Porepunkah East Rest Area – F, M, D, BR. 4km NW of Bright. There is actually a Vic roads sign saying no camping. But other’s did, a pretty basic pull off. Rating – 1.5
Avalon Rest Area – F, N, semi OR, M, BR, D. Big pull off area on the M1, both sides of the hwy, near a BP servo. Lots of traffic all night, very noisy. Near the Avalon airport. Rating – 1.5
Hammond Road Campground – T, OR, F, M, W. 12.5kms off the great ocean road up a dirt road. In the Otway National Park, 8km NW of Aireys Inlet. Big grassy paddock, kangaroos and birds visit the dirty pond. Very quite. Rating – 4
Day 18 – 18th April
We called in at some friends house at Diamond Creek and had lunch with them before leaving the Melbourne area about 4pm. We stopped for the night at Avalon Rest area, which is on both sides of the hwy and right next to BP service stations. They are fairly big pull off so we were able to get away from the road but it was still a noisy night with cars and trucks going all night, bothered Chris more than me as I had some ear plugs.
Day 19 – 19th April
We stopped at Little Creek, where I picked up some yoghurt culture and a Feta cheese making kit at Cheeselinks, they were very friendly and helpful.
We then headed to my Grandma’s at Lara and had a few cuppas with her as well as lunch. She is 89 but still as sharp as a tac and doing very well. Update; she is now nearly 92 and still going strong.
We left Lara and headed towards Torquay and the Great Ocean Road, we stopped at the Torquay info centre, and at Bells Beach where we had a cuppa overlooking the waves.
We have stopped for the night at Hammonds Campground, first few kms are on bitumen then it turns into a gravel road. The Camps Australia Wide 5 book says it’s 8km NW of Aireys Inlet, it is in fact 12.3km, with 9.8kms of dirt road. The dirt road is ok at first but then gets a bit rougher with corrugations and some very steep hills. It is not well signposted with no signs to Hammond Camping until we were here. The camp area is like a big grass paddock, does have toilets. Least it is well off the road and should be very quiet tonight as we are the only ones here.
It was a lot quieter night last night, we did have a whiz bang van join us later in the night they were quiet once they stopped playing the guitar. In the morning we had some Crimson Rosellas come and have a bath at the dirty little water hole that was near our camp, it was nice to watch them.
We arrived back in Aireys Inlet about 10am and went to the Spilt Point Lighthouse area. We first went for a walk along the inlet that led us to some rock pools and rock formations, we could of spent hours just photographing them, one of the rocks we thought looked like a ram half sitting up. The rocks are very interesting. A bunch of school kids were on an excursion learning about erosion.
We then walked up to the Lighthouse which has stunning views over the ocean. You can do a tour of the lighthouse but we didn’t as we plan to do a different one. It was several hours before we left this area. We think it is going to take us a while to do the Great Ocean Road.
We passed under the Memorial Arch; the arch commemorates the building of the Great Ocean Road as a memorial to Victorians who served in the First World War, 1914-1918. It is the third arch built on the site. The original was erected in 1939 and was replaced in 1973 when the road was widened. The second one was burnt down on February 1983 in the Ash Wednesday fires. It is special time for Chris and I to be on the Great Ocean Road as it will be 25 years this Nov that we last passed through this area on our Honey Moon.
We stopped at Lorne and had lunch before a quick walk around the town. We stopped at Sheoak Falls and did the walk, lots of steps, only to find there was only a small trickle of water going over the falls. Apparently it has more water in the winter months.
From there we kept our eyes open for a place to stop for the night as we didn’t want to get too far along the coast today. The problem is they aren’t real keen on letting people just pull over to sleep. They are plenty of signs around the place saying no overnight stopping for any vehicle, including cars, motorhome, caravans or any person. There are pull offs along the way that a small motorhome or whiz bang van could stop if they dare as the general rule seems to be you can’t stay at any car park either, so not very RV friendly. So we decided to stay at or near Apollo Bay in a van park and use it as a base to explore the “The Otway’s”. We picked up some info on van parks from the info centre that also had some prices which were out of date. We rang a mid range park in Apollo Bay for pricing but at $35 a night we said no, even the Shows Grounds was over $20. So we are staying at Marengo which is only 3km out of Apollo Bay at the Marengo Holiday Park which is right on the beach. Cost is $28 a night; there are several tracks from the park leading to the rocky pools of the beach. The sites are good size with sullage and water at each site, power of course. The amenities are old but clean, they have painted all toilet and showers doors to look like beach huts with differently colour stripes look great.
Wow, ouch. Yep that is how we are feeling, mostly me as my calves are very sore from all the steps yesterday. They are ok once you are moving and the muscles have warmed up but when you have been sitting in the car and then get out and walk ouchhhhhhhhh.
