The Great Ocean Road – Maits Rest & Cape Otway

April 18, 2019
Cape Otway Light Station from a distance - Victoria, Australia.

This is Part 6 of our Melbourne and Great Ocean Road road trip – 22 to 30 November 2018

So far I’ve covered our 2 nights in Melbourne, a quick stop off at Torquay and Bells Beach, another quick stop and explore at Aireys Inlet and Split Point Lighthouse, our 1 night stay in Lorne, and 1 night stay at Apollo Bay

This post covers our visit to Maits Rest and Cape Otway on the way to the next overnight stay at Port Campbell.  I hope you like snaps & history!


Maits Rest

Maits Rest is just a short 15 minute drive from Apollo Bay and of course I couldn’t resist a beautiful rainforest walk.  It’s a really easy 30 minute walk along a mixture of board walk and gravel paths.  I took a squillion photos with my phone but rest easy – here are just a few – you’re welcome!

Maits Rest Rainforest Habitat, Great Ocean Road, Cape Otway, Victoria.

Maits Rest Rainforest Habitat, Great Ocean Road, Cape Otway, Victoria.

Maits Rest Rainforest Habitat, Great Ocean Road, Cape Otway, Victoria.

Maits Rest Rainforest Habitat, Great Ocean Road, Cape Otway, Victoria.

Cape Otway

Cape Otway, 30kms to the west of Apollo Bay sits at the southern tip of Victoria’s western coast where the Southern Ocean meets Bass Strait.  The area around Cape Otway is included in the Great Otway National Park with rainforests and streams extending to the coast where a rugged coastline meets with pockets of sandy beaches. 

Cape Otway Light Station – ‘The Beacon of Hope’

Cape Otway Light Station, made of sandstone, was constructed in 1848.  It’s the oldest surviving lighthouse on mainland Australia and considered the most significant.  The lighthouse known as the ‘Beacon of Hope,’ sits 90 metres above the pristine ocean of Bass Strait.  Hundreds of lives were lost along this shipwreck coast – a sad but fascinating history which led to the building of the Light Station on the cliffs edge.  For many thousands of 19th century migrants, who spent months travelling to Australia by ship, Cape Otway was their first sight of land after leaving Europe, Asia and North America.  During winter to spring, the lighthouse is a vantage point for land-based whale watching as migrating whales swim very close to shores.  

Cape Otway Light Station from a distance - Victoria, Australia.

Cape Otway Light Station

Cape Otway Light Station

Cape Otway Light Station

View from the Cape Otway Light House

Cape Otway

Here’s a video of the view that I took by walking around the perimeter of the Light Station … that was until someone decided to walk backwards towards me and thus my video promptly ended! 

Telegraph Station & Heritage Buildings

Cape Otway’s heritage trail means a visit to the meticulously restored Telegraph Station, which linked the mainland to Tasmania with a sub-sea telegraph cable – a major feat of technology in its day. 

The Cape’s Telegraph Station was built in 1859 and housed operators, their families and the telegraph operations rooms. Here’s a short video (1 minute 14 seconds) with a bit more info.

Also on the trail you can visit the original Keepers lodgings and workshop constructed in 1848. The Assistant Lightkeepers cottage (built in 1859) has been converted into a café and has, on loan from the Maritime Museum of Victoria, a display of a series of paintings of ships that sailed past or were wrecked along this dangerous coastline.

Continuing along the heritage trail, you can learn about the Light Station’s secret war history through artefacts and displays in a radar bunker.  This was built in 1942 after a US ship was sunk by a German mine off the Cape.  During World War II, up to 50 men were stationed at the Light Station to protect the coastline. 

There’s also the Indigenous Cultural Sites within the Lightstaton precinct.  Opened in September 2010 and hand created mainly by local Indigenous people in consultation with elders and Parks Victoria, the area includes a Meeting Hut, a Keeping Place, a Billabong Sculpture and a protected walk.

