To prove that it’s not all sweeping coastlines and jaw dropping views, we’ve picked out our top 6 wildlife experiences on the Great Ocean Road.
If you are planning a visit to Melbourne, you might just want to spot some iconic Australian wildlife while you are here. The good news is that you can do it on a day trip to the Great Ocean Road. There’s well known animals like kangaroos and koalas, as well as lesser known glow worms and echidnas.
If you have limited time and want to see the Great Ocean Road in one day – we suggest taking a tour. The Great Ocean Road Day Tour is our original and most popular tour, however we also have a Sunset Tour of the Great Ocean Road.
Wildlife experiences on the Great Ocean Road
Koalas are perhaps the most popular animals that people want to see when driving the Great Ocean Road. The good news is that there are a few different places to see them.
The small township of Kennett River is the most popular place to look for wild koalas. Stop in at the general store car park then walk along Grey River Road to look for them. You will likely spot them curled up and wedged between the branches of the eucalyptus trees. However, it’s not just koalas that you will see in this area. There are a lot of native birds as well, including parrots, kookaburras and cockatoos.
Further along the Great Ocean Road you can also travel the Cape Otway Lighthouse Road to look for koalas. Park safely by the roadside and look up into the tall eucalyptus trees again. This is an area densely populated with koalas, but they are not they are not often found together. You might only spot one or two per area.
During winter it is possible to see whales migrating past the Great Ocean Road coastline. Many of the clifftop lookouts are perfect for whale spotting. Southern right whales and humpback whales make their annual migration from Antarctica to nurse their young calves. Look for the spray in the distance, or a glimpse of a tail. If you are lucky you’ll see them rising up out of the water. It is a truly magical sight.
Echidnas are small creatures that are completely covered in spikes. These are called spines and they can be raised if the animal senses danger. Echidnas also have a slender snout with a long tongue that darts out rapidly to catch food. They are one of the only members of the monotremes family. These are mammals that lay eggs. Echidnas are typically quite shy creatures but can be spotted wandering along the clifftops at the Port Campbell National Park.
The beaches of the Great Ocean Road are no doubt stunning. In summertime they attract many people to the coast. However, if you are lucky, you might spot a fur seal while visiting the beaches. These creatures often come to shore or to the shallows to hunt for fish or sunbath on the rocks. In Apollo Bay you can take a sea kayaking tour to the rock at Marengo Bay where many fur seals come to rest.
If you are at the Twelve Apostles at dusk you will likely be able to catch a glimpse of Little Penguins. These small seabirds nest in the sand dunes at the base of the cliffs, below the lookout. When the sun is settling you can spot them far below waddling up the beach. The Little Penguins spend most of their time in the ocean hunting for food. However they will return to land when they are full or when they need to rest.
Glow Worms can be seen during the night in the rainforest of Melba Gully. Take a walk along the trail to see the branches illuminated with these creatures. It’s a lot like tiny (natural) fairy lights. The glow worms are tiny larvae of a certain fly found in the area. To attract food a chemical reaction in their body produces natural light, which attracts their prey. Its a magical thing to witness on a night walk in the Otways!
Tour the Great Ocean Road
To visit this incredible coastline – and spot some local wildlife, join us on a Great Ocean Road day tour from Melbourne. You’ll spend a whole day exploring the coastline with your guide and driver. Our tours include spotting koalas in the wild, touring the Surf Coast, viewing the Twelve Apostles – and much more!
Check out our Great Ocean Road Day Tour or Sunset Tour of the Great Ocean Road.
Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au