Apollo Bay is one of my favourite places to visit. Last week, I managed to spend three days there in the company of 22 other members of my Probus club.
Jill’s mobility has increased enough for me to leave her for a few days, although I was careful to stock the fridge and do the heavy tasks before I left. She is now able to get around the house on a walking frame and I hope that in the next few months she will be able to graduate to a “Wheelie Walker’ and be even more mobile.
Apollo Bay is a little town of around 1800 people, although the population swells tenfold over the summer months. It has a magnificent combination of Beach and Bush. The best way to travel there is along Victoria’s famous Great Ocean Road with its magnificent coastal scenery. In the Otway Ranges behind Apollo Bay are large tracts of cool temperate rainforest. There are many forest roads with gorgeous scenery, waterfalls, streams and fern gully’s that are enchanting.
Spring is the season when Melbourne receives most of its rain. The average rainfall for October is 66 mm but this year, we have had 149 mm. Everything is wet, the water storages are overflowing and are ll sick of the damp and miserable weather. AT Apollo Bay we were blessed with a few days of sunshine.
I spent the first day of my trip pottering along the Great Ocean Road, stopping to take photos of the various beaches and headlands along the way. I met up with many of the others in our group for lunch at the Wye River General Store. I have found that stopping in the larger town of Lorne that parking is very hard to find whereas at Wye River, you can park right in front of the general store and cafe.
In Apollo Bay, we stayed at the Sandpiper Motel, which was an excellent venue for our purpose. They organised bookings for our dinners at the local pub and at an Italian restaurant. After so many weeks of cold rainy weather, fortunately, we were blessed with warmer sunny days. This change in the weather made our time much more pleasant and even allowed us to have one meal on the outside deck at the Fishermans Cooperative by the harbour where they sold, fresh fish and chips. Our group spent time individually during the days but came together for evening meals, and to exchange stories of our days.
On my second day in Apollo Bay, I drove along Turtons Track (a windy forest road) through the mountains to the tiny town of Beech Forest (home of the famed Cliff Young, who won the inaugural Sydney to Melbourne foot race at the age of almost 60 years. He probably had a great deal of practice by chasing cows around his dairy farm in his gumboots).
On the third day, I visited the Redwood Forest on the Air River. This small plantation was established by the Forestry Service in the 1930’s as an experiment to see how different varieties of tree would grow in this area. Now, 90 years later, thr=ese trees are 90 feet tall and have grown faster than they do in their native habitat in California. It’s a very quite and peaceful place. The forest blocks out most of the road noise from the relatively few passing card and the river provides a very scenic backdrop,
I had intended to visit the Otway Fly Treetop Walk on my way home on the last day of my stay, but the weather had turned wet and cold again, so I just continued home through Colac without stopping.