Wednesday, March 4, 2015

                                    Otway Ranges Walking Track Ass. No. A 0034409H

                                 SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2015      
     Report from the President’s Perspective:-

Another year has well and truly started and I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a ‘Happy Australia Day’!! I think these days, time flies whether you’re having fun or not.  However, we prefer to have fun!  And for most of us, bushwalking is one way of having FUN!!  It just takes an effort to arrange this great pastime around our busy lives.

As I see it, there are two major reasons for ORWTA’s existence. The first is to continue to lobby the Government and persevere with various avenues that will result in the Trans Otway Waterfalls Walk coming to fruition.  However, for many reasons, there has been no progress on this of late.

The second reason is to foster the fun, social and healthy aspects of bushwalking in the Otways. The Otways is an amazingly diverse place with the cool temperate rainforest, tall eucalypt forests, the multitude of waterfalls, the coastal heathlands and the rugged but pristine coastline.  Whether you are new to walking in this region, a regular visitor or, like myself, who has lived here all of one’s life, it is a very rewarding area to explore. The social walks conducted monthly are still proving popular and necessary to continue to be able to keep our proposed route clear.

Over many years, ORWTA members have enjoyed so many walks both along the proposed Trans Otway Waterfall Walk and other locations in the Otways. Very few of our walks in that time have needed to be cancelled or rescheduled.  However, we have had trouble of late. Bushwalkers, whether regular walkers or not, are certainly keen to get out in the bush. I fully appreciate that, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve had a walk, or a favourite walk is on or you just want a break from your normal routine. However, sometimes things happen beyond our control with weather, trip leader unavailability and communication. As a club, we must be proactive and show that we are a responsible organisation and make tough decisions when needed.  Presently, some of our routes do need a tidy-up with clearing away fallen limbs. Some of us are able get into the bush regularly to help with carrying out this task. In saying that, we are a volunteer organisation and most of us still work so we can only do as much as we can do with the volunteers we have available as this needs to fit around with the rest of our lives.

Wild Dog Track is one track that we normally like to do every year. We were not able to do it when scheduled last February due to a Total Fire Ban Day.  In December, again this walk was rescheduled to be done, but a predicted widespread rain event led to an executive decision to call the walk off. So it will be a case of ‘take 3’ as it is down for May’s walk.

ORWTA are very thankful for all our trip leaders; most are our members and some are members of other clubs that assist from time to time. Through their knowledge (maybe of a particular area), passion and expertize, we are able to offer many diverse walks.

Having lost several key committee members over the last year which have been due to illness, work commitments, retirement and having left the area, our club is certainly going through a rebuilding stage. ORWTA membership continues to be steady which is extremely encouraging. Although, we do have a good member base, one of our problems is that our members come from a very wide area.  So ORWTA would appreciate any help that can be given; maybe on the day of the walk, leading a walk, help with a recce or clearing tracks, or your expertise may be communicating / liaising with various Government agencies.                Any help will be gratefully appreciated.

Let’s hope our Club has a successful 2015.        
        ~     Alan Dow  (President)    ~

Liaison between ORWTA and Geelong Bushwalking Club:-
So now is a good time to mention the efforts of Bernard Jordon who has been involved in ORWTA for a very long time. Like a few in our club, Bernard is a member of both ORWTA and the Geelong Bushwalking Clubs. He had a very important role of being the liaison between the two Clubs, making sure the correct walk info & trip report was submitted to GBC’s monthly magazine, being the Geelong contact to organise car-pooling, assisted in the reconnaissance of tracks and has lead so many of our walks. He is stepping down from his role with ORWTA to watch the ‘grass grow’ and will no doubt be spending more time at Sandy Point.

On behalf of the Committee and members of ORWTA, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bernard for all his involvement over the many years with ORWTA. His willingness to lead walks has certainly been invaluable in our club. A job well done and much appreciated !!! Hopefully, you will join us on our walks from time to time.

Good and Bad news regarding tracks in Lorne area:-

We heard, from a couple of sources, that several tracks in the long-established network of paths in the Lorne area were to be closed permanently.  However, in December when this matter was raised, the Parks Vic Ranger for Lorne was adamant that no such closures were forthcoming. Let’s hope for all lovers of walking that these tracks stay open permanently.
NOTE- It was very sad to hear of young child recently who was critically injured after being hit by a fallen branch on one of the Lorne tracks near Erskine Falls. He was on an outing with his family when the tragedy happened. We all love walking in the Australian Bush, but these incidents, although very rare, do make us aware that it can be dangerous at times. 

