Apollo Bay

Breakfast was included in our tariff at Point Lonsdale Guest House. We had no reason to rise early so slept in a little and were ready and waiting for breakfast at 8:00 when it was due to start. Our hosts, Sue and Peter, were running a few minutes late but were soon there to serve fresh coffee to accompany our cereal with yoghurt and toast.

By 9:00 am we were on our way. We took a few minutes to check The Rip Lookout we missed last evening. A set of stairs led down the cliff to the beach. We went a little way down but decided we had seen the view in all directions yesterday and were soon off again, heading west and south.

At Barton Heads we drove out to the Bluff where we did take the steps down the cliff to the beach and wandered around for a while. We were not as keen as the guy who ran up the stairs and walked down three times while we were there. Back at the top we walked around the loop trail and admired the views back to Point Lonsdale and on south and west along 13th beach toward our destination.

Next stop along the coast was Torquay which is the effective start of the Great Ocean Road. By the time we arrived there it was approaching 10:30 am and coffee time. I was driving today so Majella had been poring over the books provided by our Flying Brick tourist guys of yesterday and had decided the walk from Bird Rock to Bells Beach might be something we should do. 

We had navigated to Torquay but after a brief stop we drove on to Bird Rock at Jan Juc. Majella had intended the actual Bird Rock but Maps found Bird Rock cafe and took us there. It was not open but we found another cafe that made good coffee and enjoyed that before heading over toward the beach. We found the path that went to Bells Beach and walked some distance along through the regenerating vegetation above the cliffs and beach. We did not go all 3 km to Bells Beach but had our morning exercise by the time we returned. Along the way we enjoyed views and masses of white blossom on the leptospermum.

As we left town bound for Bells Beach, Majella spotted a sign for the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery. We enjoyed very generous ice cream cones, honeycomb for Majella and rum and raisin for me, before shopping for chocolate. It is a large store with every imaginable chocolate product and then some. They are serious package marketers and it was possible to buy a kit with chocolate, bowl, spirit stove, and forks ready for fondue or a mug with knitted warmer and premix chocolate brownies. There were more such treats and we were lucky to get out with as small a load as we did.

Next stop was at Bells Beach which is famous for its surf but not such a great beach by Queensland standards. Surfers need to be fit and keen to carry their boards down the long staircase from the car park atop the cliff and then across the rocky shelf to the water. Either the surf was poor today or the surfers were. While we sat and ate the quiches Majella had bought in Queenscliff yesterday we saw only two or three surfers actually manage to get a start on riding a wave.

Between Anglesea and Aireys Inlet, at Urquhart Bluff we found a beach that was accessible and met Majella’ s standards. We walked out onto the sand and she was keen enough to remove shoes, socks, and detachable trouser legs to wade in up to her ankles. It was clean but too cold to stay for long and she was soon back on shore and dressing.

At Aireys Inlet we walked up to Split Point lighthouse. It was a steep climb but worth it for the views from the multiple view points that have been built out over the cliffs.

We stopped a couple of times more for views along the road via Lorne to Apollo Bay. The countryside varied with some farmland, mostly dairy, coastal scrub, and eucalyptus forest as we passed through sections of the Otway National Park. There were substantial sections where the taller trees were evidently dead, possibly as the result of fire some years ago but other sections appeared to be untouched forest. It was beautifully wild all the way.

Around 4:15 pm we checked in to our motel at Apollo Bay. It is close to town and I thought we might easily walk for dinner. Majella thought the 1 km or so too far but suggested a 2 km walk she had discovered to Marengo, the next village along the road, would be a good thing to do before dinner. 

We set off to find the trail but when we could not easily find it she asked a local we saw on a street. He suggested that instead we drive to Marengo and start to walk from there. We did that and had a fascinating walk around the rocky shelf below the point at Marengo. The flat rock shelf had long straight fissures defining large slabs of rock but there were also pieces of rock with a ‘honeycomb’ texture and other strange shapes in the rocks. The cliffs above were eroded into weird shapes. It would have been easy to stay and walk much longer but dinner was calling.

Majella had her heart set on the local crayfish she had read about. We had passed the  local co-op earlier and knew they sold fresh fish and fish and chips but she thought they would not be cooking crayfish. We checked the eateries in town but several were not open and those that were did not serve what she wanted. Back at the co-op we discovered they were selling lobster meals so Majella had what she was wanting while I, much less of a seafood fan, settled for simple fish and chips. The lobster she enjoyed would have been wasted on me.

Back at the motel we enjoyed a cider and some evening television.