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Beech Forest

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Beech Forest

Located 43 km south of Colac on the northern edge of the Otway Ranges, Beech Forest is a tiny township which achieved its moment of national fame in 1983 when a 61-year-old local potato farmer, Cliff Young, won the Sydney to Melbourne Ultra Marathon.  Now Beech Forest is the home to many wonderful food and primary producers as well as the centre of the Otway Harvest Trail.

The town was named after the Beech (myrtle) trees which abound in the local area.  It was first settled by Europeans in the 1880s as a result of pressure to open the Otway Ranges to settlement.  The first land selection occurred in 1884 and the first pub was built four years later.  It is claimed that the pub was completed using timber from a single giant mountain ash.

With the abundance of this kind of timber, Beech Forest quickly became a major centre for the local timber industry.  There were 29 timber mills in district at one point.

This was compounded when, in 1902, the railway from Colac arrived. It was a narrow gauge railway and when it was extended to Crowes it became the longest narrow gauge railway in Victoria.  The railway provided transport for local timber and huge stands of beech, blackwood and ash were cut down.  This historic route is now home to the popular Old Beechy Rail Trail, where walkers or cyclists can experience picturesque forests, farmland and abundant wildlife.

During the period from the end of World War I the town became a major centre for potato production because of its acclaimed fertile soil.  In 1919 a bushfire destroyed the town and was rebuilt to the east of the original site.

Beech Forest is a central point to access some of the Otways beautiful waterfalls and scenic drives:

  • Triplet Falls & Little Aire Falls - 4 km west of Beech Forest.
  • Beauchamp Falls & Hopetoun Falls - approximately 7km south east of Beech Forest
  • Old Beech Rail Trail
  • California Redwoods - a spectacular forest of giant Californian Redwoods (Sequoia trees) planted in 1939.
  • Turtons Track - east of Beech Forest this is a beautiful 17km tourist route through thick rainforest vegetation.
  • Otway Fly Treetop Adventures - a spectacular 600 metre long, 25 metre high elevated treetop walk.

Download a copy of the Walks & Waterfalls Guide here

Highlights

Otways Forest, Walks & Waterfalls Tours

Beginning in Skenes Creek, the Otway Forests, Walks and Waterfalls tour heads inland toward Turtons Track, a winding stretch of road that looks like it was built for a sports car commercial. Stop at Beech Forest for a coffee before continuing to the Otway Fly and cascading Triplet Falls. Back on the road, head towards the Cape Otway Lightstation. Between May and October keep a lookout for koalas and whales. Back on the road heading toward Apollo Bay, stop at Maits Rest and follow the wooden boardwalk through an ancient forest to a 300 year old Myrtle Beech tree. Finish in Apollo Bay, perhaps with some fresh local fish and a glass of wine. Further details and maps for the Otway Forests, Walks and Waterfalls Tour are available at local visitor information centres.

Otway Fly Treetop Adventures

Otway Fly Treetop Adventures - One Location two adventures. Located in Victoria's magnificent Otways providing visitors with a unique opportunity to view the forest from a bird's eye view through its two unique eco-adventure experiences, the famous Tree Top walk and Zip Line tour. The Tree Top Walk - the longest and tallest elevated walk of its kind in the world. At 600 metres long and 30 metres above ground level. A 45 metre high lookout is ascended via a spiral stairway through the under story to emerge amongst the crowns of the giants of the forest, whilst the springboard cantilever bounces precariously high over picturesque Young's Creek. The walk is a 1.9 kilometres round walk starting from the visitor centre and takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour to complete. The walk is full of quality interpretive panels educating our visitor on the forest and surrounds on display. For the thrill seeker Zip lining is the perfect adrenaline fuelled activity where you can Zip across the treetops in this unique forest experience, gaining a bird's-eye view of Otways beautiful forests. The Zip Line tour involves traversing from one platform to another connected by tree platforms called 'cloud stations', and attached so steel cable suspended up to 30 metres above the forest floor. This exciting adventure lasts 3 hours and is unlike any other experience, we recommend pre booking the Zip Line Tour via the Otway Fly Tree Top Adventures website. The visitor centre is home to a licensed cafe which seats up to 100 people. The car-park also provides for Campervans, Caravans and Coaches. Group bookings can be made and need to be booked in advance, guided tours and catering are available for these bookings.

