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Colac

The largest town in the district, Colac has a rich farming and forestry history and is the perfect central location to explore the Otways. 

The town is built aside the huge Lake Colac and on the doorstep of the Great Otway National Park. Its busy town centre services the surrounding villages and rural areas.

It's less than a 2 hour drive from Melbourne and central to spectacular elements of the Great Ocean Road.

 

 

Retail offerings in Colac range from quaint country gift shops, antique dealers and specialty shops through to major brands and department stores.  There are also monthly community markets and other events on throughout the year.

The local botanic gardens are ridiculously pretty and the lake area boasts a great range of wildlife.

To make the most of your stay, be sure to check what you can do, where you can stay and where you can eat when visiting Colac.

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Highlights

Yeowarra Hill

Yeowarra Hill wines is part of a business offering a function venue, party hire and catering business with the function venue situated to take advantage of the expansive views of the vineyard and Colac surrounds. Wines are produced from fruit grown solely in their vineyard, pruned to achieve excellent quality fruit in low yields. The hand-picked crop is made in small quantities in an attempt to reflect the elegant complexities and varietal character of the cool climate of the region, whilst taking advantage of the verdant ground and fertile soil that gives the Otway hinterland a rich agricultural history. The quality fruit is further enhanced by the expertise of another Otway Harvest Trail member - winemaker Dinny Goonan. The dedication to excellence in the vineyard and meticulous care and attention produced immediate results with their first vintage (2006) Chardonnay being awarded a medal at the 2007 Geelong Wine Show. With the 2007 Chardonnay backing up with a medal in the following year. The James Halliday Australian Wine Companion 'highly recommended' the chardonnay saying it had great quality style and character, worthy of a place in any cellar, further successes have come with their Pinot Noir. Visitors are welcome by phoning ahead for an appointment at their cellar door.

Red Rock

The Red Rock lookout, 12 km from Colac, is one of Australia’s youngest volcanoes. Forty separate eruption points have been found, and many of the craters are now full of water. The area is the third largest volcanic plain in the world and estimated to be 8,000 years old. The volcanic complex consists of overlapping maars, scoria cones and small lava flows. From the lookout, the magnificent 360 degree views include the topography of the volcanic plain and the 25,000 hectare Lake Corangamite.

Colac Botanic Gardens

On the Lake Colac foreshore, the Botanic Gardens were redesigned by William Guilfoyle in 1910. The slope facing the lake was terraced to provide viewing for events such as rowing regattas, while the original caretakers cottage now houses a café and gallery. This is only one of two drive-through botanic gardens in Victoria.

Colac Heritage Walk

The Colac Heritage Walk takes in the architecture and history of many buildings around town including churches and the railway station. Further information and maps are available at the local visitor information centre.

Colac Shopping

As the largest regional centre in the Otways district, Colac has a lively retail scene. Shops range the spectrum from small boutique giftwares, antiques and collectables through to major national brands and department stores. Most of the shopping areas are on the main street in town, Murray Street (Princes Highway).

Otway Estate

Otway Estate occupies a forest clearing in the northern foothills of the lovely Otway range. Initially a winery, the mainstay of the business is now the hand-crafted Prickly Moses Beer and Forbidden Fruit Cider manufactured on-site. Otway Estate offers self-contained spa cottage accommodation set amongst the bush with views over the vines. Relaxing spas, your own deck, undercover parking and plenty of privacy, the cottages really do offer a unique getaway and enable guests to experience the peace and tranquillity of the bush surrounds. Now dog friendly, Otway Estate welcomes well behaved canines on leash. Both in the Brewery outlet and accommodation, you are welcome to visit with your canine companion. Also now offering dog training facilities at the Estate with a qualified dog trainer. Any beer connoisseur knows you need good water to make good beer. The beers are produced using pure Otway rainwater, so not only are they good beers, they are sensational beers. Offering an excellent conference and function facility, Otway Estate is available for functions, special events, conferences, weddings and group bookings from the small and intimate to large and corporate, they can cater to your needs. The Brewery Outlet is open Friday through Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm, offering light bar meals from 12:00 to 3:00pm. Held each year is the Estate's Oktoberfest event, offering authentic food, music and of course great beer - it is an event not to miss.

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

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.

