Things to do in Melbourne

Visiting the Great Otway National Park from Melbourne

Last Updated:

Ranked amongst Australia’s most diverse natural landscapes, the Great Otway National Park in Victoria is a great place to spend a relaxing day with your family. Rich in nature and heritage, the Otways is well-known for its treetop adventures, tall forests, spectacular waterfalls and fern-laden valleys.

The park lies along the Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s most beautiful coastlines. With a travel path that includes limestone cliffs, sandy beaches and quaint seaside towns as you make your way into the dense rainforest, the journey is as much of an experience as the destination.

What Makes The Great Otway National Park Special?

Some of Australia’s best rainforest scenery comes together at the otway ranges. Tall, dense and diverse, the park has plenty to offer. On one side of the park, you will see rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, limestone rock formations and soaring mountains. On the other, tall forests, ferny gullies, and cascading waterfalls. A spectacular sight from any point!

Along with the scenery, there is also plenty of opportunity for adventure and relaxation. With the Otway fly treetop adventures, you can take an exhilarating walk 47 meters above the forest floor or zipline through the treetops. The tranquil lakes and waterfalls make great spots to relax or set up camp around and the dense forest setting is a great place to spot native australian wildlife.

With plenty to see and do, a day trip to the National Park is bound to be fun-filled and action-packed.

Otway Fly Treetop Adventures

Otway Fly Treetop Adventures is the ultimate outdoor-nature experience and is located only 20 minutes from the start of the Great Ocean Road.
Experience a birds eye view of the magnificent Otway Ranges from the world's tallest tree top walk.

Other Things to do at The Otway National Park

Discover Wildlife

Koalas great otway national park

Home to several native Australian specifies, a visit to the park is an excellent opportunity for some furry encounters. Look towards the trees to find sleepy Koala’s wedged between branches and native birds like the kookaburra, cockatoo or even the pink robin. Witness Kangaroos and Wallabies hop about and canoe through Lake Elizabeth to try and spot the Elusive Platypus.

Visit The Waterfalls

 great otway waterfalls

Trek through lush ferns that unfold into magnificent cascading waterfalls. The level of difficulty for each trek varies, but the views are well worth it. Don't miss visiting the Triplet Falls, Hopetoun Falls, Beauchamp Falls, Stevenson Falls and Sabine Falls.

Discover Lake Elizabeth

lake elizabeth

Located on East Barwon River within the Otway State Forest, the lake was formed over 50 years ago due to artificial flooding in the valley. Discover the calm waters and incredible beauty that surrounds the lake. The best time to visit is dusk, as glow worms and platypus are frequently spotted at the time.

Visit the Cape Otway Lightstation

cape otway lightstation

Built in 1848 after many tragic shipwrecks along the coast, the Cape Otway lightstation is Australia's most important lighthouse. Enjoy the spectacular views and learn about Australia’s war history over storytelling sessions with local guides. Entry fees to the lighthouse apply.

  • Adult - $19.50
  • Child- $7.50

Explore the Californian Redwood Forest

redwood forest great otway national park

The Redwood forest was planted as a logging experiment in the 1930s. As the logging never took place, the trees have now grown to a height of about 60 metres and is a magnificent sight. Enjoy the serenity of the forest and take a walk under the tall Californian Redwood trees.

Pack a Picnic

picnics great otway national park

With picnic opportunities abound, be sure to pack a picnic basket to enjoy among the many lovely settings the park offers.

Camping at Great Otway National Park

Extra time on your hands for an overnight adventure? The park offers excellent camping opportunities for a night under the stars.

Aire River West Campground Located on the banks of the Aire River Estuary, this area is home to plenty of native wildlife. This campsite is also a great place to go bird watching, fishing, swimming and canoeing.

Blanket Bay Campground Located by the beach, the area offers great walking tracks and picturesque views.

Lake Elizabeth campground A short walk from the Lake Elizabeth circuit walk, this area is home to a magnitude of native bird species including the Satin Bower Bird. You may also be able to spot platypus swimming at the boardwalk.

How to get to the Great Otway National Park from Melbourne?

The Great Otway National Park lies on The Great Ocean Road, stretching from Torquay and goes up through the Otways hinterland.

Located 210km from Melbourne’s CBD, there are a few transport options you can choose from to get to the Great Otway National Park.

By Car
With a total travel time of 2 hours and 45 minutes, travelling by car is the quickest and easiest way to get to the Great Otway National Park. For car rentals, there are several options you can choose from like Cheaper car rentals Or Europcar
When travelling from Melbourne CBD, this is one route you can consider. Drive onto the Westgate Freeway, continue on the Princes Hwy, take the Torquay exit and journey down the scenic Great Ocean Road to reach the park.

By Train
If you would like to get to the national park by train, you can board the V/Line train from Melbourne’s southern cross station to either Geelong or Warrnambool. From there, there are daily connecting bus services.

By Bus
There are daily busses that run from Geelong Station, and every wednesday from Colac Station, serviced by the Melbourne - Warrnambool train line.

However, bus and train schedules vary and are not available 24/7. Schedules can be found here

Insider Tips

  • Carry appropriate clothing for all weather conditions
  • As weather conditions are unpredictable, It is advisable to check ahead for updates to local conditions. You can find this information on the Parks Victoria Website
  • It is best to carry snacks and a bottle of water with you as convenience stores are not easily found along the great ocean road

Discover more of The Great Ocean Road

Stretched over 243 kilometers, the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most scenic drives. In addition to visiting the Great Otway National Park, you can also opt for a full day tour of the stunning Great Ocean Road. Read on for our top guided tour picks.

1. Great Ocean Road Day Tour

Take a drive down the incredible Great Ocean Road on this guided day tour, covering numerous stunning sights along the way. Visit the picturesque seaside towns of Anglesea and Lorne, and explore the Cape Otway Lighthouse. Spot koalas as you drive through Otway National Park, before heading to the Shipwreck Coast and conclude your tour at the magnificent Twelve Apostles.

2. Great Ocean Road Sunset Tour

Catch the magnificent coastal views as you drive along the Great Ocean Road. Explore various landmarks along the coast, like the Memorial Arch and Loch Ard Gorge as you learn interesting facts about the famous shipwreck. Explore the seaside towns of Anglesea, Lorne, and Apollo Bay and admire their picture-perfect beauty. Conclude your tour with an unforgettable sunset at the Twelve Apostles.