The New Great Otway National
Park is 2 hours from Melbourne and is accessable
from the Great Ocean Road.
Visitors to the Otways are rewarded with the
beauty of the coastline and its endless sandy
beaches. Hidden in the hinterland you'll find
a variety of waterfalls, tall Eucalypt forests
and pockets of Cool Temperate Rainforest.
The fossil record indicates that the Otways
have been formed when sandstone and clay were
deposited from ancient rivers. That deposit
has then been uplifted and over time weathering
has disected it into numerous rivers. Harder
sandstone has formed the waterfalls while softer
sandstone has been weathered away.
The Otways weather is as dramatic as the scenery.
The ridge between Lavers Hill and Beech Forest
boasts the highest rainfall in Victoria (2m/yr).
Winter and spring are the wettest months and
the best time to take advantage of the numerous
waterfalls. Summer is usually quite warm but
always a few degrees cooler than Melbourne.
Drier years lead to bushfires, with 1983 being
the last major fire in the Otways.
Wildlife in the Otways is mostly nocturnal.
Small mammals that are rare to see include Quolls,
Gliders, Potteroos, Bandicoots and Antichinus.
Wallabies, Kangaroos, Koalas and possums are
common. Snakes, Lizards, birds and ehidnas are
common during the day. Whales, seals and dolphins
are also common in the waters off our coastline
Aboriginal habitation, fires and timber harvesting
have shaped the Otways forest. Most is less
than 100 years old, but there are some old growth
areas more than 300yrs old. Variation in flora
is extreme from dry heathland to Cool Temperate
Rainforest. The Myrtle Beech is a significant
Cool Temperate Rainforest species form 8o million
years ago. The Mountain Ash is the tallest hardwood
in the world. We have many species of endemic
flora and rare orchids.
Timber harvesting is being replaced by tourism
and the formation of National Parks signifies
a changing role for the Otway forests and their