Colac

Colac is superbly positioned on the doorstep of the Otway Ranges National Park, and the magnificent Great Ocean Road. The area teems with natural wonders, including waterfalls, rainforests and to Volcanic Lakes, Craters and plains in the North.
Predominantly Colac was founded in 1837 for its incredible ability to produce excellence in the agricultural area.
Today Colac is the key commercial, industrial, and service centre for the Shire and surrounding region with a population of 12,000.
Apollo Bay is the other major urban centre with a permanent population of 1,000 which swells to 15,000 during the summer season. The current shire population is 21,316.

 

Colac War Memorial Colac Memorial Gardens Rotunda Colac Shopping Precinct

Barongarook

Driving South from Colac the road begins to rise as you pass through Elliminyt. As you rise over the hill and begin the first few bends you have a breath taking view of the mountains standing between you and the coast. You are in Barongarook as soon as you leave Elliminyt but you do not pass through the centre of the town unless you turn off of the main Gellibrand Road onto Barongarook Road. The local primary school and a tennis club are the extent of the township.
Barongarook views Barongarook Bush

Beeac

Beeac is a township approximately 20 km northeast of Colac, named after a tribal leader whose headquarters were in the nearby Warrion Hills. It was also was also the aboriginal name for salt water or salt lake, referring to the high salt levels in nearby Lake Beeac.

The town was surveyed in 1864 and by the end of 1860s a community was settling and the area was a significant wheat-growing area. A salt works was established to exploit the salt in the lakes and wine was also grown. From the turn of the twentieth century Beeac was a thriving business centre with numerous shops and trades, school, a Mechanic's Institute, a post office, a hospital and two hotels. The railway came to the town in 1884 connecting Beeac with Colac and Ballarat.

The impressive Roman Catholic church, now no longer in use and very visible on the right as you enter Beeac from Colac, was built in 1924. The first Methodist church, measuring 16 ft x 14 ft, was built in 1862 at a cost of £85. It later became a Sunday School. The stone church was built in 1878 at a cost of £700. The Presbyterian church was built in 1861-62. Prior to that services were conducted in private homes by Reverend Hugh Blaiir from Colac. Reverend William Agner was the first minister, serving until 1906. St Augustine's Anglican church was erected in 1898.

Beech Forest

Beech Forest is situated high on the Otway Ranges off the Great Ocean Road between Lavers Hill and Forrest. Part of the road leading to Forrest and Apollo Bay is known as Turtons Track and is one of the highlights of the area with a winding dirt road leading through tall rainforest.
There are several waterfalls in the area including Hopetoun, Triplet and Beauchamp falls.
A sealed road leads to Colac and Lavers Hill.
Beech Forest Visitors Information Centre Otway Fly Red Woods - Beech Forest Hopetoun Falls near Beech Forest

Birregurra

Birregurra 'By the Barwon' at the foot of the Otway Ranges and edge of volcanic plains, only 30 minutes from Lorne on the Great Ocean Road. Birregurra has a population of approximately 688.  A Post Office opened in the area on 1 October 1858 and was renamed Mount Gellibrand in 1894, a few days before another office nearby was opened as Birregurra.

The town is host to the Birregurra Weekend Festival and Art Show which will celebrate its 11th year in October 2010. The festival showcases local food and wine as well as art and music, with local talent such as Jack Simpson. It starts each year at around the month of October.

A produce market is held on the second Sunday of each month where local vendors sell cakes, jewellery, plants, fresh fruit and vegetables and arts and crafts. Organisers hold a barbecue for patrons of the market. The town is full of cafes, serving food and coffee, a local butcher, with local meats and a range of clothes shops.

Birregurra Rotunda Birregurra Town Centre Birregurra Views

Camperdown

Camperdown lies within the 'Lakes and Craters' region, sitting at the foot of Mount Leura which together with nearby Mount Sugarloaf are part of a large extinct volcanic complex known as the "Leura Maar".[9] To the immediate west are the deep volcanic crater lakes Bullen-Merri and Gnotuk while to the east is the crater lake Purrumbete popular for its Trout and Chinook Salmon fishing. It is the starting point of the Crater to Coast Rail Trail which, when completed, will reach Port Campbell. It currently terminates in Timboon.

The town is renowned for its classic historical buildings. Central is the 103-foot (31 m) high Gothic Manifold Clock Tower, built 1897, which sits in a wide Elm lined median between the dual carriageways of Manifold Street, named in honour of one of the pioneer pastoralists. Tower, avenue, Boer War memorial, Soldiers' memorial, memorial cross and JC Manifold statue are all listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Among the many other classic buildings are the 1886-7 two storey Georgian style Court House, the 1863 two storey bluestone (granite) Post Office, Theatre Royal (1890) and Masonic Hall (1867–68).

 

Camperdown Clock Tower Camperdown from the birds Historic Camperdown Post Office

Cobden

Cobden is located amidst low hills near Curdies River, 208 km south-west of Melbourne and 39 km north of Port Campbell. It is a small and picturesque service town of tall flowering trees and about 1400 people within a prosperous and closely settled dairying district. There is a large butter and powdered milk factory in town although its chief appeal is as the gateway for the Twelve Apostles and the spectacular Great Ocean Road.
Cobden Minature Railway Fonterra Factory Cobden Cobden Lake Park

Gellibrand

Gellibrand is located at the foot of the OTWAY RANGES, at the entrance of the CARLISLE STATE PARK and only some 30 kms to the famous MELBA GULLY STATE PARK which is referred to as "the jewel of the Otways".
Rivers in close proximity offer good fishing, Gellibrand River is renowned as "Home of the Blackfish".