Dinny Goonan Wines

Dinny Goonan Wines is one of a handful of families pioneering grape and wine production in the Otway hinterland. Their wines have won numerous awards since the first commercial release in 2001. The vineyard and cellar door are conveniently situated on the inland road to Lorne, between Winchelsea and Deans Marsh. This location provides a great springboard to explore the Otways and surrounding attractions, and they are happy to share some local knowledge of other places to see and visit. Visitors are welcome to taste their wines and relax in the peaceful vineyard setting. You can find out more about the wines by talking to Dinny the winemaker, or stroll around the vineyard and winery. Vineyard platters are available on weekends between November and April and every day during January, so it is a great chance to take some time out to enjoy the wines, surrounded by the vines that produced them. The platters have a regional focus providing the opportunity to match local wines with regional produce. The only distractions will come from the Crimson Rosellas and Blue Winged Grass Parrots that have made the vineyard their home. They also offer a great coffee and a selection of local foodstuffs and oils. And then of course, there are their award winning wines. As a family run enterprise, everything is very much "hands on". The vines are hand pruned; they pick the grapes by hand and use traditional vinification and elevage techniques within the modern winery. They specialize in the production of cool climate Shiraz and Riesling. They also produce limited quantities of Cabernets (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec), a Semillon/Sauvignon and a Sparkling wine (a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) which are available exclusively to their cellar door customers.

Edge Gallery Lorne

Edge Gallery Lorne showcases the beautiful Fine Art Landscape Photography of multi-international award winning Australian photographer, Will Dielenberg. Will's imagery is greatly influenced by coastal Southern Victoria, having lived, surfed and photographed the Great Ocean Road coastline for almost 40 years. It's the love and affinity that he has for the region that continues to motivate and inspire. Will's art in imaging is not restricted to the Surfcoast and you will find many unique works representing the iconic Australian destinations and also those magical hard to reach locations known to very few. From the brilliance of the largest Limited Edition prints, destined to grace the walls of the largest homes, corporate and hotel receptions, to the broad range of Open Edition prints available in sizes to suit even the smallest of rooms, there is something for everyone. Whether it be to experience the luminance, colour and composition of one of Will's two metre masterpieces or if you are considering a smaller print or something in between, Edge Gallery is must see experience when you are next in Lorne. Will Dielenberg is an Associate Member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. Edge Gallery Lorne looks forward to your visit.

Gentle Annie Berry Gardens

Nestled in the picturesque Pennyroyal Valley near Deans Marsh; Gentle Annie Berry Gardens look forward to welcoming you and your family to their berry farm. Spend time wandering the farm picking a variety of berries and orchard fruit, or simply drop in for a coffee and piece of cake, Devonshire tea, lunch or afternoon tea in the licensed cafe. Gluten free and dairy free offered on menu. When possible Gentle Annie choose to use organic produce and products. Our suppliers are local including the wines, beers and ciders. In the produce shop you will find a variety of Gentle Annie's jams, chutney's, sorbets and a selection of local produce.

Gellibrand River Gallery

Nestled in the heart of the Otways, the Gellibrand River Gallery is only two hours from Melbourne and just 20 minutes from Colac. Supporting local artists, The Gallery provides an additional retail outlet and has a large range of works for sale from glassware, jewellery and cards to photography, textiles and woodwork. The Gallery also aims to provide a stimulating and encouraging exhibition space for its Consignee Artists to exhibit. Exhibitions change each month and may vary from traditional, sculptural and contemporary to fine art, experimental and installation. Exhibitions and installations in The Gallery's Exhibition Space mix Feature Artists and Themes throughout the year.

Auswalk Walking Holidays

Come and experience the real Australia on foot with Auswalk Walking Holidays. Do not watch it pass you by from the windows of a vehicle, get out there and be a part of it! Auswalk Walking Holidays offer guided groups of like-minded people day hikes in fabulous national parks. There are two guides looking after each group, so you will have a choice of easy or hard walks each day. At night stay in comfortable accommodations and enjoy good food and wine. Auswalk Walking Holidays also have self-guided walks through superb National Parks from one accommodation to the next. Walk with your own group of two or more people and start any day of the year. You will be supported along the way with luggage transfers, marked maps and detailed walk notes. Auswalk Walking Holidays can customise a trip for you, your club, group of friends or family. Victorian destinations include the Grampians as it is the best place to see native animals in the wild. There is a rich indigenous history as well as challenging hiking to magnificent rocky peaks. Another great destination is Great Alpine Walk, traverse Victoria's high country, staying overnight in secluded alpine villages. Great Ocean Walk is a long time favourite, this iconic track hugs the southern ocean in parts and ventures inland into the mighty forests of the Otway Ranges. You will see kangaroos while on the track. Great South West Walk is a perfect choice for those who enjoy walking long distances on easy terrain. Highlights include the Glenelg River Gorge and the Three Capes section. Other destinations around the country include the Flinders Ranges, Snowy Mountains and many other beautiful national parks around Australia. Please enquire with Auswalk Walking Holidays for more information.

