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Lavers Hill, VIC

Small town on the Great Ocean Road near the Otway Ranges.

The small township of Lavers Hill is the highest point on the Great Ocean Road. It is located inland between Apollo Bay and the glories of the Twelve Apostles. The main appeal of Lavers Hill lies to the east where there are a number of particularly attractive waterfalls with accompanying bushwalks through the temperate rainforests of tree ferns, Myrtle Beech and Mountain Ash. Easily accessible, and an important experience for anyone interested in the grandeur of the rainforest, is the Otway Fly Treetop Adventure which allows visitors to walk above the rainforest.


Lavers Hill is located 233 km south-west from Melbourne via Geelong and the Great Ocean Road. It can also be reached via Winchelsea and Colac. The distance is 206 km. It is 47 km west of Apollo Bay.


Origin of Name

Lavers Hill was named after Stephen and Frank Laver, settlers from Gippsland who cleared a large tract of land in the district.


Things to See and Do

The Drift
At the corner of the Great Ocean Road and Colac Road is a wooden sculpture titled "Drift". Designed by James Catell it is a tribute to the marine environment, prehistoric skeletal finds, shipwrecks and the agricultural machinery of the area.

Blackwood Gully Cafe Restaurant
Located at 1-15 Great Ocean Road the Blackwood Gully Cafe Restaurant was sold in early 2014 but still retains the special qualities which made it an iconic stopping point in Lavers Hill. Apart from being an excellent place to stop for tea or coffee, fresh scones and al fresco dining, the property had outstanding panoramic views and, being set on 2.2 ha, it has its own cool-temperate rainforest walk complete with blackwoods, tree ferns, and a footbridge over a little creek which flows in the winter. The rainforest is noted for its prolific wild and bird life, tel: (03) 5237 3290.


Other Attractions in the Area

Melba Gully and Madsen's Track Nature Walk
Located 3.6 km to the south-west of Lavers Hill, Melba Gully and the Madsen's Track Nature Walk (which is off the Great Ocean Road on Melba Gully Road) has been described as the "Jewel of the Otways". It certainly is a superb example of cool temperature rainforest. With a rainfall of over 2000 mm a year, Melba Gully is one of the wettest places in Victoria.

Melba Gully (it was named after Dame Nellie Melba in 1921) has been a popular attraction since the 1920s. Today the primary attraction is the Madsen's Track Nature Walk, a  1.5 km, 35 minute loop walk through dense rainforest inhabited by a range of fauna including glow worms which can be seen along the walking trails at night. The Gully is noted for its tree and ground ferns, along with myrtle beech, blackwood, satinwood and blackwood. Further up the slopes are mountain ash (the largest flowering plant in the world). The specific attractions of the walk include Anne's Cascades and a huge Otway Messmate tree known simply as The Big Tree.

Johanna Beach
Only 11 km due south of Lavers Hill is Johanna Beach, an unpatrolled beach which is the best known surfing location west of Cape Otway. It was the site of the World Surfing Championships in 1970. It is a remote surfing spot (dangerous for swimming) which has waves averaging 1.5 metres and dunes which reach 100 metres behind the beach. It is recognised as "one of the best beach breaks in the world". There is an excellent detailed description of the beach at http://beachsafe.org.au/beach/vic420.

Moonlight Head
Located 16 km south-west of Lavers Hill on the Great Ocean Road is a turnoff clearly signposted to Moonlight Head. It is a dirt road but at the end the visitor can expect to see, reputedly, the highest coastal cliff in the country. There are panoramic views east to Cape Otway and south into the Great Southern Ocean.

Otway Fly Treetop Adventure
Located 13 km from Lavers Hill via the Colac-Lavers Hill Road and Phillips Track, the Otway Fly Treetop Adventure combines elevated treetop walks with a unique Zipline Tour which allows visitors to take flying fox adventures through the trees. The Treetop Walk is 600 metres long and 25 metres above the forest floor. The experience involves walking in a cool temperate rainforest comprising mainly Myrtle Beech, Blackwood and Mountain Ash. The total walk is 1.9 km and it takes approximately one hour. It is open every day from 9.00 am - 5.00 pm, tel: 1800 300 477 or check out http://www.otwayfly.com/ for prices and the range of activities available.

Triplet Falls
Located 3 km from the Otway Fly, Triplet Falls were named because they fall in three stages. They are set in beautiful rainforest they can be accessed by turning left into Aire Valley Road and following the signs. There is a one hour, 1.8 km, walking track to the falls through Mountain Ash and Myrtle Beech which has good and detailed signage. There are a number of viewing platforms over the falls. For more detailed information check out http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/great-otway-national-park/things-to-do/triplet-falls.

Beauchamp Falls
Located 20 km from Lavers Hill and 2 km east of Beech Forest is a turnoff into Aire Valley Road which heads south off the main road. The falls which are 20 m high, are 3 km from the car park and will take around an hour to walk. The gradient is rated: difficult. There is a signpost to Beauchamp Falls Scenic Reserve and at the falls there are good metal steps and lookouts. Particularly impressive is the temperate rainforest with its huge tree ferns and stands of Mountain Ash, Myrtle Beech and Blackwoods. Check out http://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/australia-beauchamp-falls.html for more details.

Hopetoun Falls and the Aire River
Located 24 km east of Lavers Hill and off the Beech Forest-Mt Sabine Road is a turnoff to Hopetoun Falls. The road continues south down the valley to the Aire River crossing. The falls are about 40 minutes return from the car park. There is an alternative walk to the base of the falls which takes around 30 minutes and is graded: difficult. It passes through glades of tree ferns. Check out http://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/australia-hopetoun-falls.html for more details.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the Lavers Hill area was inhabited by Ganubadud Aborigines.

* The Otway Ranges and the area around Lavers Hill wasn't settled by Europeans until the 1880s.

* By 1891 the area was being opened up for selection and the rich supplies of local timber were the economic mainstay of the district.

* In 1900 the first timber mill was operating. Others soon followed.

* In 1902 a post office opened in the town.

* In 1906 the small settlement had a school, a bank and a cheese factory was operating.

* In 1912 the narrow gauge railway from Colac and Beech Forest reached the town.

* By World War I the town had a post office, a hotel and a butter factory.

* After World War I the town was part of the huge building project that was the Great Ocean Road

* Today the tiny town is an entry point to the Otway Ranges.


Visitor Information

The nearest Visitor Information Centre is at Apollo Bay - Great Ocean Road Visitor Information Centre, 100 Great Ocean Road, tel: 1300 689 297.


Useful Websites

Travel Victoria have a useful website - http://www.travelvictoria.com.au/lavershill/ - which includes cafes and accommodation in the town.

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