Great Ocean Road 2017 Day 7 – Coogoorah Park, Split Point lighthouse and Koala spotting

7am and K was awake as I took awhile to realise that the alarm had gone off. Made him a bottle of milk and soon he was off to sleep again. I got up quickly to do some packing and washing up of bottles before continuing my blog. Mommy got up later and started her routine of meal preparations.

K didn’t wake up until I changed his diapers and his clothes but he wasn’t intending to move, not even motivated by the indoor playground that he so wanted to visit. It took a while for his engine to warm up before he decided to get off the bed, during which I had already loaded most of the stuff into the car for our onwards journey. It was a waste though that he couldn’t utilize the indoor playground as the accommodation was decided with the intention to let him get some playtime during this trip.

After returning the keys on check out, we punched in the next destination of Anglesea, a place called Coogoorah park and we were on the way. It was a 1hr drive from Queenscliff. I realized that we weren’t near the coast so I supposed Google map didn’t recommend the Great Ocean Road and gave the shorter quicker alternative.

On the way, I stopped to pump petrol at an Apco Easy Shop station which seemed to have one of the lowest petrol price. It was at aud1.29 per liter only and I paid aud38 for petrol.

Again we hit the road, with the nursery rhymes playing for K to listen. He looked very restless and we were worried that he would vomit due to car sickness. He didn’t have breakfast and wasn’t going to have any. He took some cheese and that was all.

We arrived at about 11am, driving from tarmac to a dirt road that led to a carpark st Coogoorah park. Right in front was a big playground in the theme of a sunken ship and K was excited to go play on it. There was a smaller playground just nearby that fit K more, but he explored both just the same.

Coogoorah Park
Playground at the park
A smaller one for smaller kids

I walked around to explore the nice park, which had a some school groups of children come do some canoeing on the lake. The whole area was quite peaceful and as I walked a bit further, I saw another group of children learning to fish from a bridge.

Water activities for some kids
View of the river from a bridge
Bird in the park
Panorama of Coogoorah park

We spent about an hour there and left at about 12 noon for a 30 mins drive to Split Point lighthouse, at Aireys Inlet. Visited the restaurant The Captain of Aireys for some wood baked pizza that was so delicious, housed in a nicely design interior. We ordered a Hawaiian that had 6 pieces but was more than enough for us with K sharing a little. The lunch was about 30ish including a latte for me and juice for mommy.

The Captain of Aireys
Inside the restaurant
Hawaiian pizza
A few other buildings next to lunch stop

We got into the car parked in front of the restaurant and drove to Split Point lighthouse just 3mins drive from the restaurant. There was a car park available and from there, we could see the lighthouse. The lighthouse itself can be scaled if paid for the tour, so we skipped and walked to the various viewpoints nearer to the beach. The view of the long coasts was beautiful and we took the selfies and the panorama pics as much as we wanted before going back to the car for the next destination.

Split Point lighthouse
Up close
Coastal view from the lighthouse
Split point panoramic view
Parking for Lighthouse visit

It was an hour drive to Kennett River and while we were happy to be on the Great Ocean Road (GOR), it presented another problem – it was often winding, as the road hugged the shoreline, up and down the mountains. K fell asleep thankfully and we managed to negotiate the bends without any puking incident.

We arrived at Kennett river and parked at the car park in front of Koala Kafe. I got off to walk  (didn’t drive as we didn’t want to wake K on the bumpy dirt road and also there were people and ducks and parrots blocking the main entrance to the road) the Grey River road up the slope, which according to the online information that we could see wild koalas on the trees. I only managed to see one, in the distance, had to take a photo shot with telescopic lens. After going around a bend and upwards for a bit, I gave up looking and came back down. I met a couple who also mentioned that they only saw that one. It was quite disappointing.

Birds on the road
The road
Wild koala on the tree
Another view
View from Grey River Road
Bird at the carpark

Upon reaching the car, I realized K was awake and waiting for milk, all the ingredients I had brought along in my bag. He was getting grumpy and impatient and was only satisfied after we made him the milk. The 1hr nap time was also too short and that explained his fussiness.

After his milk, I drove them again on the same road up to see if we could spot more koalas, going through the crowd of birds and people really slowly for fear of crushing the birds. We moved through the bends and into the forest at very slow speed but couldn’t see any other koalas other than the one I saw earlier (and mommy saw after I drove up to the same location). We gave up and returned to the entrance of the road to take a break, since K had just drank milk and we didn’t want him to vomit if we got on the road too early.

That gave us another opportunity and when we saw a crowd gathered under the trees in front of our car, we got down to see and saw another koala! Mommy went to the restroom while I looked after K who was more interested in the music on the handphone then the koala. When she returned, she informed of 3 more koalas near the toilets, at Kennett River holiday park next to the Grey River road. We immediately crossed over to see and indeed there were more koalas there! It was all a waste of effort to travel on the recommended route but I guessed that’s the unpredictability of wildlife. As we spent time looking at these sleeping tree huggers, K also spent a bit of time on the small playground there.

2nd Koala near the entrance of the road
Another shot
Bright red bird
3rd Koala perched on the tree asleep
4th Koala
Playground at Kennett River campsite

By the time we left, it was almost 5pm. The drive to our accommodation at Coastal motel in Apollo bay was a 30mins away. Along the way, I drove within speed limit so that no one got dizzy and K had his nursery rhymes on repeat. Stopped at one of the viewpoint to take coastline with a setting sun and continued onwards till we arrived at IGA supermarket where mommy went to get some groceries while I waited in the car with K.

IGA at Apollo Bay
Apollo bay view

We drove back a couple of meters where the Coastal motel was, quite accessible to Apollo Bay town and we checked into the cabin, with a carpark slot available. The cabin was modernly designed but was lacking pots and pans for cooking. We settled for dinner outside and mommy cooked dinner for K while I bathed K.

Fiery red sunset
Our room
Room and kitchenette

The bath was the usual. The problem was when the water was released from the tub, the sink that was under the tub was blocked. That led to the water overflowing the small height of the shower area and flooded into the whole toilet and subsequently the adjacent kitchen. The funny thing was the sink in the shower was the only sink and there were none in the toilet nor the kitchen! Using the only floor cloth, I had to dry the whole area, making multiple drying twists of the cloth after soaking up the water – a lot of work!

When we were all ready, bathed and suited up, we walked to the town at about 730pm and just as expected as it was disappointing, the town was dead. There were a few restaurants still opened and we got into one George’s food court, next to a particularly busy joint Apollo Bay seafood cafe that didn’t have any seats left.

We got ourselves seated in the huge seating area where there were only a few other customers and ordered a fisherman’s basket which came in such a big portion and a variety of fried seafood, like crabstick, fish fillet, calamari, prawn and scallop and lotsa chips and salad vegetables.

George’s food court
Fisherman’s basket
George’s food court

K had fun feeding mommy food as mommy fed him too but became cranky after dropping a fork with a crabstick on it. Made a fuss and was given 2 cookies from the restaurant staff to calm him down. The lack of sleep.

We walked back through the dead town and back to our warm cabin that had the aircon still running. I did the dishes and found it exceptionally difficult to remove the grease from the pot. The dishwashing liquid was worthless and I had to use a bar of hand soap to remove the oiliness after using the dishwashing liquid multiple times.

Coastal motel

K got ready to sleep with some story books reading with mommy and was impatient about getting his milk as it was being warmed up. After downing it, it was lights off at 930pm. Both parents were still awake doing online stuff as K slept soundly.