Victoria is not a place in Australia where you’d expect to find rainforests, but in the stunning Great Otways National Park there are a number of them, and they are nothing short of spectacular. The first one we did in Victoria was the Melba Gully Rainforest Walk, and it was a stark contrast to the rugged coastline that lines the Great Ocean Road.
Where is the Melba Gully?
Melba Gully is right in the centre of the rainforest that you drive through on the Great Ocean Road. It’s roughly half way between Princetown and Johanna Beach, and is easily accessible.
Melba Gully Parking and access
If you are towing something, its worth noting that there are no car parks set up for vehicles towing anything. Instead, there are 3 bus parking bays, and with no alternative (and 2 others free), we used one for our visit.
It’s also worth noting that the drive in is relatively steep heading down, and you have to drive back out again. We stayed in first gear for a while, before it finally ticked over to 2nd. The road is short, so its not a major concern but worth noting either way.
What are the views like?
We were really, really impressed with Melba Gully in terms of the views. Everywhere you look is something different (and stunning), and it starts off with a great view from the picnic area of the tops of a heap of beautiful trees.
Doing the walk there yields a couple of stunning creeks, lots of ferns, moss, fungus and some truly beautiful scenes along the way.
Is it free?
There is zero access cost for going to Melba Gully, and that makes it even more attractive.
Melba Gully Walk
The primary attraction at Melba Gully is the Madsens Trail, which starts off at a big, grassy picnic area with a BBQ, and toilets nearby.
It meanders its way down the gully nice and slowly, crossing a number of bridges and yielding some pretty spectacular scenes. You’ll soon arrive at Anne’s Cascades, which are worth a look, and you can sit and have a bit to eat on the wooden bench if you’d like.
If you missed where the track goes from here, don’t stress; I didn’t see it either, but there are some stairs that start to go up at a more rapid rate about 10 metres from Annes Cascade.
From here, the walk gets a bit more challenging. The stairs take you up fairly quickly, and then you bounce between minor flat sections, to going down and back up again.
Take your time walking through here, as there are some areas that are quite slippery, and all 4 of us slipped to a certain degree. There are pieces of timber that have been put in place to stop the water from damaging the tracks too much, and these would also stop you from sliding too far if you fell over, but be careful standing on them as they are also quite slippery!
Eventually, you’ll arrive back at the picnic area, where you can kick back and relax, or head back to your vehicle.
Rainfall in the area
I was curious to know how you’d end up with Rainforests in Victoria, as its not the area that has a climate that I’d have thought would suit it. However, a quick look online shows that the Melba Gully region receives on average 2000mm of rainfall a year, which is truly incredible.
Melba Gully Glow worms
If you want to do something a bit more unique, Melba Gully is home to Glow Worms, that you’ll see at night. It needs to be dark, and the wetter it is the better it is, but in general you will find Melba Gully Glow worms in action throughout the year, unless its really dry.
Even in the middle of February when we visited there was quite a bit of moisture around, and whilst we didn’t get to head out and check them out, it would be amazing I’m sure.
Melba Gully Carnivorous Snails
Another unique attraction here are the black, carnivorous snails that can be seen on the floor, if you have a keen eye. We didn’t see any, but with two young kids in tow that’s hardly surprising!
Is Melba Gully worth a visit?
Overall, this place was really impressive, and we’d highly recommend you stop and do it. The walk is relatively quick, it breaks up your Great Ocean Road Drive and the scenery makes it absolutely worth it. We also did Maits Rest Rainforest Walk which was stunning, and Beauchamp Falls are absolutely worth checking out too.