Cape Otway is a short (in Australian terms) 4 hour drive from where I grew up yet I’ve only ever visited it once, when I was far to young to ever really appreciate it. Sure the winding roads of the Great Ocean Road were fun back then but never would I have stopped to marvel at just how great a job mother nature had done in this little part of the world.
The coastline is perhaps the lure to what lies beyond considering most that travel this way have ventured down the breathtaking Great Ocean Road to get here. With a new photo opportunity around every corner its safe to say I spent more time stopping to enjoy the view than I did behind the steering wheel.
Once passed the coastline it was onto my lodgings for the weekend at the Conservation Ecology Center. A not-for-profit research, conservation and wildlife rehabilitation centre that oozes charm by the bucket load.
The owners Shayne and Lizzie are two of the nicest folk I’ve met and really went out of their way to make the stay a great experience. The accommodations rivalled some of the fanciest places I’ve stayed in Europe and most importantly stay true to the center in that everything is self-sufficient. Solar power, rain water tanks, vegetable gardens and the entire building constructed by themselves from mud bricks and timber.
My stay also included a nature walk taking me out across their land where you are guaranteed to spot kangaroos, koalas and even their most prized animal the Tiger Quoll which is part of a major conservation project that they are leading. Oh and I can’t forget feeding the Sugar Gliders (see first photo) which were the cutest animal I saw all weekend. Staying here with so much nature around felt like I was a million miles away from the rest of the world.
With the Eco Lodge located just up the road from the Cape Otway Lighthouse its an easy drive down to soak up some amazing views and snap a couple of photos of Australia’s cutest marsupial, the Koala.
Scattered throughout the trees near the road I spotted at least 20 of these sleeping fellows minding their own business and looking completely adorable. It’s the most Koalas I’ve ever seen in the one place my entire life and certainly a sight for the tourist heading along the road.
The other must do while in the area is take a stroll through the rain forests of the Otways. There are walks for all types of adventurers but I settled on Maits Rest which is a nice 800 meter circuit. Here you can stroll across tree-fern gullies and around the moss-covered roots of ancient rain forest trees. For the more energetic walkers I suggest you seek out Triplet Falls, the waterfalls there are said to be stunning.
Cape Otway really is a place where you need to spend a couple of weeks taking your time to explore everything there is to see and do. It’s rich in the good stuff that allows you to escape the rest of the world and enjoy the land like we are supposed too and that just can’t be a bad thing.
While all views are mine, my weekend stay in Cape Otway was provided by the Conservation Ecology Center and Tourism Victoria. The Eco Center relies on lodging, volunteers, grants and donations to fund their work. If you can spare a dollar or two please donate to them so that they can continue the great work.
The Sugar Gliders are actually flying squirrels…right?
Although they look similar, and have similar habits, sugar gliders are marsupials. This makes them very different from squirrels. In fact, we are more related to flying squirrels than sugar gliders are, since we are placental mammals. I guess you could say sugar gliders are flying possums. Really fascinating little things.
I’ve been to the Great Ocean Road twice already, but missed Cape Otway. Will check this place out when I’m there again this December. Thanks for the recommendation, Chris!
-Olivia Ong (Singapore)
I love the Otways! I’ve got great memories of spending a couple of days ‘fishing’ (though not much fishing went on) with my dad every school holidays just outside a little town called Gellibrand. I need to go back sometime!
Eco-centre is one of our favourite places on the coast. Cape Otway is a pretty special place. Lots of koalas and lots of shipwreck history at Cape Otway Lightstation.
Have you been to Otway Fly Tree Top Adventures before?
They have a suspended tree top walk way – very cool! And for the more adventurous you can go Zip Lining through the trees – heck of a lot of fun!