Towns / Cities Visited: 211
Countries Visited: 31
Steps Taken Today: 20,692
Steps Taken Around the World: 4,938,006
For the first day since out travels had begun, we awoke to perfectly clear skies, the sun shining down to warm the front room of our tent, much to our delight. Thankful we wouldn’t have to even spare the weather a thought, we bundled ourselves into the car and headed out to the day’s first, and main, attraction: Cape Otway Lighthouse.
This isolated beacon was the second to be built in the entire country, and is currently the oldest still standing. That being said, just like every other historic lighthouse in Australia, its formal duties have been passed on to a smaller and much less impressive, automated light beacon at the foot of the original beauty. Passing through the reception building, we purchased the tickets which would allow us access to not only the lighthouse, but the other historic buildings that used to service it.
The first stop on our self-guided tour was, rather unexpectedly, a shed devoted to the dinosaur fossils found in the sedimentary rock that makes up this stretch of coastline. The replica fossil casts tucked in the display cases, coupled with the array of information boards served to remind us that the land beneath our feet hold the secrets of a history spanning millions of years.
From there, we moved onto the old telegraph station, which was, much like the lighthouse, one of the first built in the country. This is again because the main route to Australia after it was colonised ran from Europe and East Coast USA, down past Antarctica, along the south coast, around Tasmania (until a safe passage through Bass Strait was discovered) and into Melbourne. As such, ships passing Cape Otway Lighthouse were able to use a system of flags to pass messages to the mainland, which could then be transferred to Melbourne by telegraph much faster than it took the ship to arrive. Also, given the Cape’s proximity to King Island, it was used as the starting point of the first underwater telegraph cable connecting the mainland to Tasmania. That being said, the first cable they laid only lasted a couple of years before the reefs tore it apart, and a better route had to be found.