Lizzie Corke

Kangaroos grazing in the early morning mist. The first Scarlet Robin of winter. Innovative solutions to problems which had first seemed insurmountable. These are a few of the things that inspire Lizzie Corke, particularly in the urgent conservation challenges facing The Otways, not far from Victoria's Great Ocean Road.

Lizzie's response was to co-found the Conservation Ecology Centre in 2000. Since then, the Centre has dedicated itself to ecological research, working hard to engage community and create change – notably through ecotourism ventures such as the Great Ocean Ecolodge and conservation reserve Wildlife Wonders. Lizzie's tireless work has been recognised with an impressive list of accolades, including an Order of Australia.

Designed and created by Brian Massey, Greensmaster of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and an Art Director on 'The Hobbit', Wildlife Wonders showcases the ecosystems and wildlife of the region. Visitors follow a knowledgeable Nature Guide through eucalypt forest (sheltering koalas, pademelons, bandicoot and shy potoroos) to an open grassland, where kangaroos and wallabies graze against the backdrop of the ocean.

Follow Lizzie to some of her favourite places for nature and wildlife along the Great Ocean Road, on Gadabanud Country and Kirrae Wurrung Country.

Parker Inlet

Located in Great Otway National Park, this secluded beach is an ideal spot to take the kids. 'Just beyond the rocky heads the waves roar - a reminder that the Great Southern Ocean is just around the corner.' Keep an eye out for locals – shy swamp wallabies peep from coastal heath and peregrine falcons often hunt overhead. If you're lucky, you might catch a rare glimpse of a platypus up-river.

Platypi Chocolate

'Platypi is a beautiful cafe in Forrest with, arguably, the best hot chocolates in the world!' Lizzie says. After you've made the difficult choice of narrowing down a flavour, your hot choc will arrive deconstructed into separate, delicious parts – complete with homemade marshmallows. Part of the experience is putting the elements back together, which makes for a wonderfully indulgent experience. Lizzie recommends grabbing a table at the balcony, where you can keep an eye out for king parrots flying around the forest.

The Blowhole

Go a little bit further along the Great Ocean Road's coastline, to explore incredible locations where few visitors venture. Located a short drive beyond Cape Bridgewater, The Blowhole was formed by the pounding of waves against limestone cliffs, over millennia. The force of ocean waves propels water through the eroded tunnel, to burst skywards in a dramatic display. 'Visit in the wildest weather to remember exactly what it means to be alive,' Lizzie says.


As whales make their annual migrations from the Antarctic waters to carve along the Victorian coast, Apollo Bay lights the fires for WinterWild and comes alive with dancing and music – by firelight. 'This community event is a celebration of the wild power of winter – the bitter winds, icy rain and the secrets of the deep rainforest gullies.' Choose from talks, tours, screenings, live gigs and more.

Melba Gully

This quiet rainforest is home to an array of native wildlife. Feather tailed gliders, long-nosed potoroos, long-nosed bandicoots, the Otways black snail, rose and pink robins, rufous fantails and bassian thrushes all live among the tree ferns. The most unique inhabitants are barely visible by day, but light up the rainforest nights. 'Glow worms are the larvae of the fungus gnat, spinning little sticky webs and luminescing to attract their tiny prey. Here, on dark, clear nights it can feel as though you are floating though the universe surrounded by stars.'
"The Great Ocean Road is an incredibly special place. Species that have been lost from many other places still survive in these gullies and forests and heathlands ... If we focus our efforts and work together we can ensure that they always will."

— Lizzie Corke, Wildlife Wonders


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