Initial Thoughts on Location No 42 (almost)
Somewhere Along The Great Ocean Road
Stretching for 242 kilometres (150.6 miles), The Great Ocean Road is not only one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, it’s also the world’s longest War Memorial. Built to commemorate the service of sailors and soldiers during the great war (World War I), the road took 13 years to complete, and during that time, 3,000 returned sailors and soldiers worked its construction. In 2011, The Great Ocean Road was listed on the Australian National Heritage List.
The road winds through distinctly differing terrain as it sweeps from Torquay and terminates where it meets up with the Princes Highway just east of the township of Allansford. It twists and turns along the coast, travels through national parks and beneath the canopy of eucalypt forests, meanders past farm land where sheep graze and cow lazily chew their cud, and . . . (the primary reason most tourists visit this part of Australia), passes the Twelve Apostles, the most well know of all the limestone stacks that can be found on along The Great Ocean Road.
With so much to see and do, Dean and I have been very busy over the last three days, driving from location to location, enjoying the view, walking some pathways, photographing the view, stepping down onto a few beaches, and yes, Dean even managed to get into the water for a surf yesterday.
As I mentioned yesterday (Photo of the Week), the number of photos we have taken is insane, but I’ve filtered through all of them and carefully selected ‘the best of’ from each location to share, and hopefully the following takes you on your own little journey.
The Great Ocean Road
This is the view (for the most part) on the eastern section of The Great Ocean Road as it winds along the coast line, past great beaches and little townships.
Loch Ard Gorge
When we arrived at Loch Ard Gorge, it was early (just after 8 am) and we were the only people there. This area is an absolute treasure trove and we spent over three hours exploring areas – Razorback and Mutton Bird Island (no birds to see in the morning), there are blow holes, the Loch Ard Cemetery and a short walk down to the beach.
The Twelve Apostles
By the time we arrived at The Twelve Apostles, the day had become overcast and getting a good shot was not an option. These rock stacks were 50 metres tall (164 feet) when the first broke away from the mainland and over time (a lot of time), they erode and eventually collapse completely. Today, there are only seven apostles left standing.
Cape Otway Lightstation
Less that and hour later the skies were blue once again and getting good photos of the Cape Otway Lightstation an easy task. This is the oldest surviving and most important lighthouse in mainland Australia. It was built in 1848, and is perched on a towering cliff where Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean smash into each other, and before it was built, hundreds of lives were lost in shipwrecks off Cape Otway.
Cape Otway Koala
Great Otway National Park is one of the few places I’ve been where you can see koalas in the wild. They hang from the trees that frame the road to the Cape Otway Lightstation and are quite and attraction. Seeing them in their natural habitat beats cuddling one at a zoo any day.
A few minutes south of Port Campbell is The Arch and the viewing platform is ideally positioned for getting that perfect shot. This is just another amazing structure to be found along this incredible coastline of Victoria.
This is the photo I used for the Photo of the Week this week and is the best shot I got of London Bridge, also know as London Arch since the collapse of the connecting archway back in 1990.
No wind + no one else = a beautiful shot of The Grotto, a sink hole accessed via steps and, as you can see, at low tide, provides a view of the ocean beyond a pool. We were so surprised that we were the only visitors there at the time, but upon reflection (no pun intended) we were there rather early.
Bay of Martyrs
This is not as publicised as other areas of The Great Ocean Road, but the Bay of Martyrs is stunning in its own right, unspoilt and relatively tourist free. We were amazed at how beautiful the area was and spend hours walking tracks just south of the township of Perterborough. There are steps leading down to the beaches where you can really enjoy the enormity of the cliff faces.
Bay of Islands
Just like the Bay of Martyrs, the Bay of Islands is also not as well know, but equally (if not more so) as stunning as the Twelve Apostles. You are so much closer to the structures and we were able to really enjoy the area as it was not crowded with tourists. This really is a must for anyone visiting this area.
A Few Odds and Ends
A room with a view
What the conditions do to the plant life.
Can you see the face?
In the cemetery at Loch Ard Gorge
A Welcome Swallow
Another view of The Twelve Apostles
Mummy and baby enjoying a cuddle.
These signs are sad, but needed.
Dean’s out there, but hard to spot because he is just a dot (just right of centre).
I would love to share more photos (honestly), but I do have to draw a line somewhere.
. . .
Dean and I chose to stay at the Port Campbell Holiday Park, and to be honest, it was simply somewhere to sleep while we enjoyed our time sightseeing. Port Campbell itself is a (very) sleepy little township just a short drive from most of the attractions (aka limestone stacks) west of Cape Otway Nation Park and a great place to base ourselves for a few days.
Although we’ve seen most of the coastline, we haven’t reached the end of The Great Ocean Road yet. That will happen today. Stay tuned for The Great Ocean Road – Part 2 in the next couple of days.