The Old Beechy Rail Trail which follows much of the original path of the narrow gauge railway "The Beechy" ran from 1902 until 1962. It passes through Gellibrand to Dinmont then on to Beech Forest and Crowes. It is popular with walking groups and mountain bike riders. The area has scenic forest, rich farmland and rolling hills with the coast not too far away. There is excellent bird life along the trail and rain forest pockets have magnificent eucalypts and blackwoods shading the lush understorey.

The local Store and Post Office is warm and welcoming, offering a range of food and drinks, and gourmet pizzas on a Saturday night. There is also the local pub, which serves appetizing meals 7 days a week.

Distance to Colac is 24 kms, The Great Ocean Road a mere 40 minutes, the "OTWAY FLY" tree-top walk and zip line, and Ridge Café at Beech Forest, is within a 15 minute drive

 

Johanna

Johanna  - Whether suffused with sunshine, bathed in moonlight or rumbling as the mighty rollers break under a thunderous sky, Johanna Beach is one of the most wild and beautiful stretches of coastline easily accessible to the public. Johanna is very easily accessible to the public. Separated from the Great Ocean Road by the bucolic dairy farms of the south west, Johanna is reached by either the Red or Blue Johanna Roads.  With only farm houses and holiday cottages dotting the countryside, and a small onshore campground, the isolation of the beach has preserved the flawless golden sands that reach to towering cliffs and distant headlands. Known by surfers as one of the prime board riding sites in Australia, the famous Bells Beach Surf Classic has been moved to Johanna at times, depending on prevailing winds and ocean currents. Usually, however, the quiet and seclusion of Johanna Beach provide a chance to experience the elemental forces of nature as your footprints break the pristine sands.

 

Johanna Beach Coastline Johanna  Beach Johanna  Beach

Lavers Hill

Lavers Hill is situated on the Great Ocean Road between Port Campbell and Apollo Bay, but on the inland section of the road, north-west of Cape Otway, and at the junction of the roads to Cobden and Colac.

The small commercial centre of the town caters well for tourists, featuring a number of cafes, a bakery, a pub with a bistro, and a couple of information centres. The landmark wood sculpture at the junction of the Great Ocean Road and Colac Road is the "Drift", which is a tribute to the marine environment, prehistoric skeletal finds, shipwrecks and the agricultural machinery of the area, designed by artist James Catell.

Lavers Hill is an area noted for scenic beauty. Perched at highest point on the Great Ocean Road, views can be enjoyed of the rolling hills and timbered forests of the Otway Ranges. Lavers Hill is a handy base for exploring the natural attractions of the area, including the Triplet Falls, Hopetoun Falls and Beauchamp Falls. The Great Otway National Park surrounds much of Lavers Hill, with the Melba Gully section, located just south of the town centre, consisting of rainforests located in one of Victoria's wettest locations, with night visitors being able to view glow worms on trails through the forests. Around a 20 minute drive north-east of Lavers Hills is the Otway Fly - an elevated tree top walk through an exquisitely beautiful beech myrtle forest, featuring a 45 metre high lookout tower.

Some attractive beaches can be found within an easy drive from Lavers Hill. 12 kilometres south of Lavers Hill is the remote surfing spot of Johanna Beach. Glenaire, further east along the coast, is noted for good fishing and is popular with surfers, with scenic views available from the car park lookout above Castle Cove.

Lavers Hill Icon Lavers Hill Eatery Beach south of Lavers Hill

Swan Marsh

Swan Marsh is a town in the Western District of Victoria, Australia. The town is located in the Colac Otway Shire local government area, 168 kilometres (104 mi) south west Melbourne.

The area around Swan Marsh was first settled by Europeans in the mid 19th century. The area was described as "“wet, marshy land, forest and some beautiful cleared rich gently sloping high land."The swamps were drained using bullock teams and hand labour to install large drains—the beginnings of the Tirrengower Drainage Scheme. The name "Swan Marsh" was derived from the swans prevalent in the local area. In 1907, the area saw closer settlement with 60-acre (24 ha) blocks created and allocated mainly to young families. The Swan Marsh dairy, operated by the Colac and District Company, was built in 1901. From the 1930s to its closure in 1956, the dairy produced casein.

Swan Marsh today has four businesses: the post office, the general store/take away food outlet, a peat mine and a water carter. Community facilities include the football ground/recreation reserve, public hall, tennis courts and a speedway circuit. The town hosts a Country Fire Authority volunteer brigade.Swan Marsh Primary School services the town.

 

Swan Marsh houses

Warrion

Warrion is a village in south west Victoria, Australia. Its buildings include a motor vehicle and farm equipment workshop, the Ti Tree Hotel, a church, a fire brigade station manned by volunteers and a community hall. Warrion sits at the foot of Warrion Hill.  Main rural industries included cropping of peas and onions, and dairy farming. Warrion has important groundwater resources which are used widely in local farming activities.
Warrion Community Hall