The Otway Rainforest is considered one of Australia’s best rainforest located in the Great Otway National Park. The Great Otway National Park stretches from Torquay through to Princetown. Otway Treetop Adventures offers Ziplining as well as a Treetop walk.
We needed to get to the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures 15-20mins before our tour started as advised when we made the booking to make sure everyone is there and we are all ready to go. We parked in the car park and walked to the visitor’s centre (3oom away) which seemed like it took forever, maybe it was just tiredness as on the way back that afternoon it didn’t feel that long. We signed in the “big scary” waiver and were given a key for a locker (these lockers are free of charge) to put our valuables in.
The lovely front desk staff then look after your locker key for you because if you drop the key in the forest you will never find it. We sat in the waiting area watching a bit of a promo video until the guides were ready for us. Until now I wasn’t really nervous but watching the people zipping about at great heights and realizing that in a short time that is what we’ll be doing got the “old” heart racing!!
Our guides Matt and Jess took us into the “briefing room” where had a safety talk about all the equipment, how to behave and the places you should not put your fingers to get them chopped off or crushed and how to enjoy the zipline tour safely. Jess was really friendly and had such a good sense of humour which helped settle my nerves. We all put our harness and helmet on then Matt and Jess came around to do their 7 (or was it 8) point safety check on both the harness and helmet making sure nothing was frayed or too loose, they took safety very seriously which is reassuring.
They gave us these big metal devices and explained that these were our “CATTs” (Continuously Attached Touring Traveller) and they were going to be the device that would take us along the zip line, we would be connected at the start and couldn’t disconnect until the end, it was reassuring to know that once you were on it was difficult to get off.
We headed out to the demo area where Jess did a little demo on how the zip line would work and how to stop at the end (remember – lean back and legs up) and offered for any of us to give it a try. We were all rearing to go so we decided to skip the practice and get straight to the real thing!
We got to a large spiral tower where we were told to get into groups of 4, the red team and the silver team and each team are to come up one after each other. By this stage I was “shaking in my boots” but I decided to go first as I can’t be shown up by the 2 big “burly” guys or the 2 kids that were in our group, well really I was thinking if I don’t go up first I’d be likely to turn around and run away, so I went up the spiral staircase and by the time I got to the top I wasn’t too worried about the height because I was pretty dizzy!
One at a time everyone came up and once everyone was up on the platform, Jess explained that what we were standing on was called a “cloud station” it was light and a little bouncy, this is where we had to be reminded that it wasnt a trampoline and please dont jump on it but it was very temping to bounce on! Jess zip lined over to the next cloud station and Matt stayed behind to get us set up and send us on our way (there was always one guide in front and one behind).
Suddenly it was my turn, my hands were sweaty, my heart was thumping like crazy and my legs weren’t working properly. Matt was very helpful, he hung onto my harness and I positioned myself over the edge and then he let me go (after making sure I was ready) and off I “zipped”, I was terrified and exhilarated all at the same time! Once I got to the next cloud station (30M away) Jess was there to catch me and help me land. I was ready to get going again to the next cloud but I had to relax for a moment and wait for the rest of our group!
At each Cloud station Jess encouraged us to do different things like let go of our harness and “flap our wings” or to look out for certain features on the forest floor (like a huge stump or the “sink hole”) while zipping along. We noticed that there was a buoy (from a boat) at each cloud station and could not work out why it was there, eventually our curiosity got the best of us and we had to ask why there were boat buoys in the trees in a rainforest.
It turns out that the guides actually use them to signal each other, when the buoy is up its safe to send the next person “zipping” if the buoy is down then its unsafe or the guide is not ready. Its pretty clever and saves them going through their radio batteries like crazy.
I was a little concerned that this type of system would be damaging to the trees but we were assured that the zip line system is eco friendly and set up in a way to “clamp the trees” a specialist from the company that set it up will come out every few months and changes the tension on the clamps to ensure that the system lets the trees grow. We were told that this is the only one of its kind in Victoria, the only one similar is in Tasmania and it’s set up by the same company. (Vertical Innovations – I think)
There are 7 cloud stations ranging from lengths of 27m to 120m and 2 suspension bridges.
Cloud Station 1 is 10m high and the Zip Line to Cloud Station 2 is 33m long.
Cloud Station 2 is 12m high and the Zip Line to Cloud Station 3 is 69m long.
Cloud Station 3 is 19m high and the Zip Line to Cloud Station 4 is 29m long.
