Forrest…and Surrounding Otway Ranges
By Joe Mortelliti
Forrest township is an old logging town and remains of the old timber mill are still standing.
Image: Farmlands on the edge of Forrest Township
The area is always lush green, even in summer as it is the water catchment area for the city of Geelong, the West Barwon Dam.
West Barwon Dam visitor facilities are a great place for a picnic.
Image: Geelongs water catchment,view 5 mins out of Forrest heading to Apollo Bay
Not far out of town is Lake Elizabeth and the fern walk to the lake is one of the best I have found in the Otways. You need about 20 mins each way and it’s well set out.
For those who want a real hike then you can circumnavigate the Lake when you get there
A camping ground is also located here at the start of the walk.
Image: Lush ferns on the walk to Lake Elizabeth
Locals provide the opportunity to view the platapus here at Lake Elizabeth if you want to get up earlier enough.
Camping at Forrest and surrounding camp areas is great as it is not very often that camp fires cannot be lit. At Forrest the camp grounds are part of the caravan park which is more like a bush park set in the lush green valley and overlooks the tree lined West Barwon River.
Adjoining the park are rustic undercover BBQ facilities , tennis court and playground for the kids.
Basic cabins have recently been installed also.
Image:View from the camping ground, Forrest
Accommodation is also available at the Guest House with rustic featured themed rooms, following the style of French, Nautical, Country, etc
B&B’s are also within the township.
With the local pub opposite the caravan park and a couple of other small eating spots mum can have a break from the kitchen for a couple of days.
The lone local milk bar at Forrest takes care of your day to day needs,and for those who must shop Apollo Bay is 35 mins out of town in one direction and Colac around 30 mins in the opposite direction.
The waterfall district is within easy access by car, with Triplet Falls, Beauchamp Falls , Stephenson’s Falls and Houpton Falls all fantastic lush green experiences.
Triplet Falls is a very popular spot and not far from the Otway Fly tourist facility. The Otway Fly provides a very high, tree top walk experience.
Image: Triplet Falls
Bike tracks are throughout the area and now rated up to “Extreme”. Bike tracks tie in with the Old Beachy Rail Trail ending at Beech Forest where an Historical Information Centre display presents the history of the area in old photographs.Also the Tiger Rail bike track are just a couple of the extensive network.
I recall a picture of a corduroy road, being a road made of small logs laid out to form the road, murder on the dental fillings I would think. There’s another pub here so you can refresh.
For those wanting a more bush experience Dandos camp beside a river has fire pits and long drop. This area was left to the public by the Dando family and established as a camp ground by Parks Victoria and 4wd clubs.
You get to Dandos via the tracks system and Dandos is located a short distance from the bridge as you descend and leave Bridge Track.
Image: Bridge Track
Image:Dandos Silver Birch Trees
For the adventurous 4wd owner some seriously challenging tracks can be found around this region, but that’s another story. You could check out Noonday Track, Newcomb Spur Track, Goat Track , if wet and muddy you could be gone for a long time.