Steep slopes combine with rich volcanic soils in this part of The Otways to produce forests filled with ferns, shrubs and tall eucalypts. Rainfall brings fast streams, waterfall cascades and rapids. South of the main Otways ridge, the most common trees are messmate stringybark, blue gum, mountain grey gum and manna gum.
Wander through Melba Gully to find glow worms and large trees such as Myrtle Beech and Blackwood. Many of the plants grow on trees here, including Kangaroo Fern, Weeping Spleenwort and Shiny Shield-fern. However, these plants are epiphytes not parasites, and they survive on decaying leaves and bark.
Hard Water-fern and Mother Shield-fern cover much of the forest floor, and more than 33 species of fern can be found across the park. Higher up, the vegetation is exposed to more sunlight and drying winds and is quite different from the flora in the gullies. Here, Young Otway Messmates can be found dispersed among Hazel Pomaderris, Musk Daisy-bush, Christmas Bush and Satin Box.
Melba Gully is located just one and a half kilometres off the Great Ocean Road and three kilometres west of Lavers Hill. The access road is narrow and steep in places, but quite suitable for conventional vehicles.