The Otway Fly is a zipline set in the Otway Ranges rainforest. The idea is that you put on a harness that clips onto a cable. With your arms and legs free to move, you leave the platform and zip along the cable to the next tree which is up to 70 metres away. Each tree you come to has a landing platform – called a cloud station – where you get a view bird’s eye view of the forest.
Our Otway Fly adventure nearly ended before it even started. We turned up at the office expecting to pay and be zipping half an hour later. When the staff asked what name our booking was in, we had one of those ‘oh crap’ moments.
So, especially during school holiday periods but also if you want to avoid a pointless argument over why neither of you thought to book, it is worth getting online to organise your zipline adventure. Luckily, a cancellation came in as we stood at the desk. Our zip was back on track.
kitting up for the otway fly
One of the cool things about this activity is that you get to dress up. You’re taken into a room where a couple of guides talk you through what’s instore then go about getting you into your harness and helmet.
The harnesses have straps and bits of metal hanging off them everywhere but somehow the guides get you rigged up without even needing to leave your chair. By the time the carabiners are fastened and the straps tightened, you feel like you are ready to scale a mountain.
If it all sounds a bit intimidating don’t worry. It couldn’t be better organised. From getting kitted up in your harness and helmet, to the safety talks and practice zip – it’s all done very well. The instructors are great. They’re reassuring, enthusiastic and focussed on making sure you have a safe and fun time
on the fly!
Now, the ziplining. Is it a hoot? You bet it is. Flying between the trees with so much freedom of movement is an amazing sensation. Is it a great way to see the forest? That comes down to the type of person you are.
If you are a bit of a thrill seeker who, when life speeds up, can see things in slow motion, you’ll get a great view. If not, then you’ll start relaxing about the time you get to the last line.
Don’t get me wrong. The view from the cloud stations is fantastic. Along the way, the guides point out some impressive trees and views of interest. But while zipping, the scenery isn’t top of mind. I found myself thinking more about my take offs and landings than the 400-year-old blackwood tree out there on the left.
It’s not a criticism of the activity – it’s great fun and the forest is spectacular. There isn’t a more beautiful place to be flying 30 metres above the ground. I was just too ‘excited’ by the flight to notice any of it! But fear not, there’s more here than the just the Otway Fly.
magic in the forest
If the thrill of flying along a cable is too distracting, or if it isn’t your thing, there is also a tree top walk. You can pay to only do the Treetop walk or it’s included in the price of the Fly. Here, you get a great view of the forest and you can do it at your own pace.
It is a short walk to the beginning of the treetop loop but there is plenty to see on the way. The first thing to look out for are fairies and elves. If you need any more convincing that the Otway Fly is a magical experience, you need look no further than the forest floor.
There are ten fairy dwellings scattered among the tree trunks in the forest. Children can collect a checklist to mark them all off as the make their way to the start of the walk. Each house has a letter assigned to it that makes a jumbled word for the kids to unscramble.
If fairies aren’t your thing, keep an eye out for the carnivorous Otway black snail. The fairies use them to guard their homes. Okay, that bit isn’t true, but the Otway black snail is a real thing and they really are meat-eaters. These tiny snails with their black and cream shells are found exclusively in the Otways. We didn’t spot any on our walk but there are signs around saying they are in the area.
towers in the trees
Having searched the forest floor for fairies and little black snails, it is time to go up. A collection of towers, sky walks and suspension bridges take you as much as 45 metres above the ground. Putting the forest aside for a moment, the geometry and engineering of the walk is itself a thing of beauty.
The spiral staircase, tall observation tower and multi-pronged paths of the walkway blend in sympathetically with the natural form of the forest. The integration of the walkway with the environment greatly adds to the experience of ascending into the forest canopy.
The walkways and towers provide a unique perspective of the forest. It is not hard to be impressed by the range and complexity of the plant life. Seeing the forest from top to bottom gives you a great appreciation for the size of the trees, the form and variety of the foliage and the diversity of the bird life.
Whether you zoom through the forest on the Otway fly or choose the spectacular walk through the treetops, they are both fantastic experiences. Especially if you are doing the Fly, give yourself a minimum of half a day for your visit. There is a nice cafeteria and playground. Take your time and enjoy all the sights, sounds and smells the rainforest has to offer.
Otway Fly, Victoria
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Zip through the leafy treetops of the magnificent Otway Ranges from one ‘Cloud Station’ to another, suspended up to 30 metres above the forest floor
Alternativly take the 25 metre-high elevated walkway for views of the unique beauty of the rainforest from the forest floor to the treetops.
Otway Fly Adults $120 / Child $80
Otway Walk Adults $25 / Child $14
Barwon Heads Caravan Park is located where the river meets the sea. Every site is a short walk to the water’s edge. The beach is very calm and perfect for young families with plenty of surf around the other side of the bluff.
At low tide you can enjoy the rockpools, or at high tide fish from the jetty or walk up the steps to the lookout. There is a great walking path right along the foreshore.
- Adrenaline-Filled Adventure 100% 100%
- Impressive Forest 95% 95%
- Tour Guides 100% 100%
"I've just read the first issue & I loved it. I can't wait to do the things you highlight, kayaking with a platypus, swimming with seals, zip-lining & only hope I remember all these things when we get to those parts of the world. At least I know where to look back to when I'm planning holidays. A great read. Thanks for putting it together." Janine