At Parker Inlet you can walk along the waters edge following rock shelves and beaches around Point Franklin or take the inland route. A worthwhile side trip is the short walk to idyllic Crayfish Bay, another safe swimming location. The trail then heads inland through manna gums to the Cape Otway Lightstation, which is Australia’s oldest continuously operating lighthouse. You are sure to see koalas along this section.
The walk from the lighthouse to Aire River winds its way through wind sculpted landscapes of sand dunes, coastal scrub-land and magnificent calcified cliffs. The next must see feature after the lighthouse is Rainbow Falls. At the right time of day, when the light is shining upon it, the colours in the Falls can be magical. They are spring-fed and trickle through algae to the rock platform below.
[ale_one_half]From Rainbow Falls, depending on the tides, there is the option to walk the inland route to the Aire River Lookout or a much better – but harder – walk along Station Beach. Station beach is a magnificent wild beach, with pounding waves and lots of ocean driftwood ( and detritus!) plus a great chance to see endangered Hooded Plovers which often race along the beach ahead of walkers. Be warned – keep away from the water’s edge and walk a line in-between the high water mark and the sand dunes where the plovers nest.
At the Aire River Lookout there are great views down to the estuary where the Aire River meets the Southern Ocean and Glenaire Beach. The wetlands look quite spectacular from this vantage point and it is a nice steady downhill walk from to the Aire River bridge which crosses the river to the picnic and campsite areas. Aire River is a serene and beautiful spot which has a campground and shelter.[/ale_one_half] [ale_one_half_last]
Walking distance: 16.5km (4.5-5.5hrs walking)
Accommodation: Aire River
Campsites: Aire River GOW or Drive-in Campsites
Nearest food: Apollo Bay/Cape Otway Lightstation