The most significant lighthouse in Australia

The most significant lighthouse in Australia
Twelve Apostles, Australia

Twelve Apostles, Australia


This morning we had breakfast at the villa, which was included in the room rate. A step (or several steps) up from the standard continental breakfast, the choices included home made muesli, porridge with stewed fruit, croissants, greek yogurt with honey and walnuts, and fruit and nut toast. It was a tough choice and even tougher to have to look out the window at the glorious views while we were eating. I could have stayed here for a week if I’d been cashed up!

After we checked out, we went for a drive up the hill to the start of Turtons Track. We decided not to do the whole loop through the forest because we wanted to check out Apollo Bay on our way to Cape Otway, so we turned back towards the Great Ocean Road.

The drive to Cape Otway was very pretty and very winding. The lady in the tourist centre at Torquay had told us about the koalas on the way, and how they’d eaten a whole load of trees to death. I was trying to imagine what this might look like. I didn’t have to wait long to find out – there were huge groups of dead trees on the way. This also explained the koala pictures on the collage postcards of the Great Ocean Road – I couldn’t figure out why there would be a random koala picture stuck in the middle of all the landscape photos. Now I know. Koala-spotting count ended up being Me: four; Slabs: two and Kramstable: zero, because he wasn’t looking.

The sign for the Cape Otway Lighthouse said it was “Australia’s most significant lighthouse”. None of us had any idea what this was supposed to mean. We got discounted entry thanks to having the Great Ocean Road app, and headed over to the lighthouse to found out more about it.

It has been operating since 1848, and you can climb up to the top and walk around the deck outside. This did nothing for my fear of heights and I was glad to go back inside again. There’s a guide at the top to make sure people aren’t tying to come up and go down at the same time (it’s more like a ladder than steps), and he asked if we had any questions.

Why yes, I said, I do. Why is it Australia’s most significant lighthouse? I suspect he’d been asked this question more that once, and he produced a map of the shipping route from Europe to Australia. He explained that every boat making the journey to Australia would, after passing through the roaring forties, turn north at this point, so every boat destined for the east coast would see this lighthouse, and for the people on the boats it would be the first time they’d seen land in many months.

There’s lots of other interesting stuff at the lightstation, including the old telegraph station, which was built to house the first submarine cable linking Tasmania and the mainland.

After we’d looked around for a while we drive back to Apollo Bay for a beer tasting and lunch at the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse. For $8 we got a tasting paddle of five different beers by Prickly Moses, some of which we’d seen around the place and others which were totally new. My favourite was the Otway Stout.

Next stop was the Twelve Apostles, which was our overnight destination. The actual park area was absolutely overrun by tourists and the light wasn’t very good for photos, so we decided to come back in the morning. Even if there are heaps of people, we might get some better photos.

Our motel is in the middle of nowhere, so quiet and so unlike where we’d just been.

How’s the serenity!

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