Club Labour Day Weekend Away Report – Airey’s Inlet Mar 2011

Well the annual Labour Day weekend has been and gone for another year but for all you undecided people who chose not to go, there is another opportunity later in the year but you will need to read on for the details. 26 members and their partners/guests attended the WCC trip to Aireys Inlet this year, 2 up on last year with 24 of us staying in Distillery Cottages and 2 elsewhere. As with most of us but not all, I set off on Friday arriving late afternoon and my journey only being held up for 20 minutes leaving work via Hoddle St and Punt Rd, the rest of the journey taking just over an hour was uneventful. Arriving at the cottages at around 5pm I was stunned by the silence of being about 1.5 km inland of the inlet in the bush. The location was beautiful and the cottages stood very picturesque in their surroundings. I quickly found my cottage only to find that I’d been beaten there by the President himself who’d told me he was leaving work around 4pm and this really scuppered my plans for getting there early and picking the best bed.

Having unpacked and caught up with the rest of the early arrivals, we decided that it was probably time to head to the Aireys Inlet Hotel where we had a table booked for 24. Ron, Chris, Albert and Fred were already waiting when we arrived and new member Rosie and her partner Bill arrived a little bit later but we all enjoyed a very nice meal, a good chat and several beers and wines. Unfortunately Stewart and Annette were unable to join us as Stewart was ill at home.  Later it was back to the cottages for a few more beers or wine and a good old chat on the balcony of the biggest cottage, Storybrook which ended up being the central meeting and eating place. Sorry about the bottle of Glayva Pete, it was Rodelle and Peter who drank it not me.

Storybrook Cottage by David Burton

Quite a few of us stayed up late (too late) chatting and an alcohol fuelled decision was made to get up for the sunrise before we retired to get as much sleep (not much as it happens) as we could before falling back out of bed in the darkness trying to get ourselves organised and find a spot to see the sunrise. It was at this point that Rodelle cliams to have had to wait 30 minutes on the doorstep for Pete and I, a point which neither of us can confirm. Finding a good spot wasn’t as easy as it seemed  and the glow on the horizon had already arrived when we got to a viewpoint just outside of Aireys Inlet. We made the best of what was a very average location and I did manage to get a few shots that were keepers. One piece of advice for these early morning endeavours is to take a torch; this would prove to be essential the next morning but on this occasion would have allowed us to see the Bull Ant nest that we’d set up on top of. Fortunately none of us were bitten.

Sunset over, we checked out the beach and took a few more shots in the morning sunlight. Arriving back at the cottages, Pete retired back to bed as he had plans for that night and Rodelle and I decided that a cooked breakfast was on the cards. So after 30 minutes slaving over a hot stove, breakfast and coffee made, the waitress brought our food and we reflected on the disaster that was Japan in the local cafe. Breakfast over we thought that if we wanted to miss the crowds then a trip to Anglesea to get supplies for that night’s planned BBQ would be a good idea. Anglesea was already busy but not a patch on what it would be like later that day. BBQ supplies bought, we returned to the cottages to see what the plans for the day were. All which I might add were completed before some people even got up. A Split Point Lighthouse tour had been organised for 2pm but poor old Jill had been let down badly by the organisers, spent most of the morning trying to get things sorted out. Whilst we waited to see the people about the tour we retired for a drink at the café by the lighthouse which is thoroughly recommended as they serve some very nice scones.

Lighthouse organised and back on the cards again, we sat down by the Wildlife Sanctuary as Peter had decided that he needed to show Rodelle all about fill light. Unfortunately for Pete but fortunately for Rodelle, Pete had to go to the lighthouse to make the numbers up for the tour. Fortunately for me, this meant that I had time for a snooze on the grass in the sun, unfortunately for me I was sitting with two evil women who decided that they should take not one but several images of me before posting one of them on Facebook. Just shows that you can’t trust anyone especially as one of them was seen later, iPad in hand, showing everyone an image of me asleep. That evening saw all 25 of us on the balcony cooking BBQ and chatting about the day’s events as well as many other topics I would imagine. Absent from the evening was our President, he had promised to shoot a band at St Kilda on the Saturday night and had driven back to Melbourne for this purpose returning at 1.30pm. It was noted on this evening that Peter Myers had a distinct knack for breaking plastic chairs, large or small and any colour, nothing was safe from the chair smasher as the sound of ‘KERRACK’ echoed through the bush. Also that both Kath and Rodelle were terrified of spiders of which there were several running around, mainly huntsman which I found odd because the very next day both of them were happy to get much closer to the lethal snake that could have lurched at them than they were the harmless huntsman which was much more scared of them.

