Great Ocean Road: 12 Apostles
Trip Start Jan 21, 2012
58Trip End Mar 16, 2012
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12 Apostles: These famous limestone stacks that stand along the coast in the Port Campbell National Park were formed by erosion. [They were originally called the sow and piglets, but their new name was thought to have a nicer ring to it]. Actually, there were never twelve; in 1922 when their name was changed there were only nine and now only seven: in 2005 the left-most stack collapsed and a 50-meter stack collapsed in 2008. The effects of erosion are ongoing - - 2 cm per year are lost at the bases due to wave action. Eventually, these rocks will disappear and erosion will start to create new stacks from the headlands; caves will become arches that will be come stacks in time. This beautiful, rugged coastline attracts more than 2 M visitors each year. The Aussies have done an excellent, low-key job of making them accessible with nice paths along the tops of the cliffs, viewing platforms, and many, many steps down to the little coves and pounding surf below
Gibson Steps: My first view of the stacks was from the cliffs above and then from the beach below after I climbed down 100 or so steep steps. An additional reward for climbing down the steps was an echidna in the weeds just at the bottom. Also known as a Spiny Anteater (because they eat ants, not because they are related), this odd creature is thought to be the missing link between and mammals. They have no teeth, pouches or nipples. Instead, they lay eggs which they hatch by pushing them into a fold of skin. The little puggle, once hatched, nurses from a duct from which milk constantly flows. The female is much larger. She is pursued by a group of much smaller males who fight for her favors. She finally mates with the "last man standing".
Loch Ard Gorge: It is named after a clipper ship, the Loch Ard, that ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island in 1878. The two teenaged survivors of the wreck, Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael found shelter in this long, narrow gorge. Although the two shared many adventures together before they were rescued, the story did not have a happy-ever-after ending because their positions in society were so different; Eva was the daughter of a doctor (who was dead, so it hardly mattered) and Tom was a ship's apprentice (again it hardly mattered because but his ship was gone)
London Bridge (Arch): This rock used to form a double arch. But, in 1990, the main “bridge” collapsed stranding two tourists on the ocean side above the smaller arch. It took some time before they were discovered and rescued.
Port Campbell: We ended our long day with dinner in Port Campbell. Our guide said that the salt marshes around the town would be simply crawling with snakes. Didn’t make me want to go take a walk! The 2-hour drive back to town was faster, because we went on main roads.
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