This is a short blog about our stop over in Apollo Bay on our trip along the Great Ocean Road.
Last blog we were on our way to Melbourne from Tasmania. We made it! After we had breakfast in Melbourne we headed for Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road. We are driving to Adelaide from Melbourne and taking a couple of weeks to do it, stopping at some interesting places along the way. The first of these interesting places is Apollo Bay.
On the way we stopped at Kennet River to see if we could see a Koala or two. We weren’t disappointed.
The bay was named by a Captain Loutit in 1845 when he sheltered his vessel, the Apollo, here from a storm. Apollo Bay became a town to manage the logging activities in the area. It was originally called Middleton and was changed to Apollo Bay in 1889. Accessible only by sea it was cut off, that is until the Great Ocean Road was completed in 1932. From then it has become one of the main tourist attractions along the route. It has an interesting connection to Tasmania. In 1936 a submarine telegraph and telephone cable from Apollo Bay to Stanley provided the first telephone connection to Tasmania from the mainland. The Apollo Bay Telegraph station closed in 1963 and is now a museum.
We had planned to camp in Marengo about 3kms out of Apollo Bay and right on the ocean. It was late when we arrived and was dark by the time we set up camp. We quickly got our new tent set up and settled in for the night.
Sun sets early here, about 5:15pm. From our tent we could see the (almost) full moon rise over headland. We went to have a closer look.
The moonlight was giving us a stunning view of the other worldly tessellated rock formation below.
The next morning we were up early to explore a bit and catch the sunrise. As it was winter and sunrise was at 7:15am it wasn’t too early. We made some coffee and walked the 20 metres to the beach.
I didn’t even change out of my pyjamas. I pulled on my Kathmandu duck down jacket and a pair of hiking boots and that was my morning exploration outfit.
The sunrise was beautiful.
Jenny did some more Great Ocean Road yoga, last performed when we stayed along the coast a bit at Wye River covered in this blog
Here’s the pic from last time.
After the sunrise we did bit of a walk around the rocks. Some of the weatherings had the look of alien handwriting.
Of course not all text is of alien origin.
Spurred on by our watching of the climbing films, The Dawn Wall and Free Solo Jenni decided to try a bit of Free Solo up the Dawn Wall herself.
The water in the rock pool was so still it was like a mirror. I frequently stepped ankle deep in some pools as I couldn’t see the water.
Back at the tent we did a full days work then at the end of the day had another walk along the beach at sunset. Apollo Bay town is only 3kms away and looked very picturesque in the dwindling sunlight.
It was about 8c and windy, quite cold. It was about this time I looked over and saw someone in the sea. When zoomed in I saw it wasn’t a someone but two people. What they were doing was anybody’s guess. It looked to me like he was proposing marriage. It was a lovely sunset, very romantic. Not the best place to propose though. They looked like a lovely couple, I wish them nothing but happiness in their futures.
Later that evening, as we were sat up in the tent looking out the window at the stars and the moon rose over the water. This night it was deep orange and cast a wonderful glow over the rocks. I went to the edge to have a look and try and grab some shots. It was quite a remarkable sight, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before.
If you read my blogs you’ll know when we are outdoors and in beautiful locations I like to work outdoors sitting in my very comfortable camp chair. In Apollo Bay I must have been an interesting subject for the local bird life as they were constantly all around us. I fitted the long lens to the camera and stuck it in the drink holder of the camp chair. Every time a bird did something cute or came near I slowly picked it up and tried to get a picture. About 1 in 20 came out. If you know the correct names of these birds please comment.
This bird was quite shy, stayed in the trees and flitted around between them never landing on the ground. I was very happy to get this picture as she is usually moving too fast to snap.
Unlike these little guys. They ran around in gangs and were unafraid of the big humans that milled around. There was a bunch of about 20 of them that came over to check me out 5 -6 times a day.
And my new best friend came up and perched on my shoe while I was working.
