Getting a buzz on the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide

Trip Start Nov 12, 2007
Trip End Aug 01, 2008

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

We left Melbourne on the 28th to drive along part of the South coast to Adelaide.  Again we were taking it slowly especially leaving the City as there were roadworks on the freeway and half of Melbourne seemed to be heading south for their Christmas/Summer holidays. We were actually stuck in traffic for a while which made us feel right at home.

However it soon cleared and we reached the coast heading for our first overnight stop Apollo Bay.The weather was sunny and warming up. The route is known as the Great Ocean Road and although we had not reached the main stretch on the first day there were still great views out over the ocean with waves crashing into the steep cliffs. A bit like an elongated Cornwall with aquamarine seas. Apollo Bay was lovely with green hills behind which provided excellent vantage points at sunset albeit with rather too many fllies for our liking which was going to be a portent for the following day.

The second day was along a famous stretch of coast where the erosion of limestone cliffs has created miles and miles of spectacular scenery. There are many well known landmarks the most photographed being The Twelve Apostles (though there are only eight left) massive pillars standing alone on the beach. The views are dramatic perhaps as good as anything we have seen so far but unfortunately the flies were out in force, They were probably at their worst at the Apostles viewing platform and they made it reallly unpleasant. It was not just a few but dozens buzzing around and landing on you continuously. We went down to beach level and fortunately there were less there.

There are many viewpoints down the coast and we stopped several times each time going through the same rigmarole of running the gauntlet of flies being amazed at the views taking the photos and then hurrying back to the car (not running cos it was hot see below)

There were columns arches and caves all memorable. One popular feature is London Bridge which was a double arch attached to the shore but the inner arch collapsed about 15 years ago stranding a couple who had been walking on the top. They were rescued after many hours but unfortunately it turned out they were having an affair and were not too keen to talk to the waiting media....

We finished the day in Port Fairy a pleasant historical small town where a pleasant stroll with a few less flies was a relaxing end to the day.

The following day the road moved inland as we headed North. We were not sure where to stop for lunch but ended up in Mount Gambier which proved extraordinary too. It is pretty much in the middle of nowhere in particular but so we found out is built on the side of an extinct volcano but in the crater at the top of the volcano are several lakes and a park all of which were very scenic. However the main lake is the strangest colour you can imagine a sort of thick bright turquoise. Apparently it is only this colour from November to March. It is an amazing sight. Apparently it is something to do with calcium and algae but Emma suspects dye for the gullible tourists especially as there are no explanations on the plaques round the lake. From there we headed further west to rejoin the Coast at the pretty seaside town of Robe for the night. We had a fairly brief walk round town and by the beach but flies were still an issue and by now it was getting seriously warm with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees..

We left Robe on New Years Eve for the long drive to Adelaide where the temperature was forecast to reach 109 ! They do get it hot there but this is exceptional even for them. The drive up was strange just miles and miles of long straight roads with hardly a car on it.

We had a brief stroll around Adelaide diving into shops to take advantage of the air conditioning. There was a breeze but it was hot like a hairdryer. We ventured out again at midnight to watch the fireworks which were relatively low key and it was still hot.

New Years Day saw the temperature forecast plummet to around 100 so we headed out to explore the town, wandering from shade to shade. Adelaide is quiet tidy with plenty of old colonial buildings parks by the dozen  a picturesque river and of course a cricket ground (which we had to go to off course just one to go now)

The heat finally beat us in the afternoon so we retired to an internet cafe which is how we have suddenly brought ourselves up to date.

Happy New Year to all. We are off to a cooler Tasmania tomorrow for our last week in Australia. It has flown by.
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