First time staying in wild bush luxury in the Flinders Ranges

After a good nights sleep we were awake about 6am and on the road by 7am. It was so good we had been able to charge overnight since, like yesterday, the drive ended up taking longer than expected.

The drive was through lots of farming country – wheat and sheep mainly.

And then into the vineyards of the Barossa Valley and it’s cute little towns. Today it’s all about getting to our destination though so no time to stop.

We arrived into the Keith charging point around 9.30. It was at a cute little hotel. We went and used the restrooms with lavender toilets and sink (which we were invited to do, plus we could use the lounge) and walked back to the car, where we sat and enjoyed breakfast – leftovers from last night. I think my salad was even nicer today – or maybe I was just more in the mood to eat.

There were no other stops, except for toilet stops. The landscape started to change as we entered the Flinders Ranges with more red dirt, trees and hills.

At 1pm we were pulling up to Akarba. The reason for our journey out here was for Kevin to install another Starlink.

After being shown to the Coach cabin, where we are staying (there are also 4 rooms in the main house), we were shown up to main house, introduced to some of the staff and presented with an ice cold towel and iced raspberry tea (which was delicious).

We were then shown into the cabin, which is lovely, and private. The only thing I didn’t like was the roo skins on the floor – so I rolled them up and put them under the bed. The bed heads were also made of sheep skins but they did feel like Koda :-). Besides the skins (not ideal for a vegan) the room was beautifully decorated.

View from the bed

Kevin and I got the car unpacked and then he headed off to get started on his work. I sorted out some stuff in the room. I did a bit of stuff on the computer, then went and sat outside by the big house and read. Then returned back to the room for a bit before dinner.

Dinner was supposed to be 6.30pm and we aren’t sure if they were waiting for Kevin or what. There is one other couple staying here and we were joined by our Guide, Paddy ??, for dinner, which was eventually served. (Dinner was Fresh Asparagus and then veggie risotto – both delicious) Kevin turned up a short time into dinner – pretty hot and tired from being on the room. The other couple,  Greg & Alice, seem very nice. They work in the travel industry so have plenty of stories to share.

After dinner we grabbed our jackets and headed out in the safari truck to watch the sunset and have dessert.

The views were spectacular from the top of the ridge where we stopped.

Talk about a very decadent experience. It was a full service desert. I had a pouched pear which was pretty tasty. 

We watched as the stars started to appear – so bright and clear in this sky – and then drove back to the station. At one point Paddy stopped the truck and we all just sat and listened to the quiet of the night and looked up at ALL the stars. It was definitely a wonderful start to our stay here at Arkaba.

We were surprised to find our room had been turned down and our lights put on. Such a nice welcome back.

Staying in a Lighthouse Cottage

This morning it was again time to pack up and say goodbye to this lovely apartment. We didn’t rush but finished packing and were on the road around 9am.

By 9.30 we arrived in the very cute town of Port Fairy – which is the end of the Great Ocean Road. I had found a place to have breakfast that was a little surprise for Kevin – a crepeiry – LeCrepe Man of Belfast.  We managed to park right outside. It was pretty cold today so we opted to eat inside. 

We were the only people eating in – I’m guessing the place is still very much hurting during this pandemic. Kevin ordered a crepe with banana and Nutella – which he enjoyed but said was very sweet. I had “the vegan” – which was savoury and very tasty – but I only managed to eat about half of it.

After our crepes we went for a bit of a drive around the town – which is really lovely – and one I’d definitely like to spend more time exploring.

We did spot a few Goldens which was exciting.

We stopped at another lookout and took some beautiful photos. It was chilly out – as you can probably gather from Kevin wearing his hood. And it was definitely much to windy to fly the drone.

It was stunning drive to and from this lookout so definitely worth the drive.

At 11.30am we arrived in Portland and drove to the Maritime Museum. It was free and small but well worth a look around. Being that it was originally a whaling town there is a bit of information about that. They had a sperm whale skeleton which was washed up a few years back And a paper machete of the large Great White killed in Australia. So sad really. It’s life wasn’t in vain though as the original carcus was bought by Valeria Taylor – a marine scientist who studied it.

We had thought to hop on the cable tram here but due to covid you could only get on and off at the depot (so they could check vaccination status).

The trip took about an hour and had commentary throughout. We really enjoyed it and learned quite a lot about the city. Portland is very much a port city.

The highlight though would have to be seeing how they emptied the wood chips trucks !!

There was a brief stop at a whale viewing (during the season) spot and then back to the depot.

While on the tram we also received the (expected) news that our covid test was negative.

