Cape Otway – December 2010

Day 3 – walking through the treetops

Thursday 30th December

We had another lovely breakfast at the kitchen area this morning. Ordinarily, we wouldn’t sit down together as a family for breakfast so it’s been nice to do so here on holiday. We had arranged with our neighbours, Mel & Henrik, that we would all be going to the Otway Fly today. Mel & Henrik are somewhat more outdoor people than ourselves and they were ready for the off before we were so we would meet them there.

It seems that the only way to get from anywhere to anywhere else in these parts is to traverse some extremely winding roads – often barely wide enough for a single car to pass and so it takes all your concentration to navigate, as the roads are often on a steep incline too. Between the kids demanding attention in the back and Sandy getting car sick in the front, getting anywhere here is never going to be the best part of the day.

The Otway Fly is a bizarre experience. For one thing, it’s difficult to get to being quite literally in the middle of nowhere. It’s essentially a series of raised steel platform walkways that meander throughout the tree-top canopy. The entire walking circuit, which includes pathways on the ground as well as the tree-top walkways, takes approximately an hour to navigate. When we got there, the car-park was pretty full already. There were plenty of people there but not so many as to affect our enjoyment of the experience. The kids were really good and had no problems wandering around through the tree-tops some fifty to a hundred meters above the ground. They even both climbed up the twisty tower without needing to be carried. It has to be said that none of us are very energetic explorers. Both kids would rather be pushed or carried anywhere if given half the chance. Because of the grade of the forest through which the experience is situated, getting back to the visitor centre and main entrance required a fairly steep and lengthy climb at the very end. Sandy and Jennifer elected to take the golf buggy service, which travels back and forth every half hour but me and Joey joined the rest of our group to go the hard way. Although it was not without complaint, he did manage it all the way back to the top without having to be carried – fortunately for me!

Back at the visitor centre, we parted company again with Mel & Henrik and their two kids, Matilda (Tilly) & Klara, as they went on ahead to have lunch at a nearby waterfall. We decided to have a snack and to rest our aching bones before setting off ourselves. It was a well-needed rest for Mummy & me and the kids enjoyed picking a little something from the gift shop and frolicking around in the playground area.

Something we’ve noticed a lot of here in these parts is an absence of petrol stations. We’ve travelled on gas since we left Lyndhurst and we’re pretty sure we’re nearly empty now (the gauge doesn’t work when running on gas). As far as we know, the only place where we can fill up is in Apollo Bay so we decided to make that our afternoon destination. More windy roads!

By the time we reached Apollo Bay, the kids were thankfully asleep but Sandy had reached the end of her tolerance of the windy roads and was quite nauseous. We pulled into a car-park right next to the beach with what I would consider to have been ‘just in time’. Apollo Bay is a nice beach but the surf was just a bit too much for small children by the time you get out to around waist height. For my part, it was just a bit too inviting and so I stripped off and waded in. To be honest, I think some of the breakers were a bit too aggressive even for me. Sandy elected to remain dry but me and the kids enjoyed frolicking around in the sand for the best part of an hour or so.

By now the afternoon was starting to drag on and we figured we’d take advantage of all the fish & chip shops up and down the promenade so we partook accordingly. It is extremely busy here, being the busy season I suppose, but the atmosphere is very nice and it’s a relaxing place to be generally.

Since we were here, we also took advantage of the availability of a supermarket to stock up of meat and other daily essentials. Although there is only a single freezer at the camp-site, there is an industrial sized fridge unit that has plenty of space and so we’re not so reliant on the Esky to keep everything cool.

Back at the camp-site, we all piled into the family shower room to wash away all the salt water and sunscreen. I emerged feeling somewhat human again. It is a bit of a shame that we have to walk through dirty and dusty paths to get back to our tent but it’s not a huge problem.

Mel & Henrik were not long back themselves from their day on the road. They took all the kids into a nearby field to have a play with Tilly’s new kite, whilst I relaxed in my camp chair and cracked open a bottle of red. I spent the remainder of the laptop battery loading all the photos from both our cameras from the past few days (but only just!) whilst the kids played around for a bit before settling in for the night. Today was a good day.