GOOD TIMES JOURNAL // PHOTO SERIES 015 // LAURA ALYCE BELL
Laura Alyce Bell is a landscape and lifestyle photographer from Melbourne, Australia.
Labour Day weekend in Australia – a long weekend that always calls for a city escape! This year my friends and I decided to pack up our cars and hit the road for three days of camping at Aire River, a perennial river of the Corangamite catchment located in The Otways region along the Great Ocean Road – one of Victoria’s most popular tourist attractions.
The Great Ocean Road winds through rainforest inhabited by koalas, misty waterfalls, rolling green hills full of sheep, wild untamed beaches, iconic surf breaks and cliffs composed of limestone and sandstone. The drive itself is spectacular and is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. A drive that I never get sick of, no matter how often I visit.
We arrived late on the Friday evening – put our tents up and settled in for a few drinks by the fire. After being greeted by an unwelcome guest in my tent, a huntsman spider (welcome to Australia!), one of the boys came to my rescue to put it outside before I hit the hay as I was getting up early for sunrise. I hit the road by myself at 5am, headed for The 12 Apostles. I drove for about an hour and reached the famous limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. Until recently, we were all under the impression that there were only 8 of the 12 apostles remaining. Scientists have however discovered 5 extra limestone columns 6 km’s offshore hidden deep beneath the ocean, naming them the "Drowned Apostles". One thing I love about visiting this location (and most locations for that matter) is that each visit is completely different depending on the weather. That morning it was drizzling with rain and the coast was covered in ocean mist and fog. It was cold, but oh so beautiful!
I continued my drive a little further down to Loch Arch Gorge where the fog lingered over the coast – a moody morning well spent. I headed back to camp and was greeted by a cooked BBQ breakfast. During the day we walked around the Aire River checking out all of the koalas in the trees and had a swim in the river. Later in the day we followed the river mouth down to the beach before heading back to camp to enjoy a spit roast dinner the boys had cooked for us all.
The following morning we all decided to head out for an adventure day. First stop, Beech Forest! A central point to access some of The Otways most beautiful waterfalls and scenic drives. We wandered through the Californian Redwoods – a forest of giant Californian Redwoods (Sequoia trees) planted in 1939 – the feeling of this place is still and tranquil - I'm pretty convinced that fairies live in there! From there we headed down to Beauchamp falls. There wasn’t much water in the falls but it still provided for a refreshing dip! After a quick drink at the local pub, we headed back to camp to play cards, relax, and listen to music. Ensuring we made the most of the final weeks of daylight savings, we decided to walk down to the beach for sunset. The boys skimmed rocks across the river mouth while others sat and enjoyed watching the sun go down. The beauty of this location is that you feel like nobody else is around. We had the beach to ourselves as the sky exploded into yellow and orange hues.
The next morning we packed up and headed back home, feeling sad the good times had come to an end, with our minds already wandering to the next location we'll visit on our next adventure!