The Great Ocean Road

Trip Start Nov 06, 2003
Trip End Jan 24, 2004

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Monday, December 1, 2003

A new month, and our first full day alone as a family this trip! We break our camp on Phillip Island early and sweep the car around the turquoise waters of Western Port Bay to the Mornington Peninsula and a ferry to the Great Ocean Road. The boat is expensive, but it bypasses Melbourne and hours of driving. Even with the short cut, we have almost 1000 kilometres to travel in 36 hours. Get ready for togetherness!

Our times with Bronwyn and the Trewellas have made these first weeks in Australia so rich. They've also protected us from ourselves, so to speak. We've hardly known this luxury of being by ourselves. With Emma oscillating between two households back home every week, she's never experienced prolonged confinement with a nucleus. Mind, it's a luxury that comes with a price tag; I remember enough of family vacations to know that togetherness mixes blessings. Bumping against each other's personalities. Sharing boredom. I also remember some of those trips as clearly as any experience from my youth. The in-jokes and histories you build.

Started as a memorial to the dead of World War I and a work project for the survivors, the Great Ocean Road lives up to its intention as one of the great coastal routes in the world. For millennia, waves blown north from Antartica have battered the southern shores of Australia. Along the disfigured cliffs and exposed bays left by this onslaught, men with picks and axes forged a ribbon of tarmac. It stretches almost 300 kilometres from Torquay to Warrnambool.

Today's route passes Anglesea and Artillary Rocks, across the long exposure from Wongarra to Storm Point. By the time we bed down at Apollo Bay, we have realized the flavour of the sea at dusk and after sudden squalls.

We've also discovered "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." The common room at Pisces Holiday Park boasts a television, kitchen, cooking supplies and barbecues. Camping is a civilized event in Australia.
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