Diana’s Bath – finally made it!

Long history of trying

After 5 attempts to reach Diana’s Bath in what I think is the easiest way to get there, it was finally reached. What happened?

Attempt 1

Planned to follow the way most other clubs follow by descending from Mount Byron. By the time Mount Byron was reached there was no time to descend to Diana’s Bath.

Attempt 2

This day was cancelled due to heavy rainfall.

Attempt 3

Wet again!

Attempt 4

After having a good look decided to follow the horse trail from Mount Brisbane Road, via Dayboro across to Byron Creek and then follow Byron Creek downstream to Diana’s Bath. The return would be back to the car park and then follow Diana’s Bath Road and Byron Creek Road to Range Road and Chambers Road to the car.

The day came and – another wet day!! Can’t miss a trick. The planed route is on clay so any rainfall is not ideal. So for safety, tail between the legs and up to Mount Mee for a safer walk.

Attempt 5

This time the weather was perfect. Nice sunny day and a bit warm. What a chance to finally get there. So after meeting at the Dayboro Cemetery it was drive to the junction of Byron Creek Road, Range Road and the horse trail. The horse trail was followed as it descended a ridge down to Byron Creek. Some parts of this descent were fairly steep on gravelly surface, which had been disturbed by trail bikes. Once at the bottom a sign to Byron Creek Road and Diana’s Bath Road was encountered, so it was straight ahead.

At the next intersection, a left turn was taken. Andy and I had already followed the track on a previous reconnaissance to the right and finished up back on Range Road.

From here the track ascended to A Break, the highest point on the walk. Even though this was a bigger ascent the track was not as steep as what we had descended. Upon reaching A Break, a break was taken to catch our breath. We actually stopped for morning tea where we thought the climb had ended, but there was one pinch more!

Anyway from A Break, the horse trail was followed as it descended steeply down to Byron Creek (yes, Byron Creek again!). Once Byron Creek was reached a bit of meandering along the creek in amongst lantana before reaching the end of the horse trail.

Turning right at the creek, a part track was followed along the creek till a large cliff stopped our progress. Andy scaled a large boulder and managed to gain a way along the creek, the rest retreated back up he creek to a crossing and across the other side, found a well worn track. This track was followed to Diana’s Bath.

Diana’s Bath is a large waterhole which is about the size of two olympic swimming pools. There is a large slab of rock on the northern side which drops deeply into the pool. A truly wondrous place! After lunch and a swim, it was time to head back, this time choosing the formed foot track.

This foot track soon returned to the creek and although the creek crossing was obvious, the other side was overgrown in lantana. Oh well another bush bash and in clear land past the lantana came across a road. The road was followed to the south to a gate, then crossed the creek and passed onto open land. The road appeared to be going in the wrong direction. Oh well it’s better than fighting lantana. After a while a gate was met with the Power Station notice on it. No access to this land!

A check of the map and we had taken the wrong creek, having found where we should be, followed a path along the creek to cross it, but the steep bank was unrelenting, with lantana being a barrier. There is one way to deal with this jump onto the lantana and break through. Once through, and the creek gained, a road along the creek was found and followed. This track gradually ascended, and lo and behold! the Diana’s Bath Car Park. A break was taken and then it was a walk up the hill on Diana’s Bath Road as the road ascended to the junction with A Break. The road then descended to its junction with Byron Creek Road and a left turn taken. A short distance was a creek crossing which made for a lovely stop.

Form the the walk ascended Byron Creek Road to the junction with Range Road and the vehicles.

What a great day! Pity some other members could not attend to bathe in the glory!

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First day on Great Ocean Walk

Friday 09/09/2016 – Day 2 – Apollo Bay to Blanket Bay – 24.53 km

Awoke early and packed the day pack and the headed up for breakfast. Breakfast consisted of porridge, poached eggs and toast, and coffee. The lunch was the prepared with the ingredients for a salad plus ham, with turkish bread and pita bread. It was left to me to construct the lunch as I pleased. After making lunch, wrapping it in glad wrap, and placing it into a container, I then added one apple, two bananas, and an orange, plus a muesli bar. Once all packed it was into the bus for the first leg.

After about half an hour the bus arrived at the start of the Great Ocean Walk in Apollo Bay. After a series of photos were taken, I was even one UHF by Sam and took up my position as tail end Charlie (also called “toilet paper”). Passing along the Great Ocean Road through Apollo Bay and then through the Barham River estuary with the Backwater, the Great Ocean Road entered Marengo. From there the walk followed the coast and into the Marengo Caravan Park. The walk passed through the caravan park to the start of the walking track, with slippery boardwalk. The trail meandered in the vegetation behind the beach passing Swell Point and then entering the beach. After a short stroll along the beach we came to a headland which looked treacherous to pass. Checking the directions, we should have gone up 1A. So we backtracked to the 1A sign and left the beach to follow the path behind the beach. This section took the walkers past Storm Point and then back to the beach. After a short walk along the beach a set of stairs was ascended to a gate. This does not look right. Descended to the beach and continued to the next stairs which was the track of the Great Ocean Walk. Oops!

