“I need a holiday and I need one now!”. Harry was 10 months old. I had spent almost a year with a colicky and reflux baby who cried a lot. And I hadn’t been on a trip away since the previous year to North Queensland when I was pregnant. I needed a change of scenery, an adventure, somewhere I haven’t been before. “I want to go the Great Ocean Road”. Chris looked at me as though I’d gone a bit mad. But I had thought about this. Harry would be Harry whether we were at home or away. I on the other hand needed to recharge my batteries. I would definitely be better after a trip away.
The Adventure Begins
And so we found ourselves sitting on a flight to Melbourne with our 10 month old. Thankfully the flight was pretty uneventful, and after picking up our hire car we were on our way. By the time we get to Geelong I realise that there are going to be more stops on this trip than I had originally planned for. 10 month olds get cranky when restrained in car seats for more than 30 minutes. They are also hungry, thirsty and need nappy changes constantly. So after a play by the waters edge at Geelong and some lunch we are back on the road. Next stop the famous Bells Beach at Torquay.
Far out brussell sprout. The wind is blowing a gale and we nearly get blown sideways. It starts to drizzle so we get back in the car. No walk here today! Never mind. On towards Lorne we go. I have planned to spend a couple of nights in Lorne followed by a night out at Port Campbell. As we drive on the sun comes out, and the wind dies down. I see a sign for Aireys Inlet and the Split Point Lighthouse. I always like a good Lighthouse and coastal walk, so we turn off.
Aireys Inlet and Split Point Lighthouse
“Wow, this place is just beautiful. Look at the lighthouse! This lighthouse looks very familiar”. A theme song from a favourite chidhood TV show starts playing through my head… “Have you ever, ever felt like this, have strange things happened are you going around the twist”. “This lighthouse looks like the Round the Twist lighthouse”! I exclaim. Chris stares at me blankly. “You know? The lighthouse from the TV show Round the Twist”? The blank stare continues.
I race off up the hill leaving Harry crawling around trying to eat grass at Chris’ feet. “I’m going to read the information sign!” I yell back over my shoulder. I get to the sign and quickly scan the words. It is the lighthouse used in the Round the Twist children’s TV series! Chris and Harry come to stand next to me. I am staring at the lighthouse in awe. I have just been transported back to my 12 year old self. I am standing in front of the lighthouse that was used as the set for my favourite show as a kid. I educate Chris on what a great kids show he missed in his youth as we wander around.
Split Point Lighthouse (aka the Round the Twist Lighthouse) was completed in 1891 after 10 ships had met their fate on this rocky, treacherous but spectacular coastline. We decide to walk part of the 3.5 km Aireys Inlet Cliff top walk which follows the limestone sea cliffs from the lighthouse all the way to Sunnymead Beach. As we meander through the cliff top vegetation, we stop at a number of viewing platforms to take in the views out over Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary. At low tide you can head on down to Steppy beach to check out the sub tidal rock platform, but we give that a miss today.
This beautifully scenic walk is a great introduction into what to expect along the Great Ocean Road – cliffs, gorgeous rock formations and of course the magnificent big blue southern ocean. By the time we return back to the car I am thoroughly captivated. Its only the first afternoon of the first day of our Great Ocean Road adventure and I know I am going to be blown away by what we see on this trip. I feel alive with anticipation. Late afternoon has crept upon us so it’s time to keep moving, onto our accommodation in Lorne.
The drive along the Great Ocean Road to from Aireys Inlet to Lorne is amazing. My only complaint would be there are not enough places to pull over and check out the view along this section. We round a corner and the calm waters of Louttit Bay come into view. The seaside town of Lorne is very pretty with its calm beach, coastal walk and pier. We are staying up at Pierview apartments near the hotel. We drag our bags up to our apartment and look out the window. Wow. What a view. This accommodation is a bit old and very basic but I got it for a great price. The view more than makes up for the lack of luxury (note: we enjoyed our stay here so much we came back and stayed here again the following year).
Its been a big day for Harry so we decide to grab some local whiting and chips and eat on our deck overlooking the bay. As day turns into night I can see the Split Point lighthouse in the distance and the lights come on on the pier. We enjoy an after dinner stroll along the waters edge and watch the fisherman hauling in their catches from the pier. To say I feel relaxed is an absolute understatement. This is exactly what I needed. Tomorrow the delights of Lorne await me.
At a Glance
Cliff Top Walk 3.5 Kms (one way)
120 kms SW of Melbourne.
Split Point Lighthouse
142 kms (1 hr 55mins) from Melbourne