Great Otways National Park
The Great Otways National Park, is usually a stop over destination for those travelling along Victorias Great Ocean Road. Located in Western Victoria very close to the coast. The Otways cooler climate makes it ideal for lush forests and water falls which are located in the park.
Formally three different parks including the Otways National Park, Angahook and Lorne National Park, Carlisle and Mulba Gully State Parks. These three parks formed and included areas of state forest to form the Great Otways National Park. This new park covers an area of 130,000 hectares.
The park boasts its tall forests, old rain forests, inland slopes, heathlands, woodlands, water falls and many more attractions. All this forest is fringed by the magnificent coastline, arguably the most spectacular coast line in Victoria.
For tens of thousands of years, these forests where lived in by Indigenous Australians. The groups which inhibited these regions where the Wathaurung, Gulidjan, Gadubanud, and Kirrae Whurrong people. Victoria is one of the few parts of Australia where you will find few Indigenous Australians still living in these original regions, because of this the Otways Parks prides itself on showing local Victorians as well as other tourists the culture and history of this lands owners.
The Otways forests have provided trees for logging for 150 years, this peaked in 1961. The forest today is an example of how much time it take for all these trees to re grow and form the lush land that it once was. Also prone to bush fires, the devastating Ash Wednesday fires in 1983 burnt through the Otways, these fires are still a risk to the forest and the wildlife that calls this area home.
Due to the set backs this park has had there are certain rules to abide by when visiting the park, in order to protect this environment so it is still here in years to come it is vital for visitors to respect these rules. Rules include:
* All native plants and animals are protected and are to remain inside the park and left undisturbed.
* Dogs, Cats and Fire arms are not aloud.
* Fires can only be lit in the provided fire places, on total fire ban days this means no fires are to be lit.
* Take all your rubbish home with you.
* Always stay on the walking tracks provided.
There are many special places to visit in the park including the Cape Otway Light station, Cora Lyn Cascades, Erskine Falls, Fiji, Great Ocean Walk, Kalimna Falls, Maits Rest, Melba Gully Board walk and the Straw Falls. As well as there being many activities to help you explore the parks such as Bicycle Tours, Bird Watching, Bush walking, Canoeing and Kayaking, Car Tours, Bus Tours, Coastal Walks, Fishing, Four Wheel Drive Tours, Horse Riding Trails, Mountain and Trail Bike Tours, Spotlight Tours and Night Walks.
There is a Visitors centre and Tour Guides who are happy to show you around the park, help you map your journey, teach you about the culture and history of the park and of course teach you about the local wildlife and flora. To help you explore the park fully there are camping facilities within the National Parks grounds.
The Otways are not only a huge part of Australian history they are a spectacular place to visit.