Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published November 26th 2014
An Uplifting Experience – for Nature Lovers & Thrill Seekers
Beautiful sun-filled rainforest
I have wanted to do the treetop walk for years and have been hanging out to do the zipline tour. I planned a whole weekend away around this walk and even agreed to camping (a first and last time experience) to get there. The Otway fly is not just around the corner so it was to my disappointment that the zipline had been booked out for days when we arrived.
Of course the Treetop Walk is a unique attraction in its own right and worth a visit so it wasn't a complete loss. The first peoples of the area were Wathaurong, Gulidjan, Gadubanud and Girai Wurrang. The Aboriginal people lived on the fringe of the forest and it provided everything they needed. More information is provided at the park. Information about the Copperhead snake and the Mainland Tiger snake is also available. I was not interested in finding out more of this first hand!
The 1.9km self-guided rainforest walk is about the right distance for us. It takes between 1-1.5 hrs and features Myrtle Beech, Blackwood and Mountain Ash. The pinnacle of the treetop walk is the 47 metre high lookout, which is accessed via a spiral steel stairway. My calves objected for days later but at the time it seemed easily manageable. When you ascend the top of the staircase you will be rewarded with a view to die for. Best not to describe it in that way to any nervous travelling companions.
It's a long way when you look up and even further when you look down
After missing out on the zip line tour, which I admit I had built up in everyone's minds, the kids failed to acknowledge the significance of the giant towering trees. Needless to say an hour walk was plenty to drag them along. If you like you can spend all day enjoying the wonderful world of this rainforest, however the seating is scantly located along the path.
The walk is suitable for a range of ages and fitness levels and is open all year long. As you proceed the ground progressively drops away taking you on a journey from the ferns of the forest floor to the tranquility and beauty of the forest canopy.
It's only a gradual 500mt walk downhill from the Visitor Centre to the entry structure and onto the steel trussed tree walk through the rainforest. The canopy walkway is designed to have minimal impact on the forest environment.
A little ecosytem for many living things
At another time the awesomeness of the 600mt long and 30mt high steel structured treetop canopy walkway might not have been lost on the children. Impressive to me is that this is the longest and tallest walkway of its type in the world and includes a cantilever.
A viewing deck is suspended 25 metres above the forest floor. It's from this height that you truly get an idea of the magnificent rainforest and the unique opportunity to have a close view of the flora and fauna of the rainforest. At this height you can see above the tops of some trees. The spectacular ferns cannot be seen at this height.
Note the floor and walls are see through
The Otway Fly Tree Top Walk is the highest and longest walk of its type in the world. Apparently it is able to withstand 280km/h winds. I don't think I'd be going anywhere near it in those winds. It sways and moves which can be a bit off putting if you are scared of heights. The walkway is also see through grate so you know just how far from the safe earth you are. I was petrified I would drop my phone but that didn't stop me from taking a bazillion photos.
The 600 metre long steel section is an engineer's ambition come true. I mused over the idea that this mammoth effort probably doesn't have another prototype to copy and that the public trusts this is safe and sound. The structure uses lightweight trusses ranging from 24 metres to 40 metres which are supported by only 12 towers.
Worth the climb
The spiral tower stands at an extraordinary height of 47 mt, and the cantilever sways over the tree canopy. This unsupported beam requires a leap of faith that not everyone was willing to take. On a windy day I may have chickened out myself.
The cantilever will challenge the thrill seekers and is fun if you are not scared of heights. The views are spectacular but equally good from the tower if you cannot stand the thought of walking the wobbly bridge to a point that has no props underneath.
The second adventure is the Zipline Tour. This is the only Zipline Tour for Victoria! It is a 2.5 hour, fully guided experience and includes training and simulation, 8 cloud stations, 6 flights and 2 suspension bridges. It includes the world famous Treetop Walk.
This adrenalin-fuelled activity allows thrill seekers to Zip across the treetops in this unique forest experience, gaining a bird's-eye view of Otway's beautiful forests. I am so envious of those who got to take this flight. They are booked a long way ahead so don't do what we did and turn up on the day and hope to get a place.
The beauty of nature is at its best in the Otways. Trees stretch impossible heights, are hundreds of years old and lush undergrowth are some of the wonders you can admire during this walk. There are many signposts and information boards to satisfy those with questions or seeking more information.
I was particularly interested in the girth measurements and age calculation. When I tried to explain this to my kids they found it bamboozling. They eventually understood the fact that many trees in this location were over 200 years old!
You'd need a dozen people holding hands to hug this tree
There is a Prehistoric Path just for the kids but we only discovered it too late. When leaving you will notice the large dinosaur statue up on the hill to the left.
Other useful things to know
The Otway Fly is less than 3 hours away from Melbourne (via Princes Hwy inland route) and 1.5 hours from Geelong (via Princes Hwy).
There is a Visitors Centre, which includes a Souvenir shop, and a Licensed Café. We found limited lunch options are available after 2.
The walk has a gradual grade but a shuttle service operates every half hour on the half hour that can bring you back to the Visitor Centre if need be.
Open every day 9.00am – 5.00pm Last entry to tree top walk is 4.00pm.