Tuesday, the 17th November 20165, was day 11 of our trip away. We had spent a quiet Monday night in the apartment, and all of this day was a planned tourist day. So we had a little bit of a sleep in, but the quiet of the morning soon changed with the arrival of some Sulphur Crested cockatoos on our doorstep. They were very tame and allowed us to hand feed them. It wasn’t long before the magpies had joined in the party.
After breakfast we drove in to Lorne and had a quick look around. This included a visit to Lorne’s historic swing bridge which spans the mouth of the Erskine River. The bridge was constructed in 1937. We also took a walk along Lorne’s main street on the foreshore.
We drove up to have a look at the very majestic, Grand Pacific Hotel in Lorne, which can be located at the top end of Mountjoy Parade. Whilst there we booked a table for a meal that evening. The Grand Pacific was built in 1875 and features superb ocean views.
Marija was very keen to travel to Torquay, about 47 km north west of Lorne. So that is where we headed. We stopped a number of times along the way to enjoy the amazing views of the coastline along the Great Ocean Road. Along the way I booked in to the morning net on 40m run by Ron VK3MRH, who himself has recently become a very avid park hunter.
No trip along the Great Ocean Road is complete until you have stopped at the Memorial Arch. So of course, that’s what we did. Along when 10,000 other tourists. Well, okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. But there were certainly a lot of tourists here.
The Memorial Arch is a tribute to the World War One servicemen who constructed the Great Ocean Road. The current day arch is the third to be built. It replaced the second arch which was destroyed in the February 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires. The arch consists of a timber log archway with cement and stone supports on each side.
The Great Ocean Road was completed in 1932 and the arch was first erected in 1939. It was replaced in 1973 and again in 1983. There are a number of plaques here which tell all about the story of the construction of the Great Ocean Road.
There were also some very impressive homes along the Great Ocean Road. I gazed at a number of them in awe as we passed them, including the one below. What great views. And even better, from an amateur radio operator point of view….what a great take off!
We drove into the beautiful little town of Aireys Inlet, about 19 km north west of Lorne. Aireys Inlet is a lovely little coastal town, and has a population of around 1,200 people. The town was devastated during the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, with a large number of homes completely destroyed. The area experienced a brief lull, but interest in the area soon resumed and has been steadily increasing ever since.
We stopped briefly to have a look at the bark hut in Aireys Inlet. In 1852, Geelong butchers, Thomas Pearse and Robert McConachy, purchased the Anglohawk cattle station which ran from the Aireys inlet side of Painkalac Creek back towards Anglesea. Initially they built a slab house, a stone shed and 2 bark huts near there. The bark hut in Aireys Inlet is a replica of one of the hunts, which survived until 1983, when it was destroyed by bushfire.
We then stopped off at the Split Point lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. Construction on the lighthouse commenced in late 1890 and the lighthouse was first illuminated in September 1891. Prior to this, there were about ten shipwrecks along the surrounding coastline. It was these tragedies that prompted authorities to plan the lighthouse. Originally called Eagles Nest Point, the lighthouse was renamed Split Point in 1913.
The lighthouse has featured on series 6 of Masterchef. There is a cairn here which marks the burial site of Thomas Pearsse (mentioned above) and his wife, Martha.
For more information on the lighthouse, have a look at……
We continued along the Great Ocean Road towards Torquay, stopping briefly to enjoy the view at Urquart Bluff. We then drove down to the beach and had lunch, whilst sitting back enjoying the magnificent views and the sensational sunshine.
After lunch we drove on to the little town of Anglesea and stopped at the Anglesea Lookout Reserve which is also known as Loveridge Lookout. The lookout was built in 1938 as a memorial to James Loveridge by his widow Bertha. It is located near the former Loveridge owned property, ‘Anglecrest’. This site was chosen by Bertha, as it was James Loveridge’s favourite viewing location of Bass Strait. Sadly, the Ash Wednesday bushfires were to take another victim, with the destruction of the original ‘Anglecrest’ homestead. During the Second World War, Loveridge Lookout was used as an observation post for the Volunteer Air Observers Corps.
We continued on to Torquay, which is just 21 km from Geelong. This popular tourist town is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne. Torquay’s population is around 10,200 people.
Torquay is famous for its surf beaches, with Jan Juc and the world famous Bells Beach located on the town’s south-west outskirts. As a result, there is a major complex in the town which features a number of surf shops.
It was a warm afternoon, so Marija and I took the time out to stop off at one of the cafes in Torquay and enjoy a smoothie each. It was whilst we were sitting back relaxing, that I was going through some of the tourist brochures and learnt that we would be passing the Point Addis Marine National Park on the way back to Lorne. A little bit of groveling to Marija, and it was agreed upon that I could do a quick activation of the park.
The park was just a 14 km drive from Torquay.
