When was the last time you walked with giants? The Great Otway National Park is home to some of the tallest trees in the world. Native Mountain Ash – or more commonly known, the stringybark gum, thrive in the temperate rainforest of the Otways.
The Otways start at the surf beaches of Torquay and head up through the hinterland towards Colac. Rugged coast, beautiful beaches and years of windswept heathland have created a unique and rich environment for these trees to thrive in. With fern gullies, waterfalls and magnificent lakes, there is something for everyone to enjoy either on a day trip, or for a weekend.
Early 1900 saw the experimental planting of the Beech and Redwood trees, with some still standing today an impressive 60 metres high and over one metre in diameter. This makes it somewhat hard to hug a tree – but you can try!
With over 200 trees still standing from the original planting of 461, a walk through forest to let your imagination run wild will bring the kid to life in everyone.
Trees of the Otways Region
‘Walk’ the Otway Fly. The tree top walk is the highest and longest walk of its kind in the world. With nearly 2km of elevated walkway, some at an impressive 30 metres above ground level, this will be one of the memorable highlights from your time in the Otways.
For a more action-packed experience, fly through eight cloud stations, two suspension bridges and upto six flights through the canopy with a zip line adventure, or cycle the 65 km of mountain bike trails through the rainforest. Lavers Hill, centrally located in the Otways, is a great stop for lunch or to base yourself for a day’s adventure. With easy access to the Johanna Beach, Melba Gully and the Otway Fly, this hidden gem is worth a stop.
Lake Elizabeth Redwood and Mountain Ash forests
Platypus hunting through the unique beauty of Lake Elizabeth is a day trip like no other. This perched lake is surrounded by the trunks of dead trees, giving the elusive platypus the perfect haven to breed. The lake was formed by drowning the valley over 50 years ago and the best time to catch a glimpse is usually around dawn or dusk. Around And About tours offer a platypus two day Great Ocean Road experience that takes you through the Redwood and Mountain Ash plantations, Lavers Hill and Lake Elizabeth in the comfort of a small group tour with experienced and personal guides.
Temperate forests of the Yarra Valley
A trip to Rayner’s Orchards in the Yarra Valley could be the start of your Australian Native fruit tree plot in your own backyard. With over 450 varieties of fruiting trees and in excess of 3000 trees in stock, there is a fruit tree for everyone here. The most common of the Australian natives would be the juicy, tangy finger limes and bush limes (known in some circles as the caviar lime – due to its tiny pearl shape). With more than six varieties, they come in multiple colours from green, pink to a darker blush, nearly red colour, which are great for garnishing food, added to cocktails or to make a summer granita.
Coombe Gardens, in Coldstream, was the summer home of Dame Nellie Melba. It is bursting with over seven acres of magnificent established gardens, which were designed and planted 100 years ago by the architect of the Victorian Botanical Gardens, William Guilfoyle. Once you walk through the six hundred metres of Cyprus Hedge, you enter a world of history with Australian native trees and Italian vegetable gardens filled to the brim of heirloom varietals, manicured lawns, grass tennis courts and what is believed to be the oldest swimming pool in Victoria.
Enjoy the best Yarra Valley food, Wine and Gin experience while in the region with lunch at Coombe, a gin tasting at Four Pillars and a wine tasting at the historic Yering Station. For an overnight stay to spend time in the region, you can’t go past Yering Gorge Cottages.
For a stress-free travel experience, why not join Around And About for a one day or multi day small group tour throughout Victoria to The Great Ocean Road, Yarra Valley or the Grampians and Halls Gap.
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