Rapid Bay, SA

Sssh! Don’t tell anyone. If anyone ever asks this place doesn’t exist.

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If you are in SA and you are looking for a great place to stretch out and relax then I couldn’t think of a better place than Rapid Bay.

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Rapid Bay is south of Adelaide on the way to Cape Jervis and the Kangaroo Island ferry.

Wikipedia states “South Australia Colonial Surveyor General Colonel William Light made his first landfall on mainland South Australia at Rapid Bay on 8 September 1836. The site was named after Light’s ship, the 162 ton brig Rapid. To mark this historic landfall the Colonel’s initials, “W.L.”, were carved into a large boulder – a replica is visible in the township, while the original is stored in the South Australian Museum, in Adelaide. The first European child born on mainland South Australia was delivered at Rapid Bay on 7 November 1836. His name was John Rapid Hoare“.

It’s an old BHP constructed town and the jetty was built to load ore onto ships. The town was handed to the SA government in 1982 at no cost.

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What’s left is a very quiet* little beachside camping spot. It’s just $7/adult and $3.50/child per night.

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There’s a new jetty beside the old one that is used for fishing and has a scuba diving platform. We saw some scuba divers and a seal while we stayed here. I’ve heard dolphin sightings are also common.

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Our girls loved playing in the beach and riding their bikes. We had a great spot to relax and could keep an eye on the girls.

We took a drive to the nearby town of Cape Jervis. The girls loved watching the ferry coming and going and I was amazed and the shear size of the wind turbines at nearby Starfish Hill wind Farm.

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Cape Jervis has the most modern looking lighthouse I’ve ever seen. I’d like to know its history.

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*Apparently long weekends and holiday times can be quiet busy here. We were here in the middle of the SA school holidays and it was fine.

Cockatoo Lake, SA

Sitting on the foreshore of Cockatoo Lake in South Australia I am just starting to relax on our current holiday. The first few days have been great but it usually takes awhile to get into the slower pace. The phone calls and texts from work stop and getting away from everything and everyone, spending time with just the family is when I start to really chill.

The lake is very quiet, the type of quiet only nature can bring. The rustle of the wind in the trees, the chirp of the tiny finch’s and budgies. The distant squawk of a cockatoo. Even the girls are quiet. Sitting on the grass discovering all sorts of things.

The sun is starting to set. Not a word is being spoken. Just quiet.

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This is why I like to get out here in the bush. No bullshit. Just the real deal.

Gellibrand

After our recent Australia Day trip to Johanna Beach we invited some friends to join us for another weekend.  We suggested Johanna beach as it was a normal weekend and we were sure there would be no crowds.  We were to meet there on Friday.

At about 4pm I recieved a phone call.  Our friends had arrived at the camp site only to find that there was a fishing comp on and the place was packed again!

We were only leaving Melbourne at that stage and with a 2.5hr drive we would have been guaranteed to miss out on a spot.  What to do???  A quick search on wikicamps and our friends suggested a caravan park they had passed on the way to Johanna Beach just out of Colac called Otways Tourist Park.

Otways Tourist Park

What a little gem.  This is the sort of place if you blink you will miss it.  Only about 20 kms south of Colac in a little town called Gellibrand.  This camp is a labour of love of the owners and they built it up from scratch over about 15yrs.  Lots of green grass and shade. They allow dogs and you can hire fire pits ($5) and a wheelbarrow load of wood ($20).

Since starting this post we actually went back and spent another weekend.  It really is that good and will most likely become one of our go to spots being less than 2hrs from home.

We took the opportunity to ride the Beach Forrest to Gellibrand Rail Trail (twice) on the second visit.  We went in the downhill direction and it was an amazing ride through rainforest and farming land with an array of history boards and relics from the past.  The ride is approx. 18kms mostly downhill so little pedalling was needed.  My type of bike riding.  It’s not really one for the kids unless they are experienced riders.

There is a great little cafe across the road that does good coffee and the food looks good too and the Otway Estate Brewery is only 10 kms away on the road back to Colac.  So if you are in the area don’t hesitate to stop here.  It would make a nice base camp to visit the nearby beaches on day trips.

Johanna Beach

I’m a bit late on this post as we spent the Australia Day weekend at an amazing spot in the Otways called Johanna Beach.

A free camping spot that is very popular in the summer months and long weekends.  It gave us a good go and testing out the recent solar panel addition which worked brilliantly for the whole five days we were there.

The view from our van.

We were lucky enough that we could arrive there on the Thursday before the long weekend to get a spot.  By mid afternoon the place was full to the gills. Standing room only which meant anyone with a tent or caravan had nowhere to stay.  Only backpackers with a desire to camp on the side of the tracks in and out of the camp ground braved the overnight stay and then scurried off early the next morning.

The Girls at the lookout

Johanna beach is a gem.  If you get the chance to go when the crowds are gone on a normal weekend out of the summer months you would most likely have the place to yourself.  It could be wild weather but it’s a beautiful spot.

The beach from the lookout

With only a short stroll to the beach, it may only be your footsteps you see in the sand. There is so much to do and see in the area or it’s a great place to just waste the day away.

The mist rolls in.

If you decide to visit the campsite and your towing a van, make sure you drive in on Red Johanna Rd.  Blue Johanna Rd is not good for vans.

Sunset