Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Great Ocean Road

As previously promised numerous times, I now return to travel blogging. I am going to finish up the Australia and New Zealand trip, then finish up the Japan and Korea trip, and then start on the rest of the travel.

The last part of the Australia trip I blogged about was Uluru or Ayers Rock. After our quick trip there, we flew to Melbourne and took a bus trip along the Great Ocean Road.

I had not heard of this till the travel agent mentioned it, but when she said it was a great trip, I decided to go for it. And I have no regrets. It reminds me a little of the drive on Rt. 1 from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Lots of little towns that are mainly there for summer visitors, beaches, and miles of glorious views.

We left Melbourne early in the morning and the first part was pretty forgettable. It was universal suburbia. But then we hit the ocean.

We were lucky to have scored a seat right in the front of the bus, which allowed us to take photos through the windshield. You'll see the windshield wipers in some of the photos.


There is a historical marker at the entrance to the original road that was built by returning war veterans. Of course it is much longer than that now and we went beyond that part.


There is a beach right there and we stopped for a few minutes to see the Great Southern Ocean.



We drove for most of the morning, with few stops. My album is full of photos of a turquoise ocean as the road curves around the shore.

The towns are mostly Victorian in style. We found a little vegan restaurant at the lunch spot. The rest of the bus went for the higher end place that the driver recommended. The upside was that we finished fairly quickly and then went and got some lovely icecream.



The non-ocean side of the drive was farmland, rolling hills, small towns, etc.


We stopped at a few beaches and eventually ended up two sites called the Twelve Apostles and London Bridge. There were never Twelve Apostles there and a couple have fallen over so now there are only seven.

Those are some of the Apostles.




London Bridge or Arch is a natural bridge that fell down a number of years ago. There were some tourists on it when it collapsed but they weren't on the section that fell. They were stranded on the far side.



We also stopped at another scenic spot called Loch Ard Gorge. There is a shipwreck there which has a story all its own. You can read about it in the wikipedia entry.

Looking down on the beach at Loch Ard Gorge. We didn't go down because we didn't want to climb back up!

Some of the towns were built as shelter from the power of the ocean. They have little beaches, a cove, and their own stories. Here's one of those that we stopped at.


And last, but not least, a very dark picture of a wild koala with a joey feeding in her pouch. They are near the center of the picture slightly to the left. This is a patch of forest that we drove through that koalas are known to live in. We were driving very slowly along the road, trying not to hold up traffic when someone spotted the mother and joey. Unfortunately, since we couldn't stop and the forest trees are dark, this is all I was able to get.

We drove back on the inland highway. It was a long and tiring day but well worth it. I am glad I listened to the travel agent and took the trip. Also, it was nice having someone else drive so we could just drink in the view and enjoy the ride. However, it would have also been nice to have a more leisurely visit, stopping for the night at some of the towns along the way.

As the driver said, this is a sampling of the Great Ocean Road!




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