Cumberland River sits in the Otway National Park, just west of the (somewhat exclusive) beach town of Lorne. It is situated on the Great Ocean Road, about three hours south west (or five hours if you’re going in Summer while every man and his dog is heading to their 3 million dollar beach house) of Melbourne.
Jess and Leah have been going there for years, but I took my first trip last Summer. The campsites have to be booked by the previous March as it’s a super popular campsite and it’s easy to see why.
Jess takes her nephew, Jett, while Leah takes her son, Jiah. They are pretty close in age, so when they aren’t arguing they are having a ball.
We book the campsite for seven nights each year and last year I went for four nights, this time I only managed one. I’d come back from the cruise to find that our friend who had been minding the house was still recovering from Covid and somewhat worse for wear, then when I got to the campsite I got a request to return to help look after a friend who is in Melbourne but is suffering from long Covid.
Rather than set up a tent, I take Luke’s car, which has ample room for one person to sleep when I add in a couple of foam mattresses. Sleeping in the car is great as it is a nice flat surface and the car body cuts out some of the sounds of the campsite. this year we camped close to the river, which meant nice water sounds rather than people talking.
After I arrived I walked down to the deeper bit of the river with Leah to watch the boys mess around in their little blow-up boat. Unfortunately the water was quite cold or I would’ve waded in.
In the evening Leah made dinner with jackfruit (a meat substitute), which I’d never tried before, and then we walked to the beach, which is just across the road from the campsite.
The waves at the beach are way too rough for swimming but it’s the only place where phones have reception so we walked down and the boys entertained themselves by doing what kids do: smashing things.
After a bit of texting with Luke I headed back and despite the early hour I ended up in bed by 9:30.
In the morning I woke up surprisingly late to find a small mob of kangaroos eating grass quite close to the car. Leah and I watched them for a bit and a huge male hopped over and then, rather annoyingly, decided to sit right next to my car door just as I decided to go to Lorne. I waited him out and eventually got away.
I had breakfast in a bakery in town and was joined by a very polite cockatoo, who sat very close to me but kept quiet while edging gently forward.
Then I took a walk along the much longer and safer Lorne beach. I took some photos of the rocks and seagulls.
Halfway down the beach I got the call to come back to Melbourne. I initially decided to wait until the following day, but by the time I got back to the campsite I’d changed my mind. It would be nice to have a full day at home before packing up once more, so I left. On the drive back I spotted an echidna crossing a fairly quiet country road. It’s little waddling run was super cute, but when I see something like this I spend the rest of the trip praying that the wee beast doesn’t get run over.
I did feel somewhat refreshed from the tree-bathing and beach-walking, however being at home was lovely too. All the moving around I’ve done lately makes me appreciate home anew every time I return, and that’s definitely one of the pleasures of travel!