Winter this year has proven to be the wettest for over 10 years. We visited Rainbow Falls just after the rain to see it in all its glory. Rainbow Falls flow from a spring in the Cliff form a beautiful rainbow in the afternoon light. These places are best seen in Winter and Spring.
We try to see the penguins at this time of the year as it gets dark early. The colony of about 1000 little penguins inhabits the dunes at the base of the 12 Apostles. Penguins begin to arrive about 10 minutes after sunset and with our Binoculars we get a great view.
The bird life along the Great Ocean Walk is amazing. Some of the larger birds often seen are Peregrine falcons, Australasian gannets, Albatross and Sea Eagles. Some migrate thousands of kilometres each year to feed and nest. There are numerous smaller birds including Fairy wrens, Kingfishers, Fire tails and White throated tree creepers.
The Platypus have been quite active this Spring with sightings on all tours. The sightings can be difficult through October but this did not prove to be the case this year
This time of year they are still active as they eat 30% of their body weight in food each day.
Sometimes they are feeding more at dusk and sometimes more at dawn. By constant observation, patterns with their feeding become apparent.
There has been reasonable Spring rain which brings in more food for the Lake. This helps increase the availability of Worms Insect Larvae and Shrimp for the Platypus to feed on. Good seasons for the Platypus are generally the wet years as more nutrition is deposited in the Lake.
The Platypus are very active feeding until late winter, before breeding.
1 month after breeding the females lay up to 3 eggs in their nesting burrow and incubate them for up to 2 weeks.
At this stage the sightings can be sporadic and being the wettest time of year the Lake is too deep for them to feed out from the edge.
This time of year they are still active but prove a bit more elusive.
We see them quite close to the edge and it can be difficult to get a clear view of them.
The females seem to stay closer to their burrows and feed for less time while incubating the eggs.
It is always a good sign to see a bit less of them at tis time of the year as it can indicate that they are breeding.
The trails around Forrest have been in reasonably good condition.
Recent rain has had its effect and the trails to the south of Forrest have become difficult to ride with the mud.
Currently trails 3, 6 and 8 are closed.
Riding in the Yaugher area to the north of Forrest is the best. These trails have a sandy base and cope with the rain. Try trails 9, 10 and 11
for some excellent riding with big berms, log rides and big jumps.
We have plenty of bikes for riding and can organize multi day rides in the area. So come to Forrest and discover some of the best trails in Australia.
Winter has again proven to be a great time to see the Platypus.
Dawn and dusk tours have been very successful with sometimes 3 or 4 Platypus feeding at the same time.
It has been found that the Platypus can hibernate during winter.
Research into Platypus activity from some areas indicates hibernation for up to 6 days. The Platypus lives off fat stored in their tail at this time.
Platypus sightings at Lake Elizabeth remain fairly constant through the year suggesting little or no hibernation. But without tracking devices to determine activity exact results are unknown.
Late Winter has been very wet with inches of rain falling.
The Platypus have been seen in all areas sometimes feeding in the one area for 5 min. They seem to swim greater distances in winter which could be due their food being more spread out or harder to find.
There has been some indication of breeding in early August with The Platypus seen swimming close to one another. There is observed to be a Platypus which swims longer distances on the surface and actively moves towards other Platypus in the area.
We will wait until February 2010 to see evidence of a new Baby Platypus in the Lake. This is a great opportunity to see a Baby Platypus in the wild, not to be missed.
The Platypus have been very busy feeding lately. They have been seen at all times of day and are very easy to see. We have had some close encounters at 5- 10 meters away. If we have been very quiet and still they haven’t even noticed us being there.
They are normally known to be elusive but at Lake Elizabeth we have a colony of about 6 and see them 95% of the time. It is rare not to see them and in early February we get to see the baby Platypus which is a real treat as they have been known to swim quite close to us.
We keep a record of Platypus activity and send this to Parks Victoria and this helps monitor their numbers and health. We also donate towards Platypus research in other states. Through our tours we are able to help study and conserve the Platypus for the future.
The weather in mid May is quite unpredictable and the weekend of 16, 17 May was wild. With unrelenting winds and a huge roaring ocean the walk was challenging but rewarding. It is fantastic to get these conditions as it gives you an insight to the days of sailing ships and being wrecked upon this unforgiving coastline.
The swell was over 10ft and at the 12 Apostles the crashing waves were sending spray above the cliffs. There were spectacular rainbows out over the ocean and the aptly named rainbow falls was in looking a treat.
Winter on the Great Ocean Walk is an experience and walking at this time of year is better than when it is too hot in summer. It is a great way to keep healthy and warms you up at the same time.
The Great Ocean Walk is full of surprises. Around every corner lies treasure. We always see koalas around Parker River and Kangaroos at the Cape and often see Eagles, Echidnas and Snakes but this time it was far more amazing.
As we were watching a Sugar Glider feeding in a tree, which is rare enough in itself we were shocked to see a Powerfull Owl swoop down and take it from in front of our eyes. This is the sort of thing you hear about, but rarely witness.
The event took less than a few seconds but the memory will last forever. It takes me back to last year when we watched a storm over the sea move in. A rainbow followed by a dark cloud came in off the ocean at great speed right over our group. It was beautiful and then intensely windy and wild and then it passed.
The Mountain bike trails are in great condition now we have had some rain. The cooler weather means you can ride longer and there are a few less snakes around. The trails have been designed by Glen Jacobs with the rider in mind. Big berms on Marriners run, great flowing track on the Fox tail as well as the fast and technical Red Carpet.
As we get into winter the tracks to the south of Forrest get too messy but to the north at Yaugher the sandy soils cope well with our wet climate.
We have now started the new Red Carpet Downhill Service.
This means you can beat the hills and get straight to the top.
We have 6, 10 or 15km rides with few hills to climb and they all end back in town at the Pub.
So get on your bike and get down here to ride some of the best trails in Australia and some more only the locals know about.
Our Platypus Package from Apollo Bay is a 6-7hr guided tour to see Platypus in the wild. You are transported from your accommodation to Lake Elizabeth for our Platypus tour and then off to a local waterfall followed by breakfast.
It is a full morning and can be followed by a walk along the Great Ocean Walk if you have the time and energy.
Our 1 day wonders along the Great Ocean Walk leave from Apollo Bay. You are transported along the Great Ocean Road to Blanket Bay to one of the best parts of the Great Ocean Walk. From here we walk to Parker River and onto the Cape Otway Light station. Includes a guided 10-15 km section of the walk and lunch by the beach.
You can also enjoy a walk around the Light station grounds and a bit of Koala spotting on your way back to Apollo Bay.
This is a 6-7hr tour and has a min of 2 and max of 8.
Why not stay a bit longer and explore the Otways with the locals.