Once regaining the track, it ascended quickly to Bald Hill Point with its commanding views including seals seen a distance off the coast. This section involved the trekkers passing under low vegetation which contained a koala. A quick descent from Bald Hill Point and the track entered Three Creeks Beach and walked along the beach for 600 m. At the western end was time for a morning tea break. Then the heavens opened. After packing our gear and donning wet weather gear, we headed off.

Being tail end Charlie, I was in company with a person who saw the walk as a real challenge. So far was a battle and I hoped that we would not arrive at the end of this section too late for the rest of the group.

The track ascended quickly from Three Creeks Beach and started to ascend as the Shelly Beach Car Park was reached. From this point the track descended into the Elliot River and then ascended to the Elliot Ridge GOW Campground. By this time, I was far behind the main group but battled on.

The track at this point headed inland ascending all the while to the left turn onto the Elliot Road. Elliot Road was followed up hill to Parker Spur Road, during which leg a lunch break was taken. As I arrived, the leading group then departed. After about ten minutes, we departed. Upon reaching Parker Spur Road, the walk then undulated along Parker Spur to the Johnson Track. This track undulated till its junction with Blanket Bay Track. The Blanket Bay Track had a long slow descent till its junction with the Telegraph Track. Turning down Telegraph Track, the descent became steeper right down to the beach at Blanket Bay.

A short walk along the beach from the steps and then met the rest of the group, boarded the bus and headed back to Bimbi Park.

Off I go

Thursday 08/09/2016 – Day 1 – Travel Day

Woke at 4.30am, and finished packing, had breakfast and had a BGL of 4.4. Woke Sue at 5.30 am and went into the girls room to see if anyone else was coming to the airport.

Departed home at 5.45 am and started a good run. After crossing the Ted Smout Bridge and onto the Deagon Deviation, news of a broken down vehicle came through. On the Gateway Motorway southbound at Nudgee Road. Oh crap! go to get past that! Decided to take the Deagon Deviation to Sandgate Road, after queueing for fifteen minutes and not making much progress.

On Sandgate Road, the traffic was heavy but moving and allowed us to exit to Toombul Road and get onto the Southern Cross Way and then onto Airport Drive and the Domestic Terminal. Picked up my bags, said my goodbyes and then walked to the Virgin Terminal.

Arrived at the check-in at 7.00am, with my flight boarding at 7.25 am. Thank goodness for the early start. How will the others in the group fare? My bag weighed exactly 23 kg, the maximum weight, how about that?!

Collected the rest of my gear, which I had strategically rearranged to the stuff I need in the plane and the rest in the luggage. I made my way to the departure gate, and tried to make up mu mind about buying a coffee. By the time I had decided to do that, there was less time to purchase it than the time left to board.

On the aircraft a Boeing 737-800, found my seat at 15A retrieved my laptop, man bag and folder and sealed in to my seat. I was shortly joined by a couple from Wynnum heading to their daughters place at Torquay. I also managed to remember Kristine’s bear and placed it on my knee at a window and took its photo.

The plane then departed Brisbane for Melbourne a flight of 2 hours and 15 minutes. There was about 6 oktas of cloud all the way to Melbourne, so no sights to behold. I instead, after the coffee and muesli bar, entered into conversation with my fellow passenger and then looked out the window, we were over northern Victoria and while working out where we were, we flew past Tullamarine. Hang on are we on a Jetstar flight? After short time however, the plane swung around 180 degrees and we landed at Tullamarine. Looking down I could not believe the amount of traffic at 10.15 in the morning, as heavy as Brisbane’s peak traffic.

After landing, and collecting the heavy bag, hired a Ecart and loaded the bag onto it. If anyone else has a heavy bag I can use this. So I made my way to Hudsons and waited. Not long after, Sam arrived and the start of the new adventure was getting underway. We waited for another two hours while the rest of the contingent arrived. Then we waited for the bus. It was caught in a snarl on the Calder Highway.

Finally the bus arrived at 1.00pm, and the bus driver, Lee, was very hospitable.

So we loaded our luggage, took our seats and began the next phase of the journey. It took three and a half hours to arrive at Bimbi Park; which included a stop in Apollo Bay, to buy supplies and a six pack of Stella Artois; and were given our room allocations. I was given DE2, Deluxe Cabin 2, a 4 person cabin all to myself. So I unpacked, showered, and changed and then made my way up to the dining hall for dinner.

During dinner, proper introductions were made and the plan for the walk, including the time for breakfast. After dinner, I made my way back to the cabin, wrote this blog, studied and watched some TV -at least channel 24. I couldn’t change channels as the remote was playing up. I selected channels on the set top box itself, but to no avail. Oh well, it was time to turn in, and an early day tomorrow.