Great Ocean Road

Trip Start Mar 03, 2007
Trip End Apr 2009

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

We headed further south on the Princes highway until we hit Warrnambool where we stayed at the local campsite. Ben and I also visited the local council offices after both managing to get parking tickets costing us fifty dollars each and another days budget. The next day were off for a date with The Great Ocean Road probably the most Iconic stretch of road in Australia and something I had really been looking forward to. At first the road actually deviated inland before returning at the Bay of Islands which was our first taster into the stunning scenery to come. The Bay of Islands was a series of rock stacks left stranded inside a huge bay due to erosion.

Not to far away there was a series of stops to take in different, spectacular rock formations such as the Grotto, Arch and the semi collapsed London Bridge. A little further on was another nice stop at the Loch Ard Gorge, named after a ship of the same name was shipwrecked here that had a stunning little beach covered in yellow / orange hued sand in which the only two survivors of the wreck had washed ashore.

Another set of iconic rock formations was the 12 Apostles. The stacks which now only number six due to erosion stood abandoned by the mainland with the raging sea relentlessly trying to further dwindle the number of Apostles still standing. The Apostles are viewed on a series of walkways that take you to different vantage points, very very touristy but another must see Aussie icon nonetheless.

After having a slight rock overindulgence the road again took an inland route up and over the hills around the Great Otway National Park. The rugged drive here amongst the tall forests was very eye-pleasing and the drive itself with all its twists and turns was pretty fun as well. The drive rejoined the coast and this was the stretch that you see on all the brochures, the two lane road winding against cliffs next to the Southern Ocean.

We were going to spend the night in Lorne but we passed a campsite about 20km before hand that was situated in a spectacular valley right on the beach. After chasing down Ben who was ignoring all our tooting in the other van we made a U-turn and were quickly pitched up in the campground. Next to the campsite was a huge sheer cliff with a river running below out towards the ocean. We decided to partake in an early morning hike the next day and so were up at dawn and heading into the wilderness. The hike itself was a three hour trek taking us along the river to a set a falls and then taking us up the cliffs. The pinnacle was an awesome view overlooking the valley and our campsite below.

After the hike we snuck back into the campsite and showered up before heading to Lorne. Lorne is quite a funky little town about 40km south of Geelong and would have deserved a stay in itself. We stayed here for lunch before heading out to finish the rest of the trip towards Melbourne. On route we managed to spot a wild Koala, which was to be the only Koala we would spot in the wild on this trip. Lazy, lazy animals.

The last real stop of importance was the legendary Bells Beach. A true surfing Mecca. They were gearing up for the Billabong Pro in little under a week. The surf was pumping in two specific spots, with huge clean swells, whilst a number of the pros warmed up for the coming comp. There were some awesome surfers there. I could have sat and watched the waves and surfers attacking them for hours.

The heat at Bells was pretty sweltering with a huge warm gusty wind bearing down on us so we headed into nearby Torquay to do some shopping at the surf factory outlets. Then we passed through Geelong and into Melbourne following Ben with his Sat Nav.
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