2.1 Context

Colac Otway Shire is located in south-western of Victoria, approximately 150 kilometres from Melbourne. Colac Otway Shire is bounded by Golden Plains Shire in the north, Surf Coast Shire in the east, the Southern Ocean in the south and Corangamite Shire in the west.

The Shire encompasses a total land area of approximately 3,500 square kilometres, of which a large proportion is Crown Land (43%) including the Great Otway National Park.

Colac Otway Shire has a population of approximately 20,621 people.

Colac Otway Shire includes the townships and rural localities of Aire Valley, Alvie, Apollo Bay, Balintore, Barongarook, Barongarook West, Barramunga, Barwon Downs, Barunah Plains, Beeac, Beech Forest, Birregurra, Bungador, Cape Otway, Carlisle River, Carpendeit, Chapple Vale, Colac, Colac East, Colac West, Coragulac, Cororooke, Corunnun, Cressy, Cundare, Cundare North, Dreeite, Dreeite South, Elliminyt, Eurack, Ferguson, Forrest, Gellibrand, Gellibrand Lower, Gerangamete, Glenaire, Grey River, Hordern Vale, Irrewarra, Irrewillipe, Irrewillipe East, Jancourt East, Johanna, Kawarren, Kennett River, Larpent, Lavers Hill, Marengo, Mount Sabine, Murroon, Nalangil, Ombersley, Ondit, Pennyroyal, Petticoat Creek, Pirron Yallock, Separation Creek, Skenes Creek, Skenes Creek North, Stonyford, Sugarloaf, Swan Marsh, Tanybryn, Warncoort, Warrion, Weeaproinah, Weering, Whoorel, Wingeel, Wongarra, Wool Wool, Wyelangta, Wye River, Yeo, Yeodene and Yuulong.

The Colac Otway Shire is one of the most picturesque municipalities in the State of Victoria. As the gateway to the Otways and Western Plains, containing National, State and Regional parks, part of an extensive inland lake system, the seaside attractions of Apollo Bay and the Great Ocean Road, the Colac Otway Shire is a rural, residential and resort area with a major tourist industry supporting these natural resources.

Much of the rural area is used for timber production and agriculture, with farming, cropping and dairying being the main agricultural pursuits. Agricultural activity is concentrated in the northern part of the Shire, whilst timber production and fishing are prevalent in the south.

Industry is supported by comprehensive infrastructure including rail, road, air and sea transport. The Municipality is serviced by three major roads, the Hamilton Highway, Princes Highway and Great Ocean Road, as well as rail passenger and freight facilities and a vast network of road transport operations.


2.2 Topography