Above:- Map showing the location of the Point Addis Marine National Park. Image courtesy of Forest Explorer.
We then headed back south west along the Great Ocean Road, and took the turn off to Bells Beach, travelling along Bones Road. It wasn’t long before we reached the world famous Bells Beach. It is named after John Cavert Bell, of the family who first took up a pastoral run in the area back in the 1840’s. Bells Beach is the home to the world’s longest running surfing competition – the Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival. This was formerly known as the Bells Beach Surfing Classic and was first held in January 1961.
We continued along the Bells Beach Road and then Jarosite Road, until we reached the Great Ocean Road. A short distance from there, we turned left into Point Addis Road. We stopped off briefly at the lookout for Southside Beach. As it turns out this is a nudist beach. But my nudist days are well and truly passed me, so we didn’t venture down to the beach. I am sure all of the nudists down on the beach would have appreciated my decision!
We continued along Point Addis Road and along the way I spoke with Tony VK3VTH who was operating portable from the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747. Tony had a good 5/9 signal into the mobile. We continued on until we reached the carpark at the end of Point Sddis Road. There weren’t any possibilities for activation positions along the way, so we decided to try to set up in the carpark in one of the corners away from any of the tourists.
A little bit of information about Point Addis Marine National Park…..the park features spectacular scenery with wide sandy beaches, limestone and sandstone cliffs and rocky platforms. The park is 4,600 hectares in size and is part of a system of 13 Marine National Parks in Victoria. The park is considered to be one of the most biodiverse and unique marine ecosystems in the world. Bells Beach is just one of the features along the 9km of rugged coastline between Torquay and Anglesea.
Above:- Map showing the park, just south west of Torquay. Image courtesy of Forest Explorer.
There is a boardwalk here at the end of Point Addis Road, which allows you to view the magnificent coastline. If you are here between May and September, you may also be fortunate enough to see a whale.
I secured the squid pole to a fencepost, with the assistance of an octopus strap, and stretched out the legs of the 20m/40m linked dipole, securing them to the fence. I then sat back in my deck chair and turned on the Yaesu FT-857d. Before calling CQ I had a look around the band in the hope of working Tony VK3VTH, and perhaps finding some other park activators. I found Tony still on 7.144, calling CQ, so I gave him a shout (5/9 both ways).
Above:- Map showing the park. Our operating spot was right at the tip of Point Addis. Image courtesy of Forest Explorer.
I then headed up the band to 7.150 and started calling CQ. It wasn’t long before the park hunters had found me. My second contact for the activation was with avid park hunter, Brett VK2VW, followed by another park stalwart, Mick VK3PMG, and then Steve VK7CW, who is another park regular.
I went on to work a total of 49 stations on 40m SSB. Band conditions were excellent, with some very strong signals from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7. Well at least band conditions were good. Because the weather conditions had deteriorated rapidly. The afternoon had started out beautifully with bright sunshine and just a gentle sea breeze. But after about an hour of operating, the wind had picked up dramatically, and I lost the squid pole on a couple of occasions. This resulted in another octopus strap being required to keep it upright.
As we had booked to go out for tea that evening at Lorne, I was running a bit short of time. So battling with the wind, I lowered the squid pole and with Marija’s assistance we removed the links and then raised the squid pole back into position. I went to 14.310 and called CQ and this was answered by Mr. Reliable, Rick VK4RF/VK4HA. Next up was Les VK5KLV from Port Augusta. I was very surprised to hear Les with such an exceptionally good 5/8 signal. I thought we might have been a little too close for 20m. I worked a further seven stations on 20m from VK2, VK4, VK6, New Zealand and Russia. Unfortunately it was way too early for Europe on the long path.
We also had some onlookers during the activation. A busload of tourists arrived, and I took the time to explain to them what this idiot with a squid pole was doing in a carpark overlooking the ocean. They seemed very interested. We were also visited by some Paramedics. Apparently someone had fallen down a cliff face. I never actually found out if they were rescued.
So, after about 90 minutes in the park, I had a total of 59 QSOs in the log and a brand new park under my belt as an activator. It was time to pack up and head back to Lorne and head out for tea.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK3VTH/p (Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747)
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
That night we enjoyed a very enjoyable evening at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Lorne.
Parks Victoria, 2015, <http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/point-addis-marine-national-park>, viewed 10th December 2015.
Monument Australia, 2015, <http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/ww1/display/31148-great-ocean-road-memorial-arch/photo/1>, viewed 10th December 2015.
Wikipedia, 2015, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aireys_Inlet>, viewed 10th December 2015
Split Point Lighthouse, 2015, <http://splitpointlighthouse.com.au/>, viewed 10th December 2015
Wikipedia, 2015, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bells_Beach,_Victoria>, viewed 10th December 2015