The Californian Redwood plantation in Otway National Park is an incredible sight. These ‘teenage’ trees are already over 60m tall and create an incredible forest environment you won’t find anywhere else in Australia.
We spent some time here soaking in the atmosphere that these giant trees create in a pocket of forest usually dominated by Mountain ash, Forest Beech and tree ferns.
Here is what you need to know to explore this amazing natural attraction.
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Where are the Californian Redwoods?
This experimental stand of Redwoods is in Great Otway National Park, 27km from Apollo Bay.
Getting to the Redwoods
The Redwoods are on Binns Road which runs between Great Ocean Road and Beech Forest Road.
If you are coming from Apollo Bay, you have two options. Either take the Apollo Bay – Forrest Road then the windy Beech Forrest Road to Binns Road. Or follow the Great Ocean Road west and turn onto the southern end of Binns Road.
If you go for option 2, keep in mind Binns road is unsealed for most of its length and very windy. The route via Beech Forest is a bit longer, and the road is also windy for a period, but it is sealed all the way.
If you are coming from Port Campbell, follow the Great Ocean Road to Lavers Hill, then take the Beech Forest – Lavers Hill Road to the northern end Binns Road.
From Hopetoun Falls, the Redwoods are only a matter of minutes down the road so you will want to make sure you get to them after you have seen the falls.
Facilities at the Redwoods
When it is busy, finding a car park at the Redwoods can be a bit tricky. If you have just been to neighbouring Hopetoun Falls and found the parking there difficult, we can assure you it is a bit easier at the Redwoods! If the main car park is full, it is easier to park on the side of the road than it is at Hopetoun Falls.
- There are toilets and picnic tables at The Redwoods
- Dogs are not permitted at the Redwoods
The Redwoods Walk
Unlike many other locations in the Otway Ranges, there is no formal walking path to follow at the Redwoods. From the car park you just walk to the edge of the plantation and from there wander between the soaring trunks as you like.
Much of the area is flat and easy to get around and you don’t have to venture far to appreciate the size of the trees.
As you make your way further into the plantation there is a hill you can walk up. The stand of trees ends just beyond there, and the forest returns to its more normal appearance.
Another lovely feature of the walk is the creek that runs down one side of the Redwood forest. You get a striking colour contrast between the huge redwood trunks and conifer needles on the ground with the green of the ferns along the creek. It’s a magic sight.
Best Time to See the Redwoods
The Redwoods are an amazing sight whenever you have the chance to see them.
However, if you want to immerse yourself in forest without so many people around, visiting early or late in the day is a good option.
It was sunny the day we visited. If you plan a winter trip or can walk through the forest with a bit of fog around or some moisture dripping off the tops of the trees it would be like something out of a fairytale.
Why are there Redwoods in Otway National Park?
This stand of redwoods was planted in 1936 by the Forests Commission of Victoria. It was an experimental plantation established to meet the increasing demand at the time for timber.
Luckily for visitors, logging is now prohibited in Great Otway National Park so these redwoods will be left to grow and reach almost double their current height.
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