The Great Ocean Walk – Cape Otway Lighthouse to Castle Cove

 The Great Ocean Road was built by returned soldiers after the First World War and is punctuated along the way by numerous shipwrecks. Often the ships concerned were aiming for Melbourne but perished against the unforgiving coastline.  In 2006 the Great Ocean Walk, a bushwalk traversing 104 kilometres from Apollo Bay to Glenample Homestead  near Port Campbell, was opened. Doing the walk, or parts of it, has been on my ‘to do’ list for some time. 

 The section of the Walk I had in mind was from the Cape Otway Lighthouse to Castle Cove.  There are several ways to tackle it, ranging from the sublime (paying someone else to arrange accommodation, food and walking guides) to the ridiculous (carrying your own camping gear and food, and at the end of a long way, when you are dead tired, wait for this, wait for it – setting up your tent yourself and cooking your own food).

 Neither option was my choice. One was too expensive. the other too insane (meaning no disrespect to campers and walkers who cheerfully carry their own gear and food for miles and who are clearly possessed of way more fortitude, and bigger balls, metaphorically speaking, than I).

So I chose to do a one day walk and to be picked up at the end by a local shuttle service and delivered back to my car at the point of origin. At 8.00am in the morning I parked my car at the Cape Otway Lighthouse, found the signposts to the walk, and set off.

The trail was completely deserted. I ignored nagging feelings of unease (single woman, you’re by yourself, not safe, etc etc) and plodded on. In no time at all I found myself pretending to be William Buckley the Wild White Man, who in 1803 escaped from a convict settlement and walked around Port Phillip Bay for months before having any contact with anyone else. (Did you start having hallucinations? I was asked by a relative at Christmas).

I aint no William Buckley, but the Walk afforded a wonderful glimpse of what the Victorian coast must have been like in pre-European days.

I actually didn’t see another soul for three and a half hours before I met a park ranger at the Aire River camping ground- a little short of Buckley’s achievement, but never mind. 

The wind in the bushes, the spectacular scenery, the ocean views, the occasional startled swamp wallaby and black cockatoo….I plodded on and on and on. I arrived at Castle Cove tired, happy, footsore, smug that I had managed a 15 km walk, and, if not quite hallucinating, then having very vivid fantasies of having a cold Bundaberg ginger beer served up to me on a silver platter.

Moral of the story is that it doesn’t kill you to walk 15 km by yourself. And it doesn’t kill you to not see another human being for three and a half hours. You see enough of the bloody things as it is.

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~ by margoforte12 on December 22, 2011.

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