Wreck Beach to Princetown and on to the 12 Apostles, 18k, easy to moderate, some clouds, sunny and warm.
Our last day on the track – always a mix of excitement, achievement and sadness. Today we are being dropped off at Wreck Beach with cars also being shuffled to the 12 Apostles to make things so much easier at the end of the day.
I am looking forward to Wreck Beach despite the 366 steps down – hopefully I have the right tide charts and we don’t have to make a mad dash back up them.
366 steps to the beach
We all make it to the bottom and we see the tide is well out exposing flat rocky seashore platforms covered in green algae – that didn’t sound like a great description but the bright green against the dark rocks is something very different to what we have seen. The rock pools are fascinating like looking into a little seperate world of wonder filled with delicate pink ruffled seaweed, molluscs, shells, colourful rocks, fish darting, star fish and sea snails.
Then of course what this beach is famous for is the wrecks with the anchors of the Marie Gabrielle – all crew survived and the Fiji – a ship with stories of heroism, sacrifice and few survivors – well worth reading about. The anchors are a poignant reminder of all those who lost their lives at sea along this treacherous coast.
1869 Marie Gabrielle wreck
1891 wreck The Fiji
We have been happy wandering at a slow and steady pace enjoying the rock pools but the tide has turned and we still have our rock scrambling to get through. A couple of people are a bit nervous but this just takes me back to my childhood when I explored the areas where lived on the coast so I was loving every bit. We helped with those people who were less enthusiastic, one in particular trembling with fright but in the end we did agree it really wasn’t too difficult and all got through safely.
Here we go rock scrambling
Just the most amazing rock formations
The rest of the walk back to Princeton is through sand dunes and along cliffs so again it is wonderful to have full uninterrupted views of the sea with the waves still drawing me in to watch their progress to the shore.
The Devils Kitchen
There is little shade as we finally see the Gellibrand River where it mets the sea, it looks peaceful and inviting from the headland.
The Gellibrand River meets the sea
Our lunch destination is our campsite and it is a pleasant place to have lunch under the trees watching the little Surperb Fairy Wrens hop about around us hoping for some crumbs. One of the walkers, who was ahead of me, tells us how she has had a fall but thankfully apart from some bruising she will be ok and is keen to finish the walk.
It will be warm walking this afternoon with no shady Casuarina trees to enjoy as we coaster up and down the exposed sand dunes following the twisting turning track onto headlands craning to see out first glimpse of the Apostles. At last we are up and over yet another headland and see their dark imposing outline against the brilliant blue of the sea and it quite a thrill to almost be at the end of the track. The first sighting is deceiving though and there are still many more sand dunes, twisting and turning to navigate before we reach the big platform with all revealed before us – Gibson Steps, the 12 Apostles and we can see the car park is buzzing with tourists so not long now.
At last the 12 Apostles in sight
I am last over the finish line along side our almost 80 year old walker and we are jubilant at the completion of the walk. We all walk through to see the Apostles and of course a photo opportunity awaits.
End of the walk a wonderful feeling
Tonight we dine out at the local pub and talk about the best moments we had on the walk – so many really but definitely walking barefoot along Joanna Beach is up there. Dinner is so good, Shane and I enjoy slow cooked lamb shanks – delicious, really great pub grub!