Great Otway National Park

Phone / Tablet

The Great Otway National Park, located in the Barwon South West region of Victoria, Australia. The 103.185-hectare National Park is situated approximately 162 kilometres southwest of Melbourne. It contains a diverse range of landscapes and vegetation types and is situated within the Otway Ranges.

The Otway forests enjoy a long logging history and have been a rich source of timber for over 150 years. The production peaked in 1961 but has since reduced over the years. The forests standing tall today showcase the time needed to regrow and reproduce the giants of the past. Historically several wildfires have burnt through the park in this century which shape its ecology and plant and animal diversity – the last major fire was Ash Wednesday in 1983.

The park was declared in 2004 when Otway National Park, Angahook-Lorne State Park, Carlisle State Park, Melba Gully State Park, areas of the Otway State Forest and a number of Crown Land reserves were combined into one park. The parks were combined after a campaign by the local community and the Otway Ranges Environment Network and were officially gazetted on 11 December 2005.

The park is a popular area for interstate and international tourists, with companies operating tours in the region. It contains three camping areas at Johanna, Aire River and Blanket Bay. The park is accessed from the east via Apollo Bay, from the north via Forrest or Beech Forest, or from the west via Princetown. The park covers both coastline and hinterland in the Otway Ranges and so includes both beaches and forest, accessible via walking trails. The park and the Aire River campground are home to a significant koala population. The Cape Otway Lighthouse is adjacent to the park and is open to tourists throughout the week. Migrating whales and dolphins such as southern right and southern humpback, and bottlenose dolphins can be observed from the coasts.

Glow worms, which are the bioluminescent larvae of small flies known as fungus gnats, can be seen at night along the stream banks and walking tracks, particularly at Angahook-Lorne State Park, Beauchamp Falls, Hopetoun Falls, Stevenson Falls and Melba Gully State Park.

The park has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area because it supports populations of rufous bristlebirds, striated fieldwrens and pink robins, as well as numerous other species.