tons per year of centuries old Mountain Ash, producing timber for the homes of servicemen returning from WW1.
Once logging stopped the rainforest was allowed to re generate. Some of the majestic Mountain Ash trees are estimated to be over 200 yrs old.

Interpretive sign at Triplet Falls.

1 of the 200 yr old Mountain Ash trees...magnificent size that can grow to a height of 100 m.

The Triplet Falls are more prominent during wetter times of the year.

Some other interpretive signs & old relics left in the forest from the logging industry.

The Great Otway Fly & tree top walk & for the thrill seeker there's a 2.5 hr a Zip line adventure activity.
The Otway Fly Treetop walk is a 600 m long 25 m high elevated tree top walk through a magnificent stand of cool temperate rainforest featuring Myrtle Beech, Blackwood & Mountain Ash. The highest point of the walk is 47m high with a lookout which can be ascended via a spiral stairway through the under story to emerge amongst the crowns of the giants of the forest.

Sign enticing tourists to take the adventure zip line tour.

We didn't go on the Zip line adventure tour, but the tree top walk was amazing.

Views after ascending the spiral staircase to higher views of the surrounding rainforest.

We found many dead Myrtle Beech trees in the area & apparently they have died from a naturally occurring disease called Myrtle Wilt.

Another of those very huge Mountain Ash trees.

1 of the pretty lookouts with views of more of the Otway  NP.

Back along the coastline & we visit another piece of Great Ocean Road paradise.


No comments:

Post a Comment