returned to my first house sit and the special area of Jan Juc, located at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Reconnecting with the area, I had forgotten just how beautiful and special it is.
After a week of constant rain, I sought to take advantage of the break in the weather and do the surf coast walk. I started out by fortifying myself with a strong cup of coffee from the famous ‘Swell’ cafe and joined the Jan Juc part of the walk.
Jan Juc is the lesser know suburb bordered by the well known Torquay and famous surfing area called Bells Beach. Located on Bass Strait, on a clear day you can see Tassie, and in ancient times, Indigenous tribes walked there.
The meaning of its name is curious. I have seen quite a few different and competing interpretations from a translation of an Indigenous name meaning ‘Milk’ to an abreviation of Jan’s Junction, a point where the Cobb & Co coaches stopped on their way to Anglesea. In the early twentieth century, the name was considered too Germanic and was renamed Bellbrae
In the 1990s a young surfer, Staumn Hunder, found a fossil. At Monash University the fossil was studied by Erich Fitzgerald and found to be that of a baleen whale that was the size of a dolphin and smaller than any baleen whales alive today. The fossil is named Janjucetus hunderi after the location and the surfer.
Every walk is different, though certain aspects may remain unchanged like the limestone cliffs and the colours of the sea and sky, this walk was a different experience to the ones I had taken three years prior. For a start I’m different, travel has changed me in ways I can pinpoint but also in those which are more subtle. Having walked along many different and ancient coastlines in Australia, I could now appreciate the uniqueness of this place. I shared the path with a group of cyclists, dads and their young babies, and pairs of women having earnest conversations. Bright wattle and pink erica dotted the brown and green vegetation The sun became stronger, people happier and young New Holland Honeyeaters darted through the heathland. On the return journey, I became more introspective, reflecting on journeys past and those to come.