Tuesday 7th – Apollo Bay…..
We last came to Apollo Bay some thirty odd years ago when our eldest daughter, Katherine, was nearly two and Dav and Barb’s first daughter, Jessie, was just a babe in arms. We had rented a farm cottage that is situated up a valley road just out of Apollo Bay itself. We often laugh as we reminisce about that holiday at ‘Foggarty’s Cottage’. It has been nicknamed ‘Go Farty’s Cottage’ and anyone who has read ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ should have a rough idea of the situation we found ourselves in as young parents. It had been raining hard for a couple of weeks and was not going to stop for us. The steep track to the farm was therefore a slippery ski slope down which to negotiate the camper van. The ‘farmhouse’ was little more than a shed with heating provided by a wood burning Aga that took a day to get heated up and had to be fed twice during the night with the damp wood or it went out. A kettle of boiling water had to be thought about at least three hours in advance. The beds were so damp that when we lifted the babies’ matresses at the end of the week they had grown mould. Nevertheless we had a great time and the experience has not put off Dav and Barb from buying in the region and retiring down here.
They now have a lovely house in the town. It is situated slightly up the hill from the beach and faces North ( which is the good way to face in the Southern Hemisphere ). They have a glimpse of the sea from the kitchen but a fantastic view from the living area up to the surrounding mountain. The modern house was built by some very respected local builders and is so comfortable and easy to live in with the customary terrace around the living area where a lot of the living and eating should go on in the summer.
So it is here we wake up this morning and we are looking forward to exploring Apollo Bay thirty years on from that first experience and from the comfort of this lovely home.
The morning is spent re-acquainting ourselves with the town and buying some fish for supper from the harbour fish shop.
Then we take a ride along the Great Ocean Road a short way to walk to Marriner’s Falls and Paradise Reserve.
This walk takes us through pristine forest where the palms are gigantic and the gums grow hundreds of feet tall. It is easy to imagine dinosaurs roaming here it feels so primeval.
It is alive with birds of all sorts from the tiny wrens and robins to Kookaburras that call to each other with their strange laughing cackle. There are brightly coloured rosellas that always seem to travel in pairs and appear as a flash of red and green. The stream is rich in small brown trout and eventually comes out at a lovely waterfall. Had the day been a little warmer it would make an ideal little swimming pool.
We stop at Paradise Reserve because I have a memory of cooking sausages on a barbeque in the rain thirty years ago and want to see if I can rediscover the spot. The river is familiar but the area has been tidied up over the years and the old wood burning BBQ has been replaced by a modern gas one and it has been moved to a spot less likely to cause a fire. It is a lovely spot for a picnic and we take a short explore along the river bank until the path runs out and we return to Apollo Bay to drive up the hill behind the house that is Marriner’s Lookout. Here we can enjoy a view along the Ocean Road for miles in either direction and can get a good view of the Bay and the little harbour. Blackberries are in fruit and a few are picked to take back to the house.
The evening supper consists of the local fish – shark and flathead and rock lobster all beautifully prepared by Dav on the BBQ and a delicious salad compiled by Barb all washed down with some celebratory champagne – a legacy of Barb’s recent retirement.
All this is a far cry from the days of ‘Go Farty’s’. How times have changed.