Colac Picnic area, Ken Stepnell

Population 10859

Colac was built by the shores of Lake Colac on the volcanic plain that covers much of Victoria's Western District. The lake, once the largest freshwater body in Victoria, is gradually returning to health after having been dried out by harsh drought. Still, the town acts as the gateway to the Otways. The area was once described by novelist Rolf Boldrewood as 'a scene of surpassing beauty and rural loveliness.

Visitor Information

Cnr Murray and Queen sts; (03) 5231 3730 or 1300 689 297

Nearby national parks

  • Brisbane Ranges National Park

    In Brisbane Ranges National Park low mountains are dissected by rugged gorges and hidden gullies with basalt grasslands and woodlands. An...more

  • Mount Eccles National Park

    Mount Eccles National Park is Victoria’s first co-managed national park, being managed by the traditional owners,...more

  • Kinglake National Park

    Surrounding the township of Kinglake, this bush retreat close to Melbourne offers views of the Yarra Valley, the city skyline and Port...more

Nearby towns

  • Winchelsea

    This charming little town on the Barwon River west of Geelong was first developed with cattle runs in the 1830s. Many of the historic...more

  • Camperdown

    Located at the foot of Mount Leura, a volcanic cone, Camperdown is more famous for its natural attractions than for the town itself, being...more

  • Lorne

    Lorne is one of Victoria's most attractive and lively coastal resorts. The approach into town along the Great Ocean Road is truly...more

In Town

Heritage Walk: self-guided tour of the history and architectural wonders of Colac; details from visitor centre.

Performing Arts and Cultural Centre: incorporates the Colac Cinema, open daily; and the Historical Centre, open 2–4pm Thurs, Fri and Sun; Cnr Gellibrand and Ray sts.

Botanic Gardens: unusual in that visitors are allowed to drive through the gardens. Picnic, barbecue and playground facilities are provided; by Lake Colac.

Barongarook Creek: prolific birdlife, and a walking track leading from Princes Hwy to Lake Colac; on the northern outskirts of town.


Red Rock Lookout The lookout features a reserve with picnic and barbecue facilities, plus spectacular views across 30 volcanic lakes, including Lake Corangamite, Victoria's largest saltwater lake. At the base of the lookout is the Red Rock Winery. Near Alvie; 22 km N. The Volcano Discovery Trail goes from Colac to Millicent in SA, and follows the history of volcanic activity in the region; details from visitor centre.

Old Beechy Rail Trail: 45 km trail that follows one of the state's former narrow-gauge railway lines from Colac to Beech Forest, suitable for walkers and cyclists. The trail starts at Colac railway station; details from visitor centre.

Art and craft galleries: at Barongarook (12 km SE); details from visitor centre.

Burtons Lookout: features Otway Estate Winery and Brewery with its well-known Prickly Moses ale range, views of the Otways; 13 km S.

Tarndwarncoort Homestead: wool displays and sales; off Warncoort Cemetery Rd; 15 km E.

Birregurra: township located at the foot of the Otway Ranges and the edge of volcanic plains; 20 km E.

Forrest: old timber and logging town in the Otway Ranges; 32 km SE. Attractions nearby include fishing, walking and picnics at the West Barwon Reservoir (2 km S), or spotting a platypus at Lake Elizabeth, formed by a landslide in 1952 (5 km SE).

Fishing spots near town

Lake Purrumbete 32 km

The bulk of the serious trout-fishing action in Victoria is in the Western District crater lakes. Of these, Lake Purrumbete near Camperdown ranks in the top half a dozen trout lakes in the state in terms quality,... Find out more

Lorne 41 km

On the way into Lorne is a popular ledge known as Jump Rock. It consistently produces salmon, silver trevally, barracouta, pinkies and mullet. The drive into Lorne will also take you across the Erskine River, a small... Find out more

Lake Bullen Merri 44 km

Lake Bullen Merri at Camperdown is less than 20 mins drive from Lake Purrumbete. A deep, volcanic lake with saline water, it is stocked with brown and rainbow trout, Atlantic and Chinook salmon, and Australian bass.... Find out more

Apollo Bay 47 km

Apollo Bay has a diversity of angling options, including river, estuary, surf and offshore. You can also fish from the rocks or in the sheltered harbour. Anglers who come here seek everything from brown trout and bream... Find out more

Aire River 53 km

This area comprises estuary, surf and freshwater on the west side of Cape Otway. Aire River nestles in a valley along the foothills of the Otways. To get there, follow the Great Ocean Road past the Cape Otway turn-off,... Find out more

Anglesea 54 km

Beach fishing species here are the same as Torquay, with the best fishing east of the Anglesea River, although you need to be aware of the marine park that extends west from Point Addis. But most anglers go here to fish... Find out more