Marriners Falls:-
And while we are on the subject of closures, Marriners Falls has been closed for many years now. It has been assessed as being ‘unsafe’. There is been a concentrated push in 2014 to re-open these Falls before they are ‘closed’ permanently. The track to the falls is certainly no more dangerous than many of the tracks through the Otway forests.

There is now a group known as "Friends of Marriners Falls". The ORWTA committee members wholeheartedly support this group, and we encourage all members to add to and support their Facebook page. This can be found by going to the Apollo Bay Chamber of Commerce & Tourism website, at; "" and clicking on the 'leave a comment' option just below the page title.  Also, if anyone has any photos or history of past visits to these Falls please feel free to share them with this group.

Marriners Falls is such an important asset to Apollo Bay.  It has a rich history dating back to early settlers visiting the Falls in the late 1800s. Unlike Lorne, which has many waterfalls and forest tracks of which to walk, Apollo Bay has only got the short track to Marriners Lookout, the start of the Great Ocean Walk and Marriners Falls. Marriners Falls have been a lovely cool place to visit with the family particularly on those hot days in the Summer holidays. 
New signage:-

There is new walk / cycle signage around Apollo Bay to help visitors get to places in the town.  On several of these signs, there is a photo that our Secretary took on the proposed ‘Highview Walk’ that we did last August which acknowledges our organisation. Great Les !

250 Victorian Waterfalls:-
The authors of ‘250 Victorian Waterfalls’ have decided on doing another book, but this time on Otway waterfalls.  So if anyone has any information regarding location, name or history of any known or ‘hidden’ waterfalls in the Otways then Ray and Ian would be happy to correspond with you. You can reach Ian via email at
We still have several copies of 250 Victorian Waterfalls, so if anyone would like a copy sent to them, contact Alan on 0400 404 046.

Social walks program:-

We have just released our 2015 Calendar of Walks.  I hope there is something in this for everyone and that you have free time available to do some of them.  Our social walks are normally held on the first Sunday of the each month.  However, sometimes we hold it on the 2nd Sunday of the month to avoid such events as Father’s Day or Easter. We do ask for a gold coin donation from participants on the day of our walks.

·                Sunday 1st February, 2015
- Day: Wild Dog Falls
- Evening: Dinner & ORWTA meeting at Forrest
(Venue to be arranged)
Trip Leader: Alan Dow 0400 404 046

·                Sunday 1st March, 2015
- Day: Glasgow Falls
- Evening: (Dinner & Meeting to be arranged)
Trip Leader: Kim Attard: 0422 880 817

·                Sunday 12th April, 2015
- Day: Sabine Falls Grand Circuit
- Evening: Dinner & ORWTA meeting at Forrest
  (Venue to be arranged)
Trip Leader: John Piesse: 9852 8924

To register or enquire more information regarding any of the walks; please contact the Trip Leader or the President Alan Dow –
0400 404 046.

Meetings of ORWTA:-

Monthly Meetings of ORWTA Inc. usually take place after the scheduled Social Walk. The venues for the Meetings are generally in the region of that month’s walk. Typically held at Apollo Bay, Forrest or Lorne, however, we have held them at Wye River, Deans Marsh and Beech Forest in the past. They involve a relaxed meeting often over dinner or a drink.

Our website is –

If you Google ‘Otway Walks’ near the top of the page you will find the home of the Otway Ranges Walking Track Association Inc.  The ORWTA website is a wealth of information:-
·         Introduction to the Otways
·         ORWTA:- History, About this organization & the Club’s objectives
·         Walk Program
·         Contact ORWTA
·         Sales
·         Member resources:-
-          ORWTA Monthly Walk Report (Current & Archived)
-          ORWTA AGM Minutes (Current & Archived)
-          ORWTA Monthly Meeting Minutes (Current & Archived)
-          ORWTA Inc. Membership Form

For reports and pictures on our latest walks please look at our blog

We acknowledge the assistance given to us from the Bendigo Bank in sponsoring the yearly costs of our Website. 

Membership 2014 / 2015. 

New and return members are always welcome. We are asking all members to inform their family and friends as to what our organization does and so they may become ORWTA members or at least enjoy a walk with us.

Recent new members that have joined are Stephen Kerr and Andy Hewat. I hope you enjoy meeting the many other walkers and gain some great experiences while walking in the Otways.

The upcoming Social walk is to beautiful Wild Dog Falls on February 1st  2015

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