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!


Don’t go chasing waterfalls

Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Apollo Bay, Australia

Apollo Bay, Australia

Today the road trip began. We said goodbye to the in-laws after breakfast and hit the road for the start of the Great Ocean Road: Torquay, surfer town. We stopped at Soul Fuel Cafe for coffee and, after a quick stop at the tourist centre, drove to Bells Beach, which we felt we had to go to because it’s, like, famous.

Did I mention it was raining? Sideways? Well it was, so it was perfect beach weather.

It rained all day as we made our way along the road. We went through Anglesea and stopped in Aireys Inlet to have a look at the Split Point Lighthouse. We decided not to do the tour and didn’t get out of the car in the end. What we saw of it looked nice. The plan is to have a look at Cape Otway Lighthouse tomorrow.

We went to the Aireys Pub, home of Rogue Wave Brewery, to sample some of their products. Decided not to stay there for lunch and drove through to Lorne, where we had lunch at the Lorne Hotel.

The brochures said that Lorne had heaps of waterfalls, so we went looking for Erskine Falls after lunch. On the way we stopped at Teddy’s Lookout, which has amazing views. Zoe and I were the only ones to get out of the car, and we braved the 100 metre walk to the lower platform in gusty winds and serious rain just to get a photo.

The rain got heavier the further up the hill we got, and we all decided that no one was going to get out of the car to find a waterfall in that, so we abandoned the waterfall chase and headed back to the highway to find our accommodation, just out of Apollo Bay.

The road was very windy and it was a slow trip in the rain, but the scenery was spectacular. We went through areas where the bushfires had obviously been earlier in the year, and several roadworks.

Our accommodation is beautiful. The views out to the coast are stunning and we had the best meal tonight. I have to admit defeat in the hummous world. Mine is good, but this one was sensational, and I need to know what they put in it! If I had more time (and a lot more money) I’d love to stay here for a week. This is our extravagant night for the trip and it’s glorious!