Saturday, October 30, 2010

Great Ocean Walk - Day Six

View from the loo at Devil's Kitchen

The old coach road

Wildflowers at Devil's Kitchen

First view of the Twelve Apostles

Wild and wet weather

Towards the Twelve Apostles

The beach below Gibson Steps

The Twelve Apostles

Day 6: Devils' Kitchen to Twelve Apostles

The biggest disappointment of this trip was not being able to walk along Wreck Beach due to a combination of high tides (low tide was 8.oopm!) and rough seas. Our shuttle driver dropped us off behind Devil's Kitchen and we started from there. Devils Kitchen was another lovely spot to camp (again campsite 8 was the best!) and had a loo with an unrivaled view.

A large part of the day was spent walking along the Old Coach Road, which was a little monotonous. The walk was much more dramatic after Princetown. The Princetown Tavern is not far off the track for those desparate for some real food for lunch.

Although the walk officially ends at near Glenample Homestead, we walked the extra kilometre or so along the road to the Twelve Apostles. On the way, we ventured down to the beach via Gibson's Steps - which ended up being one of the highlights of the walk. We were met by our shuttle driver and shuttled all the way back to Apollo Bay for some R&R.

All up this is a great walk. Initially I was a bit unsure how much I would enjoy the walk as it is not a true wilderness experience, with the walk intersecting and using roads for some sections. However, once I accepted that and used it to our advantage in the end, I settled in for a great experience.

Great Ocean Walk - Day Five

Looking back towards Johanna Beach

Behind Milanesia Beach

Milanesia Beach

Milanesia Beach

Campsite at Ryan's Den

Day 5: Johanna Beach to Moonlight Head

We headed off with just one light pack as we had organised to be shuttled back to our accommodation at Joanna Beach after our walk to Moonlight Head. The day started with quite a long section on country roads (walk is to be realigned in the future) before descending to picturesque Milanesia Beach. We attempted to walk around the rocks on the beach instead of traversing the inland route, but were outdone by the wild seas, despite the so called low tide.

The rest of the walk was undulating and muddy with lots of wonderful coastal views. The campsite at Ryan's Den was dramatically located on a headland and we were disappointed to have missed out on camping there (campsite 8 the best).

Great Ocean Walk - Day Four

Johanna Beach

Johanna Beach

Day 4: Johanna Beach to...Johanna Beach

We had some vague plans of doing a return walk from our cottage at Johanna Beach to Castle Cove, to see the section of the walk we missed the previous day. However when we ventured on to the beach, the wind was horizontal and the sand was stinging our faces badly. When faced with the choice of 6km of stinging sand or cups of tea, a pile of magazines and a warm fire...well we were easily seduced by the comforts of the cottage.

We did however check out the Johanna Beach campsite and spent some time stalking an echidna near the track.

Great Ocean Walk - Day Three

Bye to our woolly friend

Walking along Station Beach

Station Beach

Crossing Aire River

Castle Cove

Day Three: Cape Otway to Castle Cove

The morning started with a dilemma. As we were packing up camp after a wet and windy night, our 17 year old tent ripped, making it useless in the wet weather we had been experiencing. So now we couldn't continue with our camping plans, and were out of mobile contact to arrange any alternative. Luckily for us, the Cape Otway Lighthouse was only a short walk away and the staff there were kind enough to let us use their phone in between eftpos transactions. Several phone calls later, we had arranged accommodation at Johanna Seaside Cottages and transport from Castle Cove to get us there. So after a very late start, we "legged it" to Castle Cove.

Great Ocean Walk - Day Two

Scraggly coastal forest

Koala right by the track

Gorgeous Parker Inlet

Cape Otway Lighthouse

Koala watching at the campsite at Cape Otway (can you spot the koala?)

Day Two: Blanket Bay to Cape Otway

This was our first and, as it would transpire, only day that went exactly to plan.
Highlights included seeing koalas in the wild and also a yummy lunch at Cape Otway Lighthouse (you have to pay an entry fee to get to the cafe, although if you just want some chocolates and crisps you can buy them at the entrance kiosk without paying an admission). At our campsite (no.1 is the best) we had a couple of koalas in the trees above our tent - we were entranced, until they started peeing on our gear. Luckily they are so cute we forgave easily.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Great Ocean Walk - Day One

Blanket Bay campsite

Blanket Bay Ruins

Towards Shelly Beach

One of the little bays

Ahh, back to life in Brisbane after our Victorian Beach Holiday. Yes, we are possibly the only Queenslanders who have travelled all the way to Victoria for a beach holiday. Well the first part of our holiday was the Great Ocean Walk, so that was a good excuse. So for all those bushwalking nuts ( and because I wish I could have read something like this when planning the walk), here is a day by day account of our walk....

Day One: Marengo to Blanket Bay

First up, a confession. We cheated. We missed little bits of the walk. The first bit we missed was the section from Apollo Bay to Marengo, which is basically a walk along the road. We missed this bit because we knew we would do this section the following week when we stayed in Apollo Bay with my brother and his family. So after arriving in Apollo Bay on the late bus, we handed over our food drop bag to the Great Ocean Road shuttle driver, had a bite to eat, and then got a taxi to Motel Marengo.

The next day we started our walk. Straight away we cheated again! The shuttle driver told us the long inland section from Shelly beach to Blanket Bay was very wet and muddy from the recent rain so we elected to just walk from Marengo to Shelly Beach and then get picked up and driven to Blanket Bay. So no packs Day One! A very nice gentle lead in.

Once we got going, the walk was delightful, passing lots of little sandy and rocky bays. We heard a koala for the first time - a cross between a motorcycle revving and a wild pig. Blanket Bay was a lovely spot to camp (campsite 8 the nicest).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

warratahs are my favourites

Here's a snippet of a beautiful warratah I snapped at Canberra's flower festival last weekend.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Canberra's not all that bad....

We just had a lovely weekend in Canberra, our national capital city, where we attended the spectacular Italian wedding of Joe and Angela. We also had a peak at Parliament House (wished the pollies were in session) and "floriade" the flower festival.