37657 kms travelled so far
10.09.2009 - 01.10.2009 25 °C
First of all, I have learnt an important lesson here in Australia; never let your relatives cut your hair, especially with a clipper brought for a "bargain". There's a reason why it cost under $30.
I had to bail out half way through the cut as my hair was being so badly mauled. I went to the hairdresser yesterday who commented "that's a bloody mess isn't it" and then thankfully sorted it out
We've been having a great time in Australia. When we first arrived we went to a few beaches, caught up with Rachel, Dave and Rich and checked out the local areas. We have been made to feel completely at home, it has been great having a sofa, internet, good company and cold beer!
After a few days in Sydney we set off on an adventure down to Melbourne to do the Great Ocean Walk, a 104km jaunt along the coastline of South Australia. As with the Salkantay Trek i'm going to write out what we did by day so I dont forget!
Day 1 - Sydney to Melbourne
The day started off well but rapidly went downhill. We were at the airport about to check in, as I was going to take my camera equipment as hand luggage I looked into my backpack to find it, it wasnt there. AGH! I'd left it back at Rachels when I was packing which was REALLY annoying, especially as it was my only real chance to get photos of Australian wildlife. Bummer. As we went through security checks they stopped Christy and told her she had a knife in her bag, she protested that there must be a mistake but they asked her to check, and in a small sidepocket which has rusted shut there was indeed a knife. Bin Christy, the new face of terrorism. We got onto the plane and it took off ok, which was great, all went to plan until the airhostess spilt milk all over my t-shirt making it smell gross. When we arrived in Geelong the hotel we had called and spoken to about a room said they didnt actually have any spare rooms. We eventually found somewhere and hoped that the walk would go smoother than things had panned out so far.......
Day 2 - Geelong to Apollo Bay (bus), Apollo bay to Elliot Ridge (walking)
We arrived at the bus station well in time and were informed that the bus we thought we were catching back the following Thursday wasnt actually running and that the only bus we could catch would be a day earlier! We took the bus to Apollo Bay, which was the start of the walk and set off with rain and strong winds against us, which was a shame as Christy only had a giant bright yellow condom to protect her from the elements. Our bags felt incredibly heavy and our shoulders were aching within minutes. We got lost within about 15 metres of the visitor centre and luckily a man directed us the right way! As we walked along the first path cockateels flew around our heads in noisy flocks and superb fairy wrens hopped around the bushes - even though the weather wasnt great at least we were seeing some good stuff.
We got lost again and ended up slipping and sliding over some rocks on the beach, as the rain pounded down on us. Thoughts of deserting came into our minds but we decided to keep on it in the hope things would get better. We found the right path and headed up into a forest filled with enormous eukalyptus trees which gave us some protection from the wind and rain. After a massive hill we finally arrived at the campsite, which was in the middle of the forest, miles away from civilisation. We were the only people at the campsite and the visitor book was last signed a month earlier - we didnt see another person doing the walk at any point of the trip, although not treated as real wilderness by Australians this was as remote as we'd been before and felt like a real adventure. As we settled into our sleeping bags we realised the importance of roll mats, which we had forgotten to bring. The floor was absolutely freezing and it penetrated straight through to us and into our bones. We spent an uncomfortable night shivering, whilst Christy freaked out at a potential axe murderer outside.
Day 3 - Elliot Ridge to Blanket Bay
We woke up like zombies, but arose to sunny weather which was a definite improvement. We put our heavy backpacks on our achy shoulders and set off through the forest again and bumped into several black wallabies. Most of the jumped away when we disturbed them, but one of them, the Fonz of wallabies, wasnt fazed at all by us and sat a couple of metres away ignoring us. Later on as we walked along Christy spotted our first wild koala, which was asleep in a tree, looking exactly like a teddy bear! As we continued on the forest changed and we were greeted by black cockatoos which swooped around us chattering noisily. We saw lots of brightly coloured birds which look almost out of place in the wild as i'm so used to seeing them in cages - it was a shame I didnt have my camera to get photos of them. We arrived at our campsite in Blanket Bay and settled down to another cold night. This time we used our backpacks as roll mats and curled up into a fetal position to try to fit onto them - comfy stuff!
Day 4 - Elliot ridge to Aire River, by Cape Otway
As our return bus times had changed we had to fit two days walking into one. We walked through woodlands again and then out into heathlands, spotting another koala and wallabies on the way. We stopped off at cape otway lighthouse, which should have been our campground, brought some more chocolate bars to keep our energy up, and then continued onto Aire river. We walked for what seemed like an eternity through rolling heathland, at the top of every hill all we could see was the winding path and more and more hills off into the distance. Finally and with VERY sore and achy feet and shoulders we arrived at Aire River. We put our tent up next to where another man was set up, he started talking to us and offered us some water. Christy instantly assuming he was a serial killer whispered to me to only fill one bottle with his water just in case it was poisoned. He was very friendly and lent us a couple of roll matts, which luckily werent poisoned and also gave us some baked beans for the morning breakfast - excellent. As I chatted to him I noticed he had a full sized crossbow in his car which made me wonder whether Christy was actually right and that he would hunt us down in our tent! We went to sleep early and slept much better because of the roll mats.
