By the time you read this article, I (hopefully) will have finished the Great Ocean Walk from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles.
It is a walk I have been keen to enjoy for some time. Stretching a touch more than one hundred kilometres, it passes through the Otway National Park where some of our region’s most diverse range of plants, animals and scenery is on display.
It promises to be a wonderful experience weaving through the tall forests, coastal heathlands and along windswept cliff-tops presenting amazing views. (My wife is not so excited about the windswept cliffs).
The places I am really looking forward to seeing again after a 30-year absence are the beaches.
In particular, Milanesia beach and the wide expanses of Johanna; I adore walking on the beach itself.
Clearly, there are places on the walk that are a million miles away from the world of everyday life and that is a great attraction for me.
The landscape and wild nature of this iconic long distance walk will surely engage my mind, body and soul.
I have chosen to stay at Aire River Valley Kitchen and Guest House situated on the Great Ocean Road, west of Apollo Bay outside the hamlet of Hordern Vale.
Now some may say I am a little soft for not carrying a tent and roughing it out underneath the great southern skies.
You are entitled to your opinion, but I am staying somewhere comfy anyway. I am looking forward to the food offering at Aire River which specialises in growing what they cook. Vegetables and herbs are picked from the garden each evening just before dinner with all produce being organically grown just metres from the restaurant.
The menu is kept small to ensure the ingredients are fresh. As the website states, “some restaurants measure their ingredients in food miles. With our vegetables, fruit and herbs is usually measured in steps. Often, while you are reading the menu, your salad and vegetables are still growing.”
Their position on the Great Ocean Road provides a sheltered environment perfect for an abundance of fruits, berries, vegetables and herbs.
It is amazing how well produce grows in the Otways. With seasonal changes along the coast, a wide range of ingredients can be grown at different times of year.
The garden is watered with rain water supplemented by bore water when Mother Nature does not cooperate with rain – like right now!
The seasonal menu is paired with local wines and should, if taken in moderation, re-energise me for walking during the day.
I will report in next time with my experience and in the meantime enjoy this decidedly autumnal salad from River Cottage.