Ocean Road about 20 km east of Cape
Cape Otway (including Cape Otway National
Dramatic stretch of coastline on the Great
Located 222 km south west of Melbourne via the
Great Ocean Road, Cape Otway and the Cape Otway
National Park are recognised as part of the most
beautiful and rugged area of the Great Ocean
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the area
around Cape Otway was inhabited by Aborigines
who lived largely on the produce of the sea.
Ancient middens have been discovered on the
Otway Peninsula near the Aire River.
The first European accounts of this stretch
of coastline come from Matthew Flinders who
passed by in 1802 and commented on the
fierceness of the cliffs. Later Lieutenant James
Grant named the ranges (and by association the
Cape) after his friend Captain Albany Otway.
By 1840 the enterprising Henty brothers had
established a major whaling station at Portland
and over the next seven years they had a small
whaling station at Point Bunbury which is where
the Apollo Bay golf course now stands. Around
this time William Roadknight took up land in the
By 1851 Roadknight had cut a road from his
property to the coast near Cape Otway. The first
major European settlement occurred in 1850 when
timber cutters moved into the district. By the
1870 timber was the important local industry.
Today the whole area is a National Park but
the views from Cape Otway lighthouse are some of
the finest on the south coast and the trip is
Things to see:
Apollo Bay is one of the many entry points to
the beautiful Otway Ranges and the Otway
National Park. There are a number of routes into
the ranges which are spectacularly beautiful and
largely untouched. For further information ring
Parks Victoria on 131 963.
Cape Otway Lighthouse Station
The Cape Otway lighthouse is the second-oldest
on the Australian mainland and the oldest on the
Victorian coast. Built in 1848 to a design by
the Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis, it stands
on the 100-metre headland, is 15.6 metres high
and can be seen for 22 km out to sea. The
lighthouse's construction arose from public
demand after two major shipwrecks in the area
had resulted in the loss of over 600 lives. The
worst was the wreck of the Cataraqui which had
swung south to miss the Cape Otway rocks only to
crash into King Island. This resulted in the
death of some 406 people. There is a small
cemetery near the lighthouse which records the
tragedies which were common when people lived in
such isolated circumstances.
To get there head west of
Apollo Bay for 20 km along the Great Ocean
Road and take the signposted left. It is 12 km
to the lighthouse. There are marked walking
tracks from the lighthouse. A short, easy,
30-minute return walk to the cemetery and there
is a longer, easy walk to Rainbow Falls (about
two hours return).
Guided tours are conducted daily.
Accommodation is available in the lighthouse
keeper's cottages. For information about both
ring (03) 5237 9240 or contact the tourist
information centre at Apollo Bay, tel: (03) 5237
Cape Otway Cliff Walk
There is a track around the coast from Cape
Otway which provides spectacular views. If you
have the time and inclination it offers some of
the best views along the coast.
Accommodation and Eating
See Apollo Bay for details.
There are two excellent books on the Great Ocean
Road which we strongly recommend to anyone
planning to spend extended time in the area.
Explore The Great Ocean Road has very
detailed information on all the attractions and
excellent maps of the towns and the coastline.
It is an ideal companion if you are going to do
some bushwalking or you want to reach beyond the
regular tourist destinations. See http://walkabout.fairfax.com.au/fairfax/booksMaps/booksMaps00018.shtml
for more information.
Great Ocean Road: A Travellers Guide has been
written by a photographer consequently the
pictures are excellent and his focus has been on
providing detailed information on the
accommodation and attractions in the area. It
has a comprehensive listing of all the Bed and
Breakfast and Guest Houses along the road with
photographs and prices. Very handy if you are
planning to stay somewhere other than a motel or
caravan park. See http://walkabout.fairfax.com.au/fairfax/booksMaps/booksMaps00019.shtml
for more information.
Both can be ordered from the Walkabout Books
and Maps location.