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Published: September 21st 2017
When visiting Melbourne, I knew I wanted to see the Great Ocean Road. Ideally, I would have liked to do a 2 or 3 day trip taking so that I could see more of the area, however since the main focus of my trip to Australia was Tasmania, I was only spending a few days in Melbourne, so a day trip was all I could realistically do. It was an extremely early start that morning as we headed into the city centre. We walked to the pick-up point and waited there for our tour. There were lots of different tour groups leaving from this place, but it seemed well coordinated. I also like the small coaches they use here instead of the monster tour buses. We left the city and drove for a couple of hours. We stopped for a morning cuppa and biscuits to break up the journey and get a little caffeine into our systems. Then it was only a little bit further on the road to our first main stop. Next to Coalmine Creek beach, there is an arch that goes over the road signalling the 'Great Ocean Road', I'm not sure if this is the start of
the road or not. There is a statue of some workers nearby and this honours the men that helped to build the 'Great Ocean Road', which started as a project to give jobs to returning servicemen from World War I. The funding for the road came from public donations. The road links all the towns on its length of 241 kilometres. We took some pictures of the sign, read the info boards and took a walk down to Coalmine Creek beach. the beach was really nice, long and deserted. If the weather was a bit nicer, it would have been an ideal spot to while away a few hours. We drove on a bit further to Kennett River. Here, we were able to spot some of the local wildlife. We saw some brightly coloured birds, I forget which species they are, and some koalas, all chilling in the trees. You could tell the people, who had seen koalas before as we tired of watching their antics and migrated back to the bus quicker.
I enjoyed the drive along the Great Ocean road, which was twisty and rose and fell a lot. For our lunch stop, we headed to the
small town of Apollo Bay. This place was heaving with tour buses and the restaurant/cafe we were eating at was filled with tour groups. Earlier, on the bus, we had picked what we wanted for lunch and the driver had sent the order ahead, so we didn't have to wait too long for our food to appear. I had ordered a lamb gyros kebab, which hit the spot. It was pretty tasty. We had a little bit of free time after lunch, so I took a walk along to the supermarket to grab an iced coffee and some water. We drove a little inland to reach Great Otway National Park. The park covers an area of 103 km and became a national park in 2004. We were at Maits Rest, a part of the park that has a rainforest walk. the walk is a nice, easy one, pretty much suitable for anyone. It is only an 800 metre circuit, on a boardwalk, through a part of the rainforest. The rainforest was really beautiful and I enjoyed the walk, it was very peaceful and although we didn't spot any wildlife, it was just nice to be among the trees and ferns.
There were some pretty funky looking trees about.
After enjoying our little walk about, it was time to get back on to the bus and head to what makes the Great Ocean Road so famous, the Twelve Apostles. These are located in Port Campbell National Park. There is a huge carpark and visitor centre, which was teeming with people, showing how popular this area is with tourists. From the visitor centre, it is a short walk under the road (they've built a tunnel) to reach the viewing platforms to see the Twelve Apostles in all their glory. The name, Twelve Apostles, is a bit of a misnomer as there are only 8 of them. The apostles are limestone stacks that have been formed by erosion. The Southern Ocean has eroded the limestone to make caves in the cliff and these eventually became arches before collapsing, which has left the rock stacks. Erosion continues and in 2005, one of the stacks collapsed into the sea. The views were gorgeous. The Twelve Apostles looked so cool, spouting out of the sea. I enjoyed watching the waves crashing off them. The cliffs along the beach are beautiful. The scenery is very dramatic
It was a short drive to our next sightseeing stop for the day, Loch Ard Gorge was literally just down the road. There are a few different things to see in this area, all the crowds from the various tour buses headed to see the main attraction, so we headed off to see The Razorback first. The Razorback is a stone stack, which got its name due to its sharp edges and bumps. These were caused by the wind-blown spray. At the bottom of the stacks the waves, one of which hits the cliff every 14 seconds, cause deep smooth grooves. The cliffs used to extend further out into the sea, but erosion has caused cracks, which make pieces of the cliff fall away. The cliffs look cool, very imposing. From there, we headed across to Loch Ard Gorge. The gorge is named after the clipper, Loch Ard, which had set sail from Gravesend, England to Melbourne on 2nd March, 1878. The ship had almost completed its three month journey, when disaster struck. A thick mist hung in the air obscuring the coastline and the light from Cape Otway's lighthouse. When the mists lifted at 4 am, the
captain, George Gibb, could see the high, pale cliffs. They tried to turn the boat away from the cliffs, but the wind and current carried the ship towards the cliff causing it to crash into it. The swell also continued to hit the boat off the cliffs. It would have been terrifying to have been on board. Only two people survived. We took a look at the gorge from the top of the cliffs, before following the path down to the beach. It was a really pretty area, but far too many people there, ruining my enjoyment and photo taking opportunities. It would be a nice place to chill if there weren't a million people there.
Our last main stop of the day was London Bridge. The weather had held out all day, but it finally started to rain when we got to London Bridge. The wind was making it feel pretty cold, too. We headed out to the viewing platform, I think a lot of people chose to stay on the bus. London Bridge, also known now as London Arch is a rock formation that was attached to the coastline. It was a naturally formed double span bridge,
however Mother Nature and erosion did not want this to be permanent and on the 15th January, 1990 the inner arch cracked and fell into the sea. Luckily, no one was injured, but two people were stranded on newly formed island and had to be rescued by police helicopter. After London Bridge, it was time for the long drive back to Melbourne. We stopped for a bit in, I think, Colac, where we visited KFC for some hot chips to warm us up before continuing the journey back to Melbourne.
Back in the city, we headed back to the casino/entertainment complex we had visited yesterday, so that we could get some better pictures of the Lunar New Year display. It was cool, I really liked it. We were getting hungry by this point, so we crossed back over the river and went in search of some food. We found a sushi place, so went in there and had a few plates. This place was quite expensive though, so we had to restrain ourselves, otherwise I would end up blowing my whole travel budget on sushi. We wandered/hung around in the downtown area for a couple of hours, before heading
home to get ready for our flight the next morning. Tasmania, here we come!
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