Ron at the Lighthouse Tour by Ian Hansen

The next morning was up for a sunrise again but this time we were early and there were many more of us. This is where the torch was essential as we were negotiating steps to the beach in the dark. The tide was in but we still managed to get onto the rocks for some sunrise shots. The sunrise was great but not a good as the previous day due to low cloud however, we still managed to get some shots, well at least I did as I’ve not seen anyone else’s images as yet. Back to the cottages to drop off people, Rodelle and I and this time joined by Pete, watched as a very hassled café owner was running around making breakfast for a full house, including us.

Pete had suggested going to Lake Elizabeth but first of all it was a trip to the farmers market up the road. There was also a historic event by the sanctuary but we decided to set off for Lake Elizabeth instead. The lake was about an hour’s drive and we needed two cars as there were 8 of us. Lake Elizabeth is a hidden gem, a very beautiful lake hidden in the forest close to the West Barwon Reservoir. It takes around 30 minutes to walk to the reservoir from the car park but it is a stunning location. Four of us walked around the lake whilst the other four waited at the boat ramp. We saw a brown snake on the way around and couldn’t wait to get back to brag about it only to find that both Andy and Rosie Armitage, now known as Hawk-eye and Eagle-eye had seen both a brown and a black snake whilst they were wandering around waiting for us. One event worth noting that happened whilst we were at the lake was the sighting of the fumbling juggler. this person’s name is Pete and he was last seen juggling his mobile phone and camera on the boat launching ramp. Unfortunately the phone lost and it plunged along with Pete’s pride straight into the murky depths of the lake. Split second reactions saw a red shirted Pete diving in head first after it and after several agonising seconds managed to locate the phone in the murky depths and recover it. Would you believe that this phone is now back in full working order after having the battery removed and left to dry in the dashboard of his car.

Black Snake by David Burton
Pete's Phone by David Burton

We retired back to the cars and headed for Apollo Bay where we got drinks before heading inland to Mariners Falls. Now it has to be said at this point that we’d done a little bit of walking around the lake but a couple of people weren’t up to it and had not managed the extra walk. So understandably they weren’t keen to walk another 45 minutes to the waterfall. So they stayed in the car however, Rosie, Andy, Pete and myself all managed the walk putting the younger people AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE to shame. I reckon that they will regret not going because even though it had started to drizzle, this was one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in the Otway’s National Park. The drizzle actually enhanced the entire scene when we got to the falls making for some very nice photography.

Mariners Falls by Dave Sumner

Back at the car again, we set of on the long drive back via the pizza restaurant in Apollo Bay making it back to just catch the last of the slideshow of people’s images. An early night was grabbed by most and up late the next day to pack bags and set off home. Farewells were said and people drifted away slowly, personally I took the long way home going north then east and eventually coming out near Bacchus Marsh but having had a very quiet trip home with empty roads.

It is essential that everyone in the club and especially those who went on the trip appreciates the time and work put into the organisation of this  weekend. Tirelessly this person has organised, disorganised, changed and reorganised things so that we as members could have a great long weekend away. Without her efforts this weekend would have not got off the ground and she deserves a HUGE pat on the back for organising it all. So please join me in saying ‘Thank You’ to Jill Myers who is an absolute star and a very valued member of WCC (except for the part where she took pictures of me asleep), your efforts were very much appreciated by all.

Normally the club only holds one trip away per year but Jill is again going all out to organise a second trip to Mansfield hopefully in September. I hope you will all show your appreciation by joining us on that trip. More details will follow soon but it probably a good idea to let her know ASAP that you are interested.