One More Hike
So here we have it, just one last big 22km hike to go before we make it to the “12 Apostles”. Although, technically, where we end up on today’s walk isn’t considered to be part of the 12 Apostles themselves, the two stacks that we end up seeing, called Gog and Magog, are still very impressive. The weather started off pleasantly enough but there was a storm approaching as we got to the far end so you’ll see dramatic changes in the weather throughout this blog. Let’s get going!
Great Ocean Walk Day 6
Sunrise At Clifton Beach Lodge
As we were having our breakfast in the Clifton Beach Lodge accommodation, we couldn’t help but notice the pink sky lit up brightly by the all powerful Sun, marking the start of this momentous day. Here’s how it looked before we set off for our drive to The Gable Lookout.
The Gable Lookout
After feeling the warmth of that magical glow from sunrise, we arrived at the Gable Lookout where the sunshine turned a bit on the hazy side. The lookout itself is easily accessible from the car park and worth the additional 800m walk as it’s one of the tallest sea cliff areas in Mainland Australia (according to the signs). Unsurprising then that the views are pretty special when you get there.
“Stopping The Rot”
After you’ve managed to pull yourself away from the views offered by the Gable Lookout, you will then rejoin the Great Ocean Walk and get to a familiar sight in the form of these shoe cleaning devices. These are to help stop the spread of Cinnamon Fungus which kills some of the native plants such as grass trees. Make sure you stay on the paths and clean your hiking boots at these stations on entry and exit of the park.
All you need to do is brush your shoes and dip them in the soap pit. Not only do you get clean shoes, if you’re really lucky, you get clean shorts when the soapy water splashes right up your leg like it did for me 🙂
The “Loo With A View”
There’s not so much in the way of big hills on today’s section of the hike compared to yesterday. The path takes you inland through shrubbery, woodland and a bit of forestry scenery before we find ourselves at the “Loo With A View”! Yes, if you find yourself caught out, fear not as you can relieve yourself whilst looking at some fine views in the process!
Once we all had our moment at the Loo with a View, we carried on the hike through the woodland and came across a rather interestingly shaped tree. Someone said they felt it resembled an elephant’s face and trunk on the branch that makes it’s way towards the camera. I wasn’t so sure but then I looked a little harder and it kinda does as you can see the “eye” and head without the massive ears of course – what do you think? Elephant Tree? 🙂
Gellibrand River Crossing
The trail takes you towards a river known as Gellibrand, which is said “Jelly Brand”, which, if you follow the trail, you’ll head down to and then crossover for lunch at the campground. If you’re lucky, the sea will provide a spooky sea mist that engulfs the river mouth.
Soon after lunch, we began the final section of the walk but it was not without a couple of interesting incidents involving some wallabies or kangaroos. I looked over to the right towards the board walk where I saw a guy running as fast as he possibly could but he seemed panicked. Then out of nowhere a kangaroo pops up and starts chasing him down this path. I managed to get a small video which I’ll share with you in a montage but here’s a snapshot from that video where you can see the kid running for his life!
After this incident, I was at the back with one of the members of the tour group and there was a big gap between us and the rest of the group as they carried on. Just as me and the other guy were starting our conversation, we heard some thumping sounds getting louder and then WHOOSH! That same wallaby comes up and directly across our path, no more than a couple of metres in front. We were just shocked and the poor animal was clearly startled so we just quietly carried on the path once the wallaby had gone out of sight.
The next incident wasn’t quite so hair-raising but still all the more magical as we re-entered the coastline. I had slipped pretty far behind the main walking group but I was taking it all in. The views, the scenery and then I looked over to my right on the crest of the hill to see a massive herd of about 40 kangaroos hopping manically away from something that had clearly spooked them (maybe it was me and my incredibly white British skin, I don’t know). Again, I got a really nice video that I’ll share in the montage but here’s a snapshot from the vid.
After these capers with the kangaroos, we found ourselves getting weary as it’s been a long old slog to get to where we are and we just have one more hill to get through before we can set our sights on those impressive stacks!
The Stacks Come In To Sight
Slowly but surely as you inch your way closer to the finishing line, you will start to see two impressive stacks that may fool you in to believing they are the 12 Apostles. In fact, they are called Gog and Magog, potentially after the statues that are in London but most likely in keeping with the biblical name theme. They aren’t part of the 12 Apostles themselves but are still spectacular.
Gog & Magog
Having those amazing stacks in constant view takes your mind off all the pain you’re feeling as you experience a little bit of the burn from some 100km of hiking in 6 days! Even the weather that turned to stormy conditions couldn’t stop our enthusiasm and eventually, we made it to the viewing platform overlooking these two magnificent stacks. We’ll get a closer look at them in the next blog but we had a pleasant surprise waiting for us at the top – the Easter bunny! It was Easter weekend after all 🙂
Gorge Chocolates Farm/Cafe
I don’t know about you but I’m getting cold looking back at these pictures! Let’s head to a place where we can get a nice, warm hot chocolate and celebrate our hiking achievements! The tour guides took us to a nearby place called Gorge Chocolates, which uses Belgian chocolates to make a variety of different yummy treats. I went straight for the hot chocolate and I have to say, it is one of the best I have ever had and for about $6 AUD, it was money well spent! I also got some Belgian chocolate treats as a little reward!
Fun Moment Of The Day
Outside Gorge Chocolates, there was a game the group played involving throwing hoops of rope and trying to land them on a pole a couple of metres away. I don’t remember what it was called but probably something like the “rope throw game”. You get 6 attempts to land as many rope rings as you can on the pole.
I sussed my opponents out, waiting patiently to be one of the very last people to throw so I can snatch victory from my foes. The target to beat was 1. 1! Is that it?! First toss, misses… mmm maybe this isn’t as easy as I thought… the second and third go wanting… uh-oh! A quick readjustment – BOOM, nailed the 4th. 5th… the line looks good and DAMN, it clips the top and an unfortunate bounce sends the rope ring rolling. I’m down to my last throw, palms are sweaty, or is it the rain? I wait patiently for the wind to die down a bit and then I STRIKE! I let go of the ring, using the tweaks needed from the last 5 throws to get the trajectory as perfectly lined up as I can. The line looks good, the distance, splendid. The landing… NOTHING. BUT. NET! Get in there! Havey takes the lead and the championship with 2 successful throws!
Or does he?
Wait a moment there! What’s this? A new competitor from the group? This can’t be! She steps up, casually tosses 4 rings and misses. The first one closer to a bystander than the actual target. Then out of nowhere, throws 5 AND 6 are bang on the money… I. Don’t. Get. It! Damn, we have a tie and share the spoils. Nevertheless, a very fun game to play if you’re stopping or indeed have a spare bit of rope and a pole lying around at home 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this one folks. Next time, we’ll be right in amongst the 12 Apostles and get a closer look at one of Australia’s landmarks.
Take it easy and catch you soon
PHC Top 3 – A Chance To Win From A Growing Prize Pool
Well, whilst I’m here, I might as well take the chance to tell you about a new contest that I’ve been a part of with the Power House Creatives called @phctop3. All you need to do is tell us what your top 3 favourites for a chance to win from a growing prize pool – more info here.