Midway along the Great Ocean Road is the seaside town of Apollo Bay. With the lush green slopes of the Otway Ranges at her back, and the blue seas of Cape Otway at her feet, Apollo Bay is a great staging point to visit the valleys, rainforests, rivers and streams, waterfalls and lightstation.
I spent a the weekend here late February with the MPE family of addicted photographers. We started our weekend with Hopetoun Falls, followed up with a picnic lunch at the Redwood Forest, then afternoon tea in town at Cafe 153 before dinner at the Brewhouse and some lightpainting at the Breakwater with Deanne and Bill Holmer from Melbourne LightPainting
Sunday was an early start for a 6am sunrise that never eventuated, Cafe 153 for breakfast then off to the lightstation. It was a quick 36 hour visit but my exhaustion when I got home was testament to how much we crammed into it 🙂
Getting here is easy.. if you come through Colac or via the Great Ocean Road, just head to Binns Road and its well signposted. Once at the carpark you have a one way in and one way out downhill walk.
Hopetoun Falls has a good flow for just about all year…. even though it was February we still found a good flow coming over the top and into the Aire River below. The walk from the carpark to the first lookout is a very easy downhill walk of about 20 metres. It’s the one kilometre return trip of 200 plus steps to the bottom lookout (and 200 back UP) that is a test of endurance to my old legs. It’s definitely worth the walk down though… you can’t see a lot from the top lookout and the walk through the ferns along the boardwalk to the base of the falls is amazing.
Just a few minutes away from Hopetoun Falls in the Otway Ranges is the Redwood Forest. I hadn’t been here before.. .didn’t even now it was there until recently but what a fabulous find it is. Heading back towards Apollo Bay from the falls the carpark to the forest is on your right hand side, just before a little single lane bridge. There are picnic tables and chairs, and a long drop toilet on the other side of the road. We stopped and had our picnic here before spending an hour or so wandering through the forest.
Running along the back of the forest is the beautiful fern lined Aire River. The forest itself has an amazing atmosphere.. you feel the quiet and serenity as soon as you step off the path into the trees. While I didn’t see them.. others in the group found some fabulous pagan? stuff down back…twisted vines and things hanging from trees… the mind boggles as to what goes on in there.
We had been hoping to get a sunset at the Apollo Bay Boat Harbour before light painting started… but it fizzled out on us… I did manage to get a pinkish sky using a .09 ND Grad
We held our light painting session down at the Breakwater… Led lights, steel wool spinning… pixel sticks.. fabulous night…
Sunday Morning – Sunrise Failure
Sunday morning, despite getting up in the dark and heading down to the breakwater full of enthusiam it fizzled out on as again. Oh well… practice long exposures on water some more….
Cape Otway Lightstation
I guess it does sometimes get sunny at the lightstation, but I do seem to bring clouds. I have been there a few times now and getting a photo of the lighthouse in full sunshine against a blue sky is very hit and miss. It was pathcy cloud when we headed there, then full cloud for a quick, brief bit of sun and back to clouds.
We across two french girls guarding an injured Koala and reported it to the conservation centre for pickup… (rang next day and koala is doing fine) Down to the lighthouse for some shots and a walk around before heading back to the car for the 3 hour drive home. Fabulous weekend and we are already planning the next one.