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Forrest

Great Otway National Park

The Forrest section of Great Otway National Park, along with Otway Forest Park, encompasses a stunning landscape including undulating plains and plateaus of the hinterlands and magnificent Mountain Ash forests. Mountain bike riding and bird watching along peaceful Lake Elizabeth are among a range of pursuits to be enjoyed here.
Explore the Lake Elizabeth Loop Walk and and its forested hinterland. A massive landslide in 1952 dammed the East Barwon River, turning the remote forested valley into the lake you see today.

A colony of shy platypus live in the timber-flanked lake. The quiet visitor may see them at at dusk or dawn foraging in the shallow waters. Bird enthusiasts may be treated to birdsong and sightings of Striated Fieldwrens, Rufous Bristlebirds, and Pink Robins. A number of excellent bird apps are useful guides to birdsong and recognition.

Streams and rivers throughout the park and provide great opportunities for fishing. Cast a line at the West Barwon Dam for your chance to catch trout and redfin or the East Barwon River for Brown Trout.

The tranquil Lake Elizabeth Campground is nestled beneath tall eucalypts on the bank of the east branch of the small Barwon River. This is a dogs-on-lead camping opportunity and it is separate to the Day Visitor Area. The lake is a 1km walk from the visitor area .

Beautiful picnic areas of the Great Otway National Park and Otway Forest Park include Lake Elizabeth, Dandos Campground, Birnham Station and Stevensons Falls Campground.

You can also explore and enjoy the natural environment of this part of the Otways on horseback, mountain bike, or in a four wheel drive vehicle.

The roads in the Wonga and Barongarook areas of the Otway Forest Park are ideal for horse riding as there are a number of wider, slashed roadsides.

Mountain bike riders of all levels are catered for by more than 60km of formed tracks and a 12km mountain bike loop linking the Forrest township with West Barwon Reservoir and Lake Elizabeth.

For driving enthusiasts, a range of formed tracks and roads provide four-wheel drive access throughout the parks. Seasonal track closures may apply.

Things to do

 
A couple in their later twenties enjoy a joke while at their campsite at Lake Elizabeth Campground in the Great Otway National Park.

Lake Elizabeth Campground

Lake Elizabeth Campground is a dogs-on-lead camping area sheltered by tall eucalypt trees and nestled beside the Barwon River.
A young mountain biker attempts a drop while cheered on by his father and older sister at the You Yangs Regional Park.

Mountain biking

Explore parks on two wheels with mountain bike trails to suit most experience and fitness levels.
A Land Rover Defender attempts a river crossing in the Alpine National Park.

4WD

Enjoy a range of short and long 4WD trips in Victoria's parks. From the desert or mountains, to the rainforest or snow, 4WD tracks cater for all levels of skill and expertise.
Two friends fish off the back a boat on a misty morning on Lake Eildon.

Fishing

In quiet lakes and gently flowing rivers, in the pounding surf or in the depths beneath your boat – the waters of Victoria’s parks and reserves offer some prize catches.
Two women ride horses along a dirt path in the You Yangs Regional Park.

Horse riding

Explore the landscape on horseback to appreciate the solitude and peace of the natural environment. Victoria's parks offer a variety of horse riding experiences.

How to get there

Forrest

Two major roads connect Colac with Great Otway National Park and Otway Forest Park, including Colac-Lavers Hill Road and Colac-Forrest Road. From the west, approach via Port Campbell along the Great Ocean Road.

When to go

Enjoy the shady fern gullies, towering forest and tranquil lake waters.

Need to know

Forrest

Change of Conditions

Nature being nature, sometimes conditions can change at short notice. It’s a good idea to check this page ahead of your visit for any updates.

  • Notices Affecting Multiple Parks

    Garvey Track Closed until further notice.

    Garvey track will remain closed until further notice. Major road works are due to occur when conditions are suitable. 

  • Cora Lynn Campground (Great Otway National Park)

    Cora Lynn Campground Closure

    This campground is closed until further notice due to hazardous trees.

  • Kalimna Falls Walk (Great Otway National Park)

    Upper Kalimna Walking Trail Closed

    Walking trail to Upper Kalimna Falls closed until further notice due to storm damage. Lower Falls remain open.

  • Kalimna Tramline Link Walk (Great Otway National Park)

    Kalimna Tramline Trail Closed

    This walking track is closed due to damage to a pedestrian bridge. Walkers can still access the Lower Kalimna Waterfall via the Kalimna Falls Walking Track, which starts at Sheoak Picnic Area.

  • Sharps Campground (Great Otway National Park)

    Sharps Campground Permanently Closed

    Due to environmental and safety risks, Sharps campground will be permanently closed from Thursday 22nd December 2022.

    For more information please see attached fact sheet.

    Attachments: Sharps Campground closure Fact sheet (200KB)

  • Great Otway National Park

    Trail closures due to severe weather damage.

    • St George River Walk is closed between Allenvale Campground and Cherry Tree Creek
    • Cumberland River Walking Trail is closed

    Lifejackets Required For Rock Fishers from March 1, 2022

    A two-year trial of new laws that require rock fishers to wear a lifejacket at high-risk locations will commence on 1 March 2022.
     
    For Great Otway National Park this includes:
    • Artillery Rocks, west of Lorne
    • The rock platform opposite Sheoak Falls, south of Lorne

    This factsheet includes maps of the affected areas.
     
    Fines apply if you don’t wear a lifejacket at these sites.
     
    To find out more, visit Victorian Fisheries Authority 

  • Maits Rest Rainforest Walk (Great Otway National Park)

    Maits Rest Carpark- bus access

    Maits Rest Carpark is suitable for small coaster buses only. Large buses or coaches are advised to use Melba Gully walk track near Lavers Hill.

  • Melba Gully Day Visitor Area (Great Otway National Park)

    Melba Gully - Large bus access

    Melba Gully Walk Track and picnic area is accessible for large coaches. Toilet facilities are available on site

  • Sheoak Picnic Area (Great Otway National Park)

    No All-Abilities Toilet at Sheoak Picnic Area

    No all-abilities toilet access at Sheoak Picnic Area. Portable toilets temporarily in use.

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