Great Ocean Walk
22nd September 2009

It was amazing, something I had tentatively agreed to waaay back at the start of the year was actually happening. I was going camping for first time in fourteen years!

Renu and I got down to Melbourne on the Friday night and by Saturday morning, the crew had showed up to Joís house and we got stuck into packing all the cars.

Ummm, then there was the trailer too.

It seemed to take forever, but we finally got out of the CBD and made our way along the Great Ocean Road to Lorne.

The beach was beautiful, but this being Victoria, it started to rain about two seconds after I took the photo.

After a lot more driving, we wound up in Blanket Bay. We had intended to set up camp at Aire River but the campsite was full.

High on the agenda was getting the fire going and resident fire bug GI was all over that.

Blanket Bay at dusk.

A momentís rest.

GIís gas lantern was too bright even for him!

Dinner was a good olí BBQ.

After a slow start to the morning, we drove back to Apollo Bay to begin our walk along the Great Ocean Road.

We had a full crew.

Except for the bit where Charlie had to run off and buy the papers to see how badly Collingwood got thrashed. Yeap, itís always a good day when Collingwood get thrashed and I donít even follow the AFL.

Following the signs.

It was a pretty start.

We had quite scenic first half hour or so... rolling hills...

Crashing waves...

Umm, phallic symbols...

Soon, the path took us to the beach and we had to decide if we were gonna take the low road.

And seeing that the tide was still out, we headed on down.

The waves only looked big because of the submerged rocks.

A carpet of sea shells.

This is what petrified foam might look like.

The beach soon gave way to a rockier terrain.

How did the water get up that high?

Prof. Pete had an explanation.

Iíd love to have this as a coffee table.

The second part of the beach came to and end and we had to start climbing up the headland.

It wasnít too bad a view at the end of the climb.

I canít imagine that the fence would have been too good at keeping anything out.

Time for the next beach.

The descent was gradual and we had to quickly get by as the tide was getting higher by this stage.

The next climb was more slippery.

There were enough points to peek out of to keep the climb interesting.

Ditto.

The next little bit saw us spend more time amongst the trees.

But just as one got used to the darkness of the woods, Bass Strait would be visible again.

I call that an anti-boat environment.

We climbed back down to sea level and stopped for lunch on the rocks.

The length of the stop would depend on how quickly the water rose.

GI was at one with the rock.

We had a looooong climb to get back to camp. It seemed to wind on forever.

The water running down the hill was filtered though the leaf litter giving it a polluted look.

This was the branch that Cazís shoe lace got stuck on, so Carla was taking no chances with the crossing.

For a good 15 or so minutes, we had lost Tony, Carla, Pete and Jo so these guys loitered around a fallen tree.

Is that the sea I see?

Coming on 1700 hours, we were back at the shoreline.

Hello Blanket Bay!

Again, the first priority was getting the fire going.

The picnic table was soon hidden under all our gear and Anthony even managed to throw a tarp over us just as the rains arrived.

Renukhaís turn to stir the pot.

Charlie and Jo did running repairs to the guy ropes.

Burritos never tasted better!

Having slept very lightly through a rainy night, it was not a surprise to see the bay looking all foggy and grey.

Jo was looking despondent after not being able to find the trowel that she knew was in the trailer somewhere.

Charlie had the dayís route all sorted. We were headed west!

No kidding, we actually had to brush down our shoes at special brushing down stations.

The morning started off close to the water.

Quickly, all that gave way to more forrest.

We must have woken up this fellow. He was very quiet and I am certain that he thought that he perfectly blended into the territory.

From one point to the next.

Behind us was the bit where the Parker Inlet met Bass Strait.

The tide was low enough for us to walk across the river.

The direction markers could also serve as depth markers in this situation.

Into the water, one toe at a time.

Thatís how cold looks like.

This climb had stairs fortunately.

Point to point, but the other way around this time.

Plenty of ships had crashed off the Cape Otway coast.

Next stop, Point Franklin.

It was all very rocky from this point onwards with no real beach to go down to.

Those wee tiny dots were cattle grazing in about the most picturesque pastures Iíve ever seen.

We made it to the Cape Otway lighthouse by lunch time. We had both a tight schedule and a tight budget, so we couldnít go in for a look.

This is where a paparazzi zoom lens would have come in handy.

The lunch shed.

That in a shot shows the whole of the Great Ocean Walk.

The first hour upon resumption of the walk saw us track along the cliffs.

Cliff surfing!

We were quite high up.

Renu and I.

Anthony hanginí on for dear life.

We still had all that to cover yet.

Which way?

The ride down the dunes was awesome.

I reckon these bits came off really old ships.

Renu played hopscotch with the waves.

More waves.

We occasionally had to run for the rocky bits when ever the water got too high.

About to be splashed!

Higher ground.

Where are the stairs?

Dinosaur skull!

This bit reminded me of the book Who Moved My Cheese. It might have looked far, but we were nearly done for the day.

We could not go any further west, so we had to head further north through a very cool natural arbour.

Aire River. We could see the finish line.

There was one last soft sandy section before we could hit the camp fire again.

Jo and Carla were on hand to pick us up.

Checking out the bridge.

The river was very calm.

Knowing that I wouldnít have the chance the next morning, I crossed over to the other side.

That was 41 kilometres done and dusted over two days and I was ready to take a leaf out of this nativeís book.

Orright, whoís making the tea?

Renu got to do the chopping.

Speaking of chopping, Jo bumped into the knife I was holding seconds after I had asked her how sharp it was.

Anthonyís building approvals went through...

We threw in a few more logs to get fire looking more decent.

Itís amazing how quickly pasta can fill folk up.

The dayís walk was long enough to warrant chocolate pudding and custard for dessert.

We hung around late in anticipation of Owen showing up that night, but he never did and we had to put out the flames.

Blanket Bay again looked bleak on the Tuesday morning.

The campsites were well sorted for a free camping ground.

Just as we were about to leave, Owen showed up!

We were all off to Aire River to drop off the guys doing the Aire River to Johanna Beach leg of the walk. But first, we had to get through the morning peak hour traffic.

Pete inspected the Aire River jetty.

There was a slight structural issue with the hinge.

After dropping off Charlieís car at Johanna Beach, Renu and I headed on to the Twelve Apostles.

One... Two...

There were only eight of them all up. If you were to go there now, only seven are left as one fell down on the 26th of September.

We didnít get much time to dawdle about, but we did managed to get to Port Campbell for lunch before hitting the road for the long drive back to Melbourne.

Down came the sun on an all round awesome trip.

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