When we went: Saturday May 2
How we got there: We camped at the Lake Elizabeth campground and walked from there. Lake Elizabeth is about two hours from Melbourne by car.
Activity summary: easy beautiful two hour walk in rainforest around lake edge
What we did (the details):
We drove in to Lake Elizabeth on Friday night after walking down near Lorne. We popped down to the camping area to look at the spots, then drove back out up the hill to a level where we could get mobile reception, then booked a spot. It’s $35 per person, tents only.
The camp ground is beautiful; ferns, moss, tall trees, frogs croaking and full of birds bopping around the sites constantly. We pitched our tent, ate dinner then tucked ourselves into sleeping bags, watching the birds until darkness.
The next morning we packed up camp early, and headed out on our walk at around 7:30am. The notes we’d read in Walking the Otways had suggested the lake circuit was around a two hour walk, so we recoiled slightly on reaching the official signage that heralded the circuit as a 3.5hr walk. We had planned to do this short walk in the morning and then a longer walk later in the day, so we were a little worried. We decided in the end to trust the book, and forged on.
The walk to the lake starts in the car park and heads over the Barwon river which was a pleasant burble when we crossed. We followed the entrance track to the lake, past a fern-walled pond on the left, and followed the river up to he lake. At the top, we headed right when we reached the lake, going anti-clockwise.
The entrance track and the track on the north side of the lake are very rainforest; ferns and moss and dark, damp gullies. The southern side of the lake is a bit drier, more eucalypts and slightly more open. We walked early so everything was covered in dew, a few tiny sprinkles of rain and no wind. Glorious.
The track is a great quality track with solid bridges and board walk over waterways. With the changes in plant life and lots of different views of the lake, this is a vey enjoyable walk.
True to the book, rather than the official sign, we found ourselves back at the car park after about two hours of pleasant walking.
Birds we saw: superb blue wren families everywhere, eastern yellow robins, sitting on the tent number signs and in family groups at the lake, crimson rosellas on the verges of the road, and drinking in the river, bassian thrushes foraging in the campsite almost constantly AND hopping along the leaf littered tracks at the lake, swamp hen families on the lake.
Not a bird, but worth noting… despite our early start, we didn’t see any platypuses. 😦
Books: the walk is described as a variation in the “West Barwon Dam to Lake Elizabeth” walk in Walking the Otways.
Online: Parks Victoria page: http://m.parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/great-otway-national-park/things-to-do/lake-elizabeth