Date writ­ten: 30 August 2022

Date post­ed: 6 Sep­tem­ber 2022

This post was writ­ten by hand in my diary on the road, and entered into the blog when I got home.

I left Lavers Hill this morn­ing in heavy fog and light rain, but with good spir­its as I rolled eas­i­ly down the hill, savour­ing the ear­ly morn­ing smells of wet for­est, the ghost­ly gums fad­ing into and out of the fog, and gen­er­al­ly enjoy­ing being on my bike in the out­doors. At the bot­tom of the hill I stopped to take a pho­to of a kook­abur­ra on the side of the road, and as I checked my GPS to see what kind of inclines I had await­ing me today, I noticed some­thing ter­ri­ble: I was on the wrong road!

I had head­ed straight instead of turn­ing left at Lavers Hill to stay on the Great Ocean Road (B100) and inad­ver­tent­ly found myself head­ed to Colac. Not want­i­ng to change my route that much, I tried to find a route back across the Otways but in the end, to be safe, I sim­ply turned around and head­ed back up the fuck­ing hill. To say I was pissed was an under­state­ment — I had fac­tored in 2–3 hours of fish­ing at Aire Riv­er that had just been scut­tled, and I was con­cerned about mak­ing it back up the hill — but it did­n’t take long for my mood to turn pos­i­tive again as I enjoyed see­ing more of the Otways than orig­i­nal­ly planned. 🤣 The mist and fog lent every­thing a beau­ti­ful green aura and the silence and soli­tude was a calm­ing influence.

I got back up on Lavers Hill at about 11:00 where I stopped at the Yatzies restau­rant on the inter­sec­tion for a belat­ed but well earned cof­fee and break­fast. The restau­rant was­n’t open when I first depart­ed so I had a good laugh with the barista about her cof­fee being so good I just had to come back.

I fin­ished up my break­fast and head­ed the right way down Lavers Hill, enjoy­ing it just as much but now push­ing just a tad faster to try and make some time for a flick of the rod. The Cas­tle Cove look­out at Gle­naire, at the bot­tom of the descent from Lavers Hill, was a wild vista of epic coastal beach and waves. Plen­ty of cows and sheep watched me as I rolled through the most­ly flat Aire Valley.

The Journey

I stopped at the Aire Riv­er to fish under the Great Ocean Road bridge. Aire Riv­er is home to sea-run brown trout, and acces­si­ble all year (no closed sea­son) so it was a good chance to try and hook din­ner. I orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed to spend a few hours fish­ing both lures and bait but due to this morn­ing’s shenani­gans, I was lim­it­ed to flick­ing a few spoons and Vibrax lures and get­ting some pho­tos. I had one lit­tle nib­ble on a lure but no hookups.

Once I’d fin­ished lunch and packed up back on the bike, I head­ed for the rise into the hills before Apol­lo Bay. The Aire Val­ley is at sea lev­el (big sur­prise!) but to get through it, one must sur­mount the hills either side. The ascent from the val­ley from Hordern Vale to the turnoff to the Otway Light­house (which I did­n’t have time for) is a wicked 19.5% gra­di­ent. The day before I had pre­loaded my route into my GPS, which shows the ele­va­tion pro­file of the road ahead. I for­got that I did­n’t pre­load today’s route, and my screen instead showed the road behind/already climbed. There­fore as I strug­gled up this very steep hill with my ful­ly loaded steel tour­ing bike I swore at the GPS: What do you mean this is rel­a­tive­ly flat with a huge climb still to come? This is bloody killing me already! Of course, by the time I realised what was going on I’d already ascend­ed most of the hill, so that was a bonus.

Divider illustration

Some­times when you lose your way in the fog, you end up in a beau­ti­ful place! Don’t be afraid of get­ting lost!

Mehmet Murat Ildan
Turk­ish play­wright, nov­el­ist and thinker

I stopped at the top to talk to my teenage son on the phone, then descend­ed back down to Maren­go and on to Apol­lo Bay, where I’m booked at the hol­i­day park along­side the Barham Riv­er. I pitched my tent, got my sleep­ing kit all sort­ed then rode lug­­gage-free into town in the rain for din­ner at the Great Ocean Road Brew­house. I had a few beers, a salt and pep­per cala­mari, and a good chat with a group of win­ter hol­i­day­mak­ers from NSW who had just watched Top Gun 2 and there­fore the con­ver­sa­tion was all Mav­er­ick and Son Of Goose. I warmed myself in front of the fire then head­ed back for an ear­ly night and a good sleep.

The stats

Distance ridden
0h 0m 0s
Riding time
Elevation (climbed)
Average speed
Max speed
Down­load file: Great_Ocean_Road_Winter_Tour_Day_3_Otways.gpx

On my trav­els today, I passed through such beau­ti­ful coun­try and would like to acknowl­edge the tra­di­tion­al cus­to­di­ans of that land, the Gadubanud peo­ple, and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.

Category: Cycling, Fishing
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