Old Beechy Trail

Running between Colac and Beech Forest, the trail traverses an railway line, rainforest, creeks, streams and open farmland. The 45km track is surfaced with gravel and some dirt road/heavy gravel in shorter sections. A word of advice that may influence your travel direction – Gellibrand is the lowest point and Beech Forest one of the highest.

Turtons Track

A stretch of road that takes perfect curves through towering rainforest, a drive along Turtons Track will have you feeling like the star of a new sports car commercial. It is considered the prettiest section of road in the forest, linking Tanybryn with Beech Forest.

Ride Forrest

Forrest is one of Australia's best mountain bike destinations. With over 60 kilometres of purpose built single track, there is more than three days of riding here. You can stay in a variety of accommodation options and ride right from your front door of your accommodation. Forrest is the gateway to the Otways, with places to stay, eat and ride. Platypus tours are also available. Visit the Ride Forrest website to find all you need to know about Forrest and Mountain Bike riding in the Otways.

Great Ocean Walk

The Great Ocean Walk, on Victoria's spectacular west coast, stretches 104km from the idyllic resort town of Apollo Bay, to within sight of the magnificent 12 Apostles. Weave through beautiful National Parks, walk deserted beaches and gaze over pristine marine sanctuaries. Step on and off the trail with convenience; enjoy comfortable accommodation and excellent local meals or pitch your tent at wildly picturesque spots along the way. You can walk at your own pace and within your own timeframe along the Great Ocean Walk. Short walks of up to 3 hours long are available and take in old shipwrecks, historic lighthouses and lookouts. Or, take a full-day walk and experience breathtaking ocean views, stunning waterfalls, lush forest, and more natural wonders. The full walk from Apollo Bay to Glenample, within sight of the 12 Apostles, is an 8 day, 7 night walk. There are hike in campsites along the way, or for a more luxurious approach stay in quality accommodation properties nearby and have licensed tour operators shuttle you and your belongings back and forth each day.

Otway Harvest Trail

The unique combination of aspect, soils, climate and farming practices of the Otway hinterland produce distinctive and exceptional flavours in our produce that cannot be found anywhere else. The Otway Harvest Trail is a celebration of the seasons that bestow their rich bounty on a luscious part of Victoria. Spring is a time of plenty and promise. As the winter gives way to warm sunny days, see the bright patchwork of yellow canola fields appear, the farmers out mowing their grass and baling their hay and the spring lambs frolicking on a frosty morning. The first berries appear. Green shoots can be seen in the vineyards as the vines burst their buds and flowers and spring vegetables appear at farm gate stalls. New release wines can be found at cellar doors. Summer is all about being outdoors. All the berry farms have opened and their sweet juicy berries are ripe for the picking. The lush emerald green of the vineyards become more distinctive as the land around slowly turns a golden brown. People clamour for outdoor tables and chairs at cafés and restaurants to soak in the warm days, mild evenings and glorious pastel sunsets. Local wines and beers go so well with the seafood, vegetables and fruits in plentiful supply. Wine lovers are welcomed at cellar doors and their curiosity is rewarded with the discovery of new wines. Autumn is a time of harvest. The days become still and warm, and the crisp cool nights are perfect for sleeping. With the winter rains not far away, the wineries are busy harvesting their fruit and the vignerons hands become garnet red as they nurture the new wines through their ferment. It is also time to harvest the olives from their groves before the first frosts of winter arrive. Smell the fruity aroma of the extra virgin olive oil as it flows from the presses. The last of the berries are picked. Winter is a time for taking stock of the seasons passed and making ready for the farming year ahead. The farmers plough their fields and sow their winter crops. Vineyards, olive groves and orchards are pruned and readied for a new season. Fences are mended. The days shorten and become colder. Cattle turn their backs to the wind. Dams pent over the summer begin to refill. Root vegetables appear at the farm gate stands. It’s a time for reflection and for savouring the joys of recently harvested produce. Lengthy conversations occur over bottles of wine in front of toasty log fires. Eventually the tell tale signs of another Spring begin to appear.

