The Magnificent Great Ocean Road Part II

Trip Start Nov 29, 2012
Trip End May 10, 2015

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Sunday, March 17, 2013

The next morning dawned, still a little cloudy but dry at least after the torrential rain of the day before. After breakfast in a lovely deli called Wickens on the main strip in Apollo Bay, Felicity and I headed off back through the rainforest to one of the billed major tourist attractions in the area Otway Fly Treetop Adventures which is famous for its zipwire through the rainforest. As cool as it sounded, I was not willing to part with $115 (80) for the priviledge. So decided instead to walk on the elevated platforms that allowed visitors to walk amongst the treetops. It was a fair drive off route but decided check it out. When I arrived around 10am, it was evident that the place concentrated on the zipwire element and as impressive as the rainforest was, at the end of the day, I paid $20 to look at trees which was a little bit disappointing. The highlights of the place were the scenic drive there and seeing a wild wallaby just next to the car park!

I then headed back to the car which was still running by some miracle and went to get fuel in a little town called Lavers Hill. It was a proper hillbilly place and completely deserted, There were two fuel pumps in front of an old Roadhouse with this crazy looking old woman behind the counter who wouldn't have looked out of place in an old Western film, it was very odd and unnerving. I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd been chewing on a piece of wheat and wearing an old Stetson!

At a place called Melba Gully, I bumped into a lovely New Zealander couple who I chatted to for a while about my travel plans. I told them I was hoping to see the infamous 12 Apostles that afternoon and they told me to watch out for the Asians with their Ipads! Hilarious! The Great Ocean Road is home to Shipwreck Coast where many ships have been lost over the years and I was interested to see Moonlight Head, home to Wreck Beach. This should have been renamed 'Wreck-Your-Car Beach.' The road to reach this beach was a gravel track with HUGE potholes in it. If someone had been asked to design a route specifically to destroy a car, this would have been it. It was a 10km drive of sheer hell and I had images of Felicity's suspension falling off...

Out of all the beaches I visited over the weekend, Wreck Beach was by far my favourite. There was something incredibly haunting about it. There were two shipwrecks here, The Fiji in 1891 and Marie Gabrielle in 1880. At low tide, it's possible to see the remaining anchor of one of these but sadly the tide was in and it was too dangerous to walk round to see it. The only thing I could hear was the relentless crashing of the waves, it was very eerie but definitely worth the horrendous drive and the descent of 300 odd steps!

Once back on the luxury of tarmac, our next stop was the big one, The Twelve Apostles. I'd seen photos of these many times but nothing quite prepares you for seeing them in real life. They really are pretty magnificent, but as always, the millions of tourists were out yet again in their droves, mostly Japanese and didn't seem remotely bothered about the incredible wonder of the sea stacks. They were more concerned with having their photo taken, which is a shame. In case you're wondering why I decided not to have my photo taken at the Twelve Apostles, it was very windy and I looked like I'd been dragged through a hedge! But just being there was enough for me, it was a very surreal moment.

After a quick trip down Gibson's Steps onto the beach, I headed off to one of the definite highlights of my trip, Loch Ard Gorge. Despite the Twelve Apostles getting all of the credit on the Great Ocean Road, this for me was truly inspiring, even just for the story behind it. In 1878, the Loch Ard, a clipper ship sailing from England to Melbourne hit rocks at nearby Muttonbird Island and sunk. All onboard drowned apart from two, a fifteen year old boy and an eighteen year old girl. Both were rescued after the boy was washed ashore and saved the girl who was found in a cave when he heard her cries for help. It was really moving just being there. I went for a walk along the clifftops and just stood in awe at the incredible sight of these amazing rock formations. It was like being in another world, literally.

But time was marching on and it was getting dark. And I was pretty cold by this point too, so I headed off to Port Campbell to check into my hostel. Port Campbell was even more of a hick town than Lavers Hill. I could imagine tumbleweed rolling down the main street! I said as much to the hostel owner who didn't look impressed! But he did give me a six bed dorm to myself though! Actual win! I headed off to the local pub for some seriously decent grub, a glass of wine and the Australian Grand Prix on the telly whilst watching the sunset. An amazing end to another amazing day, just wish the weather had been a teeny tad better but never mind!

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