Page 122: Some incredibly beautiful places near apollo bay
     
  A holiday destination with everything  
 

Apollo Bay is a dream place to visit for a holiday (though not in winter, as we did, of course). The little town is just large enough to supply most of your needs. Its people we found to be friendly and eager to help. There are beautiful, sandy beaches for bathing and - in the appropriate season - whales frolicking just offshore. About an hour's drive to the west are the Twelve Apostles - see Page 119. Additionally there are many other interesting, awesome and beautiful gorges, coves and islands along this stretch of coast.

 
     
   
  Apollo Bay from Marriners* Lookout.  
     
 

Behind the town is a steep coastal scarp from where the picture above was taken. Marriners* Lookout is accessed via a short drive then a ten minute walk. From there you have a fabulous view over the town and the bay, as well as east along the coast. If you stay in the Pisces Caravan Park you can look straight down the hill to your cabin or caravan, as we did.

Not far from Apollo Bay is the Cape Otway Lighthouse (see Page 121) which also gives a wonderful opportunity to see many wild koalas along the access road.

* The spelling of Marriners in this context is correct.

 
     
   
  Both pictures from Marriners Lookout.     Left: The Pisces Caravan Park with our caravan ringed.     Right: Looking east.  
     
 

You don't have to drive many kilometres inland before you find yourself a thousand feet or more above sea level on narrow twisting roads through the densest and most beautiful rainforest. That really threw me - I thought you only found rainforest in the tropical north, but not so. Here, on the south coast, are rainforests as beautiful as any in north Queensland.

 
     
   
  A swirling, rushing creek blurred by using a slow shutter speed while the rocks and ferns are crisp. I really like this one.  
     
 

Being winter, the weather only allocated two, occasionally three, suitable sight-seeing days each week and we had to be grateful. Two, out of many, great features of the hinterland were emphasised as 'must see' attractions. One was the man-made Otway Fly treetop walk and the other was the Triplets - three waterfalls where the Youngs Creek divides to fall hundreds of feet before reuniting to flow on as one.

The Otway Fly is one of four such treetop walks in Australia. Or perhaps in the world? If I might quote the brochure: “There are only three other steel canopy walks in the world and both are in Australia.”

One of the others is near Denmark in Western Australia and we have walked that one. Poor Pam was terrified as it was very high and it swayed a lot. If I remember, the sign advised no more than five people at a time on any one span, but twenty or thirty Asian tourists ignored that. I turned around once and saw Pam edging along the walkway behind me, hands gripping the rails on either side, knuckles white, and eyes staring intently at the sky.

So . . . Pam stayed in the café while I walked the Otway Fly. The pathway is elevated 25 metres (over 80 feet) above the rainforest floor but the giant Mountain Ash trees still tower above you as you walk.

 
     
 

     To reach the canopy of the trees you have to climb some more, up to the top of the Spiral Tower, in fact. You are now 47 metres (152 feet) above the ground.

The Spiral Tower, part of the Otway Fly treetop walkway.

     No need for oxygen yet - unless you have old lungs like mine, perhaps. Those spiral steps left me gasping by the time I reached the top platform. But what a view!

     While strolling along the walkway I'd been puzzled by a loud rumbling sound that seemed to resonate through the whole structure. Hearing it again while at the top of the tower I looked down and discovered that a young tearaway, pushing a disabled youth in a wheelchair, was running along the walkway, 25 metres above the ground, at breakneck speed. What his passenger thought of this I don't know but perhaps his opinion didn't count. I should add that we were asked to be as quiet as possible on the walkway so as not to disturb the wildlife.

 
     
Left: Looking down to the walkway from the Spiral Tower                                        Right: There he is! And still running. Good job Pam wasn't there, she'd
                 and even further on down to the ground.                                                      have given him an ear-bashing when we saw him later in the café.
     
 

I have to admit that, as a lad about the same age as young 'Ginger' pushing the wheelchair, my brother Mike and I used to take it in turns to race around the block, pushing our grandfather in his wheelchair while the other one checked the time on a pocket watch. Poor old Grandpa had suffered a bad stroke and couldn't walk or speak. We used to run straight at concrete lamp posts, swerving at the last second. I rather suspect he enjoyed it. Our grandmother was drinking tea with our mother, totally oblivious.

But back to the Otway Fly.

 
     
   
  High up near the canopy, some trees played host to a myriad of ferns, lichen and moss.  
     
  The Otway Fly was well organised, having a small bus not dissimilar to a golf buggy, that ferried disabled people from the reception/café area to the start of the overhead walkway and later back, carrying their wheelchairs when required.  
     
          Left: The Mountain Ash trees grew tall and true,                         Right: Sometimes, when the overhead canopy shut out the light,
      straight past the 25 metre high walkway.                                       it was easy to imagine you saw something move.
     
 

Gaining access to the Triplets also involved some walking through the forest. I was amazed to come across the overgrown site of what had been a large sawmill. There must have been very much more than what was visible but finding it would have been a huge job. Two small railway trucks had been set up as a display and close by were the remains of a boiler. There was no sign of the engine that it powered or the sawmill apparatus that cut the timber.

 
     
              Left: Two small railway trucks loaded with sawn wood.                                   Right: Not far away lay the remains of the boiler, but where was the engine?
     
  In the distance we could hear the roar of a waterfall but the track through the forest took us in the opposite direction at first. The forest alone was worth the walk with towering trees and so many ferns. Some of the tree ferns grew over four metres high. On three of these ferns I found a different tree growing out of the side of the fern's trunk. It curved upwards and grew straight up through the fern's fronds for quite a way before sprouting its own, very different, leaves.  
     
Left: Pam stands 5' tall, so how high                                       Centre: A different plant sprouting from                                  Right: Happy in the rain forest.           
       is the tree fern next to her?                                                      a fern trunk and shooting skyward.                                                                                         
     
 

Finally we reached the Triplet Falls. Again, the track and the viewing platforms were excellently constructed and enabled tourists like us to see these most beautiful water falls.

 
     
 
 
  The third (right hand) fall of the Triplets.  
     
   
  The triplets. It wasn't possible to move far enough back to get all three falls successfully into one picture with my 18mm lens.  
     
  And here we'll end Page 122. Today was the first day of spring. Unfortunately, NO ONE HAS TOLD THE WEATHER!