ChallengeMD! GOW 2008 saw 18 supporters trek along the recently opened Great Ocean Walk which spans 91km of spectacular coastal scenery, deserted wild beaches, sheer cliffs and historical lighthouses.

The first part of the challenge was to raise funds for MDA. And this was done in spectacular fashion with OVER $25,000 raised!

The second part of the challenge was to complete the three day walk through the Otways to the 12 Apostles, a highlight of Victoria’s rugged coastline.

The weather was cool and light drizzle did not dampen the walkers’ spirits on the first day.

Day 1
We headed out early on Friday morning to Apollo Bay where we stopped for lunch before continuing on with a short drive to Blanket Bay.  Today we walked from Blanket Bay to Cape Otway, 13km through cliff tops, coastal forests and the quiet seclusion of Parkers Inlet.  It is here that we met Mark, a local to Cape Otway who shared his passion of the area with us, telling us fascinating stories of the history & culture of Cape Otway.

We settled into our home for the next 2 nights, a secluded & breathtaking caravan park in Cape Otway.  Our host Frank had the BBQ going as we returned from our showers to enjoy a meal out on the deck.

Day 2
We started the morning with bacon & eggs before doing some light stretching before commencing the days hike.  Today will see our group walk 22km from Cape Otway to Johanna Beach.  As we walk along the cliff tops of a spectacular stretch of coastline we can hear the pounding surf.  We stop for a break at Aire River and are greeted by Mike with morning tea laid out for us.  The track winds its way along the cliff tops & forests, occasionally emerging to reveal views of the magnificent coast.  We finish our days walk strolling along Johanna Beach, getting our tired feet wet in the surf.

As we make our way back to our cabins, Frank is preparing our dinner.  We settle in to a fabulous pasta marinara and enjoy a few drinks while spotting koalas in the trees around us.

Day 3
Today is an early start as we drag ourselves out of bed at 5:00am.  We are walking 19km from Milanesia Beach to Wreck Beach.  Today’s walk is challenging, the track is steep and our legs are really feeling it.  We are now high in the cliff tops and can look back in the distance to see where we started on Day 1, we are amazed by the distance we have covered.  The group starts to experience some trepidation as we know the hardest part is yet to come, we arrive at a fork in the road, hot, aching and exhausted we must choose whether to continue along the track for a further 5km in very steep conditions, or take advantage of an early exit point to be met by the bus.  Some of us decided to go on, and hesitantly continued along the track.  Steep steps, tough inclines and an encounter with a tiger snake saw us come out the other end hot, tired and sore, with a smile and a glass of bubbly in hand.

We have all returned from the weekend pleased to have completed ChallengeMD! GOW 2008, grateful to our friends and family who supported us and proud to have raised money for a cause that means so much to us.

Group A

This Group turned right at the fork

Group B

This Group turned left at the fork

Beach

Walk on the Sandy Beach

Beach

Ocean View

Hills

Rolling Hills

Bill & Ineke

Bill Schlink & Ineke Struk

Kelly & Bec

Rebecca Moon & Kelly Morrice

Black Boy

Fairlie Sharp leads the way

Breakfast

Craig Serving Bill his dinner

Resting

Erin & Merrin enjoying lunch

Award

Sally receives her “award”

Blonde

$325 was raised by Simon in his Dare to wear a wig for a full days hike