Day 5 - Aire River to Johanna Beach
We woke up relieved that we hadnt been shot through the face, or poisoned during the night. We hobbled out of the tent and had our beans, which were accompanied by some toast he cooked us too. As we were about to set off he came and offered us one of his roll mats to take with us, along with some more food, what a nice man he was! All axe murders should take lessons off him and the world would be a much nicer place. We set off and walked through yet more heathland which meandered down onto the beach, stopping off at a viewpoint near to the great ocean road where people spritely hopped from their cars and walked over without hobbling to look at the nice views. When we got down to the beach the wind was blowing full force in our faces, it took ages to walk along it, half way along we had to wade across a creek, and as I finally thought I was at the end my hat blew off and I had to take chase back down the beach in the wrong way. After the beach we entered farmland with beautiful rolling farmland, similar to what we had seen in NZ. We finally reached the campsite which once again was in a wood in the middle of nowhere and settled down for another nights rainy rest.
Day 6 - Johanna Beach to Ryans Den
As we packed our tent up 2 grey kangaroos came bouncing past our tent, without even seeming to notice us. The sun was shining again and we started the day by cooking our socks to try to try them off! When we set off we walked across fields and saw loads of kangaroos bouncing all around us, it was an amazing scene. We continued walking and it rained on and off, finally we started heading down towards the beach but the paths were slippy and I slid over and very elegantly landed on my butt and backpack, broken noodles were now on the menu for lunch. We reached the beach, with very muddy trousers, and had to decide whether to risk dashing along the shore with the tide coming in or whether to wait for another few hours until it was heading out again. In Indiana Jones style we decided to risk it and made a run for it along the 500 metres of shore. Christy slipped on the rocks and ended up with her bum in a rockpool and cut her knees up in the process. When we reached the other end we could see how quickly the tide was coming in, as where we has been was being smashed by waves, phew! We set off up a steep slope and then sat down for a moment on a grassy verge for a rest; everything was very peaceful, the sun was shining, and the mars bar tasted extra good. It was only then I noticed an army of leeches crawling over to suck our blood, we jumped up and noticed they were attached to our trouser legs, Christy screamed and asked me, The Leech professional, to remove them, instantly, I didnt really know how so I tried flicking them off but they held on tight as Christy danced around. We then realised that our bags were on the grass too, and saw there was leeches attached to them, so we were trying to remove the leeches on our trousers, whilst holding heavy bags in the air, whilst dancing and trying to avoid more leeches joining in the party. We finally got rid of them by grabbing them with paper and ripping them off. We ran away once all were removed, and checked ourselves many many more times to see there was no more hiding. After the leech attack we thankfully only had a couple of hours more walking until we reached our campste which was again in a forest, high above the sea. As we went to sleep again that night Christy heard some cracking noises, and again we thought an axe murderer had returned to finally finish us of, thankfully he couldnt find our tent in the dark so he gave up and went home for a cup of tea instead.
Day 7 - Ryans Den to Princetown
By this point of the walk it would be safe to say we smelt and looked very much like full time tramps. We set off early and walked through the forest, and onto tracks through dunes and heathland. Along the way we saw an Echidna, which is like a hedgehog mixed with a porcupine, we tricked him into thinking we had walked away and then papped him. We drew on our energy resourses and decided we could do another double day, in return for going a bit further to a town along the way where we could hire a bed in a hotel and go to a pub. We walked and walked and finally reached the town, where we spent the afternoon watching a DVD in a hostel, followed by an evening in the pub with beer and steak. Definitely a good reward for our hard work!
Day 8 - Princetown to 12 Apostles
We finished off with what the lady in the hostel said was a 3km trek to the 12 apostles. Whether she had never walked to the apostles, was very bad with distances or was mentally ill, we will never know, but it was much further. We had to rush as we had a bus to catch and did 6km in about an hour, not bad with heavy bags and weary feet! We arrived and briefly visited the 12 apostles before falling happily on the bus knowing we didnt have to walk again for a long time! We got to the nearest city and ate lots of non-noodle food and drank lots of wine, then fell asleep on a proper bed, with no fear of axe murderers!
Now we're back in Sydney it seems like it was a ages ago we were on the walk. It was a fantastic walk and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes hiking, apparently most people get a local company to transport their backpacks between campsites which would have made it alot easier!! This weekend we went down with Rachel, Dave and Rich to see the Blue Mountains which were very beautiful, even with gale force winds and freezing cold temperatures!
We have just 2 more days left now until we set off for Thailand, and SE Asia. Hope everyone is well Adios!