Kangaroo Island 2017 Day 12 – Flinders Chase National Park and Vivonne Bay

Alarm clock sounded at 7 but we continued to lay unmoved. The cold just made everyone hibernate. Mommy was first to wake and made K a bottle while I laid in bed with the impatient K crying for milk.

After downing down the bottle, K wasn’t sleeping anymore. Then it was my turn to get up and keep an eye on this busy toddler who would be climbing anywhere, especially the staircase. Brushed his teeth and changed his diapers, he spent most of the morning on his DVD while having his cereal breakfast.

Mommy was busy preparing the meals for K and sandwiches for our lunch and also her own breakfast. I made my own ham and cheese croissant but couldn’t achieve the effect of those from cafes, because we didn’t have a toaster. Thereafter was the struggle to get K dressed up.

1030am and we got out of the house for our visit to the Flinders Chase National Park. In this Kangaroo Island that was thrice the size of Singapore, getting from Emu Bay to the NP took an hour plus to do so, taking the main road there. Again mostly the roads were the same thing, more trees as we got closer to the NP, and more roadkill on the road. K fell asleep 15mins before arrival and I parked the car at the visitor’s center and left K and mommy in the car before going to the center across the road to pay for the entrance fees. Luckily I remembered the car plate number, from the time in Victor Harbour as this was required for paying the fees. The information would appear on the receipt and it would served as evidence to be pasted on the windscreen.

Car plate number for Flinders NP tickets
Flinders NP visitor center
Our tickets

Returning to the car, we drove 15km into the first location of Admiral’s arch, bypassing the Cape Borda lightstation that was just a few meters from there. We had already 2 lighthouses visit and it was more than enough. The difference for this was there was the firing of cannon at 1230pm.


Anyhow, we parked the car at the public carpark and I got off to check the place out first. It was long a wooden walkway leading downslope, providing different perspectives of the outer islands nearby and then a close view of the lazing seals on the water-battled rocks below, some of these rocks forming infinity pools with the ocean and seals could be seen swimming in them. A further walk to the bottom exposed the natural formation of the Admiral’s Arch, very close to the wooden walkway. Took a few shots, which was difficult as it was too close. Managed to see some seals at the other side of the Admiral’s arch too.

Path to Admirals Arch
Seals on the rocks
Infinity pool for the seals

Admiral cave pano

As I trekked backwards up the wooden pathway, I saw mommy carrying K near the start of the walk path. K had woken up and wasn’t ready to walk so I took over carrying him while mommy explored and visited the arch. Brought K to see the fur seals and tried to let him see them using the binoculars that we took from the apartment. I was sure he saw the seals with his naked eyes but uncertain that he saw them just as well through the binos.

After staying for a while, we returned to the car and drove towards the second location of interest in the NP, it was the Remarkable Rocks that could also be seen from the Admirals Arch. Just 10mins away, we stopped enroute to shoot a view of the Remarkable Rocks and a nice beach on Boxer Dr before driving into the public carpark of the Remarkable Rocks. We parked there and had our lunch in the car first, chili chicken raisin sandwich and K had his own meal. Afterwards, we used the toilets that were situated at the start of another wooden walk path before embarking on the walk to the rocks.

Closer view of the lighthouse
Remarkable rocks seen from afar

The rocks situated at the end of the walkpath had a surface that was easily scalable even for K who climbed himself, thinking that it was a mountain. The rocks were really works of art by Mother Nature, appearing in various shapes and curves. We had fun sitting on some and taking refuge from the wind in others and taking photos with the beautiful backdrop of the coast.

The Remarkable Rocks during approach
Nature’s wind sculpted work of art
Like the beak of a bird
Shapes and sizes
View of the bay under the shelter of the rocks

After we were done, we walked the same pathway back to the car and headed back to the visitors center. There was a walk that we were interested to bring K to and after driving the 15mins to the visitors’ carpark, the staff at the information center introduced us to take the Heritage walk instead where we could try spotting koalas on the trees. We then took the walk of an estimated 40mins circuit and entered the trail through a gated access behind the center.

