The sun is rising over Louttit Bay as I sip my cup of tea on the deck. The town slowly comes to life with walkers and runners making their way along the coastal track and early morning fisherman casting lines off the pier. Harry and Chris wake up and our day of exploring Lorne begins. First up Teddys Lookout.
Teddys Lookout is located up the hill behind Lorne at the end of George Street. After a short walk we arrive at a viewing platform. This very scenic lookout provides us with a great view of the winding Great Ocean Road as it hugs the mountainous coastline and crosses Saint Georges River. We stay a while and take in the view before driving back to our apartment where we leave the car. The rest of today will be spent on foot.
We join the walking track that goes into town just near the pier. This is a very pretty coastal walk running alongside the foreshore with lovely views of Louttit Bay. I am going to link the Lorne foreshore walks together with the Swing Bridge circuit. The Southern section of the foreshore walk takes us past some commemorative plaques with information about the various shipwrecks in the bay. We continue past the main beach towards the Erskine River estuary where there are a few ducks and other water birds hanging out. The walk takes us over the swing bridge and to a boardwalk which runs along the Erskine River before looping through the caravan park and back into town.
I am easing us gently into this holiday, our first as a family of three. We stop off for an early lunch at the Bottle of Milk burger bar in town and I have the best burger I have ever had in my life – the blue cheese burger. There is a great kids playground in town and after lunch we let Harry loose there. We spend the remainder of the afternoon relaxing by the beach before getting some delicious woodfired pizza from Pizza Pizza and walking back up to our accommodation where we eat while watching the sun set. I am feeling relaxed and full, and even Harry falls asleep easily and wakes only twice in the night. Clearly this holiday is having a calming effect on him too.
We wake to another beautiful day, pack some morning tea and make the short 10 km drive out to the section of the Great Otway National Park that is home to Erskine Falls. The temperature plummets as we drive into the rainforest. After adding a few extra layers and a beanie for Harry we are set. I hoist Harry into the carrier and we begin the short 700 meter walk to the base of the falls.
Erskine Falls are one of the most popular waterfalls in the Otways National Park and now I am here it easy to see why. The rainforest is like something out of a fairytale. green and tranquil. The walk to the first lookout is an easy 300 meter stroll. The falls cascade down a 30 meter drop to a valley full of ferns below. The walk to the second lookout at the base of the falls is a bit more strenuous. With over 300 steps the quads and knees get a good work out! It is worth it to be immersed in the peaceful beauty of this place. The climb back up takes a bit longer than it normally would for me seeing as I am carrying 11 kg of Harry on my back!
Time to head back to Lorne for an early lunch – the burgers at the Bottle of Milk were so good yesterday we have to go back for seconds today. Then its off to the Cape Otway Light station and Apollo Bay for the afternoon.
The drive out to the southern most point of the Great Ocean Road, Cape Otway takes a bit longer than I thought it would. Harry is grumpy and I decide its not worth paying the $20 entry fee to the Cape Otway lightstation when I am going to spend the whole time trying to keep him quiet so as not to disturb the other visitors. The Lightstation built back in 1848, is the oldest surviving lighthouse on mainland Australia and while I know there is a whole lot of history in there to explore I am not too disappointed. I have already decided that I will be bringing Harry back here to the Great Ocean Road when he is older. The historic lighthouse cemetery is only 1.6 km from the Lighthouse carpark so I decide to do that instead. As we walk higher up the hill views of the lighthouse and ocean come into sight. I can hear the roar of the ocean pounding against the cliffs from back here and I wonder how on earth the lighthouse keeper and his family would have slept at night.
The cemetery is set amongst the heath and has a sense of peace to it. There are a few children of the lighthouse keepers families buried here. One gravesite bears the headstone of 2 children from the same family. One died at 11 months old and the other at 1 year and 3 months. They died 12 months apart from illness. I look at Harry, who is now 10 months old and feel an ache in my heart that a mother would have to bury not one but two of her babies out here in this wild and isolated place. There are also graves for a 7 week old, 2 year old and 7 year old along with men who perished at sea and from other accidents.
There are over 20 graves here but only some are marked. I reflect on how lucky we are today to have vacinations that stop our babies dying from illnesses that claimed so many lives back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. I look out to sea as we walk back down and am also thankful that the safety of the shipping industry has also much improved. So many men perished in shipwrecks along this coastline and most were never found, lost to the watery depths.
I shift my thoughts away from tradgedy as we arrive in Apollo Bay. Once again the day has gotten away from us so we don’t have long to spend here. A walk out to the rock wall gives us a nice view of the green rolling hills of the Otways and the sandy bay dotted with boats. This sleepy little seaside town deserves to be explored more thoroughly but for us it will have to wait until another time as evening is almost upon us and I don’t feel like taking on the local wildlife or the windy bends of the Great Ocean Road in the dark.
Our time in Lorne has come to an end. Today we are on our way to Port Campbell National Park to see the famed 12 Apostles. On the way there however there are a couple of places I want to stop and explore along the way. The first being the tranquil rainforest of Maits Rest.
I feel like I have stepped back in time as I walk along the 800 meter boardwalk, meandering through a forest of ferns and ancient rainforest trees up to 300 years old. If fairys are real I am telling you they must live here at Maits Rest. This spot has a magical quality about it. Despite the short distance, it is impossible to walk this walk quickly. The green is so green and that deep, earthy rainforest smell is so strong that is lulls us into slowness. We spend over 45 minutes just absorbing this place, if you want to practice walking meditation, this is the spot to do it. Time to press on, today will be a big day with much to see, so much so that I have to stop this blog post right now and leave the rest of the days adventures for another post or two 🙂
At a Glance
located at the end of George St, Lorne
Lorne Foreshore Walk and Swing Bridge
700 metres one way 10 Km north west of Lorne
Cape Otway Lightstation
Bottle of Milk
52 Mountjoy Parade Lorne
2 Mountjoy Parade Lorne