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Posts Tagged ‘rainforest’

The peaceful waters of Lake Elizabeth in the Otway Ranges.

The circuit walk around Lake Elizabeth, just outside of Forrest, is like descending into some forgotten prehistoric forest. Formed in 1952 after a massive landslide dammed the East Barwon River, this newly-formed natural lake was undiscovered until an expeditionary team was sent in to find out why the river had stopped flowing.  It is estimated that the lake originally held more than 1000 million litres of water, and those living downstream were understandably a little nervous! The dirt road down to the start of the walk takes you through towering eucalypt forests and then descends into wet tree-fern lined gullies.  From the car park, you climb steadily beside the river and then down into the valley that hides this peaceful lake, which is home to shy platypus. The circuit walk takes you along the shoreline, past a small ‘beach’, underneath towering tree ferns and extravagant mosses, across duckboards through the reeds at the northern end and back again, with wonderful views across the pristine lake along the way. Dogs are allowed, as long as they remain on lead, though if you want a chance of spotting a platypus, I’d suggest leaving them at home, and timing your walk for dawn or just before dusk – you can also take guided canoe trips on the lake to get up close and personal with the wildlife.  Regardless of the time of day though, and whether you decide to walk or paddle, it’s a very special place.

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Mariner’s Falls Walk, near Paradise, Apollo Bay

After the excitement of Christmas, we have decamped with some other families down to Apollo Bay for a week of surfing and walking while we see in the New Year.  Apollo Bay is a terrific base for exploring the surrounding Otways and Great Ocean Road.  We have been doing lots of lovely short walks with our menagerie of children, ages 6 to 14.  The walking here is very family friendly – lots of rivers, stepping stones, waterfalls, ancient tree fern gullies, fish, roaring waves, rockpools and towering mountain ash trees. I have written up a number of them for the Great Ocean Road Best Walks book, including Mariner’s Falls (just past aptly named ‘Paradise’!), Maits Rest rainforest loop, the Shelley Beach – Elliot River Loop Walk, Blanket Bay and the Cape Otway Light Station.  All of these walks have really appealed to the kids – shady, varied and not too long!  Tomorrow we are going to walk from Aire River camp site along the coastal undercliff escarpment to Castle Cove, which is one of my favourite sections of the Great Ocean Walk. Can’t wait!

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