Thursday, February 11, 2010

- The GREAT Ocean Road -

The Great Ocean Road is tipped to be one of the worlds most scenic drives. So the decision came fairly naturally to make it apart of our trek around Oz.

After we spent a wonderful few nights on the Mornington Penninsula with Bren's Pa we drove further south to Sorrento to board the Vehicle ferry across the waters of Port Phillip Bay to Queenscliff. The 45 minute journey was over before we knew it and marked the beginning of our journey along the Great Ocean Road. We took a quick detour into Geelong and then headed onto Torquay, the Surfing capital of Victoria.

Torquay, famous for Bell's Beach, a popular Surf break and apart of the world Surf championships was really interesting to visit. We called into the Surfing Museum, which was more like a shrine to the Greats like Kelly Slater or our very own Layne Beechly. Also a history lesson into the size and shape changes of the board of the years. With our heads filled with Gnarly information we headed out to check out Bells Beach. The swell wasn't that big, however that doesn't stop the avid surfer.

(Bell's Beach.)

From Bell's we followed the coast road through smaller surfing towns perched along the spectacular coastline. Calling into Angelsea, with its grand lighthouse and awesome view at Spit Point. We pushed onto Lorne, finding the perfect camp spot high in the hills behind the township.

(Our camp in hills behind Lorne.)

The following morning was a little cool so we decided to take a walk out to the Erskine falls. Although not flowing, it was a nice drive/walk through the towering forest to see all but a trickle left of the waterfall. We drove back to Lorne to walk along the local jetty, however with the cool morning a thick fog had rolled in from the ocean blanketing the township. It was quite erie and made for some interesting photo's! As we continued on from Lorne the fog continued to hug the coast line obscuring a lot of the view, however we had found out about this little coastal settlement which is home to a colony of Koala's and having not yet seen one in the wild we were very excited to spot our own Bear! We slowly drove the car up into the hills and sure enough tucked up high in the branches were cute, grey fuzzy koalas! We counted a total of 25 bears and our favourite was right beside the road, perfect for some up close photo's.

(Morning fog over Lorne.)

(Awww... I took too many photo's of this guy.)

Returning to the road the fog had begun to clear and we called into the Cape Otway Lighthouse. It is the oldest on mainland Australia, with continuous operation since 1848, making for some interesting history!

(Cape Otway Lighthouse.)

The road continued to wind along the rugged coastline and before too long we had arrived at the most popular destination along the Great Ocean Road. The 12 Apostles are giant pillars of limestone jutted along a small section of a spectacular coastline of cliffs. Created by erosion over millions of ears these pillars are photographers delight and it was amazing to see the dramatic effects of nature, with every lookout providing a different angle.

The day seemed to slip away from us with many hours spent exploring, we ended up staying the night at Port Campbell. A unique place as its port has been established between the cliffs in a secluded bay. With a good nights sleep we were up with the sun and headed of to explore the eroded sections of coast known as The Arch and London Bridge. Again we were spoilt for photo opportunities with the morning light highlighting the vivid colours locked within the limestone. This continued further around the corner with excellent views of the Bay of Islands.

(Beautiful London Bridge.)

Eventually the road took us to the seaside town of Warrnambool, on the south/eastern leg of the Great Ocean Road. Rich in history with many shipwrecks occurring over the years just of the coast we took a tour around their award winning Flag Staff Hill Maritime Museum, complete with its own re-created 19th Century port village. It was really well presented, complete with volunteers in period costume posing as the bank manager or the store person.

(The pub & sail maker, part of the Flagstaff Hill museum.)

From Warrnambool we headed off to the Glenelg River National Park to settle up camp. It was a beautiful spot, and the following morning we drove along its banks stopping to check out the different camp spots along the way. This marked the end of the Great Ocean Road for us and the beginning of our journey into South Australia.

(Glenelg River)

To say that The Great Ocean Road is GREAT would be an understatement. The words spectacular, dramatic and amazing come to mind. I wouldn't go too far as to say it was an epic journey, but one definitely worth experiencing and should be on any ones must visit list.

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