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There are six popular walks around Wye and Sep, suited to everyone from kids to bushwalking enthusiasts. There are also a few others for the more experienced walkers.

Here is a diagram showing the six most popular walks.

Walking map

Walking map

1 Paddy’s Path

The all time favourite path between Wye and Sep.
Time: 20 mins each way
Difficulty: Easy. [click to continue…]

Playing at the old Wye pier posts

Playing at the old pier posts, unaware of their grand story

They are a place to play today, but the lonely pier posts at the Wye River beach are witness to twenty turbulent years of timber milling at Wye River and Separation Creek a hundred years ago. It is a story of grand plans, grand implementation and dashed hopes that culminated in an explosive end.

Wye River was cut off from the world until the enterprising Harrington brothers, who arrived just five years earlier, built a jetty in Wye at around 1900. They didn’t question the government drawings, so it was a bad start. Their first jetty was too short and shallow to be usable! [click to continue…]

Wye River’s heritage is dominated by one man – Paddy Harrington. His name is unknowingly spoken by the thousands who walk Paddy’s Path each year, as they walk the pretty link between Wye River and Separation Creek.

Few know about the real Pat Harrington and his impact on the two hamlets. How he was a skilled bushman as a teenager, a world champion wood chopper, story teller and craftsman. How he built scores of houses in the two hamlets, many of which survive today. How he owned most of the land in Separation Creek and how the twists of fate led him to lose the land and finally he died penniless in a draughty caravan on the banks of Separation Creek. He may have been penniless, but he was loved more dearly than anyone who has lived in the villages.

Here is separation Creek in the 1960s when fibro shacks were multiplying.

early houses

Pat’s story is the story of Wye River and Separation Creek.

The Harrington family held a lease of 1100 Acres in Wye and Sep from 1895. It was a rough and ready farm run by three Irish brothers including Pat’s father Pat Harrington senior, in the time before there was an Ocean Road. Pat was born in 1912, one of six children, and was orphaned at the age of 12. The girls were sent to live with relatives, but Pat hid for 4 days and stayed in Wye, growing up in the bush under the loose eyes of his two uncles.

Growing up he would help the family who were always short of cash. He would milk the cows, catch fish and set trap lines for rabbits. As a youngster, he took the farm produce twice a week through rough tracks to Apollo Bay.

In 1919 a severe bushfire destroyed most of Wye River but the Harringtons and their homestead survived.

With just the local mill and no local school for most of his childhood, he learned bush survival the hard way. Soon as a teenager he was a crack shot, a skilled axeman and knew how to harvest the sea and the bush animals for a feed.

For a few brief years from 1920, the local Wye River school was open, but for most years he was self-taught, and he opened his eyes to the outside world though books. Around this time, several local mills, once famous as the largest in the southern hemisphere closed in Wye River and Separation Creek. The 1923 flood wiped out the local mill Tram [click to continue…]

The Otways Redwoods

The Redwoods is one of those mystical places in the Otways that is very hard to find, but very special when you get there. It is a quiet grove of huge Californian Redwoods, planted way back in 1936, deep in the Otways.
Redwoods

Redwoods

It is suddenly dark after the sunlight of the picnic area and you step into a very private place. Huge trees tower above and you walk in muffled silence on the fallen needles. A clear Otway creek runs quietly on its border.

It is very Zen, and an appropriate place to visit from Sea Zen, a forest counterpoint to the sound of the sea. Awe inspiring. A perfect place to come and contemplate. A place to think about nature.

A place for meditation

A place for meditation

The vertical lines of these 60 m high giants draw your eyes upwards [click to continue…]

In December at Sea Zen we keep our ears open for the sound of migrating Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos, our favourite visiting birds. It’s an eerie high pitched wailing ‘Skeow Skeow Skeow’ sound that can penetrate a kilometre before we see them.

Then all of a sudden three of them will fly past and up the Separation Creek valley, off in search of their favourite Pine trees.  You might see them at Sea Zen too – you never know your luck!

A family of 3 Cockatoos appear from nowhere

A family of three Cockatoos appear from nowhere

A few hours later they will lope back down the valley and land in our Banksia tree at Sea Zen and start ripping the cones apart. Hear the eerie bird call here. [click to continue…]

The hidden Rockpools

Although we had lived at Separation Creek for 5 years, we were never aware that there are 3 gorgeous rockpools just off the beach on the walk towards Wye River. We had passed them scores of times and had never noticed.    Sometimes visitors stumble on them and enjoy the experience, even in winter, like these hardy souls.
Visitors enjoy pool

The surf can be raging and the rockpools are always protected.  On sunny days the pools warm up a little and some shallow mini pools are very warm!

The pools warm up in summer

The pools warm up in summer

Where are the pools located?

There is a heavy reef 50 m offshore, and the current has ripped out some deep holes over the years, but they are invisible from the beach. [click to continue…]

Apollo Bay is the Crayfish capital of Victoria and it’s just a half hour from Sea Zen.

Crayfish near Sea Zen

Cooked Crays all year round

What is not generally known is that you can get a freshly cooked Crayfish all year round at Apollo Bay, and legally even when the season is closed.  How come?

The Fisherman’s Co-op overlooking the harbour at Apollo Bay buys crayfish fresh from the fishing fleet, but what is not generally known is they store them in huge holding tanks deep within the Co-op building.  Several thousand are kept in the holding tanks in a state of semi-hibernation.

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Dogs like holidays too!

Dogs like holidays at Sea Zen

Dogs like holidays too!

Most dog owners know this drill but here are our favourite reminder tips to make sure that your pooch is ready for the open road — and that your journey together will be as smooth as possible.

1. Use a crate or mesh carrier if your dog is used to one. Otherwise consider a special dog harness with seat belt – although there are no 100% guarantees studies have shown either of these options help to keep both you and your friend safer in the event of an accident.
2. Give your dogs — and Yourself — a Break. Just as you want a comfort and drink stop so does your dog. If you are travelling to and from Sea Zen and Melbourne via the freeway the BP station near Avalon has lots of lawn for your dog. We stop there with our Tanook at every trip.
3. Bring water and a bowl, leash and ID tag
4. Bring a favourite toy
5. Bring some treats for the journey if it’s a long one

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Accidental discovery

It was hidden under my feet and I stumbled on it walking the rocks. It was a square of rock, with raised edges where the bedrock had cracked over time. I looked closer. It had a crazy abstract pattern framed inside the rock, frozen in time. At the time, I didn’t realise its importance.

Alt words

The abstract panel I stumbled over

No big deal, but when I looked around, there were squares and rectangles beside it, like racked picture frames laid out on the ground. Each had its own pattern, each unique, each exquisite.

More panels beside the first one.

More panels beside the first one.

The stone frames went on some metres more.

Petrified gallery panels

The panels went on and on, each with its own design

The Petrified Gallery

In fact the stone picture frames extended way along the beach, hundreds of them. It was like a long, petrified picture gallery.

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Nature’s megafeast

We had heard of mega feasting on the coast but had never seen it. Stories of a thousand dolphins in a feeding frenzy off Wye about 15 years ago. We thought it might be exaggerated, but on 2 September, we changed our mind.

We were driving past Wongarra on Father’s Day, and noticed an unusually large number of Gannets offshore and stopped for a better look. There were about 50 birds circling and diving about a kilometre from the Great Ocean Road.  Just like this pic.

The circling Gannets

The circling Gannets

 The horizon opened up.

[click to continue…]