Tag Archives: Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road: Part 2

The Great Ocean Road along this rocky coast is described as the world’s biggest war memorial.

A Grt Ocean Rd 1

A Seascape 1

Why? It was literally built by hand (with a lot of pickaxes and shovels!) by 3000 returned World War 1 servicemen from the early 1920s on.

This neatly solved two problems; how to meaningfully employ these men during the Depression and how to honour those who died during the war. It seemed fitting to be here in 2014 during the centenary of the outbreak of war, and both ‘The Diggers’ statue and the Memorial Arch commemorate this feat beautifully.

A Grt Ocean Rd memorial 2 A Grt Ocean Rd Memorial 3

Stop 3: Port Campbell.

The Holiday Park in this picturesque village was the ideal base to explore the famous wave-sculpted rock formations called the 12 Apostles. Well, there used to be 12, but they are eroding at a rapid rate – no surprise when you see the forces of the Southern Ocean at work!

A 12 Apostles 1 A 12 Apostles 2 A 12 Apostles 5 A 12 Apostles 6 A 12 Apostles 7 A 12 Apostles 8

London Bridge and the Loch Ard Gorge are also magnificent. The Loch Ard was a ship wrecked here, and of the 54 aboard only 2 survivors were swept into the gorge. Very sad. The photos show the scene along this limestone coast…

A Lock Ard story A Lock Ard Gorge

All the millions of tourists who visit this national park each year love the wild and rugged features of the coastline, and many of them take to the sky for a different perspective in either helicopters or planes. It can therefore be rather a bustling and noisy experience but we were well and truly impressed.

A Limestone coast 2 (1) A Limestone coast 2 A Limestone coast 3 A Limestone coast 5 A Port Campbell 2 A Port Campbell

Staying with the theme, we decided to drive the ’12 Apostles Gourmet Trail’ to Timboon where we just had to buy a bottle of Limoncello and an Apple Liqueur at the interesting Railway Shed Distillery. Next we picked a big box of fat warm strawberries at Berry World, and proceeded to Apostle Whey Cheese to drool over their array and bought far too much to fit in our tiny caravan fridge!  Then to Newtons Ridge Winery because of course we had to have a local Pinot Grigio to complete our culinary feast that evening… and it was such a pretty vineyard with lovely roses.

Ginny smelling roses

Stop 4: Port Fairy
Officially the Great Ocean Road starts in Torquay and ends in Allansford, but we extended it slightly to enjoy the seaside town of Port Fairy and stay at the very attractive Big 4 caravan park. Walking along the historic 19th century shipping wharf and seeing the lovely old homes and buildings all along Gipps Street was a treat but the cold wind had us looking for a refuge! Fortunately the Merry Jig Inn, Victoria’s oldest inn, happily provides late afternoon passers-by like us with a glass of wine – so civilized!

We drove an hour west to Portland, noting the many wind farms on the way (no prizes for guessing the prevailing!) This is one of Australia’s major forest regions with huge plantations so the port is busy with wood chip exports and there are a lot of BIG logging trucks on the road. The botanic gardens were lovely – never seen so many dahlias in one place! – as was the original curator’s cottage full of local memorabilia.

And so for us, the end of a wonderful 9 days exploring this remarkable section of Australia. We can’t wait to do it all again another year!

Great Ocean Road

One of the experiences we have most been looking forward to on this trip was the famous Great Ocean Road… and it really lived up to our expectations!

First though we caught the ferry across Port Phillip Bay from Sorrento to Queenscliff to catch up with old friends in Geelong for a few days. Kathy and Geoff Strachan took us for a magnificent dinner at Man Bo,  and it was great to see the Fitzpatrick’s new home and catch up with Tim as well. Ginny enjoyed walking along the waterfront esplanade down to Eastern Beach – a beautifully restored Art Deco swimming enclosure, fountain and kiosk which is very popular with both residents and tourists. Ian was also impressed with his visit to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook.

A Be2 A Bristol Boxkite A DH Tigermoth & Be2 A Vampire 1 A Vampire 2 A Walrus

Thanks to the many people who gave us good advice on the best way to enjoy the Great Ocean Road. Towing a caravan along a busy, winding and fairly narrow road is not much fun, especially for the driver! So as suggested, we chose several spots to stay along the way. We then retraced our steps or moved further along, returning to our base camp each night. An unexpected bonus was the beauty and diversity of the regions just inland from the coast.

A Grt Ocean Rd 1 A Seascape 1 A Shipwreck coast A Wye R camp

Stop 1: Wye River, staying in the lovely caravan park and ambling up the hill to the pub or out to the beach. Koala-spotting became our newest hobby but we didn’t expect to see our first one racing towards us on all fours along the river bank! The wildlife in this caravan park is marvellous to experience. All manner of birds are attracted to the trees and shrubbery in the park and are a constant presence here… Very pleasant.

A Koala 2 A Koala 1 A King parrot 2 A Gang-gang 2 A Duck 1

Stop 2: Bimbi Park. We were surrounded by the beautiful manna gums which are the preferred food source for koalas, so we felt privileged to see so many in their natural habitat doing what koalas do best – eating and sleeping! Once again a wildlife wonderland.

A Bimbipark Koala 1 A Bimbipark koala 2 Sulphur Crested cockatoo Wild Koala

They also make the loudest noises. Apparently they have a unique voice box that allows them to make a ‘belching’ call that only large animals like elephants are capable of usually – read about it here. Very weird the first few times you hear them – listen here and see what you think!

The nearby Cape Otway Lightstation has been operating since 1848 – the fact this area is known as the Shipwreck Coast probably gives you the rationale for that! The views from 80m up were spectacular.

A Cape Otway lighthouse 1 A Cape Otway lighthouse 4 A Cape Otway A shipwreck coast 2

Two day trips stand out in our memory:

1.  Tanybryn, Forrest and Deans Marsh and back to Wye River via Lorne

A Rainforest 1 A Rainforest 2 A Seaview 2 A Superb Fairywren 2

2. Lavers Hill, Beech Forest, Skenes Creek and back to Cape Otway. A narrow road wends through beautiful forest, tall stands of plantation timber and huge tree ferns between Beech Forest and Haines Junction – very beautiful, but put your headlights on!

Next blog – further west on the Great Ocean Road…