Published: March 21st 2011March 21st 2011
Great Ocean Road
The Twelve Apostles
As we travel around we are becoming more and more aware of how ignorant we really are about the variety of magnificent scenery Australia has to offer.
This was certainly proved on our quick trip from the ferry wharf at Port Melbourne to Inverloch, a small town on the South Gippsland coast. At one point the road passes along a ridge, with fantastic views of the rolling hills from each side, country scenery as good as you would find anywhere. Not far north however, is the “Latrine” Valley, including a long section of condemned freeway caused by floods and mine subsidence.
We were here for the Inverloch Jazz Festival, spending 4 days in a house with our friends Grant and Jeanette Clayton. The jazz was good, the weather (generally) good and the company good fun.
Highlights of the jazz (along with Grant’s band, of course) were some great funky big band playing and a set by a band of young players lead by Gil Askey. Gil has little claim to fame, other than about ten years as Diana Ross’s musical director, producing and arranging for many Motown legends, and still playing hot trumpet and singing at the age
Great Ocean Road
London Bridge (has fallen down!)
of 86. Come to think of it, he has a bit going for him. He spends a lot of time mentoring and training young musicians.
Moving on, we drove back through Melbourne and down the Great Ocean Road through Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne to Apollo Bay
Apollo Bay is a nice little town, and was a good base for us to spend 2 nights waiting for the weather to clear so that we could see some of the sights. In the end it didn’t, and we didn’t, but we had a quiet few days to recharge before moving on.
Moving on meant the rest of the Great Ocean Road. The Twelve Apostles is only part of it. There is also the Bay of Martyrs, the Bay of Islands and possibly the Ten Popes, the Six Rabbis and maybe even the Five Ayatollahs. There are big lumps of limestone sticking out of the ocean everywhere – quite a unique sight in the cauldron of the Southern Ocean.
The drive took us through Port Campbell – nondescript, Warrnambool – larger but nondescript, and Port Fairy – a fascinating little town, rather gentrified, but very interesting with the port
stretched along each bank of a rather narrow river. A bit reminiscent of southern France.
From there we drove on to Mount Gambier for a one night stopover, complete with pub meal and view of the Blue Lake in the morning, then on to the Barossa Valley via Kingston S.E. (whatever that means) and the Coorong. It was a long drive over the seemingly endless straight flat roads in south eastern South Australia, which took a bit of getting used to after the twists and turns of Tasmania.
Nuriootpa (“Nuri” to the locals) is a very pleasant little part of the Angaston-Tanunda-Nuriootpa triangle in the Barossa Valley. The place abounds in things typical of South Australia – stone houses, gravel paths, concrete telegraph poles, and of course being German in heritage there seems to be a Lutheran church on every street corner.
We toured a few of the old wineries – Seppeltsfield, Chateau Tanunda – but with a view to looking around rather than tasting, and really enjoyed driving around this scenic but quiet area. Sounding old, aren’t we?
We had a nice dinner here, washed down with a Pewsey Vale Reisling to help recover from
Following a long tradition that started with the Edsel - wrong product, wrong place, wrong time, and just plain ugly.
beer shock. Beer shock happens when a New Southwegian orders a schooner in SA and receives a 10 ounce glass of beer. Due to a fault in the space-time continuum it appears that a pint is a pint, but a schooner is only two thirds of a schooner!
Birdwood (pronounced “Birwood” and formally named Blumberg until WW1 – I did once but I think I got away with it) contains the National Motor Museum. Old nostalgia buffs like the male contributor here really got off on looking at all the old cars in the collection – any place that has a P76, a goggomobil and a petrol-powered iron under one roof must be worth a look. The female contributor was just a tad less interested.
Next we are off to the Fleurieau Peninsula, then Adelaide then starting to head home.
There are more photos below