A great idea for those looking for a short diversion off the Great Ocean Road while visiting the Apollo Bay area of Victoria is to take a drive down the Barnham River Road Scenic Drive. This road allows visitors to see a section of a stunning temperate rain forest, however from the start of the drive the fact that you are about to drive into a rain forest seems hard to believe considering how much grassland you are surrounded by:
However, after a few kilometers the grazing land stops when the road enters a narrow valley in the Otway Ranges that is blanketed with thick brush, large trees, and some of the tallest fern trees you will ever see:
The road travels up the valley following the slow moving, but pleasant Anderson Creek:
Along the road you can the world’s tallest flowering plants, the gigantic mountain ash trees to see:
The farther up the valley the road goes the thicker and greener the bush becomes with even thick grass and moss growing on the trees:
However the stunning rain forest is broken up by the occasional ranch that still operates this deep in the Otway Ranges:
In between the occasional ranches and even bed and breakfast places the thick temperate rain forest restarts:
Besides the large trees and lush underbrush the valley also has some stunning wild flowers to see:
These orange flowers I found to be especially beautiful:
At the end of the valley visitors can take a hike up to Mariner’s Falls. Unfortunately when my wife and I drove up this beautiful valley the windstorm the day before knocked down a number of trees and the park rangers had closed the trail due to the threat of falling trees. However, here is a picture of the falls I found on the net that I hope to get a chance to hike to the next time I visit Apollo Bay:
Judging from the picture the falls do not appear to be as dramatic as Erskine Falls down the road in Lorne, but beautiful none the less.
The Barnham River Road Scenic Drive is easy to find by following the signs off the Great Ocean Road on the south side of Apollo Bay. The drive is about 25 kilometers round trip and definitely worth the time to check out for those visiting Apollo Bay.