Situated on Hayley Point and facing Mounts Bay just 2.5 kms from the township of Apollo Bay, Marengo is both quiet and exclusive. Marengo is on a very popular stretch of coast for fishing, with the beaches and rock platforms giving good access to holes and gullies. Marengo and Swell Point have relatively safe bathing beaches. Storm Point is dominated by rocks and has small beaches on both sides. The reefs at Marengo, called Infinities, are popular with surfers, as they provide left and right handers during moderate to high swells. They are the only rideable waves along this rocky section of coast.
The Marengo Reef Sanctuary ensures the wildlife is undisturbed and there is plenty of it. On any given day you can watch the seals basking in the sun on the outer reef. It is a haul out where seals come to take rest. Not only does Marengo have a marine reserve it has a flora and fauna reserve as well. The area to the rear of Marengo is set aside so you can enjoy the peaceful setting of the natural surrounds without interference of cars or trail bikes.
Shelly Beach is one of many beautiful places in the Great Otway National Park to picnic. The Shelly Beach Picnic Area consists of several picnic tables, an information shelter and a unisex pit toilet. There are no barbecues. The path from the picnic area down to Shelly beach is very steep in sections and has steps. It is not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers. Starting at the Shelly Beach Picnic Area a 2.4 km circuit walking track traverses through fern gullies, coastal scrub, along Shelly Beach and across rocky platforms to Elliot River. Return through a majestic stand of blue gums inhabited by koalas and nocturnal Yellow-bellied Gliders. Access to Shelly Beach is via Elliot River Road, Marengo.
The surrounding area is full of interesting lookouts and picnic spots. In the mountains behind Apollo Bay there are day and half day walks from Barham Paradise Scenic Reserve and Marriners Falls, the exceptionally beautiful Barham River Valley via the Barham River Road from Apollo Bay, Grey River Scenic Reserve and Walk (23 km east of Apollo Bay), Elliot River and Elliot River Walk (10 km south-west of Apollo Bay). Marriners Lookout provides panoramic views across the town below and is a popular take-off point for hang gliders.
Grey River Picnic Area
Grey River is one of many pleasant picnic areas to choose from in the Otways. There are toilets and picnic tables at the Grey River Picnic Area. Glow worms are often found near this picnic area. These lovely little worms are not actually worms – they are the larvae of fly-like insects called fungus gnats. The larvae prey on small insects who are attracted to the glow from their abdomen and then trapped in the sticky threads. Take a torch to find your way along the tracks after dark, but avoid shining the light directly at the glow worms. Torches, loud noises or touching them may disturb the glow worms causing these shy creatures to ‘switch off’ their light and hide away. To reach the Picnic Area, follow Grey River Road from Kennett River.
Maits Rest Rainforest Walk
Maits Rest Picnic Ground is located 17 km west of Apollo Bay, just off the Great Ocean Road. The Maits Rest Rainforest Walk is a 30-minute stroll through fern gullies and eucalypts to a viewing platform beneath a 300-year-old myrtle beech which is on the National Trust register. It is an unusual growth combining two or three trees in one. The route is wheelchair accessible.
Cape Patton Lookout offers spectacular views east towards Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek. This lookout lies east of Apollo Bay and just off the Great Ocean Road.
Paradise Valley Picnic Ground
Paradise Valley Scenic Ride
This ride, through prepared for mountain bikers, can be followed in the main by motor vehicles, or if you are looking for a full day walk, on foot. This ride, unlike most other rides in the Otway Ranges is not overly challenging for cyclists or walkers as it gently climbs through Paradise Valley toward Mariner s Falls. Only the last small section is slightly wild with a few stepping stone crossings over the Barham River and the narrow track leading up to the falls. This ride reaches into the tranquillity and beauty of the Otway Ranges: filtered sun rays through fern groves, towering mountain ash, musty perfumes of the bush and the final reward of Mariner s Falls.
Some of Australia’s best rainforest scenery can be found in the Otway Ranges. Many walkways in Great Otway National Park have been created to give access to the tall trees, ancient plant life and lush ferns. You can walk among giant tree ferns at Maits Rest or experience the full beauty of the rainforest on the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk. There are many waterfalls in the national park’s narrow valleys, ranging from the impressive Triplet Falls to secluded falls over fern-fringed pools. Spot native wildlife such as glow worms at Melba Gully, the elusive platypus at Lake Elizabeth or koalas at nearby Kennett River.
The park is 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.
The Great Ocean Road, which passes along the picturesque Shipwreck Coast, featuring some of the most dramatic coastal scenery in Australia. The coastline contained within Port Campbell National Park is what those who drive the Great Ocean Road come to see – sheer limestone cliffs overlooking offshore islets, rock stacks, gorges, arches, and blow-holes. As part of the Shipwreck Coast, it hosts several well known attractions; including The Twelve Apostles, the London Arch (formerly London Bridge), Loch Ard Gorge, the Gibson Steps, and The Grotto.
Beyond Marengo the Great Ocean Road 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.
Maits Rest Rainforest Walk
After the turnoff to Cape Otway and its lighthouse the next settlement is Lavers Hill, a small township that sits on a crossroads at the highest ridge on the Otway Ranges at just under 500 metres. Close by is Melba Gully, 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.
Surf Coast Walk
The 35 km Surf Coast Walk can be followed in either direction, along the coast. Offering natural beauty and easy access, the Walk lets you relax and enjoy a world-class walking destination at your own pace. Many distinctive tracks invite you to explore inspiring landscapes on foot or bike beyond the edge of Victoria s beautiful Great Ocean Road. Discover ancient Aboriginal traditions, fascinating surf culture and abundant wildlife as the walk connects you with the coastal town comforts of Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. Whether you’re a nature lover or a fun lover, whether you take an hour, a day or a week, the Surf Coast Walk puts a stunning and unique coastal environment within easy reach.
The Great Ocean Walk stretches 104 kms from Apollo Bay, to within sight of the magnificent 12 Apostles. It weaves through beautiful National Parks, deserted beaches and pristine marine sanctuaries. Cape Otway, the first major feature on the walk, has dramatic cliffs, secluded beaches and the historic Cape Otway Lighthouse (1846-48). The big skies and wild nature of the Walk will astound you. Discover the region s diversity of plants, animals and scenery. Weave your way through tall forests, coastal heathlands, beside wild rocky shores and along windswept cliff-tops presenting amazing views.
There are some sections of the Great Ocean Walk that are accessible for visitors with mobility limitations and for families with strollers. These sections vary in level of difficulty and are dependent on the type of mobility equipment used. Visitors to the Great Ocean Walk are required to travel in an east to west direction. Allow 8 days to complete the whole walk.