On the coast of Cape Bridgewater you can experience an amazing seal adventure
It’s a huge adrenalin rush as the motored dinghy powers out of the bay. Ahead of us is big blue sky, open water and a wildlife encounter I’d been eagerly anticipating. Five exciting minutes later the pace slows and we cruise to a halt beside the rock pools. The exhilaration is replaced by awe as we see hundreds of seals basking and playing in the rocky cove.
We’re a couple of kilometres off Cape Bridgewater and about twenty kilometres from Portland, on the south west coast of Victoria. This quiet hamlet is undoubtedly one of the hidden gems beyond the Great Ocean Road. Enter this sleepy village and you enter the Discovery Bay Coastal Park, a sweep of majestic coastline that extends for 50kms to Nelson. It is here, along the edge of towering volcanic cliffs, that you will find the only mainland colony of fur seals in Australia.
Cape Bridgewater boasts a picture postcard beach, pure white sand that stretches endlessly into blue water amid a curved bay and towering limestone cliffs at its back. In summer the bay is calm and tranquil and in winter when the weather turns wild and woolly the coastline is a photographer’s dream, dramatic, moody and ever changeable. And here, all year round, the seals call this place their home.
From the beach café, which is the central point of the town, it’s about four kilometres to the lookouts of the blow holes and the petrified forest passing, along the way the gigantic wind turbines which make up one of the biggest wind turbine farms of Victoria. The natural features of the area are all part of the 250km Great South West walk which spans from Portland to Nelson via the coast, one of the great coastal walks of Australia. To walk around the cape itself takes approximately three hours but this, like most of the Great South West Walk, can be tackled in sections. In total there are 15 sections, from eight to 21 kilometres that are set between different campsites and there’s no shortage of breathtaking coastal lookouts along the way.