Rated 'medium', the hike to Castle Cove features the Air River estuary, rocky escarpments and coastal views. Onwards to Johanna Beach, experience heathland, wildflowers, grass trees and clifftop views.
So with that in mind, I slept in and left quite late. The past two days hiking have actually been double days - 2 suggested hiking legs per day. But today was to be by-the-book. Primarily it was to meet up with my transfer service guy, Abby , so I could swap my rubbish for a few extra days of food supplies and a cold beer. Seemed like a good opportunity to discipline myself and have a rest day.
But it took much longer that I expected, the sign said four hours, the map said five hours. It took me five and half hours, and as long as forty-five minutes to get from Johanna Beach to the hike-in campsite, some 800m beyond the beach (measured as 1.1km on my GPS though!).
Lots of coastal salt bush and heath, as they call it. The end of the day some 3km spent on the beach. I can see the beach now, and hear the waves crashing from the hike-in campsite on a ridge high above the beach. I can see where I walked today, and where I had lunch on the beach. It seems so close now...
Like I said, it was a rest day, so I was goign to take it easy, nice and slow. I realised I had forgotten there was a decision point on today's hike, a place to deivde whether to take the beach route, or in case of high tide, take the safe, reliable inland route. There are eleven such decision points along the trail, this was the ninth (most of the decision points are on the first hiking leg). The low tide was at 9.30am, and this was one of the three decision points for which there was no inland route. Again, it seemed like a fuss over nothing, but I can see how at high tide the beach would be narrow, but it would need to be a mighty tide or stormy to be inaccessible. Decision Point 9B (yes, they have mulptiple decision points on one beach sometimes) was a small headland on the beach. I had to wait for the waves to recede before rushing across to the nest beach.
When I finally made camp, I chose out a nice spot. When you book your campsites, you are allocated a particular tent site. Mine was one with a mountain view, but I preferred the coastal views on offer. I didn't set up camp yet though, I would wait and check with the family I had met last night which I knew were due in soon, as they would have booked three tent sites, and there were three such coastal view tent sites. They hogged the shelter last night, not that I minded, but perhaps they would feel a little guilty abou tthat - so they wouldn't mind swapping a tent site tonight.
Got a blister on my heel today, erwk.
Tomorrow I think I will set off early - to go for a quick swim - finally!
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Day 1: Apollo Bay to Blanket Bay
Day 2: Blanket Bay to Aire River
Day 3: Aire River to Johanna Beach
Day 4: Johanna Beach to Ryans Den
Day 5: Ryans Den to Princetown