Before driving out to  Cape Bridgewater we stopped at Macs Hotel in town to pick up the keys to our accommodation. 15mins later we had arrived out at the lighthouse just in time for our 2pm tour.

We met with our guide, Gordan, who gave us a very thorough history of the lighthouse and it’s workings before we walked UP inside the lighthouse to see the light and have a walk around the outside.

From the top of lighthouse you can look down on all the cottages

There was quite the view from up there. Our tour ended about 3.30pm and we just walked over to the cottage we were staying out – Sunrise Cottage No.1.

We were staying in the Sunrise Cottage (on the right)

We were a little confused as people were using the gate to our place and walking right around it. And we had a group of students camping right at our back door !! We were quite thrown by this and not that pleased. But the cottage itself was cute and so old (built around 1840).

Since it was so cold and windy and had just started raining as we finished unloading the car, Kevin was very excited to get to light another REAL wood fire.  Because of the weather and lack of privacy outside we got settled in the lounge room in front of the fire. Later one of the adults from the camping group came over an apologised and said he’d get the kids to use another gate and try to keep away from our place. To be honest once we were inside and closed some doors we did not hear them.

I had a bath – which was enjoyable. Dinner tonight was some filled pasta and pasta sauce – Prepared by Kevin (wearing my robe since none were provided). How domesticated does he look with the oven gloves on? :-).

No YouTube here as no real internet available so we headed to bed around 8.30pm, before the sun had even set ! We did the silliest thing and didn’t think to stay up to see the lighthouse working !!!

Great Ocean Road wonders

Today started with another visit from a King Parrot. Just one today and it was much more timid so I don’t think it was one of the ones that were happy to land on my head. We put out some more granola, but since we were checking out today I didn’t really have time to watch him enjoy his breakfast. Later he did get some friends – and there was a bit more arguing over the food. A cockatoo is came in to see what was happening (and scared all the parrots off) only to fly off himself when he realized it was only granola.

By 9.30am we were packed up and continuing on our journey along the great ocean road. And it was a stunning day for it. The last time we made this trip in June 2008 it was freezing and raining. Today sunny and warm – 24C. Just perfect !!

We stopped first at the Gibson Steps – but just to see the view from the clifftop, not to walk down (& UP) 89 steps. The beach did look lovely and I’m sure you get an awesome view looking up at the sheer cliffs but I knew it would be a real  struggle coming back up the stairs (I’m just not that fit).

Next up the very famous 12 Apostles (though there are now actually only 8 Apostles standing. I can understand why it’s such a big attraction though as it really is stunning, esp. on a day like today with blue skies and white fluffy clouds. There was a guy here is a little dog in a back pack and it was adorable.

 We course took quite a few selfies before heading back to the car.

Next up was Loch Ard Gorge.

Another simply stunning location with a steep walk down to the beach. We had recently seen a few vloggers visit here so Kevin wanted to go to the beach – which he did while stayed at the top taking yet more photos and video. Kevin was again pretty wrecked by the time he reappeared so I was glad I hadn’t made the attempt.

From here we visited the Arch. You can’t really see through the gap at the first viewing area.. It’s much better from the second one which isn’t too much of a downhill walk. It’s definitely worth it.

London Bridge has fallen down but not been renamed. There is an arch here so I guess maybe that’s the new London Bridge. The original was still intact when we were here in 2008 but has since fallen into the sea. Luckily no-one was on it at the time but some people had to be rescued from the island.

We thought we had seen most of the attractions and even drove past the carpark the Bay of Martyrs (thinking it would be another big walk down to see anything) but as we drove past I could see the view from the carpark so made Kevin turn around and go back.

This was one stunning spot, possibly even better than the twelve apostles. The rocks seems redder and there are islands dotted about. It was also the only place we stopped at to not have a NO DRONES sign. So glad because from the air this place is just magical.

At about 2.30 we arrived in Warnambool and headed straight for the car wash. We especially wanted to get the windscreen cleaned, esp since I finally had the go-pro working. 

We then headed to our airbnb. Even though I had seen photos I was super impressed. It was bigger than I had imagined and had EVERYTHING you could wish/hope for. So many little touches. And beautifully decorated. I was glad we were here early enough to get to enjoy some time this afternoon. 

I made us an Asian Noodle salad with a veggie burger for lunch. I probably should have sat outside and enjoyed the backyard area but wanted to get some photos sorted.