Glow worms in the Otways

The Otways has worms. Glorious little glow worms can be found at sites throughout the Otway National Park after dark. They are generally found in dark, damp places - like soil banks with overhanging ledges, along creek embankments and beside walking tracks. The worms are not actually worms, rather they are the larvae of fly-like insects called fungus gnats. The larvae prey on small insects - as such they produce sticky threads. The glow emitted from their abdomen attracts insects who are then trapped in the sticky threads. Glow worms are shy creatures - torches, loud noises or touching them may disturb the glow worms and case them to 'switch off' their light and retreat into a crack. Glow worms are often found at Melba Gully, and near the Grey River Picnic Area at Kennett River. It's a good idea to take a torch to find your way along the tracks after dark, but avoid shining the light directly at the glow worms.

Calma Candles

Calma Candles are pure essential oil candles, that are hand poured and created on site. The Calma Candles are sold directly to the public from their aromatic workshop on the Great Ocean Road near Lavers Hill. Lavers Hill is a perfect stop as you head to, or from the 12 Apostles. Calma Candles was established ten years ago and has become part of the Otways and the Great Ocean Road journey. Using a good amount of beautiful natural plant extracts in every aromatic candle and making their candles and products fresh mean you get a delightful and unique piece of pure indulgence from the region. The Calma Candles range consists of aromatic essential oil candles, soy massage candles and melts as well as beeswax candles. Calma Candles also sell essential oil room diffusers and other handcrafted goods. A pop up studio is open most days, although please call if you are making a special trip.

Longhorn YOUnique Tours

Longhorn YOUnique Tours travel to the Great Ocean Road, the Otway's Rainforest, Grampians, Phillip Island, the Yarra Valley and can also customise a tour to suit. You will see spectacular scenery, wildlife in their natural environment, learn about the area's history and culture, enjoy homemade treats and great accommodation as Longhorn's expert guides take you on a journey of discovery. Eco Tourism and Respecting their Culture accredited, Longhorn YOUnique Tours is a family owned business operated by Garry and Shirley Hamel, two Australians who know and understand the beauty of the country they live in. With a range of tours from one day to multiple day tours and private or customised tours to choose from. Longhorn YOUnique Tours believe that guests should not feel rushed so their tours are conducted in small groups travelling in luxury four wheel-drive vehicles with your comfort and needs a top priority. A maximum of six people on each tour will give you a personalised experience to remember. Longhorn YOUnique Tours are part of the Extinction Fighters program and have adopted a Tasmanian Devil at Healesville Sanctuary. Fee wireless internet onboard all tours. Contact the friendly staff at Longhorn YOUnique Tours to enquire.

Apollo Bay Fishing

There are loads of great fishing spots in and around Apollo Bay. Try near the harbour, from the beach or just beyond the point towards Marengo. There are also freshwater streams nearby worth a try.

Forrest Mountain Biking

There are 8 separate mountain bike trails in the Forrest Mountain Bike precinct. There is more than 50km of purpose built track in the area ranging from rated from easy trails to extreme and strenuous tracks. The Otway Odyssey, Forrest 6 hr ride and Rainforest Ride events during the year are adding to Forrest’s reputation among the growing Australian mountain bike community.

