Day 106 - 27th July
Point Lonsdale to Airey's Inlet
Distance Travelled - 89 km
Had a reasonably good sleep last night all things considered. Woke up once during the night to heavyish sounding rain and closed the windows and then woke again about 5.30 am and opened the windows to minimise condensation build up. Eventually got up at about 7 am and walked down to the beach near the lighthouse to take some photos. The water was still quite high which restricted options but got a few shots and then went back to the car and drove over to Queenscliffe.
Had breakfast in the car park near the White lighthouse and then set off to take some more photos of that one. Got a few done and sat back in the car and read for a while and then decided to drive into town. Parked outside the Info Centre and went for a walk along the streets looking at various shops and walked up to where the Fort is that houses the Black lighthouse. The gates were open so I went in and spoke to the guard who informed me that there was a tour on today and that would be the only way of getting access to the lighthouse. The tour begins at 1 pm so I had 4 hours to kill before then.
Walked back to the car stopping at a few antique and op shops and book shops and galleries and then drove back to the White lighthouse for more photos. Chatted to a guy cleaning the small monuments and plaques there and he was a great source of info about the ocean and lighthouses. There is a huge rip in the ocean here that makes it one of the most dangerous bays in the world as far as shipping is concerned. A pilot service operates where specially trained sailors go out and meet the big container ships, naval ships, passenger ships etc and they pilot them through this section and into the bay further. Apparently they charge about $3000 per trip and everyone has to use it. The only people who don't are the Tasmanian ferry operators who do the trip so often they are trained and experienced at it.
After chatting to this guy for quite a while I headed back to the Fort and waited there for 20 minutes reading my book until the tour was ready to start. The lady who took the tour was very thorough and talked not only about the Fort and the various roles it has performed over the years but also discussed a lot of things pertinent to the town that could be seen from the Fort. She talked briefly about the lighthouse as well. I managed to take a few shots of the lighthouse during the tour and decided afterwards that it had been worth the $10 entry fee.
The tour finished at about 2.30 pm and I headed off then to begin the Great Ocean Road drive towards the next set of lighthouses. The drive was quite pleasant and I go to Airey's Inlet where the Split Point Lighthouse is located. Took a series of photos of the lighthouse from different positions around the area as well as some of the rock formation nearby. The rock is a smaller version of the pillars or Apostles further down the Great Ocean Road that has been carved off the main land by erosion from the sea.
After finishing with the photos I went wandering around town and then went back to the car and off in search of a place to sleep the night. Found a spot that should be suitable that is not far from the lighthouse. Had tea after reading for a while and then wrote the blog and sorted photos and poured over maps for a while vaguely panning out the next few days. After finishing this it will be music for a while then I will set up the tent and get ready for bed. There will possibly be some early morning photography tomorrow if I wake up in time. If not then after packing I will start heading towards Cape Otway and the lighthouse there.
Day 107 - 28th July
Aireys Inlet to Princetown
Distance Travelled - 206.6 km
Breaking news! Breaking being the operative word. Went out last night to do some night photography of the lighthouse and somehow my camera manged to fall off the tripod and land lens down on the ground, cracking the filter and making the focus part inoperable at the moment. I will have a little play with it later and see if I can get it working again but I am not hopeful. I can still use it on the one setting it was one when it dropped and it seems to still zoom in and out so it is not completely cactus and may still be useful for some night shots. It does mean that I am now relying on my 30mm lens as my widest lens and given the location of lighthouses it has not always been possible in the past to fit them all in one shot using that lens, but I will try and view it as a challenge and see what I can achieve. I will be travelling back this way in October when I go to Tassie so if I can't get some shots now then there is always the possibility of doing them when I come across later.
Heard rain a few times during the night and was glad to be under cover. Got up about 6 am, packed away and headed back to the lighthouse to see if sunrise might provide a nice backdrop. Unfortunately the sun did not want to play nicely today. Took a few photos using the 30 mm lens and then headed to the beach to take some photos of Eagle Rock. Walked down the steps to see if it was worth getting shots of and then had to come back up, get the camera and go back down again. By the time I got up again and walked up about 250 steps. Went back to the spot I camped in to have breakfast and a coffee. Read for a while as I pondered how to attack the lens and see if I can get it going again. Came up with nothing feasible and in the process only took in about half of what i read.
Before heading off I went and looked at a few galleries and shops but there was not much of interest to me. Drove through to Lorne, enjoying the vista of the ocean as the road wound round bend after bend, a very enjoyable drive. Got out at Lorne and went for walk along the main drag and then went to the Info Centre. Chatted there for a while and tried to post the blog but had difficulty logging on so left it do do at the next spot.
Left the Info Centre and went out to Erskine Falls, a very beautiful waterfall about 10 minutes inland from Lorne. It still amazes me that I can be right on the beach and within a few minutes drive be surrounded by rain forest. Took some photos of the falls and then walked along the track for a bit before returning up to car via about 160 steps.
Drove from Lorne to Apollo Bay went to the Info Centre there only to have the same issue with the Internet. Left the centre and had some lunch before going for a walk through the town looking at a couple of book shops and op shops which ended up having nothing I wanted.
Drove to a place called Mait's Rest which is a nice walk through the rain forest between Apollo Bay and Cape Otway. It was really lush with huge 100 m tall trees and massive 10 foot ferns. I really enjoyed the wander through there, taking a few photos as I went. Left there and continued on to Cape Otway and the next lighthouse.
This is another fee paying lighthouse and I thought the $19.50 entrance fee was a tad high and mentioned this and was told that there really was nothing to be done about it. I succumbed and went and got some money and decided to buy a couple of small souvenirs as well. Souvenirs cost $8.90 and I was charge $16.40 in total. The guy behind the counter winked at me and said I was getting photographer's rates so as to not cause issues with other people nearby waiting to enter. Yay, a little win for me!
The lighthouse is quite historic as it was the first one built in Australia in 1848. Photographically speaking it is not anything special and is no longer operational so that answered my wonderings as to how to get a night shot of it. It meant I was able to leave the Cape Otway area earlier than expected. When I come back on the way to Tassie I will do the Otway Tree Top Tour but apparently you have to book beforehand and usually allow 3 hours from booking to getting in. With extremely regular rain today I did not feel like sitting around waiting for that so will do it later.
Left the Lighthouse and continued on towards Port Campbell. Stopped at Princetown for the night which is just before the 12 Apostles and other stone features famous along the Great Ocean Road. I will look at them tomorrow morning on the way out of here and on my way to the next lighthouse at Warrnambool.