Cape Otway – December 2010

Day 1 – the journey

Tuesday 28th December

The car strained under the weight of all the ‘stuff’ we loaded upon it this morning and we made it all of five minutes down the road before having to turn around to retrieve the inevitable forgotten things – my wallet in this case. When we finally made it out of the drive (again!), I had the sense finally that we had begun our adventure. If I could just tolerate Sandy’s unyielding intolerance to nature and the great outdoors, we might just have a good time.

We had originally floated the idea of stopping in Geelong to spend half a day at the water theme park there but although the weather was generally good, it wasn’t sufficiently hot enough at the low twenties. We ploughed onwards, taking the inside roads so as to avoid the winding nature of the Great Ocean Road, which I knew would be enough to send Sandy over the top before the holiday had begun. Our roof-top load held up well, by and large, but we did have to stop a few times to tuck the tarp in so as to prevent it from flapping around too much in the wind. We stopped around half way at some small, out of the way, middle-of nowhere town to stretch legs and take in a spot of lunch. Lunch ended up being a packet of crisps, which was just about all the town had to offer by way of convenience food.

The last stretch of road that took us down through to Apollo Bay was pretty windy but quite spectacular at the same time. The vistas along the road as it wound its way up and then down again through forests of gum trees was second to none and the views out onto the bay were really quite breathtaking. Apollo Bay itself would not be our final destination but it was our last opportunity to visit a supermarket before arriving at the Bimbi Park camp-site. We let the kids stretch their legs there at the playground along the beach. There were a lot of people there and fish and chips was definitely the order of the day given that this was a touristy seaside town.

Our final push down another couple of windy roads took us finally into the camp-site. Something of a treat was the spotting of a Koala in the trees up above just before reaching the main entrance. Formalities at check-in were straightforward, although I did express some surprise at being told that the showers were coin-operated. That wasn’t apparent at the time of booking. Still, this is a camping holiday after all and it’s all part of the adventure.

The camp-site is rather nice and we’ve made friends already with our immediate neighbours, who have two small children of their own. If we were surprised at seeing a Koala in the trees near the main entrance, that we were outright gob-smacked when it became apparent that they are just about everywhere all throughout the park. They are even walking around on the floor as they make their way from tree to tree. We can even get close enough to touch them as they waddle around. It’s apparently mating season for the Koalas and the noise they make is quite staggering. I didn’t realise Koalas made noises at all so I was really taken aback when I heard them barking at each other. It’s sort of a cross between a dog bark and a pig snort and it’s surprisingly very loud.

Putting the ground sheet down and the tent up was an uncomplicated affair. The kids seem to be happy enough here and I was more than happy for them to wander about and explore – although the same can’t be said for Mummy, who hasn’t yet been able to ‘let go’. Perhaps in a day or two.

It’s quite a large camp-site and the facilities are really very good. The showers were very warm and the three minutes afforded me by my one dollar coin was just about enough. Nightfall has now befallen and the temperature has dipped considerably so I will call it a night and settle in. I will sleep well.

(Sandy’s note: some myths told me by a very ‘trust me I am a professional’ husband:

  • We will be on the main road. There will be plenty of places to stop for lunch – we finally found a little town with a small shop that barely had a bag of crisps/chips for us to share and munch on. So we were just a tad bit cranky and hungry when we finally got to Apollo Bay.
  • Its only a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive – we left at 11.30 and got to Apollo Bay at 4.30…. you work that one out …
  • Koala’s don’t make a lot of noise – its mating season and they are ‘ROARING and GRUNTING’ at night!
  • The toilet block is just opposite our tent site – it’s all the way over there on the top of the slippery hill, which is just fine during the day, but trying to navigate it at night in the dark trying not to fall over hidden pegs and wires and slipping and a sliding up and down the hill is quite an adventure!
  • We don’t need the portable potty, the toilets are right opposite the tent – do I need to say more …
  • The kids will be sooooo tired they won’t be woken by the early sunlight – true … Jennifer didn’t wake up till 6.30am ;o)
  • Its summer, it will be nice and warm … bloody freezing at night! On average 13 – 15oC at night. It starts warming up again around 10 and cools way down again around 4 (yes even on our hottest day when temps ran up to 40oC)

… more myths to come later …