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.

Cape Otway Lightstation

Cape Otway Lightstation is Australia's most important lighthouse. The Light established in 1848 is perched on towering sea cliffs 90 metres above where Bass Straight and Southern Ocean collide. Experience the thrill of stepping out onto the Lighthouse Balcony for awesome views, and hear the amazing history of tragic shipwrecks on this isolated and rugged coastline from the passionate Guides. Explore the historic Telegraph Station from 1859 and discover Australia's extraordinary secret war history from WW2. Appreciate and understand local Aboriginal Culture at the Aboriginal Cultural Site, with stories from local guides. Visitors can also enjoy bush tucker, spear throwing, painting and many other activities. Watch whales at play and soak up the natural beauty and atmosphere for a few hours or stay overnight in the unique, historic Lightkeepers accommodation. Ideally suited to families, groups, couples or friends. B&B or longer stays. Cape Otway Lightstation is an excellent location to base yourself, being a highlight of the Great Ocean Road and at the centre of the Great Ocean Walk. Fantastic fishing, swimming, waterfalls and walks are nearby. The Lightkeeper's Wife's Cafe offers coffee, homemade scones and local produce all made fresh on site. The Café is located in the original Assistant Lightkeeper's cottage, with a painting and photo gallery including fascinating historic audio stories of lightkeeper's wives and children. Free wifi and daily newspapers. Discover the coast on the Lightkeeper's Shipwreck Discovery Tour, running daily. Walk in the footsteps of lightkeepers along the Great Ocean Walk with experienced and knowledgeable local guides. Located a short drive off the Great Ocean Road, through serene forests where you are guaranteed to see koalas.

Skydive The Beach and Beyond Great Ocean Road

Leap into the sky with Skydive The Beach and Beyond Great Ocean Road on a tandem skydiving adventure and surf the air currents above famous Bells Beach, marvel at lush coastal bush and farmland as you free fall from up to 14,000 feet. Skydiving the Great Ocean Road is one of Victoria's best skydiving adventures - let the tandem skydiving team show you Barwon Heads like you've never seen it before.

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.

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.
 

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Packages & Offers

High Tea on the High Seas - Searoad Ferries

Experience High Tea on the High Seas in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge on board the Queenscliff Sorrento Ferry.

Blues Train & BIG 4 Beacon Resort - May and August

Enjoy the legendary Blues Train and the equally legendary BIG4 Beacon Resort with this package, from $497 for two people.

Family Supatramp & Stay Package at BIG4 Beacon Resort

Bring the kids and their bucketloads of energy to BIG 4 Beacon Resort with this Supatramp accommodation deal for 2 adults and 2 children, from $459.

High Tea on the High Seas - Searoad Ferries

Experience High Tea on the High Seas in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge on board the Queenscliff Sorrento Ferry.
Enjoy table service in elegant surroundings, exquisite food, quality tea and real coffee!

$40.00 per person and includes immediate return travel on the same ferry for a leisurely experience.

Every Sunday from February to November
12pm sailing from Sorrento
3pm sailing from Queenscliff.

To book visit www.searoad.com.au or contact 03 5258 3244

 

Blues Train & BIG 4 Beacon Resort - May and August

Enjoy the legendary Blues Train and the equally legendary BIG4 Beacon Resort with this package, from $497 for two people:

  • $40.00 per person and includes immediate return travel on the same ferry for a leisurely experience.
  • 2 nights accommodation.
  • Charcuterie Plate dinner and live band at Flying Brick Cider House, and a 1 litre cider ‘Growler’ to take home.
  • $50 voucher for Mud Day Spa, located at the resort.
  • Breakfast hamper.
  • Extend your stay with early check in (10am) and late check out (6pm).
  • P: 5258 1133 or book online

Only valid for Blues Train events in May and August 2015. Terms & conditions apply.

 

Family Supatramp & Stay Package at BIG4 Beacon Resort

Bring the kids and their bucketloads of energy to BIG 4 Beacon Resort with this Supatramp accommodation deal for 2 adults and 2 children, from $459.

  • 2 nights in a Queenscliff cabin.
  • A Supatramp pass for each child including an hour of clip ‘n climb and an hour of trampolining, plus socks and $10 to spend in the café.
  • 1 hour GoKart hire at the resort.
  • Unlimited DVD hire and a milkshake for each child from the resort shop.
  • Late 6pm checkout.
  • P: 1800 351 152 or book online

Offer available from 11 March to 30 April 2015. Terms and conditions apply.

 

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