Live life, love life, and above all, don't forget to laugh along the way!
Published March 31st 2013
Cliff Top Capers and Beachy Saunters
The best thing about living in Geelong is its close proximity to the Great Ocean Road and all the wonderful adventures this world class route has to offer. One blustery morning, bitten by the outdoor bug, I dragged a friend and headed to Aireys Inlet's cliff tops.
The Aireys Inlet Cliff Top Walk, part of the 44km long Surf Coast Walk, starts at the Split Point Lighthouse and ends at the dramatic Sunnymead Beach. We parked at the nearby skate park and headed off. We didn't spend too much time at the Lighthouse as we wanted some coastal views. We did, however, take the quick 300m track to a lookout over Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary, where we drank in the whitecapped waves of the Bass Strait and the windswept coastline of the nearby township. The lookout also serves as an observation point for whales on their migration route.
Along the way, we took quick detours to beaches, poked our noses into nooks and crannies, and peered into gurgling rock pools. Neptune's necklace, a type of seaweed, was draped abundantly over the rocky surfaces and waved languidly in the oncoming swells.
Neptune's Necklace by Gary Houston (Wikimedia Commons)
We marvelled at the sheer red cliff faces that drop sharply onto the beaches and beckoned to be climbed. Back on the cliff tops again, we had the opportunity to catch sight of a sunbathing seal, enjoying a good scratch on a private rocky outcrop. We left him to his devices and ambled on.
The views on the walk were amazing, changing rapidly from dense scrub to sweeping coast and stony cliffs. It was a gloomy day, cold and windy. However, once in a while, the sun would peek out between the clouds and cast an ethereal glow on the cliff tops. It was absolutely magical.
We finally made it to Sunnymead Beach and scrambled down numerous steps to the beach. The storm the previous nights had washed up various curious flotsam and jetsam onto the shore, along with blobs of translucent blue jelly. Some of these blobs we identified as jellyfish, others remained in the realm of 'mysterious gelatinous sea creature'. Once our natural curiosity was satisfied, and our tummies started to rumble, we headed back up to the cliff tops and back into town for some lunch.
The track is a good 3km one way, but it was definitely longer with all the detours we took. It is well defined, with some slight hills, and we had no problems navigating the track. The helpful directional signposts along the way carry the Surf Coast Walk logo and distances to the next town or beach so you know you are on track. There are marked beach access points along the way, but they will present a challenge to those who have difficulty navigating stairs. The beaches along the route we took were not patrolled so I would not recommend any swimming. Also if you want to spend some time in the rock pools, be mindful of the incoming tides.
The Aireys Inlet Cliff Top Walk is undeniably one of the best ways to spend a weekend. Fresh air, natural wonders and beach curios make it a worthwhile adventure. Best of all, it is close enough to civilisation such that you can hop back in the car and head off to the next town to explore the delicious local produce.