6 WAYS NATURE CAN SOOTHE THE SOULby MICHELLE ANSTEE
Spending time on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria’s south at any time of the year is good for the soul.
If you love nature, there are many ways to unwind from your busy lifestyle. You definitely should put aside a couple of days or more to really reap the benefits.
There are lots of accommodation options on offer, so travel at your own pace or with a friend - or set up camp with a large group.
Every day I get to work in our natural environment, so I know some of the best spots and even a few secrets that some may not know about.
Here are my top six:
1. Winter is wild and beautiful
Don’t let the cold deter you, winter is an invigorating time to explore the Surf Coast and beyond. Take a brisk walk to see the area’s many waterfalls, which flow more heavily following winter rains. There are many choices around Lorne, including Erskine Falls, Sheaok Falls, Kalimna Falls, Henderson Falls and Phantom Falls.
2. There's 100 types of orchid
Visit the Anglesea heath section of the Great Otway National Park in spring and be amazed. The heathlands behind Anglesea contain incredible biodiversity, and come alive each year with a dazzling display of wildflowers. Go for a walk to see more than 100 types of orchid. Some will be easy to spot, but some will need a keen eye and patient searching.
3. The sunrises and sunsets take your breath away
You can’t go past Point Addis. A peaceful and beautiful location with spectacular views over the marine national park and cliffs near Anglesea. If you’re lucky you might see dolphins playing, or in winter, whales passing by.
4. Glow worms are our cutest little secret
Grey River Picnic Area, deep within the Great Otway National Park, is a peaceful spot to take some time out, with just the sounds of trickling water and birds in the canopy. If you visit at night you might see glow worms not far from the picnic area.
5. There are heaps of places to camp
Camping is one of my all-time favourite activities, and I’m lucky because there are so many campgrounds around the Great Otway National Park. One of my favourites is Lake Elizabeth, near the township of Forrest. It’s a bit of a detour off the Great Ocean Road, but well worth the trip to see the lake’s heavily timbered flanks and calm waters. Take a walk around the water’s edge and you’ll have a good chance of seeing platypus. From here, there’s easy access to the mountain bike trails and fabulous eateries of the village of Forrest.
6. We have famous surf beaches
The Surf Coast is full of options, ranging from the family-friendly waters around Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne, to world famous surf breaks like Bells Beach. If you don’t like getting wet, consider the Surf Coast Walk, which stretches for 44km between Torquay and Aireys Inlet, taking in some of the coastline’s most spectacular scenery.