Cloud Station 4 is 20m high and the Zip Line to Cloud Station 5 is 120m long.
Cloud Station 5 is 8m high and the bridge to Cloud Station 6 is 27m long.
Cloud Station 6 is 6m high and the Zip Line to Cloud Station 7 is 55m long.
Cloud Station 7 is 11m high and the Zip Line to Cloud Station 8 is 69m long.
Cloud Station 8 is 9m high and the bridge to Cloud Station 9 is 21m long.
Cloud 9 is the end of the course back down on terra firma solid ground.
On each cloud station Jess would give us a bit of information about the rainforest and the setup of the zip line. We were surprised to find out that only 8 trees had been cut down in the set up on the zip line course and it took only 6 months to set up. Jess told us that most of the gum trees around us were around 50 years old as this area use to be used for foresting in the 1960s until it was made into a national park.
Being up in the trees you are able to get some pretty amazing views of the surrounding area. While you relax on the cloud station and wait your turn, it gives you the opportunity to really take in the sounds, smells and of course the view of the rainforest, giving you a different sense of appreciation for trees in general.
As the wind blew we all swayed with the tree, one of the little girls on our tour got very scared of falling off or the tree falling over but Jess was very quick to reassure and put her fears to ease. After being up in the trees for a while you don’t take much notice of the height and can relax and enjoy your time “being a monkey up a tree”.
By the time we got to the last cloud station and prepared for our “No regrets” flight: we were told by Jess that as this was the last zip line so we should have no regrets, if we didn’t let go of the harness on previous zips then now is our chance to “flap our wings” and be free! My nerves had completely disappeared and disappointment started setting in, disappointment that the tour was coming to an end because we were having so much fun and would have loved to do it again! I wonder if they are looking for a extra guide, this would be an amazing job!
This is one adventure you shouldn’t miss on your drive along the Great Ocean Road!
Suggestions and other important information–
- Have a big breakfast. It will help you go faster (or so Jess told us). If you are doing one of the morning tours you do tend to get very hungry (I don’t suggest just having one pop tart and a coffee, not only is it not very nutritious its not very satisfying, we learnt this the hard way)
- Stop and have some lunch at the Black Snail café after your zip line tour before going on the tree top walk, otherwise it can be a long 3-4 hours of zip lining and walking where you will find you are super hungry and cranky, fuel up first and you will be able to enjoy your forest walk, you also need a bit of fuel to get up the steeper parts of the walk.. (The schnitzel burger is to die for! Well not literally but it was pretty damn good!)
- Make sure to wear layers of clothing, this is after all a rainforest and even in the middle of summer it can be fairly cold. I wore a beanie, long sleeve shirt/jumper and a waterproof jacket, a pair of thermal pants and jeans and of course socks and fully enclosed shoe (ie sneakers) and I found I was still a little cold. It’s best to take something waterproof as, if it rains you will get very cold (and wet) plus a waterproof jacket usually protects from wind chill too.
- You can take a small camera with a lanyard / wrist strap on the tour but you need to check with the guides first if you are allowed to take your camera out and they will attach it to your harness so a big SLR camera is not a good idea.
- While the centre might be able to accommodate you if you were to walk in, its highly recommended to make a booking. It would really suck if you got there with your sights on Zip lining and there wasn’t a free spot.
About Otway –
Location – Otway Fly Treetop Adventures site, 360 Phillips Track, Weeaproinah VIC 3237, which is 2.5 hours away from Melbourne (via Princes Hwy inland route) and 1.5 hours from Geelong (via Princes Hwy). Ideal for a day trip or a stop off while travelling along the Great Ocean Road.
Opening hours – Everyday 9.00am – 5.00pm
The zip line tour takes approx 2.5 hours to complete the course. The tours are run all year around rain, hail or sunshine. The only time the tour is cancelled is in extreme weather E.g. lightning storms, government declared Code Red bushfire weather warning days and high winds
The minimum age to complete the tour is 4 years old with a minimum height of 105cm while the maximum weight is 120kg, this is the same weight for tandem flights (usually a parent and child).
Cost – (if you book online you receive a 10% discount) Prices are in AUD
Adult $103.50 (usually $115 if booked on arrival or over the phone)
Child (4-15 years old) $74.25
Child (under 4 years old) $67.50 – this maybe for a tandem flight with a parent.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by the Otway Fly Tree Top Adventures for this tour. All opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.