Later, when it cooled down, Kevin lit the fire and we ordered in Noodle Box for dinner. I had ordered a vegan satay but was instead sent vegan black bean sauce. It was okay but not great (later when it had cooled, I discovered I really like it cold!!). Kevin enjoyed his choice – chicken with egg noodles).

Amazingly we can see the sunset from here – which was a lovely surprise. It’s not quite what we’ve had so far this trip but it was still nice. It was a strange night because just before 9pm we headed out for our the show at Flagstaff hill.

After having a look around the gift shop and waiting for our “departure time” we were given briefing and lanterns to lead us through the village to the stands were the shows takes place. We did this in 2008 but I couldn’t really remember it. We both enjoyed the show – which was a combination of video stories/images, a water screen and lighting – telling the stories of the indigenous people who lived here, the whalers and whaling  industry and finally the shipwreck of the Lock Ard. Definitely well worth staying up past our bedtime.

Luckily our accomodation is right in town so only 5mins (after walking back up the hill and to the car) we were back home and off to bed.

A day in the Otways

I managed to get some sunrise photos today.

And when I went outside to get the camera 2 King Parrots came and landed on the handrail. Then almost immediately one flew on top of my head. I couldn’t believe it. But what an exciting start to the day. It’s Kevin & my 29th Wedding Anniversary so I asked him if he organised this as a surprise :-). The second parrot chased the other one off and also had a turn on my head !! Luckily I remembered we had granola so Kevin got them some to eat and I spent a long time hanging out with them while they had their breakfast.

We set out about 8am for our day to the Otways National Park. The first stop of the day was going to be the Californian Redwoods, but we rang into a bit  of a problem when we discovered that the road to it was closed/blocked. I had planned our whole day going in a loop and this really threw a spanner in the works – the main one being there was no way we could be at the Otway Fly for our treetop walk at 10.30am.

I realized we could change our day up and just do things in the reverse order – provided the two bookings could accomodate us. But, of course, we had no service so couldn’t phone anyone. None-the-less we finally made it to the Treetop adventure (one of the places owned by the company Kevin works for) and he was able to do the adventures climbs/ zippiness etc. We were the first ones to arrive and the girl who does the safety test every morning was just setting out so Kevin went with her for the first few courses. I wasn’t feeling the best so stayed in the car, enjoyed last nights leftovers for breakfast and read on my kindle. Apparently there was an area I could have watched from and would have done so if I’d known. Kevin tried to take some video but found it hard with having to hold on and do things as well. He came back to the car about one and half hours later absolutely wrecked but very proud to have done every course – even the Black one which is rated extremely hard.

There were lots of kookaburra’s around here and I managed to catch a few hanging out on some posts.

Next stop was a strawberry farm to pick our own strawberries. Neither of us had ever done this before and found it to be a fun activity. I loved that is was an organic farm so had flowers growing to help ward off pests. They also grow blue berries but they weren’t ready yet.

From here we headed to the NourishShed to pick up some lunch. They sold some local products and Kevin got himself quite a bit of soap. The staff here were lovely. We collected our lunch and drover on the California Redwoods – we were able to get to the them from the other side.

We had lunch sitting at a picnic table (my vegan wrap was ok – it was toasted and I would have preferred it not). But it was nice to sit outside and have a little “picnic” lunch. We then went to explore the forest. The trees are stunning. So tall. It was pretty magical wondering around the trunks and looking up at their branches.

From here it’s just a few minutes drive to Hopetoun Falls. The viewing platform is not far from the carpark and provides an okay view. The best is apparently from the bottom but neither of us were inclined to hike to the bottom…. And then back up. Kevin did decide to fly the drone though so we still got to see all of the falls.

Back in the car I was having fibro pains in my legs and Kevin was getting sore from his earlier endeavours so we decided to skip the last stop of the day – which was the Otway Fly that we were supposed to start our day with – and get started on our drive home.

We did end up making one last stop at a lookout. Kevin flew the drone again and he got a great selfie shot for us (and an even better one for the other couple you can see in our photo).

One and half ours later we had driven back through Apollo Bay and onto our accomodation. 

Before going upstairs we decided to head across the road to the beach. However we quickly realized just how far away (and downhill) the beach was and decided to give it a miss.

Instead Kevin took the drone out for a flight and I went around taking photos of all the beautiful flowers in the garden.

I washed up all our strawberries and we had some as a snack. They are SO GOOD. Just like the ones we used to grow at home many years ago. Dinner tonight was tacos again since we had enjoyed them so much last week. I was out of lettuce though (the horror) and had to improvise when some of the Asian salad mix had.

The day ended watching vlogs, having another lovely bath and enjoying another beautiful sunset.