Today we were to say goodbye to Bimbi Park which was a little sad as we were becoming quite comfortable there. We were to be thrown back into the great unknown as to our evenings accommodation, would it be as awesome as this place. We had breaky , prepared our lunches and proceeded by car to today’s meeting point with Lee, which was also the end of today’s walk at Aire River bridge. I would like to point out that a car is not necessary as the travel team will pick you up and drop you off wherever required, it was just convenient for us as we were moving residence anyway. We had a 5 minute wait for Lee at Aire River and by this time I had put on every bit of clothing I had in my bag, the wind was absolutely freezing. You must remember I have lived in sub-tropical Queensland for the past 16 years and have become a little soft to cold weather.
Today’s walk was 16.5km with sight seeing at Cape Otway Lighthouse and an optional 2km detour to Crayfish Bay and Rainbow falls. The elevations were only to about 100m, although some of these were difficult because of sandy surfaces which are hard to walk on. The walk stuck close to the ocean for the majority of the day and then turned inland for roughly 2km as we headed back to the bridge where we were parked.
Lee dropped us back at Parker Inlet and suggested that we walk along the rocky shore to Franklin beach as it is quite spectacular. This walk can only be done when tide and weather conditions are safe as you are basically rock scrambling the whole way and there is no real escape points from large waves. Our day (although had a cold wind) was clear, calm and it was low tide so perfect for that type of thing. We definitely weren’t disappointed, the photos being testimony to that. We even took a photo of some ship bollards that I later discovered were quite old.
We said goodbye to Lee for the last time and walked back down to Parker Inlet where we were passed by numerous athletes who were doing a marathon that day. They didn’t really look like they were enjoying the scenery as much as we were. We expected to be passed by many more during the day but that was all we saw of them. The first part of today didn’t actually feel like walking at all as you sort of wander, when you are on a rocky beach, taking in the sights and smells of the ocean and life on the edge.
We soon came to Franklin Beach where we rejoined the track and headed for Cape Otway Lighthouse, you could actually see the lighthouse for miles in both directions, which I guess is the whole point, right. I was also reading later on that the old mariners called the gap between Cape Otway and King Island (roughly 90km) the ‘eye of the needle’. Bit harder back in those days under sail I guess.
We gradually got closer and closer to the light house (I’ve got more photos than I’d like to mention of our approach). The track then disappeared into quite thick bush land, however, we could hear the sound of motor vehicles, day trippers and selfie stick freaks close by. We abruptly popped out in the carpark of day visitor central ‘The Cape Otway lighthouse’. Don’t get me wrong the lighthouse is a great spot to visit. I just felt a little strange as we had been immersed in nature for a number of days, without seeing many people then suddenly right back in the thick of it.
We paid a small fee to get into the light house area which consisted of quite a number of acres. There was a path to walk around and a number of interesting things to see and read about. The area not only had the lighthouse but a telegraph station, world war 2 bunker and stories of shipwrecks and mysterious plane disappearance, suspected UFO in fact (now this is an interesting story of Frederick Valentich’s 1978 disappearance).
I could have spent a great deal of time wandering around the lighthouse and would actually suggest, that to fully enjoy the experience, you need to start your days walk early (so you have plenty of time) or even plan to bypass the lighthouse altogether and return at the end of the trip to give yourself time to really take it all in and enjoy. We still had over 10km of walking to do that day which was always at the back of my mind.
We left Cape Otway and continued our journey. Just a few minutes into our trip we discovered a small cemetery that we had a look at. Most of the tomb stones were very old when you start reading them and the ages of the people you really get an idea just how harsh life was 100+ years ago. Melbourne might be a day trip now but would have taken a week back then. We continued on north-west towards Aire river. I must mention at this point we had crossed the second most southerly point in Victoria and were coming into a more windswept area of the coast, most of Victoria’s weather comes from the west.
The weather was a little strange from here on, dry, hot sun and cold wind. It was what I would imagine to be a tough life for plants and animals. We did, however, come through one board-walked section that was very lush and on closer inspection the ground was almost like a peat bog. This was obviously feeding Rainbow falls but so unusual for a rocky cliff face beach. There was little shelter along this part of the walk until after we reached Escarpment lookout that gave us magnificent views of Aire River inlet. We traveled down through taller coastal forest and eventually reached Aire River bridge and our car. The afternoon was completely different to the morning, warm and sunny. I even considered a swim, for about half a second. This was one of the days that Jason and I both ran out of water prior to reaching end of the trek (albeit not that far from the end). This was due to heavy exposure to wind and sun. As suggested earlier 3 litres to be safe. We didn’t do the two detours on this days walk ‘Crayfish Bay’ and ‘Rainbow Falls’ due to time restraints. I’m lucky enough to visit Victoria quite regularly so will be back to see these spots in the future. Crayfish bay is apparently a ‘must do’ but you need some time there to go snorkeling and swimming. If you are traveling from interstate or overseas, maybe plan an extra day.
Tonight’s stay would be at the Southern Anchorage Retreat. We were greeted by our host Andrew, who was expecting us, and showed us to our cottage. This place was magnificent, like a small house. It had a carport, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, lounge and a spa on the enclosed deck. It was very private and like the last spot, in a great location for traveling in the area. The meal system worked a little differently to our previous accommodation. Maria (Andrew’s wife) prepared our dinner and Andrew hand delivered it to our room, the meals were all delicious and included dessert. We kicked back with a couple of drinks and enjoyed a relaxing spa to ease the muscles. Andrew advised us at dinner time that he would drop us off at Aire River in the morning and we put in an order for Maria to prepare a lunch for us to take.
Hope you enjoyed today’s adventure, day 4 next week.