We were a bit slow off the mark this morning enjoying sitting back having a cuppa. We then headed up into the Otways; the plan was to go to at least 4 waterfalls in the area. Ha we made 2, there is just so much to see on the way. There is a loop you can do from Skenes Creek, which back a few Kms up the Great Ocean Road, you then turn inland the road does a loop and joins back onto the Great Ocean Road further up from here at Lavers Hill, then back home. Well that was the plan.
First stop was Stevenson Falls, which is a bit further up, which meant we had to double back. But we had read the falls were great. There is also a camping area there, where vans can get into. Wow what a nice area, the drive there was beautiful, through tall trees, ferns and winding road, felt like we were driving in a rainforest. The camping area is one of the best we have seen for a while, from there it is either a 1.1km walk or you can drive to the falls day area, we drove. From the day area it is only a short walk on level ground to the falls. Lots of trees and ferns, it’s such a lovely walk.
In amongst the base of some bushy pine trees we spied the same red Fungi we had seen in the Mansfield High Country area, only these were much better and lots of them. They start as round red balls with white bumps on them and then open up to big flat plates, some quite large. They are like something you would expect to see in Alice in Wonderland. We have just looked them up and they are Amanita Muscaria, commonly called Fly Agaric or Fly Amanita. They are not native to Australia; they were accidently brought in with Pine Plantations and are referred to as the Quintessential Toadstool, the little ones are called buttons and the white spots can wash off in heavy rainfall. I should point out there are poisonous to eat and are farmed for its hallucinogenic properties ha maybe that is why we were so happy when we saw them, the real Magic Mushroom.
I had soaking wet and dirty knees by the time I had finished. The falls were great with plenty of water going over them into pools below. We spent several hours there all up, we enjoyed lunch back at the day area before heading back down and rejoining the loop road, which takes you to the Otway Fly tree Top walk.
Next stop was Beauchamp Falls, a 3km return walk, listed as moderate difficult in the walking rating, Stevenson Falls was easy. It’s 1.5km all downhill on a very well maintained track. Again lots of fungi to see, some we hadn’t see before including one that was growing up a tree that can only be described as they look like Stalactites, never seen anything like it. We think it is a Tooth Fungi, or other names, Coral Fungi, or Icicle Fungi. Apparently it’s edible and delicious like Lobster and can be used as a rice substitute, but I’d check on that before you start munching in on it. The walk is another pretty walk with tree ferns, moss, fallen down trees with moss, and lots of tall trees but it is steep in places and the last bit is straight down with stairs, does have hand rails and they do help as the steps were wet and slippery. It is worth the walk as the falls are wonderful. The viewing platform is up some more steps, we also worked our way down to the bottom of the falls to take some photos. It was 5 o’clock so we moved it back up the track at a reasonable pace, trying to beat the dark, stopping to take pics of a few fungi, gave us a break. By the time we got back to the car we were hot and puffed.
We took a short cut back home straight down joining back up with the Great Ocean Road, not completing the loop YET. Plan tomorrow is to go back up the short cut and rejoin where we left off.
We came home with sore bits, Chris is now saying ouch too, covered in a bit of mud from kneeling in wet rainforest floor and sitting on wet muddy rocks, but as Chris said we were as happy as pigs in mud, we had a ball, and that is what it is all about, can’t wait for tomorrow after a nice rest that is.
The legs are not quite as sore today. We have had a couple of bus loads of boys staying at the park, even though they did quieten down at night they have made big messes in the toilet block every day.
We started off a bit earlier today, we headed back up the road we came down last night, the sign at turn off from the Great Ocean Roads says to Beech Forest. We stopped at Hopetoun Falls, which is our favourite, does have a quite few steps so is listed as Moderate, only 1km. There is a viewing platform 20m from the carpark where you can see the falls but it’s best to do the walk as they are amazing. The falls fall into a pool which then flows down over mossy rocks, surrounded by tree ferns. Very pretty falls, we got a lot of good photos going to be hard to choose. There were lots of fungi on the walk to so we got lots of photos of them including some tiny little blue ones. Why oh why are they always so low to the ground? I took a plastic bag to sit and kneel on but I still get muddy. We have worked out the falls are taking us 2-3 hrs to complete by the time we stop and take photos of things along the way, we still walked over 9kms today.
Next we stopped in at the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk; we didn’t do the walk as we didn’t have enough time as at this stage we were having so much fun checking out the free things, we have heard it is very good though. We had lunch there Fish, Chips and Salad was very nice.
