Monday 27 March 2023

A trip to Apollo Bay


We’ve been on a little holiday down to Apollo Bay.

We’d gone in the hope of catching the last of the summer warmth, but no, we managed to get the first of the autumnal cold and bleakness, such that we had to go and buy extra jumpers.

The last few years we’ve headed north for our last of summer break, but this year we thought we’d risk the south coast, and chose Apollo Bay principally because J has been going there since she was four.

The first couple of days of our holiday were simply grey, cold and windy, and we didn’t do much more than drive along the Great Ocean Road to Lorne and back, and then on the next day to the Cape Otway Lightstation, which was actually quite good fun, as you get to climb up a narrow steep iron stair to the light itself as well as a rather airy walk round the gantry at the top of the lighthouse, which on a windy day was definitely an experience.

looking up at the Fresnel lenses in the light assembly

The following morning we woke to drizzle, but nothing daunted set out to drive to Loch Ard. Miraculously, once we were over the Otway watershed the day cleared to a sunny blustery day.

We skipped the Apostles as it was besieged by camper vans but stopped in the Loch Ard car park for a circumscribed  walk. The site is so overwhelmed with tourists these days, you are hemmed in on rather short fenced walks to protect the native vegetation, then on to the Bay of Islands and Bay of Martyrs the other side of Peterborough which are less busy and almost as spectacular, and then back to our base in Apollo bay.

Our last day was equally driech and dispiriting. Cold grey mizzle, so J played with watercolours this morning while I read, but then we got itchy feet and headed out to the wild Johanna Beach – we had thought about Wreck Beach, but had left it too late, where again the weather cleared and we managed a pretty good walk along the dunes on the walking track.

As it was our last day on the coast we treated ourselves to dinner at Casalingo, which is possibly the only decent restaurant in town. We’d had a pizza there on the Sunday night when we arrived but this time we had something a little more upmarket. Unfortunately there was no local fish available but what they had was excellently cooked and presented.

Rather than drive straight back we drove to Ballarat, which was ear numbingly cold, so cold that when on the Saturday we walked down to the Art Gallery my ears turned numb.

What’s on display is pretty small, a few rooms, but innovatively hung mixing contemporary and nineteenth century art. That night we ate at the Forge Pizzeria. No it wasn’t strictly Italian, but it was noisy and fun and had a surprisingly good, if short, wine list – a bit like Clogs in Bendigo.

Speaking of Bendigo, rather than drive back on freeways, we took a cross country route via Daylesford and Bendigo, stopping at the rather nice Bendigo Art Gallery café for lunch before heading for the freeway via Rushworth and Murchison.

It wasn’t the best holiday we could have had – the walking shorts stayed in our bags the whole time but was nice to get out and do some human things and just mooch …

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