Gellibrand River 55 km

A little further west from Aire River are Castle Cove and Johanna Beach; both produce fishing similar to the beach at Aire River. There is also good beach fishing at Princetown, at the mouth of the Gellibrand River. ... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Canoeing on Lake Elizabeth 27 km

For a fantastic dawn or dusk paddle in which you have a 95 per cent chance of seeing a platypus, join Otway Eco Tours on Lake Elizabeth. Half-day trips to this remote lake in the ranges depart from the small hamlet of... Find out more

Sea-kayaking in Marengo Marine Sanctuary 49 km

In an exciting two-hour guided paddle, head out from Apollo Bay to Marengo Marine Sanctuary to get a close-up view of an Australian fur-seal colony. The seals often come out to swim around the kayaks.... Find out more

Diving and snorkelling - Port Campbell, Peterborough and Warrnambool 60 km

Best known in diving circles for its multitude of shipwrecks, most of which are reached by boat dives, this area also has some great snorkelling and shore dives. Recommended spots include the Port Campbell jetty, Wild... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Old Lorne Road Olives

Absorb the bucolic bliss of the olive grove as you sit on the deck of this Mediterranean-style cafe, whose menu combines much local produce with home-grown goods. Savour terrific smoked eel from nearby Parratte, blue or... Find out more

Otway Estate Winery 
and Brewery

This winery and brewery has a cafe restaurant, art gallery and cellar door overlooking the Otway rainforest ranges and estate vineyard. Take a seat on the deck in summer for a cordial-tasting (they make about 30... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Otway Estate Brewery 12 km

Located 12 kilometres from Colac, Otway Estate Winery was established in 1983, specialising in cool-climate wines; a microbrewery was added in 2007. Head brewer Luke Scott oversees the production of up to 15 different... Find out more

Purrumbete Brewing Company (Red Duck) 32 km

Scott and Vanessa Wilson-Browne are another couple of ‘ale changers’ who swapped busy Melbourne careers to move to the country, bring up their young family, and brew and market craft ales. Along the way, they... Find out more

Campsites around town

Lake Colac Caravan Park 1 km

When its water levels are high, the namesake body of water next to the town of Colac, 73 km west of Geelong on the Princes Hwy, is used for all manner of watersports: from swimming and sailing to waterskiing. The caravan... Find out more

Central Caravan Park 2 km

True to its name, this caravan park is located close to the centre of Colac, at the township’s showgrounds. It’s also close to the largest botanic gardens in country Victoria, and at the end of the street are... Find out more

Meredith Park camping area 8 km

On the northern shore of Lake Colac, this simple camping area attracts hordes of anglers when the water level is good. From Colac, head north on the road to Ballarat for 10 km and turn onto Meredith Park Rd.... Find out more

Dandos camping area 24 km

This sizeable bush-camping area has several dozen campsites scattered among a cluster of pines and silver birch trees. Close to the Gellibrand River, it’s a good location for anglers who just want to sit and fish... Find out more

Stevenson Falls camping area 25 km

The drawcard here is the walking track that shadows the Gellibrand River and negotiates groves of Douglas firs before arriving at the viewing platform at lovely Stevenson Falls, where you can take a plunge in the rock... Find out more

Lake Elizabeth camping area (walk-in camping) 27 km

Lake Elizabeth had an unusual genesis, forming in 1952 after heavy rains caused a landslide that dammed the East Barwon River. It’s a very pretty place, with a campsite you walk to via a 50 m path from the carpark.... Find out more

Fork Paddock camping area (bush camping) 30 km

There’s seasonal, dry-weather access only to this remote spot, as the track leading in becomes treacherous after rain. The reward for those who venture to the half-dozen or so sites here is relative isolation.... Find out more

Lake Purrumbete Caravan Park 32 km

Lake Purrumbete is a prime destination for anglers chasing chinook salmon and rainbow and brown trout, as attested to by the heavy-duty boat ramps and jetties at the caravan park. The park is on the foreshore at the... Find out more

Beauchamp Falls camping area 35 km

There are only half a dozen campsites here, which will suit those who prefer small encampments to big ones. A walking track leads through the cool rainforest to the waterfall, where a viewing platform provides a close-up... Find out more

Cora Lynn camping area (walk-in camping) 35 km

The 2 campsites at Cora Lynn offer intimacy and tranquillity. They are accessed on foot via a track leading from the Blanket Leaf picnic area – you can take a walk from the carpark here to scenic Erskine Falls. The... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park 40 km

This is actually a group of five parks all within Lorne, and all five are administered from the one office. Each is well positioned and within walking distance of the resort-style town centre. Lorne is one of... Find out more

