Lavers Hill is a small township on the inland section of the Great Ocean Road to the north west of Cape Otway. The township is located approximately 205 kilometres south-west of the state capital, Melbourne.
Where is it?: Lavers Hill is 48 kilometres inland from Port Campbell and 48 kilometres from Apollo Bay.
Tourist information is located at the newest establishment in Lavers Hill. Built from recycled local materials “The Shoppe” showcases the produce and products of the local residents and has an onsite cafe serving homemade pastries and great coffee. Lavers Hill is a favourite among tourist hotspots as it is only half an hour to the Twelve Apostles, an hour to Colac, is on the Great Ocean Road, is half an hour to the Otway Fly, and is less than an hour to Apollo Bay. It is the meeting point of the roads to Colac, Cobden, Apollo Bay and Port Campbell.
Otway Fly Treetop Walk
The Otway Fly Treetop Walk is the highest and longest steel canopy walk in the world. Walking among the trees is a magical way to spend a day of your trip. To complete the walk takes around 1 hour depend on how many photos you take.The 600 metre-long, 25 metre-high elevated walkway provides unrivalled views of the unique beauty of the region s flora and fauna, from the rainforest floor up into the soaring heights of the treetops. Don t miss the 45 metre tall Spiral Tower and the cantilever perched above Young s Creek – a truly exhilarating experience as you gently sway with the rainforest canopy.
The Otway Fly Treetop Walk is located within Great Otway Naqtional Park, a popular area for interstate and international tourists, with companies operating tours in the region. It contains three camping areas at Johanna, Aire River and Blanket Bay. The park is accessed from the east via Apollo Bay, from the north via Forrest or Beech Forest, or from the west via Princetown. The park covers both coastline and hinterland in the Otway Ranges and so includes both beaches and forest, accessible via walking trails. The park and the Aire River campground are home to a significant koala population. The Cape Otway Lighthouse is adjacent to the park and is open to tourists throughout the week. Migrating whales and dolphins such as southern right and southern humpback, and bottlenose dolphins can be observed from the coasts.
Triplet Falls is one of the iconic visitor sites in the Great Otway National Park. Nestled amongst the ancient forests of Mountain Ash and Myrtle Beech, you will discover three distinct and impressive cascades flowing through shady rainforests and glades of mossy tree ferns. This beautiful area is set in the ancient forest and provides views into the lower cascades and the majestic main falls. A small picnic area is also available for visitors to relax and enjoy the beautiful surrounds.
Enjoy the history and story of this rainforest, supported by the signs that lead you around the walk. Distance: 2km Time: 1hr loop. Steep steps unsuitable for people with limited mobility. Platforms provide you with spectacular views of Triplet Falls lower and upper cascades. To reach Triplet Falls, follow the signs from the Beech Forest – Lavers Hill Road, the falls are 3km past the Otway Fly.
Originally a narrow gauge railway built for moving timber and passengers in the early 1900’s, the Old Beechy Rail Trail is now a compacted earth cycle trail running from Colac to Beech Forest. The trail, best suited for mountain, hybrid or E-bikes is 50km in length and takes visitors from rich farmland and rolling hills to pine forests and lush bushland. On route, the Old Beechy Rail Trail passes several small towns including Barongarook, Kawarren, and Gellibrand. These towns, popular for activities in and out of the saddle, allow riders a break and a chance to refuel with a coffee and some delicious treats. These towns also provide opportunities for riders to shorten the length of the trail by starting or finishing at places other than Colac or Beech Forest.
In the 1880’s, European settlers began clearing the Otway forest. Transport and access was limited so a narrow gauge railway was built from Colac to Beech Forest in 1902 and then to Crowes in 1911. Sawmills were established in the forest and timber tramways were built to carry logs and timber to the railway line. There were over 30mills in the area. The Old Beechy Rail Trail follows the original narrow gauge railway called the ‘Beechy’. This train used to bring timber from the forests and ran from 1902 until 1962.
When travelling the Great Ocean Road from Apollo Bay, it passes through the Barham and Aire River Valleys, rising and descending through the tall trees that make up the regrown forest of the Great Otway National Park. Many of the mountain ash gums are only thirty years old but already they tower above the road rising pencil straight a hundred feet. The monsters that were targeted by the early loggers were enormous with girths of 60-70 feet and rising well over 100 metres but trees of this dimension are long gone in the logging fest that took place in the early pioneering days. Now protected, these forests are managed and are replenishing themselves. In the cool temperate rainforest at Maits Rest there is a protected 300 year old Myrtle Beech tree, glow worms can be found here at night.
Melba Gully is a stretch of forest that has been in private hands and therefore protected from the ravages of de-forestation. This patch of rainforest is home to many dinosaur finds and is also noted for its glow worms. Known as the Jewel of the Otways, Melba Gully is one of the wettest places in the state. The gully has prolific plant growth and is a dense rainforest of Myrtle Beech, Blackwood and Tree-ferns, with an understorey of low ferns and mosses. Perhaps the most unusual inhabitants of the area are the glow worms, which can be seen at night along the walking tracks.
The 35 minute Madsen’s Track Nature Walk departs from the picnic area, providing an adventure into a world of ancient, mossy trees and cool fern gullies. Picnic tables, a gas barbecue and toilets are provided at this site. Camping is not permitted. Melba Gully is 1.5 km off the Great Ocean Road, 3 km west of Lavers Hill. The access road is suitable for conventional vehicles.
Lavers Hill was named after two settlers from Gippsland called Stephen and Frank Laver. The first saw mill was opened in 1900 and so was the church next to the College. Old families from as far back as the 1880s still reside near Lavers Hill, e.g. Speight, Hampshire and Farrell. Development of Lavers Hill happened quickly. Lavers Hill depended on logging and agriculture for its income. It also is dependent on tourism. A bank was opened in 1906, the community hall was opened, a cheese factory and butcher shop were built and also a hotel. A lot of these businesses have closed down. The Community hall was literally blown over in 1930 and rebuilt in 1933. The hotel was burnt down in 1919 and again in 1930. The cheese factory closed and so did the butcher.
Otway Fly Tower
Maits Rest Rainforest Walk
Old steam locomotive boiler at Dinmont on the Old Beechy Rail Trail