Blanket Bay to Aire River – 21kms
With 21kms stretching out in front of us, the plan was to get up at 6:30am and be gone by 8am at the latest. You know what they say about best laid plans…
Out of sheer exhaustion from the roar of the ocean all night, I think I finally got to sleep at 5am and slept solidly until 7am. Ange very kindly let me sleep.
While bleary-eyed, I managed to pack up and only be missing a strap for the self-inflating mattress.
Finally ready to go just after 9am, we weren’t exactly sure where to go. Ange had been given directions by a group of older hikers, but I wasn’t sure I trusted the directions, given Ange had offended one of the ladies the night before.
Unbeknownst to Ange, she was expressing her thoughts on a time-consuming registration process for a bushwalkers group hike she had been interested in to one of the group volunteers!
I asked a couple of maintenance people and they gave us a much easier option out of the campsite to rejoin the walk.
The scenery here was just simply too stunning for words.
Our first stop was at Parker Inlet. We had to take our shoes off and walk across the river leading into the ocean. How deliciously cool the water felt on the feet.
We could see hikers sitting on the rocks on the opposite side, so made our way over and it turned out to be the bushwalkers group. That is when they informed us the path was back at the river entrance. Somehow we had completely missed the arrow.
It was a lovely pitstop though, sitting in the sun on the warm rocks, watching the waves roll in.
Ange was up and ready to move, but I was slowly putting my shoes and pack on. In my defence, I had an ulterior motive. The longer I took, the better the chance the MB group would be ready to move and we could follow them because neither Ange or I had any idea where we were going.
Sure enough, just as I couldn’t delay any further, off they went, with us following behind.
This group were setting a cracking space and completely put me to shame in not being able to keep up. There was a fair amount of climbing though and I have never been good on hills, even after 800kms on the Camino.
I did find though, they often stopped and allowed us to catch up, once pointing out a wallaby watching us from the bushes, and other times where we might have taken a wrong turn. It made me feel a bit like Gentle Tom looking out for me on the Camino.
You may not be able to see it, but the white speck in the background in the image below is the Cape Otway Lighthouse. It became like the villages you were walking towards on the Camino – no matter how long you walked, it never seemed to get any closer.
While the scenery was stunning and varied, the constant climbing and being exposed in the sun was starting to wear us down and we needed to stop.
Not long after coming out of a grove of trees, we came upon an open space and it was filled with butterflies. It was magical to see so many fluttering around.
From feeling like it was never going to appear, suddenly the lighthouse was in front of us. My body was suffering by this point and I had no interest in going into the lighthouse.
The best I could do was the cafe. As I was eating my vegetarian foccacia, I saw the receipt and had to laugh. Only in Australia could it be reduced to the below…
With still 10kms to go, we had no choice but to continue. We were hot, tired and struggling to walk more than an hour at a time without needing to stop.
This however, didn’t stop our appreciation of the amazing scenery and colours, from the red earth to the glistening blue of the ocean.
It was tough going. The track was constant sand walking up and down hills.
Hope finally came when coming around a corner provided a view showing the Aire River campsite at what appeared to be at the bottom of the hill.
Once again it was one of those mirages. After endless walking in the heat, we had another view of the campsite and it looked to be at least another 4kms. It was at this point, Ange simply lay down in the middle of the path and didn’t move.
This photo makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. 😆
It wasn’t far from this location the bridge to the campsite came in to view. What a joy it was to see it, knowing our long day was nearly at an end.
All we had to do was find our trailer and take our gear into the GOW campsite.
Finding our trailer was easy. The GOW campsite was a different matter. We had been told the campsite was 100mtrs from our trailer and uphill. One look at the hill and we both went “nope.”
Our trailer with our gear had been left at the bottom of the hill, but in the main campsite. Thankfully, it wasn’t busy and we set up camp in the main area, right across from the trailer.
Despite not arriving until just after 5pm, we were set up in no time and was able to enjoy the evening with wine and cheese. This is a side of camping I could get used to.
With a bit of relaxing, we were able to take a stroll down to the river. It was glorious to put my tired feet in the cold water and watch the sun go down.
The evening was finished off with a hot chocolate, which was the perfect end to a lovely evening. With so many things working out for us and no roaring ocean to keep us awake, a good night’s sleep is bound to happen right?