The eerie natural dam of Lake Elizabeth

Deep in to the Otways rain forest, surrounded by dense bush and Tree Ferns is Lake Elizabeth and it is one of the most beautiful parts of the entire Great Otways National Park.

Lake Elizabeth formed over 50 years ago when a natural landslide dammed the Barwon River East Branch. Huge stumps and trunks of dead Eucalyptus regnans stick out of the lake. These trees were originally growing there but the when the lake was formed, it drowned and slowly killed these giants that can grow to be over 100 metres tall and live for upto 500 years.

Dead trees in Lake Elizabeth, Otways, Victoria
More dead trees in Lake Elizabeth, Otways, Victoria

Finding Lake Elizabeth

It’s quite easy to find Lake Elizabeth once you get to the small and cosy town of Forrest in the Otways.

The fastest route from Melbourne, Geelong or anywhere west is by heading direct to Forrest from Winchelsea or Colac. After turning off the highway the road then leads into the thick, dark forest and you enter another world. It really is an incredible place and worth visiting just for the drive.

If you’re not short on time then we couldn’t recommend anything higher than taking the coastal route along the Great Ocean Road to Lorne or Skenes Creek and then heading inland from there. Going straight to to Lake Elizabeth from Lorne, it’ll save you about 40 minutes in total than if you were to keep driving along the Great Ocean Road to Skenes Creek, but it’s definitely worth staying on the Great Ocean Road for that bit further as you’ll miss out on too much otherwise.

Direct from Melbourne

Lake Elizabeth via the Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is one of the most beautiful drives in the world and some of it’s highlights are between Lorne and Skenes Creek, so we definitely suggest to keep driving along the coast and then you’ll be in for a treat as you turn north and head inland through the Otways forest to Lake Elizabeth.

Eva next to canoes at Lake Elizabeth, Otways, Victoria

Walking trail around the lake and past Lake Elizabeth Beach

From the car park, it’s around a one kilometre walk to get to the lake.

There’s a timber jetty/viewing platform where you could also launch a canoe. Here, you’ll get some great views of Lake Elizabeth and the dead trees towering out of the water, but the walk around the lake will give you the best experience, by far.

The walk is a loop around the lake and it’s absolutely stunning.
Heading in an anti-clockwise direction will take you to the Lake Elizabeth beach which is just a small patch of dirt where you can easily enter the lake for a swim.
The walk on the other side of the lake is one of the most beautiful walks among Tree Ferns in the entire national park.

Here’s way more information and pictures about the Lake Elizabeth walking loop.

Lake Elizabeth small loop beside lake
Lake Elizabeth small loop

Wildlife at Lake Elizabeth

Lake Elizabeth is a great place for bird watching. There are lots of Wrens and Robins. It’s often that you’ll find people on the search for Pink Robins.

In the early morning and as the sun sets in the evening, lookout for Platypus that can be seen in the clear water of Lake Elizabeth. Then, once it’s dark, admire the glow worms on the side of the track as the entire area transforms to scene out of a cartoon. It’s an amazing sight and for many people, it’s once-in-a-lifetime.

Due to the Lake Elizabeth area being quite wet, cold and the flora so dense, there’s not a huge amount of grass and there aren’t many Wallabies or Kangaroos to be seen.

Fishing at Lake Elizabeth

Lake Elizabeth isn’t known as a great fishing spot. Many streams and rivers in the Otways are home to lots of Trout and Salmon, although they don’t seem to be here.

We’ve heard of people walking down or upstream from the lake and catching Rainbow Trout, but no word of anyone catching fish in Lake Elizabeth itself.

Sign at Lake Elizabeth giving directions to campground and walks

Accommodation & Camping

For accommodation, the closest town is Forrest and only a 5 minute drive down the road, however, the campground is less than one kilometre from Lake Elizabeth and an absolute beauty.

You can head over here to read all about camping at Lake Elizabeth.

Lake Elizabeth Small Campsite
More dead trees in Lake Elizabeth, Otways, Victoria