All the while a couple of very pretty little wren like birds were ping ponging around the camp site in the safe zone just away from the scary humans. They moved so fast that when trying to get a picture I usually got a patch of blank earth. Then we went up Mariners Lookout, (described a bit later in the blog) and was lucky to get this snap. The flash of blue in its tail is quite striking.
Magpies of course. There were 3 of them that mooched around, bold, unafraid, staring you straight in the eyes.
On one of the ventures to get a snap of some surfers I saw this guy sunning himself on a rock.
The day before we left this striking fellow came to visit us too. The word must have gotten around we were cool to hang out with.
These birds are becoming more and more prevalent. I am seeing them almost everywhere we go now. Apollo Bay was no exception.
On Day One I was sitting in my chair working, looking out at the massive waves and listening to them breaking on the shore.
This is our tent.
And this was my view.
When across the line of sight a black shape zipped across one of the largest waves, then another and another. I walked down to the edge to have a look and there I saw the most impressive, huge waves and 3 or 4 intrepid surfers out catching and riding them. I ran back and got the camera. The following few shots are from several trips at various times of the day over the next few days from before sunrise to nearly sunset. I wouldn’t say I was obsessed, just very interested. VERY interested.
Great Ocean Brewery
You may or may not know, I like beer. Many places we visit have local brew houses and Apollo Bay has one of those, the Great Ocean Brewhouse. I had a great time trying out many (all) of their brews. I’d happily recommend this as a place to stop in if you are travelling along the Great Ocean Road. However, as I saw the Police stop cars at night more than once in the 3kms between our camp site and the pub I’d recommend not driving afterwards.
We went to their tasting house where I got a paddle of 5 different ales.
The main pub had all of these on tap too.
The pub had a warm and welcome fire too.
Traitorously, in a cafe one day I tried another local brewery’s ale. Blackman’s Local Standard Ale. It was better than any of the ales produced by the Great Ocean Brewery. If you ever see it try it.
The Fisherman’s Coop in Apollo Bay was established over 70 years ago. It sells fresh fish straight off the boat. From the Boat to your Belly is their motto. This is the impressive sign outside their establishment.
The setting has great views over the harbour.
We went for lunch one day. Jenni had Half Lobster and I had Trumpeter Fish grilled.
Unfortunately the lobster was dry and over cooked, very chewy. The trumpeter not any better. It almost tasted like it was frozen fish. Wouldn’t recommend it, quite disappointed. Also, they served the seafood sauces in plastic throw away containers and had plastic knives and forks. You’d think a place that makes is living from the sea wouldn’t be increasing the problem.
As a comparison the Bayleaf Cafe in town had a free coffee on offer if you pick up a bucket of litter from the beach. What an innovative and worthy idea. I hope it catches on.
We did want to get some Karmic Goat Soap but it was shut. On the way back we went to Mariners Lookout. It offered a spectacular view over the bay.
It was well worth the short walk up to it.
Sunrises and Sunsets
Every morning and evening we walked down to the beach to see the sunrise and the sunset. Why? Because in this place they were always a joy to behold. Each one different than the last and each one beautiful. Here are a few examples.
The night skies were clear and bright with almost no light pollution, although many nights had clouds. We are on the south coast of a massive continent, I’m surprised it was clear at all. However, when the stars were out they shone clear and bright.
I did try and take a star trails shot with our camp site in the foreground. Looks very false.
Apollo Bay as a town is small but there’s a lot going on around it to make it an interesting place to stop. We certainly enjoyed our time here.
Great Ocean Walk
The Great Ocean Walk is 104 kms long and runs from Apollo Bay to the Apostles. Jenni and I have committed to doing this next year. It’ll take between 8 to 10 days, maybe less. Will be fun.
Our short stop at Apollo Bay was wonderful. The scenery was the star and it shone very brightly. Every sunrise and every sunset was magical.
Our next stop along the Great Ocean Road is Port Fairy. We’ll be stopping for a couple of nights before we drive into the mountains to Halls Gap where we will be camping for a few days. Camping on a mountain in winter, bring it on.
Till next time.