Date: Saturday, 10 November 2018
Start: Pattersons Camp
Finish: Pinehaven Motel, Nelson
Daily Kilometres: 20.5
Total GSWW Kilometres: 128.8
Weather: Partly cloudy
Accommodation: Motel Room
Lunch: Pie & chips
Dinner: Pizza and ice-cream
Aches: Feet sore
Highlight: Fantastic limestone gorge scenery along the Glenelg River
Lowlight: None really
Pictures: Click here
Map: Click here for Google Map
It rained overnight and I packed up a very wet flysheet and a damp tent before setting off at 7am after farewelling Cath and Ben, the young couple with whom I shared the campsite. They were nearly ready to leave, and suspecting they were faster hikers than me, I said I would see them down the trail.
The vegetation had become more scrubby and heathlike in this limestone country. The ground was harder and rockier, but the trail was still pretty and was sometimes bordered by ghostly moss-covered wiry trees. The trail also spent a lot of time right on the edge of the limestone gorge through which the Glenelg River ran and the views were spectacular, both up and down the river. In one place I could see a small campsite and people fishing, and in others, deserted jetties or boatramps. Occasionally a boat motored along.
Cath and Ben caught me just as I was finishing my breakfast at a beautiful overlook, but soon left me behind, though I was to see them a couple more times before Nelson. As the trail and river neared the town, there were boatsheds and houses occasionally visible on the other side and the cliffs gradually became lower.
I reached Nelson about 12:45pm and went to the motel (the only one in town) next to, and owned by, the service station (also the only one in town) and the proprietor kindly let me check in and said I could do my washing in their laundry later on. After spreading out my tent, groundsheet and flysheet as best I could to dry in my room, I walked down to the town’s general store/post office to collect the food parcel I had mailed to myself and bought some lunch.
Nelson is a pretty little fishing town at the western end of the famed Great Ocean Road, and I remember it as a scenic little whistle-stop on a bike ride I did about ten years ago from Adelaide to Sydney along the coast when training for one of my failed round-Australia record attempts. My afternoon was pleasantly spent doing laundry, sorting out food and gear, and going through my email, with the TV going on in the background.
I bought some dinner from the service station and will get some breakfast there tomorrow morning before setting out eastwards on my return to Portland along the coast. The scenery will be different again and I’ll be looking out for seals and other marine life. The service station proprietor told me that a hiker had made an emergency call from along this stretch last night and had been retrieved by emergency services apparently because of illness.