Cumberland River Holiday Park 41 km

Cumberland River Holiday Park is set in a picturesque spot on the scenic coastal strip. It is close to the beach and a good base for exploring the Otways. Bookings are required in peak periods, with a minimum-stay period... Find out more

BIG4 Wye River Holiday Park 42 km

This is a very neatly maintained beachside park on this fabulous and popular coastline. Bookings are required in peak periods, with a minimum-length stay at Christmas, Easter and long weekends.... Find out more

Camperdown Lakes and Craters Holiday Park 43 km

Perched on the rim of a crater lake high above Camperdown and adjoining the botanical gardens, this park has a fabulous outlook. It offers basic facilities at a budget price. Bookings are required at Christmas and... Find out more

Kennett River Holiday Park 44 km

Located midway between Lorne and Apollo Bay, this park has good basic facilities. It is squeezed between the Otway Ranges and a safe surf beach. Bookings are required in peak periods, with a minimum-stay period at... Find out more

Pisces Holiday Park 45 km

With a range of accommodation and a great outlook, this quality park is on a rise overlooking the sea. It is 1.5 km to the town centre and only a short stroll to the beach. Bookings are required in peak periods, with a... Find out more

Marengo Holiday Park 49 km

This park is situated on an absolute beachfront property, 1.5 km south of the Apollo Bay township, off the Great Ocean Road. It is budget-priced, especially considering the location. Bookings are required in peak... Find out more

Anglesea Beachfront Family Caravan Park 54 km

This large beachfront and riverfront park is centrally located just 500 metres from the town centre. It has large expanses of lawn, shady sites and a range of good facilities. It is a very nice park! Bookings are... Find out more

Port Campbell Holiday Park 60 km

This park is in a scenic location close to the centre of town and adjoining the beach. It is privately managed but forms part of the national park. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Elliminook Heritage B&B

This charming B&B in an 1865 National Trust–classified homestead is set in attractively landscaped gardens. Originally built out of handmade bricks for a local pioneer farmer, it shelters at the end of a... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Apollo Bay Youth Hostel 47 km

This relatively new hostel was built with an eco-friendly design, including thermal storage banks and other passive solar heating and cooling. It also has solar hot water, rainwater tanks, a worm farm, drought-tolerant... Find out more

Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology 54 km

There are not many better-thought-out ecotourism ventures than this superb multi-award-winning facility on Cape Otway. It has its own 66-hectare wildlife refuge and doubles as a shelter for injured and orphaned wildlife,... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Colac park area 1 km

At Colac

Just off the highway under shady trees in the middle of town.

Winchelsea park area 24 km

At Winchelsea

On the riverbank via Barton Tce.

Lorne park area 41 km

At Lorne

On the foreshore, just off the highway. On the east side of town.

Apollo Bay park area 47 km

At Apollo Bay

At the information centre on the foreshore.

Lismore park area 48 km

At Lismore

Just off the highway next to the swimming pool. On the east side of town.

Lake Tooliorook camping area 48 km

T/O at Lismore

Large grassed area among trees on the edge of the lake 5km south of Lismore.

Urquharts Beach park area 49 km

6km SW of Anglesea (L) or 23km NE of Lorne (R)

On the foreshore 500m off the highway.

Leigh River rest area 50 km

At Inverleigh

Large grassed area just off the highway under shady trees. On the east side of town.

Johanna Beach camping area 50 km

T/O 38km W of Apollo Bay (L) or 57km E of Port Campbell (R)

Near the beach 5km south of the highway via Red Johanna Rd in Otway National Park.

Aire River East camping area 52 km

T/O 24km W of Apollo Bay (L) or 71km E of Port Campbell (R)

Among trees 5.5km south of the highway via Hordern Vale Rd in Otway National Park. 

Aire River West camping area 52 km

T/O 24km W of Apollo Bay (L) or 71km E of Port Campbell (R)

In Otway National Park. Open area located over a bridge 1km past Aire River East camping area.

Anglesea Park Area 53 km

West side of town

Large area adjacent to the road on the west side of town. Good facilities.

Derrinallum park area 54 km

At Derrinallum

Adjacent to the highway, in the middle of town.

Twelve Apostles park area 55 km

86km W of Apollo Bay (R) or 10km E of Port Campbell (L)

Just off the highway at the interpretive centre near the lookout.

Deep Lake camping area 58 km

T/O at Derrinallum

Large grassed area among trees on the edge of the lake. Located 4km north of the highway via Chatsworth Rd.

What's on around town

Lions Club Market: Memorial Sq, Murray St; 3rd Sun each month.

Go Country Music Festival and Truck Show: Feb.

Colac Cup: Feb.

Kana Festival: community festival with family entertainment, music and displays; Mar.

Garden Expo: Colac Showgrounds; Oct.

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