After leaving Torquay, our next overnight destination was Apollo Bay. If you were to drive straight there, it would take just under two hours, but we stopped a few times on the way and made a day of it. First stop was a place called Anglesea; although it does have some nice beaches, most people stop to see the town’s golf-course, which is renowned for its resident population of eastern grey kangaroos. We parked in the golf-course car park and wandered down towards the green where they were all laying in the sun. I couldn’t quite believe how many there were! I don’t advise getting too close – although these guys seemed pretty chilled out as I’m sure they are used to seeing people walking past them on a daily basis.
After our kangaroo fix, we hopped (‘scuse the pun) back in the van and set off for Lorne. On the way, we stopped at Aireys Inlet, a small coastal inlet and town, home to Fairhaven beach. The beach can change dramatically between years, and although surfing is popular here, the sea is very unpredictable, with a particularly strong rip current.
A creek (Painkalac creek) separates Aireys Inlet from Fairhaven and forms a salt lake behind the sand dunes before cutting through to the ocean. There is also a horseshoe-shaped reef at Step Beach which is supposed to be an excellent place to swim when the tide is low. The towns main attraction, the Split Point Lighthouse overlooks the inlet and dominates the Aireys Inlet landscape with its 34 metre high tower visible for miles. The lighthouse still operates and is open to the public with guided tours available and 306 degree views of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary and Great Ocean Road.
We weren’t here long – stopping only to eat our packed lunch on the beach! We were soon back on the road, heading for Lorne.
Alongside being yet another seaside town, Lorne is known for its buzzing arts community, the nearby Otways and its relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere. There are also quite a few outdoor activities to get involved with; Kalimna Falls Trail (tracing the route of an old timber tramway), Cora Lynn Cascades Walk, and the Erskine River Track which takes you along a woodland walk to Erskine Waterfall.
We decided to check out the Erskine Waterfall, and spent a couple of hours weaving our way along the track, following the river through the woodland. It was definitely worth the hike down the hundred or so (slippery!) steps, the falls were pretty impressive and the area at the bottom of the waterfall, where the river widened, was really pretty. We spent a good hour hopping from stone to stone across the river, and climbing further in to the dense jungle-like forest, running around like a couple of children! The walk back up all the steps to reach the top wasn’t so fun….
After Lorne, we drove to Kennet River, as we wanted to see whether we could spot some koalas! Kennet River is known as one of the best places to spot koalas in the wild and we had our sunroof wound down ready! The area is tiny, and we parked down a large open road prepared to walk along with our necks craned and our eyes peeled. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any koalas… mainly because we were completely distracted by around 50 wild parrots! As tourists have been feeding the parrots, they have become more and more tame, and will now fly over and perch on people they think have food for them! I love animals, so I was really disappointed when I realised we had nothing to offer them except half a packet of salted crisps, which I didn’t think would be the best thing to feed them. Luckily a kind man was just leaving and offered us a big bag of leftover bird seed, which provided us with over an hour of parrot-feeding fun!
After our failed koala-spotting mission at Kennet River, we drove for another half an hour to reach our final destination of the day – Apollo Bay. We were pretty tired by this point, so we opted for a DVD night in the van with a takeaway pizza! We stayed in the Apollo Bay Holiday Park… more on that in the next post 🙂