Loch Ard Gorge and The Sow and Pigletts

Trip Start May 18, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, April 25, 2005

This morning the Apollo Bay Music Festival started up again for the third and final day. There were different kinds of buskers performing during the daytime, including an escape artist who was dislocating his shoulder to get out of a straight jacket.

Having packed up and parked "Bob" we stayed for a couple of hours listening to a few more musical groups, and now only one of the large tents continued to check for admission wristbands so I got to hear some of the headliners in the other one for free.

Once back on the road the scenery became more dramatic on the other side of Cape Otway. By skipping past some of the beaches, coves and forest walks along the Great Ocean Road we managed to get to the 12 Apostles in good time (although those places we past were probably just as worthwhile and definitely less crowded).

On arrival at the 12 Apostles unmanned visitor centre traffic is directed to a huge car park to cater for the many hundreds (if not thousands) of visitors every day. From the car park you walk under the road to several vantage points at the cliff edge. This massive concrete infrastructure reminded me of the car park and large viewing platforms built at Echo Point in Katoomba, which overlook the Three Sisters.

I'm in two minds about whether I like this sort of construction in popular tourist spots. On the one hand they stop further erosion of the surrounding land by directing all visitors along well laid paths and within fenced off areas. On the other hand they are really REALLY ugly constructions, and never look as if they belong there.

It was not quite sunset as we looked out at the eroded structures left standing in the ocean. It's difficult to see all 12 of them at once because some are hidden behind others. They all used to be part of the cliff face, but have since become isolated from the coastline through decades of erosion from the elements. I wonder if this place would still be as popular if they had not changed the name - the 12 Apostles used to be known as the Sow and Pigletts!

Most tourists wait for the sunset at this spot, but we drive a little further along the road to Loch Ard Gorge, as Jo had been there before and recommended it. Personally I preferred it here, lots more to see and less people too. As the sun started to set we headed out further west for Port Campbell, which would be our last destination on the Great Ocean Road before we had to turn back tomorrow. The campsite here ($20 per site) was very well appointed, with good kitchen facilities, hot showers and even a TV lounge with tables (on which we played Settlers later).

Instead of cooking we decided to go to the local Craypot Bistro, just up the road from the campsite. For $15 I had a fantastic meal: Spinnach Gnocchi with excellent all-you-can-stuff-on-your-plate side dishes. Being on the road for two days this was just what I needed. One full stomach and a game of Settlers later and I was more than ready for bed.
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