Forrest Brewing Company

Forrest Brewing Company equal parts micro brewery, eating place and mountain biking hang-out located in the Otways Hinterland township of Forrest. Brother and sister duo Matt and Sharon Bradshaw resurrected and rebuilt the former general store in Forrest, opening its doors in late 2010. The Forrest Brewing Company embodies all of the things to love about life, great beer, informal eating, good people, mountain biking and some occasional fishing all surrounded by an active community and beautiful environment. The Forrest Brewing Company, provides a place to stop, take a break, rest and relax in unique natural surrounds. The prefect start or end to your day's Mountain Biking or journey through the Great Ocean Road region. The restaurant serves fresh, informal, locally sourced food including breakfasts, lunch and dinners, washed down with our micro-brewed beer or locally roasted coffee. Forrest Brewing Company is an Independently owned, family run business, supporting a small regional township. It is a relatively young micro brewery on the Victorian beer scene with four standard beers available on tap for tasting and take-away, limited release beers available each season. Their beer is produced in small 600 litre batches, the working brewery can be seen via a viewing window, all beers are brewed on site, nothing is contracted. Offering a true boutique product not widely available outside of Forrest, Beers are brewed using water from the Otway's rainforest. Forrest Brewing Company welcomes group and function bookings including car clubs, bike clubs and walking groups through out the year. The brewery is often really busy of a weekend, so it's a good idea to book!

Massage Therapist Eija Tibbits

Remedial Massage Therapist Eija Tibbits has a clinic in Apollo Bay. She also has a mobile massage service available if you prefer massage in the comfort of your accommodation. Relaxation massage has an important role in stress management. It can greatly improve sleep and reduce anxiety. It enhances blood and lymph circulation and helps to eliminate toxins from the body. Remedial massage is used to address the muscular aches and pains and to recreate the balance within the body. This is done by using relaxation massage techniques and incorporating modalities such as trigger point therapy, myofascial massage techniques and muscle energy technique. As everybody is an individual, so is each massage unique based on issues apparent at the time. Relaxation massage can be given as a present in a form of a gift voucher. Member of Australian Association of Massage Therapists. Private health fund rebates available.

Cape Otway Lightstation

Climb to the top of mainland Australia's oldest lighthouse, Cape Otway Lightstation, 90 metres above the wild Southern Ocean, and see why many tragic shipwrecks occurred on this isolated and rugged coastline. Immerse yourself in history with one of Australia's most important and recognisable lighthouses at your doorstep. Spectacular scenery, lighthouse tours, wildlife (koalas, wallabies and whales), rainforests, waterfalls and awesome sunsets will be highlights of your stay. Cape Otway is an excellent location to base yourself, being central to Great Ocean Road and Great Otway National Park activities and walks. Groups of up to 16 people can be accommodated in the heritage Head Lighthouse Keeper's cottage with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, open fires and fully self contained kitchen and laundry facilities. Two night minimum stays. The cottage is a wonderful retreat for families, walking groups or as a unique venue for get-togethers with friends. The Manager's House is a fully self-contained, newly renovated property providing all the comforts of home, comfortably accommodating up to 15 guests. A great location for a house party, or place to relax after walking in the Otways, the Manager's House is filled with natural light. Both properties have bed and breakfast options for smaller groups or couples. The Lightstation also has a delightful café on site which is open daily. Relax over a great coffee and homemade scones, soaking up the views. The café is located in the original Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's cottage, right in front of the lighthouse. Discover the coast on a 4WD Lightkeeper's Shipwreck Discovery Tour, which runs daily and with special offers for accommodation guests. Walk in the footsteps of lightkeepers and pioneers along the Great Ocean Walk with experienced and knowledgeable local guides. Opera in the Otways - Saturday November 17, 2012 - see website for details.

