Here we are then. The final day of this week long hike, which covers the section between Devils Kitchen to Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Walk. As you’ve followed my travels on this particular hike, hopefully you haven’t slipped into a coma too often. If you have, then I can retire, as my work here is complete.
There’s a bit to get through in this entry (not really, but I like to talk things up) and they’re not all walking related. I guess I should get them out of the way early?
Firstly, I think there’s been a fiasco in the comments department. I received an email from a long suffering punter, who said he tried to leave a comment on a post. Instead of it being published, as he hit enter, the comment refused to adhere, nice and shiny on my blog. Instead, it spat back out of his screen and slapped him across the face. It just goes to show. Working on a computer is not necessarily a safe haven.
Anyway, it’s hard to know if the comments problem is at my end or something within the nuclear proof bunker of Google. I’ve checked their Blogger anguish page and nothing of note appears there. So, all I can do is apply the universal fix, which is change the comment format and then switch back again, whilst thinking nothing was wrong in the first place. Essentially, there are three formats I can use. Embedded (preferred), pop up or full page. Until I can work out what’s going on, I gave pop up a go. This lasted a day, as it looked completely daft, so I’d switched back. If you try and leave a comment, but it still doesn’t work, feel free to send me an email and I’ll don on my hat with a propeller on it and try to fix it.
Next up, I got an email from the National Library of Australia, wanting to archive this balls up of a blog into the online archives. The bonus of this is obvious. Once I’m dead and my stunt double has left to annoy someone else, the blog will remain. Forever. Yeah yeah, technically I know the earth will be absorbed by the sun in 2.8 billion years, but you know what I mean. Even then, I’m hoping a special spaceship will be created just for my blog to sit in. If a few million people have to miss out because my bloated blog is taking up all the room in the craft and as a result, they all die in a fireball, well, the answer is obvious. It’ll be worth it.
Is that it for now? I think so. Now, the final leg of this walk. Let it be known, I was actually excited about it. Not for the reason of finally finishing, but because the track had been realigned since my previous visit.
In the ye olde days of about five years ago, I was introduced to the Old Coach Road. This ‘track’ was all that was available on the stroll from Devils Kitchen campsite to the bustling madness of Princetown. On my first attempt, it took me about 10 minutes of walking before contemplating suicide. Old Coach Road is just a sandy route of complete crap. A dispiriting trudge, surrounded by mind numbing farmland. Views of cows didn’t thrill me. Not even the good looking ones. I was so traumatised, I only made it to Princetown, which just so happened to be where my car was stored for the week. Promptly I got in and put my foot to the floor all the way back to Melbourne. This meant I didn’t even see the official finishing point of the Twelve Apostles.
What happened the second time? I’d actually gone to bed at Devils Kitchen, but lay there shaking due to upcoming fear of facing the horror of the Old Coach Road again. Unable to sleep, I got up in the middle of the night, packed up and walked to Princetown in the dark. There was no moon and if there was, I would have worn a blindfold, just so I couldn’t see the undulating, sandy horror. You know the drill. I made it as far as Princetown, got in my car and took off in opposite-lock mayhem, before driving back to Melbourne. Oh yeah, as you can imagine, I didn’t make it to the Twelve Apostles.
That’s history though. What about now? Well, the whole shindig from Devils Kitchen to Princetown has been realigned with a spanking new track, with not a cow to be seen. Now you know why I was feeling excited. Could the new track live up to my pending hype?
The day began after a night like all the others. An uneventful dry evening, with the only excitement being a dozen leeches crawling all over my tent. I didn’t see any bloodsuckers on my previous Devils Kitchen visits? I must have been a bit dozy, as the ferny surrounds must have always housed them. The only trouble was, when packing up the tent, I couldn’t find them all. In the end I just rolled up the tent and thought I’d deal with them when home, whilst hoping none would slide out, crawl across the backpack and attach themselves to the back of my head.
Setting off, I certainly couldn’t complain about the new track, as it followed a comfortable path…
…with a combo of coastal views…
…and tree covered hills.
There was even a bit of fungi around to admire.
The track continued past the occasional spot where there’s car access. If you’ve followed my last few posts you’d know all about my griping and whining regarding rubbish lying around. Well, I’m not going to stop whinging just yet. This photo sort of sums it up. A Great Ocean Walk marker post near a car friendly location, with you guessed it, the ubiquitous pile of tissues nearby.
Anyway, enough of the rubbish talk. I’m over it. Until the next post. Above the tree tops there was the standard coastal vista 101 to keep me entertained, especially on the descent whilst overlooking Point Ronald and the Gellibrand River.
