The aim was Cape Otway to Ayer River to Johanna Beach – 2 stages of the Great Ocean Walk (GOW).
See my announcement in last week’s blog entry
So Cath and I travelled down Geelong road with our friends Roz and Roger last Saturday aiming to meet Dizzy and Warwick along the way.
Eventually we arrived at Avalon (yes the 2nd airport) however it was already about 10 am and we were still closer to Melbourne than Apollo bay.
Arrived at Apollo Bay about 1pm and found a café – very busy due to great weather but we persevered– then after buying sufficient alcoholic drinks for weekend we travelled onto Cape Otway.
Our original plan was to walk from there to Ayre River and set up camp.
Problem – it was now about 2pm and the walk was estimated at 3.5 hours. And it gets dark about 5pm.
Change of plan then – straight to Ayre river camp ground to set up camp in daylight and arrange camp kitchen and have drinks (that’s what we bought them for I guess)
Now – it was about 5pm so we went for a 15 minute walk which was not much further then the camp toilets (good to know where they are though for later on in the pitch black night).
We were able to have a fire which was great and even cooked our steak and sausages on the steel plate provided.
Lots of campers on the site with more than enough ‘slab’ yahoos as well. Their noise kept us awake until almost 9pm.
Disappointing to see campers with dogs in tow – don’t they realise this is a ‘BLOODY NATIONAL PARK’.
Next day up at 7 am (at least I was) and then cooking breakfast (actually boiling water for instant porridge) and packing up camp. This took to about 9.15am and then we had to do the car shuffle to Johanna beach.
Eventually we were on the track about 10.15am for the 12 k leg to Johanna.
Wonderful scenery and good cheer from the whole team.
Experienced a variety of sandy tracks, various vegetation types, lots of fantastic views. Grass trees and eventually a long beach walk to the end.
At about the half-way point we made the call that – that night we would drive back to Apollo bay for modern and internal accommodation as again it looked like we would have little time to do the car shuffle and set up camp in actual daylight – perhaps attempting this in the short winter days was an error in hindsight.
Last 2ks in wet sand proved to be a challenge. Also a challenge was when one of Rogers boots began heading to Tasmania due to a rogue wave (deja vue for me). We all had our boots off to cross the shallow river near Johanna beach. I found the water temperature a little cool and almost passed out with the pain. Roz had no problems and simply floated across the river on Rogers back.
So after a fantastic day we were all back in Apollo Bay by about 6pm tucked up in a warm and new 3 bedroom holiday apartment with all the mod cons.
Dinner in that night for us all and after watching the wide screen tv was in bed around 10pm
Next morning – bacon and eggs and a breakfast celebration for Dizzy’s birthday.
Then on the road back to Melbourne.
Just 5 k’s out of Apollo Bay there was a whale about 150 metres off the beach laying about like a massive log in the water – it was likley ‘sleeping in’ and gradually moving west to Warrnambool for the annual calving cycle.
We travelled the inland route back and had a great coffee and cake in the Otway Forest somewhere. The owner of the café recognised our birthday girl Dizzy was getting older and offered a blanket to keep her legs warm while we were in the café.
All arrived home safely during the afternoon.
A great long weekend – next year we agreed to go somewhere else but I can’t remember where?
We must remember there is only about 9 hours of real daylight at this time of year