We were determined not to repeat yesterday’s mistake (getting caught walking in the heat) and we were out of bed, and packing in the dim, early morning light. It is weird how it gets light so much later in southern Victoria. Thank goodness for head lamps.
Overnight we had made good use of the campsite shelter and left our packs, shoes and all our gear (except food) inside to avoid any dampness. Ah, the joys of having a campsite all to ourselves.
Yesterday we passed the halfway point…all downhill from here! 😊
Date: Tuesday 22 March, 2022
From: Johanna Beach, Victoria
To: Ryan’s Den
Official Distance: 13.6km
Actual Distance: 14.83km
Weather: Overcast and sprinkling rain.
Stayed At: Ryan’s Den Great Ocean Walk (GOW) campsite
- Elevation: I think I need to clarify my ascent and descent figures. While on some days they don’t look all that challenging, these numbers represent the maximum height on any one day. I may have forgotten to mention that we would/could have completed these ascents and descents multiple times a day or more likely, ALL day. Just as you finally struggle to the top of one ridgeline, it is as sure as eggs that there is another %$#@ ridgeline waiting for you. Catch your breath and enjoy the views before setting off once more. This walk is perfect if you want to build cardio fitness!
- Johanna Beach GOW: Despite enjoying the most glorious views from the campsite, we both slept terribly. The sound of the waves crashing was SO loud there was little chance of nodding off before the next breaker would boom into the cliff. We were left in no doubt about the power of Nature. Pack your earplugs.
- As we walked away from Johanna Beach, the path curved inland and the scenery changed completely. We followed a ridgeline across bare rolling hills, continually working and walking our way higher and higher. Remember to turn and look backwards to see where you have walked from and you will always be rewarded with sweeping scenic views. Just for something a little different, for the first part of today, the views focused on the tiny Johanna River snaking its way along the valley floor.
- Bare hills were replaced by thick forest and the path changed to a wide gravel road. I had my fingers crossed as I looked longingly into the tree tops trying to spot a koala. Apparently they do inhabit this area, but it was not our lucky day.
- Day walkers in shuttle buses whizzed past us as we got closer to Milanesia Beach. One very kind tour leader stopped their bus to generously offer us a lift and shelter from the misting rain. As it was early and still cool, it was easy to decline their kind offer. We are purists after all. Or mad…take your pick.
- The rain showers and light sprinkles came and went all morning. I had started out with my backpack cover on, just to be on the safe side. At one stage I did think about donning my rain poncho, however the showers remained light enough to be refreshing and helped keep our sweat levels, and temperatures, down a little.
- Apologies for the quality of the photos in this section – it was that hazy sort of day…
Top Tips for this Section:
- Today was a really hard day, even though the guidebook only rated it as ‘Medium’. I guess we are all different and some days we have more zip, vim and verve than others.
- The feature of the day was a series of seriously stiff climbs and descents. When you walk, if it has been raining, please take it steady as it could get VERY slippery underfoot – especially the rough and ready, and incredibly steep descent down to Milanesia Beach.
- Thankfully the beach walk component today is only about 300m long. Make sure you have plenty of energy in reserve to tackle the endless up at the other end of the beach.
- Ryan’s Den GOW campsite is another very comfortable campsite and we had it to ourselves again until two men turned up just before dark. Where are all the walkers? I really did think this path would be much busier. NB: It is almost impossible to anchor your tent pegs at this campsite as the earth is rock hard. The husband undertook a very long and extensive search to find a rock to hammer in the tent pegs, only to break said rock on the first whack. Pack some extra cord to tie guy lines to trees, bushes etc.
- Mobile Range: Mobile service (using the Telstra network) is available at both Johanna Beach and Ryan’s Den.
Stay tuned for Day 5.
#travelinspo #greatoceanwalk #bucketlist #adventurebeforedementia #longdistancewalks #australianbush #victoria #bushwalks #greatoutdoors #twelveapostles #ryansden #coastalwalks.