Actually, I had no idea of its name at the time, but Point Ronald sounds pretty pedestrian. I’m surprised Cape Barry isn’t nearby. Nice view though, especially from a strategically placed bench on the stroll down. During this leg, I made a habit of sitting on every bench provided, as I wanted to get my moneys worth, plus I figure they’ve been placed in the position for the best possible view. I can’t be deciding where the good outlooks are. I need other people to decide for me. I’m not even taking the piss.
During my extended time spent on the bench, I made up my mind to explore the beach within view. Generous sizing gives me an advantage of being able to utilise the full benefits of gravity, so a rapid descent brought me to the Gellibrand River within a couple of minutes. There was a distinct tannin coloured water to admire…
…as I took to the sand and strolled up the inlet.
A low tide made the sand a little soft underfoot, but I was determined to reach the beach or die trying. Actually, as I’m writing this now the last sentence is quite pointless. You already know I made it to the beach. An old, timber fence post looked out of place…
…but it was worth investigating.
It was here, whilst standing on Princetown Beach, where billions of years of time and space came together in a melting pot moment of dark matter, neutrinos, photons and atoms. Slowly I raised my hand up, faced the camera towards the ocean and turned the polarizer. You should have been there. It was amazing.
These good times couldn’t last though, as there was a walk to finish. I left the beach and river behind and made my way past the outskirts and smokestacks of downtown Princetown. On the way, I made some notes to give the local caravan park a miss. I think I was affected by a handful of people, sitting, not talking and staring out into the dried oblivion of a paddock. Maybe if the grassy wasteland was green, I might change my mind.
Now, from here on, it was new ground for me. Usually I would have been sideways in my car leaving the area, but on this occasion I was heading off into the hills to finally put this walk to bed.
Actually, the climb away from the sprawling suburbia took me surprise. Yeah okay, it was only about 10 metres in elevation, but my locomotive groaned and wheezed all the way up. At one stage, things were so desperate I almost picked up and ate this discarded M&M. Maybe it was the natural blue colour, which enticed me so much.
It was interesting to hear the constant roar of surf, but not being able to see the ocean at all. Thick vegetation blocked off the sights for a while, but on the other side, there were some paddocks to admire.
Eventually the ocean appeared dead ahead. I’d show you what I mean in a photo now, but I used it at the start of this post, so you’ll have to burn some calories by scrolling up to get an idea of what the view was.
I must say, it’s quite spectacular, but the end was nigh. I found an isolated lookout with this on the ground…
…which may have signified the end of the walk. I’m not sure, but what lay ahead didn’t excite me too much.
There’s always the thought after a week of walking about wanting to go home and get back to a comfortable bed and familiar way of life. Unfortunately for me, this feeling usually vanishes within 10 minutes of being back in the suburban world. Usually, dealing with a bout of traffic, is the first thing which wipes me out mentally. As I stood with the Great Ocean Walk plaque beneath my feet, I looked out at the Gibson Steps carpark and saw this. It didn’t look pretty.
It was motorcar madness with an accompanying bedlam of noise from tourists high on life. Oh well, this must be either the end of the hike or I’d entered purgatory on the sly.
Descending into the screaming hordes, I paused for a moment, before lighting up my blubber and powering on to the official/maybe official/I’m only guessing end of the hike a few hundred metres further on at the Twelve Apostles. The world there wasn’t much different. In fact it was insane. I never really think how popular this section of the coast is, but it must be, as hundreds upon hundreds of people rushed about.
I can definitely say this. Once at the Twelve Apostles there’s no more walking other than the obligatory stroll to the lookouts. Remember the last post, where I was bleating (get the correct bleat, as there were a few) about not having a bombproof DSLR camera? I joined a throng of hundreds staring at the shattered cliffs, but made the mistake of going all nerd-like, by checking out the cameras being wielded by punters around me.
I think I had a brain seizure, as firstly I saw a bloke toting the Canon EOS-1D X. A flagship professional camera built to survive the raid on Entebbe, being used for the purpose of general toolery.
No sooner had I turned away with saliva dribbling from my mouth and I was immediately confronted by another dude with a Nikon D4. With a professional lens attached, the goddammed thing will work inside a tornado. Man, what I could do with that camera, yet here it was being used for the purpose of taking photos of people mugging in front of the Twelve Apostles. I was well and truly a victim of the eighth deadly sin. Insufficient finances.
Anyway, surrounded by the fresh smelling masses, general yee-haaring, a sun which was way too strong, I resignedly pointed my camera at the target of the trip. It was a tourist photo by the numbers.
So there you have it. The walk is done and it’s time to move onto some other things. After the next post of course. I’ll tap out my final thoughts about the GOW and finally move onto some other stuff. Maybe Lerderderg Gorge? I haven’t written about that joint for a while.
I can say one thing about the last day of this walk. The moon in the evening was a beauty.