We wake to the sound of birds cheeping outside our window and on the balcony. My friend has left some seeds outside to attract them and it worked. As we step outside we are greeted by a variety of birds including some grey-green ones that jump around. The morning sun is golden over the ocean as a parrot commandeers one section of the balcony and doesn’t let any other birds eat from it.
The sun is shining as we drive west along the coast. Within minutes it is raining again. This is how things will be all day but that seems to be fairly normal down here along the Victorian coast. If you come here, bring wet weather gear so you can enjoy the sights without getting too wet. The lovely things about patchy rain showers are rainbows. They look amazing against the grey sky and moody seas. We drove straight through the land-side base of this one. Alas, there was no pot of gold.
The drive up the Otways is slow but beautiful. Dense greenery surrounds the road. Tall timbers rise high above us, their bark like brown spaghetti streaming off them creating a mosaic of white, grey, red and brown under their green leaves. Occasionally the trees to the north clear and we can see rolling farmland with its light green blanket covering the earth. As we turn down the Cape Otway Lightstation road a graffitied sign takes my attention and makes me laugh.
Bare gnarled trees form a tunnel over the road as we drive towards the lightstation. At every bend we are exclaiming at the beauty.
The Cape Otway Lightstation is pretty. It looks like it was pulled straight out of a picture book. It’s not tall but it doesn’t have to be because it stands on top of a 90m (295 foot) cliff.
We climb the 74 spiral steps to the top. I am amazed to learn the lighthouse walls have no water or cement holding them together yet the building has stood since 1848 in this wild and woolly place.
The wind is howling today and I feel like I will be blown off the viewing platform. One side is protected but the other is so exposed that I dare not tread there. The wind and view compete to take my breath away. This vast coastline we have traveled the past few days is stunning and this bird’s eye view is a magnificent final impression.
That said, I am glad to walk into the warm dry lightstation cafe just as the first drops of rain start falling from the sky. We order hot chocolate and chocolate cake while I settle in to add my creativity to the collection of coloured in lighthouses that line the cafe wall. At first I thought the pictures were done by children but it turns out that most were coloured by adults of all ages (including at least one in her 50s). It’s a very cool idea and gives the cafe a very fun atmosphere (though I will not give up my day job to become an artist).
From the lighstation we drive out of the Otways and down into the farming country around Colac. The road twists and turns up and down steep switch backs through dense forest intermixed with green grazing land. As our descent out of ranges the farmland opens up and is more dominant. We drive to Red Rock Lookout, which is about 20km (12 miles) out of Colac, to see the volcanic craters. The weather has closed in so we can only just make out the massive salt and fresh water lakes to the east and west, which focuses our attention on the craters below as we stand on the volcanic rim. It seems crazy to think this volcano is merely dormant but hasn’t erupted in over 4,500 years; that’s a long time to be asleep. The wind is so brutally strong and cold that it makes us laugh as we have to push our ways through it just to walk from the car to the viewing platforms. I’ve been skydiving once before and the rush of wind here while standing still was stronger than the rush of wind I experienced after jumping out of a plane. It’s quite cool (no pun intended).
From the volcanic craters we drove back to Melbourne where my friend returned home. I now have a few more days in Melbourne to catch up on work, start my next university papers and prepare for my flight to Korea on Sunday morning. I intend to spend the time between my more mundane commitments checking out a few cafes and eateries.