Colac is not only at the gateway to the chain of volcanic lakes which dominate Victoria’s Western District but it is also at the northern foot of the majestic Otway Ranges which border the Great Ocean Road.
No matter whether you are in the tourist market for inspirational natural beauty or history, the Otways will charm you. The mountain forests were targeted by loggers during the timber boom of the first few years of the 20th century and trails take the bushwalker past the long-abandoned machinery and relics of some of the 29 mills that exploited the beech forests.
To the south of the junction of the Great Ocean Road and the Colac-Lavers Hill Road lies Melba Gully State Park where the adventure gallery’s glow worms which light up the bush. The National Park which occupies much of Cape Otway is a wonderland for bushwalkers, campers, surfers and fishermen.
About 14km into the park, the cape stands guard over reefs which claimed many a sailing ship until the first lighthouse on Bass Strait was erected on the outcrop in 1848. A climb to the lighthouse balcony overlooks one of the most treacherous stretches of coast in the land and a cemetery which contains the graves of several shipwreck victims.
: Go Country Music Festival and Truck Show (February), Garden Expo (October)
Things to do:
Historical Centre - open Thursday, Friday and Sunday
Botanic Gardens - with bird life, walking tracks
Lake Colac - for fishing
Visitor Information Centre - Cnr Murray and Queen Street, Colac
In the area
Red Rock lookout - to see the volcanic lakes
Floating Island Reserve - a lagoon with islands that change position
Red Rock winery - tastings,
Tarndwarncoort Homestead - with wool displays and sale