The body creaked and groaned this morning as I rolled over onto my back and contemplated the ceiling of the tent, and the day ahead. Slowly stretching out my legs, back and shoulders, I checked for sore spots, strains and sprains, but luckily everything was in order and nothing out of place.
The sun was rising and it was time to get up and get on with the day’s double-stage walk.
Date: Sunday 20 March, 2022
From: Blanket Bay, Victoria
To: Aire River
Official Distance: 20km
Actual Distance: 22.05km
Time: 7h55m (including visiting the light station)
Ascent: 550m Descent: 540m
Weather: Blue sky and hot, and then overcast.
Stayed At: Aire River Great Ocean Walk (GOW) campsite
- I wondered if there was a protocol to rising early at a GOW campsite. I quickly scanned the other tents and no one seemed to be bothered by us moving quietly around our site – firstly stuffing sleeping bag sacks and then our mouths with muesli. Indeed, the steady drone of snoring issuing from one tent was evidence that we were disturbing absolutely no one. (NB: it appears that the white noise generated by waves breaking on the sand is a good counterpoint to symphonic snores).
- Today, we again combined two stages into one day, skipping the Cape Otway GOW campsite.
- Random food comment: Dried peas make a good addition to any meal if you want to bulk up on vegetables.
- Similar to the start of yesterday, the path hugged the coastline before veering inland to cross Parker’s Inlet. We were nice and early so encroaching tides weren’t an issue however we still needed to take off our boots and socks. Yes, we could have tried leaping across the rushing water, but I suspect my leaping ability may have been severely curtailed with the weight of a loaded backpack on my back. It would have looked something like ‘Geronimo!!’ and then ‘PLOP’ – either into the water or flat on my face. Much smarter to play it safe.
- The cold water on our feet and ankles was a delight and so refreshing. A small reward for the hassle of trying to re-sock and re-boot without incorporating too much sand at the same time. Light relief was provided by the husband who thought he would be clever and sit on his three-legged stool to put his boots back on, only to have the stool sink smoothly into the sand and the husband toppled gracefully sideways.
- There is an absolute lung-buster of a climb out of Parker’s Inlet, so enjoy that brief rest on the sand while you can.
- Cape Otway Light Station is a must see if you enjoy early colonial history or light houses. Our guidebook said that GOW walkers could enter for free, but this is incorrect. The cashier did allow us in for half-price – $10pp. I had hoped to enjoy some hot food for lunch at the café and was sadly disappointed. It really only serves coffee and cake/scones, and no decaf coffee at that. The ice-cold lemonade was very welcome though.
- The kilometres were catching up with me and I was done in, ready to call it quits at Cape Otway and change the plan to do a double stage the next day. Luckily the husband encouraged me to push on and I found my second wind.
- The afternoon’s views were equally stunning with endless waves crashing into cliffs and the air filled with sea spray.
- As we walked, we had both noticed that some sort of animal had been digging holes next to the path. I was thinking feral pigs and the husband was thinking rabbits. The mystery was solved as we turned a corner to see a huge echidna burrowing into the soft soil in pursuit of ants and other bugs. It became a bit of a Mexican stand-off as we waited for it to lift its head and move, and it waited for us to leave. A true highlight of the day.
- We had the Aire River GOW campsite completely to ourselves.
Top Tips for this Section:
- Rubbish: On this whole walk the principle of ‘carry it in, carry it out’ applies. There are NO garbage bins anywhere along the path except at the toilets behind the Cape Otway Lighthouse café (not at the entrance to the whole facility). I had accidently entered the light station carrying the bag which contained our very full Ziplock rubbish bag and it was sneakily emptied into a wheelie bin. Oh, simple joys. If nothing else, the necessity to carry all our own rubbish was a very good exercise in understanding the impact of excess packaging and plastics. At home, I try to be environmentally-conscious and I was surprised at how much waste we generated in only 1.5days.
- The Aire River GOW campsite is located at the top of yet another bloody great hill, with a very steep 100m walk back down the hill to the toilet facilities. Plan your trips accordingly! 😊
- When selecting your tent site, try to nab one with a low table adjacent. They are really handy to unpack and spread your gear out without getting everything covered in dirt and ants.
Stay tuned for Day 3.
Read About Day 1 – HERE
#travelinspo #greatoceanwalk #bucketlist #adventurebeforedementia #longdistancewalks #australianbush #victoria #bushwalks #greatoutdoors #twelveapostles #capeotway #coastalwalks.