Here’s some photo’s snapped with my phone of the heritage buildings, Telegraph Station and inside where the families lived, around the grounds, and the Aboriginal Talking Hut.

Heritage Buildings at Cape Otway, Victoria

Heritage Buildings at Cape Otway, Victoria

Telegraph Station at Cape Otway, Great Ocean Road, Victoria.

Telegraph Station

Pianola at the Cape Otway Telegraph Station, Victoria, Australia.

Tea Cups & other items at the Cape Otway Telegraph Station, Victoria, Australia.

Grass Seed

Looked pretty so I had to snap it!

The Unknown plaque commemorating the disappearance of Frederick Valentich

Light Station from the cafe, Cape Otway, Victoria.

The Cape Otway Light Station from the cafe.

Cape Otway Radar Station - Information

Cape Otway Radar Station - remaining German Mine from WWII

Radar Station – one of the remaining German Mines from WWII

Aboriginal Talking Hut, Cape Otway, Victoria, Australia

Aboriginal Talking Hut – is a contemporary and artistic creation of a traditional Talking hut or Wuurn, with rock base and wooden upper section. Larger than the traditional permanent dwellings it is an example of some designed for larger gatherings in cooler months.

Well that was a lovely morning spent at Cape Otway.  I learnt a lot more than I was expecting to!  Stay tuned for the next post as part of this series as we continue along the Great Ocean Road towards the next overnight stop at Port Campbell.

Ciao for now,

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12 Comments

  • Reply Natalie April 18, 2019 at 8:54 am

    Thanks, Min, for sharing your trip and lovely photos. I like the greenery, the beach, and the lighthouse seen from the picnic tables. #Lovin’LifeLinky

    • Reply Min April 18, 2019 at 12:49 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Natalie 🙂

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond April 18, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Hi Min, I really would love to revisit this area. It has been about 10 years since I was last there and the whole Ocean Road drive is full of surprises and gorgeous country. Thanks for sharing your photos and making my day. #Lovin’LifeLinky

    • Reply Min April 18, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      I’d like to revisit it too Sue … already! I’d like to stay longer in some places and see my favourite places again. It’s a lovely experience 🙂

  • Reply Deborah April 18, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Such stunning photographs as usual Min. And again I remind myself I must visit the area at some point. Obviously the road trip is the way to go – so much to see and so many stops to make along the way.

    • Reply Min April 18, 2019 at 12:55 pm

      You’re too kind Deb. Most of the photos are just phone snaps (only a few are DSLR shots). I don’t have the same passion and patience that I used to have with photography – the endless hours spent editing. I still do it but not as much. A road trip is definitely the way to go to see The Great Ocean Road … and don’t rush it. Stop places overnight along the way like we did. Otherwise it would feel to me just like a ticking off exercise (TICK – yep seen that now) rather than having enough time to soak up the towns and sights and not be rushed and ‘not present’!

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl April 18, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Stunning photos, Min! Thank you for sharing them with us this week!

    Wishing you and yours a lovely Easter break!

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Min April 19, 2019 at 11:08 am

      Thanks SSG. Happy Easter to you and yours also! xoxo

  • Reply Patrick Weseman April 19, 2019 at 12:20 am

    Such a wonderful and beautiful experience. Thanks for sharing. I would love to do this. #lifelovinlinky

    • Reply Min April 19, 2019 at 11:08 am

      Thanks Patrick. I hope one day you do! Have a wonderful Easter.

  • Reply Joanne Tracey April 19, 2019 at 7:12 am

    As you know I’ve enjoyed this whole series of your posts, but this one especially – because of the history. I deliberately didn’t read it yesterday as I wanted to sit down with a cup of tea instead of catching snippets during the work day. Great photos as always too.

    • Reply Min April 19, 2019 at 11:09 am

      Ahhh yess – it did cross my mind that you would enjoy the history Jo! I seem to enjoy history more and more as I get older. Wonder why that is? Have a wonderful Easter!! xo

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