NOSTALGIA 101 // Cape Otway, Australia

About five years ago, around Valentines Day, Chris and I packed up Chris’ 20-odd year old Saab convertible and drove from Leongatha to the Great Ocean Road. I think this was our first proper holiday together (other than the odd night in Melbourne or a family holiday), and it was full of so many fun and spontaneous memories. Every night we picked a random town and decided to stay there, hoping a cabin or room would be available. We put the roof down on the car every time we drove, even though we were stopping every 10 minutes to look at a beach or explore a walking track.

They seem like such distant memories now, and we always laugh when we think back to how young, innocent and naive we were as 18 year olds.

Driving along the Great Ocean Road from Torquay to Cape Otway the other weekend had us reminiscing about the trip once again. It really is such a spectacular part of Australia, let alone the world.

I was lucky enough to have Chris driving during this section of the road, and subsequently spent most of my time trying to capture photos of the landscape. Not easy when you are a terrible photographer in a car on a winding road!

Inspired by our original trip all those years ago, we booked into Bimbi Park, a caravan park on Cape Otway that we stayed at on a whim last time. The park seemed to have updated slightly in the previous five years (a mini golf course?), but it definitely still looked exactly as we remembered it.

One of our absolute favourite memories from our first trip down the Great Ocean Road was staying at this caravan park on Cape Otway and befriending the resident dog, Jak. Having nothing to do (Cape Otway is about half an hour from any towns), we innocently began to follow the dog along a track leading out of the caravan park. We had no idea where we were going, but Jak the dog continued to lead us along to track for half an hour or so, and eventually we arrived at the most amazing beach, which was empty as far as we could see. From memory, we played fetch with Jak for awhile and eventually followed the dog back to the caravan park. It was such a random, beautiful adventure and we always bring it up when talk about the trip.

Since we had returned to the same caravan park, Chris and I were determined to find the same beach. Sadly, there was no sign of Jak, but we eventually managed to find the track and found that it now included some modern looking signs (turns out the beach has a name – Station Beach).

The beach was just as amazing and empty as we remembered. This time we came prepared with a picnic dinner, and spent a few hours relishing having this stunning corner of the world to ourselves.

The next morning was far less eventful, featuring a short hike to the Cape Otway light station. Again, we found ourselves alone.

The walk also included a somewhat creepy detour to a small graveyard, mostly featuring the final resting place of the young children of former lighthouse keepers.

As amazing as it would have been to keep driving down the Great Ocean Road, we packed up our car again and hit the road back the Melbourne.

I cannot recommend the Great Ocean Road enough as a roadtrip to have from Melbourne. There is so much to see and do, and is the perfect weekend getaway. I’m sure there will be further trips there on our horizon!

– Reanna

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