It's Been A While...
I have barely had time to write the so called "micro blogs" on Steem, let alone these slightly longer travel ones from my website but finally I've found a moment to get this one out to you. Since the last one was around 7 weeks ago, we have some serious catching up to do! Let's hop back to the serendipitous moment I found out I was going to start hiking towards the 12 Apostles in Australia.
Wonders Of The Universe
This "Universe" thing is pretty special isn't it? You know what I mean. You've all experienced it. That feeling when the "stars align" or when everything just magically falls in to place. I used to have a no nonsense, sceptical "science" head on me and always looked for answers to things that happened. However, these days, I'm a bit more open minded and there really are events that happen which make you wonder if there's something far deeper at work.
Without going too deep on the philosophical and spiritual side of things (and no doubt confusing the heck out of you seeing as this is meant to be a travel post), one of those "moments" happened where these stars aligned.
Before I came to Australia, I wanted to go along the Great Ocean Road and see the 12 Apostles as it's one of Australia's icons and it's highly recommended by many people. Two days after I landed, my friend (who's a tour guide) informed me that there had been a massive change in plans, which ultimately lead me to join a walking tour called "The Great Ocean Walk" around this wonderful coastline! The Universe hey :) Let's find out how the first day went!
Day 1 - Great Ocean Walk
Heading Out Of The City
As I mentioned from my previous blog, at that point (14th April 2019) I hadn't been sleeping well with the jet lag and was up before the crack of dawn! However, that didn't stop me feeling buoyant as I was primed and ready to go! Once we met up with the rest of the walkers in the pick-up point in Melbourne, it was time to head out of the city and make our way down towards the Great Ocean Road.
Split Point Lighthouse
On the way out west, we stopped at a point of interest called "Split Point Lighthouse". Does that name sound familiar to any of you? Maybe if you watched a children's TV show called "Round The Twist", you'd recognise this landmark! There are specialised tours that happen based around the TV show still if you want to relive those magical moments [Source]!
Split Point Lighthouse - strange things happen when you're going round the twist!
It's well worth having a quick stop at the Memorial Arch landmark which signifies the eastern view entrance to the Great Ocean Road. This is a tribute to the servicemen from WWI who actually built the road after returning from the Great War looking for work and completing it in 1932 [Source]. It's a popular place so there may be quite a few people around and you can't stay there too long - I think I did alright only severing the top of one person's head in the picture below :)
Memorial Arch at the Eastern View entrance of the Great Ocean Road
As we made our way past the arch, there were points along the road where works were happening to deal with the issues of falling rock as there has been a bout of heavy rainfall causing land slides (it is approaching Winter here around April time and it's not uncommon to see this). Nonetheless, you can't help but gaze out the window as you swing your way around multiple coves with each twist and turn providing an even more amazing views of the coastline. Not literally swinging but you get what I mean!
Cakes at Lorne
We briefly stopped off at a small town called Lorne for some cake (as it's a long drive out of Melbourne) and a game of "get to know your fellow walkers". I can tell you, it is a pretty cool game if you want to get to know your fellow walkers :) The pier at Lorne is lovely as it extends out to the sea and you can walk down it to get a great view of the coast line. We had a picnic in the area on the hill next to the car park which overlooked the ocean. After this, it was about an hour's drive to get to our hiking start point.
The Lorne Pier
View from Lorne Pier overlooking the coastline
Here we go then, the start point of the Great Ocean Walk - Apollo Bay - where our great hiking expedition begins. It's mandatory to get a picture at the wooden structure in the car park near the visitor's centre - look out for something that looks like this.
The start point of the Great Ocean Walk in Apollo Bay
We were reliably informed that you're only allowed to walk in one direction, from East to West, along this path which makes a big difference to the amount of people you see to make it a more enjoyable walk - i.e. no-one is going in the opposite direction to you. Plus, when you travel with a group of lovely people, it really does make a difference to the experience. The people in the group I was with were so kind and unselfish with their supplies and we really gelled together.
We had a pretty gentle start to the walking proceedings - a gentle 8km stretch with a picnic lunch along the way, looking out to a few rocks where we could see a couple of Australian Fur Seals and white Herring. Thankfully one of the other members of the group had a pair of binoculars with him so we could see but it didn't favour smart phone cameras :( See if you can spot the Herring below.
White Herring on the rocks as we stopped for lunch
Towards Shelley Beach
Then it was onwards to Shelley Beach where we started getting away from civilisation and into the forest. Another highlight for me here as we were fortunate enough to see wild koalas chilling at the top of the trees. How did we know they were there though? Simple. Poo.
Yes, they poo uncontrollably every 20 minutes and just let that sweet smelling eucalyptus waste fall down to the ground below. It has a light green colour and the fresher it is, the closer they will be above you so look up to the trees and you will have a good chance of seeing them in the wild - like we were fortunate enough to do. Just don't stay standing under them for too long unless you REALLY like eucalyptus :) See if you can spot the koala in the picture below!
Can you spot the koala here?
Cape Otway Lightstation Accommodation
Once we reached our pick-up, it was a 45 minute drive to our accommodation called Cape Otway Lightstation, which is the "oldest surviving lighthouse in Australia" [Source] and we arrived there in time for sunset over this beautiful coastline.
Cape Otway Lighthouse
Sunset from the lighthouse
Unfortunately they didn't have a room for everyone when we arrived so me and 2 others ended up in a tiny room and I was on a mattress on the floor - we had to nab a mattress from another room and bring it across the site! That's not all that happened on the first night though.
I was still feeling jet lagged and woke up around 2am but also needed the loo so I went out (the toilets were in a different building), thinking I'd be quiet and leave the door slightly open so when I came back it would be fine to just go in and fall on the floor again… Yea well, what I wasn't anticipating was the wind that sucked the door shut and locked me out when I came back from the toilet!
I couldn't wake the others so I went in to the communal area and just crashed on the couch until they woke up at 05:30… I had never drunk so much coffee in my entire life than I did on that morning … and I don't drink coffee ever but now I know why a lot of people swear by it… it does have magic "reviving" powers!
An adventurous first leg of the Great Ocean Walk, stay tuned for more in the coming weeks but if you want to follow the shorter blogs, which are more up to date, follow my profile on Steem :)
PHC Top 3 - A Chance To Win From A Growing Prize Pool
Well, whilst I'm here, I might as well take the chance to tell you about a new contest that I've been a part of with the Power House Creatives called @phctop3. All you need to do is tell us what your top 3 favourites for a chance to win from a growing prize pool - more info here.
Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)
EMA is a growing electronic music community run by electronic musicians FOR electronic musicians. We have weekly playlists on a variety of platforms to cater for all streaming preferences - make sure you follow our blog for your weekly dose here. We're also launching a new community run label called Electronic Alliance Records which aims to spread the word even more for our artists - check the latest developments and what music is coming up here
Posted from my blog with SteemPress : https://nickyhavey.co.uk/2019/06/haveys-australia-new-zealand-adventure-part-4-great-ocean-walk-apollo-bay-to-shelly-beach/