As we pull into the carpark of Maits Rest, it has just started to rain. The drops are so light that under the canopy there’s almost no sign of them. The ones that do make it down to us, falling gracefully in the cool winter’s morning, are barely felt. They add to the atmosphere of the forest before us, loamy soil smells sinking deep as we get our boots on. In slow-motion those drops will soak us, but for now we hardly care.
Maits Rest is about 15 minutes from Apollo Bay, and our first stop on our impromptu 2017 Great Ocean Road trip for my birthday. With a week’s holiday from work for Dean, and my schedule always flexible, we’ve jumped at the opportunity to check out the drive and the sights within a few hours of our front door. In typical style for Victoria, Day 1 is a total washout. Still, a bit of rain never bothered us, and this ‘drizzle’ barely qualifies, so we boot up and prepare to head out for a quick stroll around Maits Rest, to see what the forest has to offer.
We’re at Maits Rest on the way to Cape Otway, having seen the sign just poking out of the trees along the road. There are only a few cars in the carpark, typical I think for a random Tuesday in the middle of winter. The trail is a mix of boardwalks and footpaths, and without any gear (except my camera) it’s over before we’re really aware that it started. Among the tree ferns, the thick buttress roots, and the enormous trees, Maits Rest is the idea introduction into the many wonders of the Great Otway National Park, and it’s just the taster we need to keep ourselves keen. It’s not much, but it’s worth the stop for anyone wanting to stretch their legs in what is just about the most beautiful ‘rest stop’ I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering.
- Anytime after rain, beware that the boardwalks can be quite slippery. Take your time, and wear appropriate shoes.
- The Maits Rest walk is advertised at 30 minutes return, but even stopping along the way to take pictures and admire, we’re back at the car in 15-20mins. After all, it’s only 800m.
- Keep your eyes open for birds, the area is renowned for them and has some 40 species that can be found nowhere else!