Geelong Wine Region

Whether it is the distinctive maritime flavours of The Bellarine, the ancient richness of the Moorabool Valley Wine Region or the rugged, exposed coastline of the Surf Coast, the Geelong Wine Region is united by boutique, family owned winegrowers producing premium quality hand crafted wines. With each sub region and winery displaying their own unique characteristics, visitors are invited to explore the diversity of the Geelong Wine Region's stunning scenery, touring routes and restaurants whilst sampling some of Victoria's finest cellar door experiences. Geelong's family owned boutique operators maximise their wine's potential by hand pruning, hand picking and hand crafting their wines allowing regional characters to develop. Areas within the region have varying microclimates influencing the depth of colour, bouquet and flavour of the wines. The Bellarine has a maritime climate with bay breeezes and spectacular views, whilst the hills and valleys of the Moorabool Valley – Anakie areas have a warm, continental style climate. The renowned Surf Coast is famous for its long summer days and cooling ocean breezes. James Halliday in his Wine Atlas of Australia and New Zealand wrote: "If there is a unifying feature in all of the Geelong wines, it is their strength and depth of colour, bouquet and flavour." Not only does the Geelong wine region produce some of Australia's best wines, but the wineries are surrounded by some of Victoria's best scenery and touring opportunities. The Geelong Wine Region. Fine wines – from our hands to yours. For a map of the winery region visit: http://www.winegeelong.com.au/wine_region/map

The Surf Coast Walk

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. - Offering natural beauty and easy access - A world-class walking destination for all to enjoy - On the edge of the stunning Great Ocean Road - Do a section or do it all; at your own pace - More than a walk, over half the track is suitable for bikes Relish the rich ochre of the Bells Beach cliffs, the deep blue of Bass Strait and the leafy green of eucalypt forects. Discover traditional Wathaurung country, fascinating surf culture and abundant wildlife as the walk connects you with the coastal town comforts of Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet.

You Yangs

Rising from the flat, volcanic plains between Geelong and Melbourne, the granite peaks of the You Yangs are a terrific destination for many outdoor activities. Walk to Flinders Peak for panoramic views of Geelong, Corio Bay, the Western Districts and beyond. There are several walking tracks within the park catering for varying abilities. The You Yangs are popular for mountain biking; the two designated mountain bike areas offer 50km of track. The park is also popular for rock climbing, abseiling and horse riding and there are BBQ and picnic areas available, as well as toilets.
 

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Packages & Offers

BIG 4 Beacon Resort Blues Train Package

A unique musical experience! Toe tapping entertainment, a cool drink and a good laugh. Rock your stay in Queenscliff with Blues Train tickets and award winning accommodation at BIG4 Beacon Resort.

Seahaven Village - Taste of The Bellarine $495

Relax at stunning Barwon Heads Friday and Saturday night in a cosy 4.5 star one bedroom spa suite.

Barwon Heads Golf Club - Winter Escape with Free Golf

$240 per couple per night

BIG 4 Beacon Resort Blues Train Package

A unique musical experience! Toe tapping entertainment, a cool drink and a good laugh. Rock your stay in Queenscliff with Blues Train tickets and award winning accommodation at BIG4 Beacon Resort.

Phone: 1800 351 152 or visit BIG4 Beacon Resort Website for more information.
 

Seahaven Village - Taste of The Bellarine $495

Relax at stunning Barwon Heads Friday and Saturday night in a cosy 4.5 star one bedroom spa suite. Enjoy fabulous bonuses including:

  • A $70 dinner voucher
  • Welcome pack including wine, chocolates and a breakfast basket
Stay between Sunday and Thursday nights and receive THREE nights accommodation for the same price.

T: 03 5254 1066
 

Barwon Heads Golf Club - Winter Escape with Free Golf

This winter, guests who book a standard room at our normal Bed and Breakfast rate play golf for free. Want an even better reason to take a break? The Club is rated one of Australia’s Top 10 public access courses.

From $240 per room per night.
($120 p/p twin share)

  • Accommodation in a standard room with ensuite at Barwon Heads Golf Club
  • Fully cooked breakfast
  • A complimentary round of golf each person (normally up to $85 each).

Address: Golf Links Rd, Barwon Heads, Victoria 3227

To book:

Phone: 03 5255 6255
Fax: 03 5255 6266
Website: www.bhgc.com.au
Email: reservations@bhgc.com.au

T&C's: Valid Sunday to Thursday inclusive. 1st June to 31 August 2014. Dress requirements apply on course and in the clubhouse.
 

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