Phew. I have survived my first walking holiday in a long time. I haven’t attempted a holiday like this in quite a while because of my weight so it was great to get back out there and do a longish distance walk. My feet are looking a bit battered but other than that it was all good. The following is basically a gratuitous holiday photo post – no recipes today – I won’t be upset if you decide to head over to another food blog for dinner inspiration.
The walk was the Great Ocean Walk in Victoria that goes from Apollo Bay to the 12 Apostles. It is just under 100km and my friend Meredith and I did the cushy version where you are dropped off and picked up each day. We stayed in an eco lodge, bed and breakfast and a self contained villa and had our bags moved for us. We saw a couple of people camping and carrying their tents etc and I was very relieved that wasn’t me. Which would you prefer to do?
One of the other great things about this trip is that it was pretty much fully catered. We ate extremely well – I don’t think I lost any additional weight despite all the extra hospital. Three courses will do that to you. One of my favourite dishes was some beautiful fresh asparagus with hollandaise, cooked to perfection. I also had a great risotto which I am working on recreating at home to share with you so more on that later.
The last night of the walk, we were in a town and went out for dinner to this cute little restaurant in Port Campbell. They had quite a mixed menu and I couldn’t decide so went for their tapas where I could choose more than one dish. But I am still self-conscious about photographing in restaurants so no photos I am afraid aside from this one of me enjoying my favourite cocktail – a Japanese Slipper – on the first night of my holiday there is only one other food shot.
The walking itself was quite picturesque but not as coastal as I had hoped. Given the name of the walk, I had thought that most of the walk would be by the ocean. But quite a bit of it is inland with lots of trees and shrubs and not so much ocean. I would recommend the walk if you love walking but not if you were expecting stunning continuous views. Having said that there are some very rewarding elements where you get amazing coast line views and beaches all to yourself. And I loved walking through very green farmland. It was bucolic to say the least.
The other aspect of the walk that was particularly special was the wildlife. It was my first time seeing echidnas in the wild. The first one had his head stuck in the ground so all we could see was his lovely spiky bottom. But the second one did a bit of a dash to safety and we got to see hit cute little ant eating nose. We also saw koalas – including a mother with a baby, wallabies, kangaroos and a blue tongue lizard. Less fun was the two snakes we saw but luckily they were only small. Others we met in the evening had run in to large brown snakes and one girl stepped on a snake. Luckily she was moving too fast to be bitten – she did the walk in 2 days – Meredith and I took the standard 6!
At the end of the walk, Meredith and I rewarded ourselves with dinner at Circa at the Prince in Melbourne, along with a spot of shopping. The meal at Circa was fantastic and lived up to the review by Not Quite Nigella which had prompted me to book in the first place. We had the 6 courses degustation with matching wines. I can’t decide which was my favourite part but the roasted octopus was not only so tasty but also very pretty. Definitely one of the best meals I have had in a very long time, in part because the service lived up to the food. The waiters and sommelier clearly knew their stuff, particularly in terms of the wine and why it had been matched with the various dishes.
The best bit about this trip was getting out from behind the desk. I had forgotten how much I loved walking. What is your favourite type of holiday?