Inside the visitor’s center
Walk paths leading to the heritage walk

The first couple of meters was just a footpath flanked by tall trees. Only after reaching the Black Swamp lookout that we saw an open field with geese and also spotted a kangaroo. After that, it was more natural with dirt path and only small signage to guide us on the walk path. Along the way, we managed to see koalas, I spotted 2 of them, looking closely at the Eucalyptus trees. At the open fields we also saw more kangaroos, one feeding and another 2 lazing on the grass. The walk wasn’t difficult and soon we completed the circuit, satisfied with the few animals we saw along the way.

Black Swamp lookout
Animals out grazing
Sleeping koala spotted in the park
Wild goose
Another koala spotted
Kangaroo up close
Lazing kangaroos

Near the center, K was interested in the a sand pit that had toy shovels for kids to dig and expose dinosaur bones. Of course K didn’t know that and was just interested to dig some sand. Mommy did some shopping at the souvenir section in the center and got K some crackers and cheese that he picked up as a favorite snack during this trip.

Sandpit for dino bones digging

As we were leaving for the car, the staff told us that a koala was spotted near the green signage and told us to give it a shot. We overshot and went to the picnic area. Couldn’t find anything there and while I tried again at the green signage that was closer to our car, I found the Koala perched atop, snoozing away. It was indeed a good number of sightings.

Koala on the tree in the carpark

Our next destination was to Vivonne bay. As we got onto the road, I saw a kangaroo crossing the road. Quickly took a step on brakes to slow down but was no where close to it. Mommy also noticed more kangaroos at the side of the road, probably the good time for them to come out in the open and avoid the sun was after 4pm. Asked K to take a nap first while we drove there and he did after 30mins of driving when we almost arrived.

The road leading to Vivonne bay was a dirt road but it was very bumpy. Thankfully K could sleep through it all. I entered a camping site and parked at the public carpark before getting off the car to explore, leaving mommy and sleeping K in the car.

As I followed the sign to the beach and was in awe at the sight before me when I arrived at a very calm water body of the Eleanor River, so calm it was reflecting the blue skies and white clouds above. This water body was separated from the main ocean by a sand bay. The water was very clear too.

Eleanor river near vivonne bay pano
Eleanor river near vivonne bay pano

I walked back up a flight of stairs and ended up at the camp site area where there were quite a number of camper vans and holidaying people preparing BBQ for their dinner. There was a walk path nearby that had a sign that said that it was closed but I took it anyway as there was another group of people in front who also took the same path, likely leading to the beach. As I followed behind, I noticed an empty patch to the left after a few meters and by instinct, just followed tracks there. Where it led me was to a nice viewpoint of the sand bay that separated the ocean and the calm waters. It was a beautiful view!

Sand bank separates the river and the sea

I returned to the car after all this exploration and mommy gave me a viewpoint to drive to. It was a further drive after the turn-in to the carpark that we were at. The road further was the same dirt road, and extremely bumpy. The road led us to the end of the bay but from the location, it was quite far away from the beach, although the whole bay could be seen from there. The setting sun made the view looked even better. But that meant we would be driving in the dark soon.

Vivonne bay from viewpoint

Drove back to the same bumpy road back to South Coast road and again, I saw a kangaroo crossing the road, this time much closer. Luckily I wasn’t speeding and maintained under the speed limit for the 1hrs drive back to Emu bay, with the full moon accompanying us on the journey back.

For multiple stretches of road, I drove with high beams on, so as to look out for any animals waiting to cross the road, we finally arrived at the unlighted street of our accommodation and reverse parked. K also woke up at about the same time.

The annoying thing was that the sun set really early and we couldn’t do anything else at night other than to eat dinner and laze in front of the TV till bedtime. Effective time of exploration was at most 8hrs.

So similar to the night before, mommy cooked dinner, K had his entertainment on YouTube and I was chilling. We ate dinner, bathed and got ready for bed.

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.