Forest: Portland to Cubbys Camp (20km)
I spent the night camping at Portland Bay Holiday Park. It rained during the night so I had to start the walk with a wet tent, not something I enjoy. For breakfast I walked to McDonald's, the last opportunity to stock up on calories and fat before having to rely on water, snacks and dehydrated food for at least a week.
After breakfast I walked down the road to the Portland Visitor Centre to register for the walk. It’s not required to do that, but recommended for safety reasons, in case of emergencies like bushfires.
Conveniently the track starts at the Visitor Centre and goes along the cliffs right behind the caravan park, so when I left the Holiday Park I didn’t need to walk far to find the track. I left around 10am.
The first day wasn’t incredibly exciting. The track followed the edge of the cliffs in Portland, then mostly along roads and streets out of town. The most exciting moment was in a patch of forest, shortly before the highway crossing. On a tree right above the track I spotted a koala. I managed to find a good place for photographing, and he did me the favour of looking in my direction. He was going to be the only koala I would see on the entire walk, but it really made my day.
Only about the last third of the day’s walk was real bushwalking. On one of the forest sections though, I almost got overrun by a group of motorbike riders that were racing on the walking track in the opposite direction. I was lucky I could hear them coming so I could get out of the way. It was definitely the disappointment of the day, not only because there were signs everywhere that bikes are not allowed on the track. Some people are so stupid you can’t help them. Sadly all you can do is install more and more barriers on tracks so that selfish idiots with their bikes can’t get through.
The weather kept changing all the time and at some point I decided to pack my camera away to protect it from the rain. To me it felt like the first day was almost a bit too long. The first day is usually the hardest for me, because I need a couple of days to get used to carrying all the weight of my pack again.
After a lot of short breaks I was at Cubbys Camp around 4pm. Beautiful campsite, very peaceful and modern. And nobody there. According to the log book nobody had been there for weeks, except Parks Victoria staff.
I set up my camp and boiled water for a cup of tea and dinner. It was calm and sunny until dark, and I decided to start a campfire. It was nice to have a fire at night, however at some point it began raining again, so I disappeared inside my tent. I could hear the fire slowly going out from the rain.
Wildlife seen: Koala, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Crimson Rosella, Black Cockatoo.