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Wye River: Serenity Between Ocean and Forest
The town of Wye River, set on the banks of a river of the same name, is a small settlement popular with Melbournian holidaymakers. 160 km from Melbourne, Wye River is situated between Lorne and Apollo Bay, on what is considered the most scenic stretch of one of the most scenic roads in the world. A short distance from town, you’ll find plunging waterfalls, lush rainforests, rugged beaches and even rows of eucalyptus trees home to wild koalas. Families and couples seeking a quiet retreat step from nature in all its glory will have their pick of secluded holiday homes, on the outskirts of town, in the rolling hills or close to the main beach. No matter which rental you choose, you’ll feel as if you are miles away from civilization but can still indulge in a pint or home cooked fare at the Wye Hotel or General Store.
Wye River & Area Beaches
Wye River’s main beach is patrolled throughout the summer by the local surf club, ensuring the waters are safe for families with young children. The 200m stretch of sand, nestled between rocky sandstone headlands, is set right where the Wye River, flanked by verdant hills, meanders into the Southern Ocean. Visitors can appreciate the scenery as they swim, surf or fish. However, due to strong currents, travellers are reminded by local authorities to swim only between the flags. Rougher waters are good news for surfers, however, and if you’re looking to pick up the sport, you can even take part in surfing lessons through a local school. Meanwhile, angling enthusiasts can cast a line off the beach, rocks or riverbank. If you’re looking for additional waterfront activities, drive along the coast to Lorne, where you’ll find a long, family-friendly beach lined by picnic spots, a playground and a walking track. Lorne’s waterfront is also the setting of the Lorne Sea Baths, which offer a whole host of attractions for visitors of all ages, from trampolines to Segway rentals.
Wildlife Observation near Wye River
As the town of Wye River is far removed from major urban centres, the opportunities to spot wildlife of all sorts abound. Depending on the season, you may be able to go whale watching. Year-round, keep an eye out for bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the waters near shore. For almost guaranteed koala sightings, head to nearby Kennett River, where you’ll find the region’s most famous rows of eucalyptus trees where a colony of wild koalas lives. Look up, and you’ll spot the iconic Australian marsupial, perhaps even with a baby clinging to its mother’s back. Koalas may sleep most of the day, but if you stop by in the late afternoon, you might see the furry creatures swinging from one branch to another to feast on eucalyptus leaves. If you would like to observe birdlife up close, Kennett River is the perfect spot to feed lorikeets and king parrots. Buy feed from one of the stands and, soon enough, the area’s parrots will swoop down from the trees to land on your shoulders, arms, or even head!
Walks & Hikes near Wye River
Wye River is a short drive from the Great Otway National Park, which features over 100 km of walking tracks. Spend the day discovering shady paths lined by some of the tallest, oldest trees in Victoria, hike up to waterfall lookouts and release your inner botanist as you discover a number of protected plant species along paved and unpaved trails. The landscape within the Great Otway National Park changes dramatically, with paths that follow the coastline and others that veer inland, leading walkers along beaches, through swamps and even under rainforest canopies. The Great Ocean Walk passed through the national park. This 104 km trail runs from Apollo Bay to The Twelve Apostles, one of the Great Ocean Road’s highlights. With resting spots and campgrounds at every 10 or 15 km, travellers can venture along as much of the Great Ocean Walk as they choose. Guided tours, lasting several nights, are another option for discovering the Great Ocean Walk in its entirety.
Natural Beauty & Scenic Lookouts near Wye
There is no shortage of scenic lookout points near Wye River; some of which are manmade and others which you might just happen to stumble upon during a hike or stroll. A short distance from town, you’ll find the Wye Falls, a 40m high waterfall cascading into the Wye River. These secluded falls are one of Wye River’s lesser known gems, so you are quite likely to end up being the only human to enjoy them at the time. Take in riverside scenery and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the remote location. If you prefer ocean views, head to Point Sturt, on the south side of Wye’s main beach. The headland offers prime vistas over the town’s original jetty, completed in 1910 and now decaying, and the rock formations which encapsulate the golden sand and turquoise water. Of course, as Wye is located on the Great Ocean Road, you only need to drive a short distance to reach larger, more popular lookouts high above the water, allowing for panoramic coastal views.
Getting to Wye River
The most straightforward means to access Wye River is to drive from Melbourne. Take the Great Ocean Road all the way to your destination, so as to enjoy stunning coastal and forest panoramas as you go along. Numerous small (and larger) towns on the make for convenient pit stops if you are hungry or simply wish to stretch your legs. If you don’t have a car, you can also take a combination of trains and buses to Wye River, but make sure to check the timetables in advance so as not to get stranded, as service can be infrequent.