You know you can drive there? So joked one of my Facebook friends when I posted a picture of the first glimpse of the Twelve Apostles after four days of hiking. Good point. You can. And I have but where’s the fun in that? It is a question I was able to ponder on the track today. Our guide Jack held us back at a point where we could see the landmark in the distance and then let us walk off one at a time at two minute intervals to enjoy the view, the solitude and have 20 minutes of quiet reflection on the journey. It has been tough, at times very tough but that makes arriving at the destination far more rewarding, especially when that destination is such a stunning national landmark. The helicopter ride over the Apostles was the icing on what had been a rather delicious cake. I enjoy walking. I enjoy a challenge and frankly I needed to do something for myself and this suited me perfectly. While this walk is akin to the Cradle Mountain Huts experience in Tasmania I conquered five years ago there are some key differences most of which made the walk even more tailored to Susan’s needs and wants
Unlike in Tasmania where you walked to a new destination and lodge each night, on this walk The 12 Apostles Lodge is your base for the whole trek. This means:
- a) you only have to carry a light day back each day and the rest can stay in your room.
- b) The room has power so you can recharge batteries and download pics from your memory card to a laptop. This pleased snap happy Susan a great deal
- c) You have your own room which is made up daily. There are crisp white linen sheets, fluffy doonas, heating, beautiful bathroom products and flushing toilets
- d) Staff at the lodge includes a dedicated chef who whips up gourmet meals and the wine fridge is well stocked with some rather special local wines. As the lodge is easily assessable by road fresh local produce is on hand and this enables a rather special dining experience
- e) Foot spas. People laughed when we told them this was one of the features of this walk. At the end of a long day’s hiking these are a pleasure to behold
Mind you, there were advantages to the wilderness walk the big one being that you didn’t have to spend time at the beginning and end of each day sitting in a van being shuttled to and from the lodge to the walk. Also in Tasmania there were just two staff who were literally with you every step of the way. They ate with you and slept with you which made them feel like part of the team. Here there is a more clear delineation between staff and guests. Don’t get me wrong. I like to be waited on rather a lot but there was also a special bond that developed on the Overland Track when everyone felt like part of one team.
Would I do it again? Hell yeah. In fact over yet another bottle of chilled wine last night my regular walking buddy Alison and the other Brisbane girl on the team Rosalyn agreed to walk the Larapinta Trail from Alice Springs in mid 2017. Let the training begin.Day’s vital statistics. Princetown to The Twelve Apostles. Eight kilometres. 18, 326 steps. Maximum temperature 17 degrees. Light rain and a blistering wind off the ocean