Weekend Hiking Retreat: ‘Well that all sounds very nice’ you may think – but what actually happens on one?
Here’s a round-up of what happened on the weekend just gone…
Friday – from 5pm
Retreat’ers started arriving. As they come through the front door of our accommodation, they were first greeted with the zesty & aromatic fragrance of lime, basil & mandarin (Unmatched candles), then as they moved through the living area, the delicious smells of dinner being cooked.
Rooms had been allocated, and beds were done on a ‘first there, best choice’ basis, so they made their way down the hallway to drop off their bags.
Then, it was chill out & chat time with some home made hummus, roasted beetroot dip, crackers and other nibbles, while the finishing touches were being done to dinner.
Dinner (homemade chilli, wraps, and rice – with fresh guacamole and salsa) was served at the large communal table.
After dinner it was again time to chill out in the communal lounge room with some more snacks and drinks. We enjoyed chatting, some laughs, and talking about the walk ahead the next day.
Saturday – from 7am
Breakfast – the homemade granola went down well, as did the sourdough with cottage cheese & leftover guacamole and salsa (for those lucky enough to nab it before it ran out).
Then it was time for a quick run through of the day ahead, which included some safety points, details of the track, and a look at the map to see where we were headed.
We were lucky enough to leave from the front door of our accommodation. We all agreed that leaving from the centre of town, and slowly making our way away from the hustle and bustle of Apollo Bay (well as ‘hustle and bustle’ as it gets there…) was a lovely way to warm up, and to ease us into the serenity of the track itself.
Once we were past Marengo Caravan Park, we felt like we’d left the world (and with it, our worries and stresses) behind. As hikers are encouraged to walk in one direction, you rarely see other hikers, which gives a lovely feeling of having the track all to yourself. The track runs alongside the beach for a while, before heading down onto the beach itself, with some rock pool hopping, before heading back off the beach.
We walked until Shelly Beach, where we took a few moments to enjoy the private location, before heading back up to the picnic area for our first break of the day. The last toilet on the track (and a drop one at that!), some snacks, and topping up of water, before we headed off on our way again.
Then it was across Elliot River, before heading up through the forest. Lunch was at one of my favourite points on the track – where Elliot Road meets Parker Road.
After lunch we continued on through the forest, before heading downhill into the magnificent Blanket Bay, and onto the beach. Once we’d celebrated our efforts (with the obligatory selfie’s), we headed up to the carpark where our transfer was waiting to take us back to our accommodation.
Once back, it was time for showers, snacks (fresh strawberry smoothies), and some chilling out while dinner was being prepared. Dinner was served (fresh thai coconut curry), before we all headed into the living area to enjoy some drinks, laughs, and music. Some of the group then watched a movie, while others enjoyed reading and an early(ish) night.
Sunday – from 8.30am
We were spoilt with some gorgeous sunshine, so we enjoyed sitting outside on the deck with the newspapers, some coffee and breakfast. Once Eija Tibbits (our masseuse – and a lovely local lady, who also has a clinic if you don’t need a mobile service) arrived, we took turns enjoying our massages. We were asked where we’d like her to work on (when I described my sore points she unsurprisingly called them the ‘walking’ muscles), and the pressure we preferred (firm for me). The room was quiet (except for some soft music), and it felt so relaxing as well as the perfect way to work out those tight spots. After our massage, we all seemed to float out of the room.
Then, already, it was time to finish packing the cars.
With smiles, and hugs, it was time to say our goodbyes and head off home.
Do you like the sound of this? Spring Hiking Trip Dates & Locations now confirmed:
Trip 1 – Great Ocean Walk, Ryans Den to Twelve Apostles
Saturday 19th September – Monday 21st September (arrive Friday 18th)
Trip 2 – Surf Coast Walk
Saturday 3rd October – Sunday 4th October (arrive Friday 2nd)
Trip 3 – Great Ocean Walk, Apollo Bay to Blanket Bay
I’m still working out the final details, so to register your interest (and be first to know once details are sorted), email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org