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Despite the weather, we went camping in the Great Otways National Park on the weekend of 22-24 February. Driving from Avalon airport, listening to the cricket, the weather set in and it was chucking it down. After fish and chips at Winchelsea, we drove on to the campsite Dave had selected, near Stevensons Falls. We did not get there till about 10pm, but got the tent up quickly, and fortunately it was not raining.
The next day we walked to Stevensons falls, which were impressive, and the first of three falls we were to see that day. A massive group of pine trees just before the falls were also lovely. We then went on to the festival for the Otway Odyessey, a mountain bike race from Apollo Bay to Forest. We saw lots of people finishing the 50km, covered in mud, and even more coming through doing the 100km, with a further 35kms to go. We were there when the winner went through for the 100km, in 5 hours 6mins, but then he had to re-do the crossing the finish line after being interviewed, as they missed the photo shot of him passing the sponsors ribbon. Bit much after 100kms uphill in muddy tracks, if you ask me.
We then went into Apollo Bay for lunch and to get dinner and breakfast supplies. Then it was on to check out Hopetoun Falls, and eventually make it to our camp spot for the night, near Beauchamp Falls. After a spot of frisbee and getting the tent up when it was not raining, we went to check out the falls, which were still great after seeing so many that day. What is it about running water from rocks.
After a gourmet dinner of (out of date) macaroni, tuna and cheese, a good bottle of red wine and chocolate mousse, we were off to bed where it rained again, but the tent held out.
The next day we went to Triplet falls (sensing a theme here), but could not be bothered walking 2.5 hours to Little Aire falls. There is only so much water you can take.
We headed off to the Otway lighthouse, which I was very excited about, being a history nerd. It is the oldest lighthouse in Australia, and was the first communication boats from Europe would have after stopping in Africa. Lots of shipwreck stories, and we got to go up the lighthouse itself. Great views and interesting machinery. I could bang on more about the history, but won’t.
On the drive back from the lighthouse, there were lots of tourists parked and with their heads to the sky. We stopped to see lots of koalas, one even walking across the road. It was amazing to see so many (I think I saw at least 5) in the wild. Very cool.
By now it was getting onto 2pm, so it was time to drive back towards the airport. But what a drive, all along the coast, and finally the sun was out. Stunning views, cricket on the radio with Australia winning, and feeling like I had been away a week, not a weekend. Tops!
More photos can be seen here.