Cape Otway – December 2010

Day 6 – Great Ocean Road

Sunday 2nd January

This morning’s method of awakening was via a near world-war-three breakout that erupted between Joey & Jennifer – and far too early at that. From start to ‘everyone within a twelve tent radius is now awake’ took less than five seconds. They apparently woke up and realised that they were sharing the same pillow to which each of them thought they had sole claim. By the time this was mediated, it was too late. Any desires either of us had on a bit of a lie in this morning was thus dashed.

This morning was somewhat depressing. Not only did we get off to a very bad start but Sandy was nursing a cold and it was really quite chilly too. To add insult to injury, it even rained a little – this caused me to leap out of bed with the realisation that shoes and what-not are littered around the outside of the tent. It has to be said that our aching bodies are starting to buckle under the pressure of the challenges associated with camping, such as a different bed, temperature swings, everything constantly dirty and having to juggle with food supplies, cooking, cleaning and so on. Even though I’ve felt this to be a very successful holiday thus far, I agreed with Sandy that we should probably make today our last full day here.

Regardless of the weather, we have pretty much run out of essential supplies and so we decided to head into Apollo Bay after this morning’s breakfast. Even by the time we had made it through our usual morning routine, we were still both feeling a bit tired and lethargic by the time we had the kids packed into the car and were on the road.

In Apollo Bay, we picked up some provisions and enjoyed a fish & chips lunch before running into Mel & Henrik again. They were planning to go back to Blanket Bay again but we were going to head out to the twelve apostles farther down the Great Ocean Road. We parted company and let the kids loose in the foreshore playground for a bit. As has become something of a routine, we also let them pick out a small toy from one of the nearby shops. I also picked up a kite to see if we could get that airborne when we returned back to base camp later this evening.

Once we left Apollo Bay, we were scarcely a few minutes on the road before both kids were snoozing in the back of the car. Even Sandy managed to catch a few extra winks, which is further testament to the fact that she’s not feeling terribly well at the moment. We banked on an hour and a quarter to get to the site of the Twelve Apostles but since Sandy had been told there was a child-friendly beach at the next lookout point by one of the ladies at the Apollo Bay information office, we decided to push on ahead to try this out first. We had previously promised the kids some beach time and I absolutely hate not being able to make good on my promises to them. As it turned out, the only thing we could find at the site we were directed to was the viewing platform that peers out onto some of the apostle rock formations. Given our height above sea-level, we surmised that there would be no practical way for us to enjoy whatever beach there might be down below so we decided to push on a bit farther until we reach Port Campbell, where we knew there to be a beach.

By the time we reached Port Campbell, the sun had come out in force and it was starting to look like the day would be salvaged after all. Port Campbell itself sports the most absolutely idyllic and picturesque bay you could ever wish to find. The sand was soft and warm and the breakers were gentle (at least until you got far enough out to require a boat – at which point they were really quite fierce and aggressive). The kids were in their element and Sandy and me were, by and large, able to put some of our stresses behind us. To one side of the bay inlet is what appears to be the outlet from a slow and shallow river. The water was no deeper than thigh-height at its deepest and really rather warm due to its shallow nature. Joey & Jennifer absolutely loved it. As an added bonus, it was a photographers dream too.

We rounded off our couple of hours at Port Campbell with some ice-cream for the kids (all three of us) before getting back into the car and setting off back up the winding Great Ocean Road back to Bimbi Park. Since we made it this far, I thought it was prudent to stop at the Twelve Apostles anyway and so this is what we did. I can’t say that I remember the exact configuration of rock formations from the last time we were here some six years ago but I have a sneaky suspicion that one of the apostles has since fallen into the sea. This would technically mean that there are now just eleven apostles … but who’s counting?

We had originally told Mel & Henrik that we would be back by between five and six but it was well after seven-thirty before we rolled in. As expected, they anticipated this and had eaten already but I fired up the BBQ anyway since we had to cook the meat we bought earlier in the day. Whilst the fire was getting under way, we all went into the nearby field to see if we could get our new kite to fly but try as we might, there just wasn’t enough wind to get the thing aloft.

It was really quite dark by the time we got the BBQ going and the kids were off to sleep just as soon as their heads touched their pillows (now at opposite ends from each other I might add). We had heard what we thought was a koala climbing through a nearby tree but it actually turned out to be a possum. As we sat around the camp-fire, we saw what appeared to be a glowing ball raise into the sky and over us from a nearby field. Someone had apparently made a paper hot-air-balloon that was powered by a real flame from a small dangling dish. With the surrounding bush so very dry at this time of the year, you have to wonder just what they were thinking by floating a lighted flame into the air and across an arid bush landscape. We’re just hoping that we won’t be woken by the approach of roaring flames in the middle of the night.

As this is now going to be our last night, I really should reflect a bit on the previous week but it’s now gone eleven and I can barely keep my eyes open so I will call it a night and re-visit this in the cold light of day.