Great Ocean Road

Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges

Following serious rainfall many travellers had abandoned the Flinders so there were not many people around the campsite.

We climbed the hill behind the campsite to watch the sun set over Wilpena Pound then early to bed in preparation for a walk the next day. We chose the Mount Ohlssen Bagge walk so everyone could make it (Mary’s Peak walk had only re-opened that morning) but also it is renowned for all the reptiles that can be found along the walk – a big drawcard for the kids. A reasonably challenging walk for the kids was rewarded at the peak with outstanding views across Wilpena Pound, views all around and as promised many different lizards, dragons, skinks and goannas. It was also fairly surprising to see feral goats running along a ridge just below us, bleating cautiously as they edged along the cliff edge. Even here there was still ample evidence of the rain, with a significant water course flowing past the campsite.

The hot afternoon saw weary feet being soaked in the swimming pool. Checking in at the Information Centre the roads further north were starting to open up again, and the one I was immediately interested in was the road to Brachina Gorge. Time to edge further north. The Oodnadatta Track was still closed though.

 

 

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Categories: Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Big Lap, Camper Trailer, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Great Ocean Road, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, National Park, Photography, South Australia, Travel, Travel Adventure, Walks | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

The Great Ocean Road – Cape Otway Lighthouse

Having been diverted off the Great Ocean Road to hunt the Black Snail we resumed the road heading for Cape Otway where Hannah’s teacher had given us maps guaranteed to locate Koalas. It was late in the day so we went straight to the Lighthouse and set up our camp there. Despite all the tourists visiting we were the only ones staying there in a very picturesque outlook just behind the lighthouse.

CapeOtwayCamp

Cape Otway Camp

We enjoyed the tranquillity so much we stayed two nights, and there was plenty to do there.

This was the first lighthouse we have had the chance to go inside and we had the privilege to meet Pat, a lighthouse man, and a dying breed now all lighthouses are automated. He was not shy sharing a few stories about peers who had been driven mad by the solitude, and one as recent as in the 1980’s who had to be subdued and tied up with ropes when he ran around the island trying to shoot everyone. On the trip back to the mainland he was strapped to the main mast to stop him terrorising the crew.

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He showed us the narrow platform they used to clean the windows from with no rails or safety gear, over 60m up. In strong winds he joked that he would make the assistant clean on the windy side. Having been the last lighthouse keeper at the Point Hicks lighthouse that we visited in Croajingolong it was fascinating listening to his stories for an hour so in the afternoon. Thanks Pat.

The next day we visited the aboriginal hut hidden in the bush and met Dale. We spent hours with him talking about traditional plants, medicinal and bushtucker, how the traditional hunting weapons were used and he gave us insight into the native countries, tribal structure, how each tribe speaks 4 languages, and how message sticks were used when entering neighbouring territory. The kids painted abalone shells and we spent many hours there. Thanks Dale for sharing so much with us. It really made the stay special meeting these people.

 

Categories: Australian Outback, Camper Trailer, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Great Ocean Road, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Photography, Travel, Travel Adventure, Victoria | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

In search of a fearsome beast in the Otway Ranges!

A carnivorous loathsome beast hides in the rainforest in the Otway Ranges. It uses stealth and cunning to find its prey then devours them slowly. That’s what convinced Fifty Toes that they had to track one down and capture it. Using local knowledge we found out what areas it could be found. Driving out of Apollo Bay we found Koalas first at Kennet River. A quick stop for a photograph was required for our top 25 list (more on that later)

Koala

After the brief distraction we headed for Maits Rest rainforest walk. We walked as silently as a troop of baboons through the forest, looking everywhere, and just as the kids interest started waning, Oscar let out a cry “I’ve found one!”. Well not quite, but a very small part of one.

We chose a dirt track to take us to another likely site and 20km later we set out on the walk to Beauchamp falls

Beauchamp Falls

Beauchamp Falls

Within minutes our enthusiasm was raised as we started finding evidence of Victaphanta compacta. We laid a bounty down of 2 sweets for the first person to find a live one, and just as we arrived at the falls the cry went up – Amanda found it and with Oscar’s help he emerged with the famous Otway Black Snail in his hands, a species of carnivorous land snail that eats meat. Maybe not such a fearsome beast but a very unusual critter nonetheless. Mission accomplished!

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Categories: Animal Action, Australian Outback, Big Lap, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Great Ocean Road, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, National Park, Natural World, Photography | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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