Explore the other side of the Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road

Explore the other side of the Great Ocean Road

No doubt when you think about the Great Ocean Road your mind would immediately go to the breathtaking views, the beautiful cliff tops, the narrow windy road and of course, the stunning Southern Ocean. This is understandable as it is these aspects that make this ocean road great. But there is so much more to be discovered in this region of Victoria. The beauty and charm extend inland. In this blog, tour guide Michaela Box-Dougherty shares with you ‘the other side of the road’…

“Not all those who wander, are lost” – J.R.R Tolkien.

This quote is one that really resinates with me. You see, I’m an explorer. Sure, maybe not in the league of Matthew Flinders or Christopher Columbus, but I find no greater joy than exploring new places and getting off the beaten track. I’m always encouraging people to explore the places that aren’t on the ‘top five’ and discover ‘the other side of the road’.

Californian Redwoods

Taking in the beauty of these trees would hands down be on the top of my favourite things to do. Planted in 1939 as a test to see how they would adapt to our climate, these beautiful Redwoods now stand over 60 meters tall. From the outside these trees look like any normal tree. It isn’t until you walk deeper into the forest that you understand their true magnificence. They tower above and act like a canopy, resulting in very little sunlight hitting the area. The thick blanket of red leaves which lay on the forest floor make it seem as though you’ve stepped into another universe. The Redwoods are hidden down an old logging road in Beech Forest, which make them one of the Otway’s best-kept secrets.

Californian Redwoods are located on Binns Road, approximately 10 minute from the small town of Beech Forest.

Hopetoun Falls

Just a short drive from the Californian Redwoods, you will discover the beauty of Hopetoun Falls in the Otway’s forest. This is the waterfall that you’ll often see on postcards. Its beautiful, rectangular shape plunges 30 meters down into the Aire River. Hopetoun Falls lays in one of the wettest areas in Victoria, which will guarantee a lot of water. The large ferns that surround the walk down to the Falls make it appear as though it’s magical. The 198 steps down (and then back up!) is truly worth it for the beautiful photo opportunities.

Californian Redwoods are located on Binns Road, approximately 10 minute from the small town of Beech Forest.

Melba Gully

This is one of the most majestic and enchanting places in the Otway’s. Named after Dame Nellie Melba, this beautiful rainforest walk follows a loop and takes approximately 40 minutes to complete. The towering ferns, Myrtle Beech and Blackwood trees dominant the area and provide a beautiful canopy. Small rivers and cascades follow the walk, and there are many small information boards giving much information about the flora, fauna and history. Wait until after dark to visit to try your chances at spotting some glow worms! Because of its wet and cool-temperate climate, this is one of the best places to try and spot the endangered Otway Black Snail.

Melba Gully is located just off the Great Ocean Road, in Crowes on Melba Gully Road (ample signage).

Crowes Buffer Stop

Located just five minutes from Melba Gully lays Crowes Buffer stop. It is the case that in the early to mid 1900’s the Otway’s played a very important role in supplying timber to not only Victoria, but also the rest of Australia. With the wealth of beautiful, healthy, tall trees, the Otway’s became the pivot of Australia’s timber industry. The Crowes Buffer Stop indicates the last station on the famous railway system, the Beechy Line. It was this system that transported timber from the depths of the Otway’s to nearby Colac. The original station sign is still there, as well as small portion of the original railway tracks. The community has also set up a small board which displays many old newspaper articles and mid last century photos of the place.

Crowes Buffer Stop lays just off the Great Ocean Road, in the town of Crowes, off Melba Gully Road (ample signage).

Enjoy exploring the other side of the road!

🙂 Michaela