From there we continued 3km’s past the Tree Top Walk to Triplet Falls, a 2km loop, moderate walk but with loads of steps. There is a recommended direction for the loop, which starts downward, with steps and boardwalks, the falls is towards the other end of the loop, the climb back out is rather steep up steps, where you follow the creek along. It is if fact shorted to the falls to go the opposite direction if you only want to see the falls but you would miss out on the whole walk, which again is very pretty through spectacular rainforest along an old logging line. Again lots of fungi, which had us just about lying down on the rainforest floor with the leaches and mud. People walking past must have thought we were nuts taking photos of what they can’t even see as some of the fungi were tiny. It rained just as we were finishing the walk; we had a quick cuppa at the car before moving on.
On the way back to the van we stopped and checked out a few free camps along the way ready for us to move to and have a few days break over the Anzac long weekend, to avoid the crowds on the roads.
We had done some washing before we left and hung it out on the clothes line set up at the front of the van on the A frame. We thought we would be faced with wet washing when we got back, when we pulled in the washing was gone, first thought was someone took our clothes, but our nice neighbours had brought it in for us and had it lying flat underneath their annex, very kind and thoughtful of them.
We have decided to book in for another night at the park, several reasons the biggest one is the Jackaroo is having some issues. It runs on Gas and Unleaded Petrol, well the petrol side isn’t working at all. Leaving us only gas and with our short towing range on Gas it has the potential to have us stuck somewhere if we can’t get gas. We only just made it back home last night as we didn’t know we had this problem until the Jack wouldn’t start; we were concerned about running out of gas all the way home.
We also haven’t had a chance to walk around Apollo Bay yet or the beach from the park. Don’t know how much beach walking we will get done as it’s raining, causing Chris issues when he is trying to work out what is wrong with the Jackaroo. It’s given me chance to catch up on a few things.
Chris worked on the jack for hours in the rain, got soaking wet and cold, he could not find the problem with the Jack, so we will have to take it to get fixed after the long weekend. We will have to be very mindful of how many km’s we have done between fills, since we can’t just swap over to petrol if we run out of gas.
It rained all day and was quite cool; we eventually got into Apollo Bay. Did some shopping at the IGA in the main street, it’s a suck in for tourists. The fruit and veggies weren’t that fresh, the place wasn’t exactly clean and the staff weren’t very friendly. We found the Foodworks store in a street opposite the Tourist Info, chalk and cheese, veggies looked much fresher, bigger store, clean and friendly staff this is where the locals shop.
We did eventually get down to the beach, with umbrellas trying to fly away in the wind; there was just a touch of colour in the sky. Even in this weather it was still nice, be awesome in good weather with a great sunset.
The place is filling up with people getting away for the long weekend.
I forgot to mention yesterday when we were scoping out the area for free camping spots we saw 2 foxes.
We had such nice neighbours who moved on yesterday only to be replaced by some very inconsiderate rude so and so’s. They talked loud, had loud music on until nearly 2am last night, obviously keeping us awake. There was also another group a bit further up just outside the park keeping people awake up there. The people next to us were in tents and had spread themselves across the back of 2 power sites, so the management is going to sort them out. Chris was also kept awake trying to still solve the Jackaroo problem.
We have moved on from the Apollo Bay area and stopped at one of the free camping spots we scoped out the other day. Called Johanna Beach, turn off is between Glenaire and Lavers Hill on the Great Ocean Road. The camping area is just behind some sand dunes next to the beach. There are several areas, some are level some a bit sloppy and some more protected from the wind than others, there is several more around the place, including another area about 300m, so it is spread out over a big area. After we had people keeping us awake last night we were careful where we put ourselves. We expected it to be packed, but it wasn’t when we came in. Several other caravans have come into our area suitable spaced, people are arriving all the time, fingers crossed it will be a quiet night.
It is a brilliant spot and if the weather was nice it would be lovely on the beach. This area is used as a surf beach for contests when the waves aren’t good at Bells Beach. So as you can imagine there were a few surfers when we walked down to the beach. They weren’t sticking around too long though as it was howling, there is a gale force warning out for this area. The wind was blowing the sand onto our legs like sharp little rocks; we didn’t stick around too long either. We are reasonable protected where we are camped, is raining on and off and is freezing outside in that wind. We had said the weather had been pretty mild up until now, not so bad in the van.
It is cooling down outside, and is a bit of noise but it’s only early and the cold may force them into warm beds. No luck with the Jack yet, but not from a lack of trying on Chris’s part.
Johanna Beach Campground – T, OR, F, just M, D, BR. 15 km S of Lavers Hill on the Great Ocean Rd, few kms drive into the campground. Large grassy areas, several sections to choose from. Very short walk to the beach, popular on long weekends and holidays. Great spot as a base for the area. Rating – 5