The GREAT Ocean Road!

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
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115
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Trip End May 30, 2013


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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Today is the day! After a minor midhap of having misplaced our tent...the laundry was done, bags were packed, and we were ready to hit the road! Our lovely CS hosts are lending us some camping gear which is going to make things much easier and more comfortable. We are riding with Fermin, a 30 year old guy from Spain who's spending 3 months in Australia.

Brian was quite stressed about driving, and it was very confusing since we didn't know the city and driving with trams was a bit of a trick. But he was a pro, and soon we were out of the city with the blue sea and sand to our south and 39C on the thermostat. A few stops to enjoy the view and poke the koalas, we were searching for a campsite.

Victoria has an amazing assortment of campgrounds that are all free!  We camped along a little cape that the Great Ocean Road bipasses.  Down some gravel roads, I spotted wild koalas in the trees. The best was a Mommy and baby and so much better than the common viewing
place.

Then onto a little river with the far off sound of crashing surf in the background. I went for a little walk and kept seeing flashes of green, white and black as birds were flying everywhere.

The clouds rolled in and we couldn't watch the sunset, but still we walked the 2.5 km to the beach along a deep sand track (several 4x4's were stuck that night). We arrived at an enormous expanse of untouched beach. It was gorgeous! The waves were crashing so hard that we had to shout to hear one another. After a time of chasing waves, we made our way back to camp trying not to step on the scorpions barely bigger than carpenter ants.

Back at the campsite, I was on a quest to find a wombat. Heard lots of grumbles, rustles and claws in the trees. Saw a possum and koala closeup, but no wombat...The sound of koala claws on the trees would send shivers up your spine if you didn't know what they were. That and the sound of them growling in the woods made  for a very 'wild' camp feeling, but I think they're probably the equivalent of squirrels and raccoons for their commonness.

The next morning felt like Scotland to us. After 39C, we awoke to cloud, drizzle and 12C! And then our new cook stove wasn't working. So we had barely warm coffee that barely dissolved the instant coffee crystals. Yuck! Thinking the rest of the food we'd bought for the week was now wombat food...Not the way to start the pretty section of the Great Ocean Road. But handy Brian was able to get the stove working after a quick disection, things were packed, and we were on track again.

First stop was 'wreak beach'. This whole coast has so many stories about ship wreaks.  Approximately 80 during a 40 year period. One particular story of Loch Gar tells of a ship on it's final day of voyage after coming from England, crashing with only 2 survivors remaining. The wreaks are off the coast, but this beach has a couple of anchors that are revealed and you can walk up to. It's quite an eery feeling to see them popping up out of the rocky shore.

Next stop was gibbon's steps. Once carved into the cliffs by Mr. Gibbon, it offers one of the only ways down to the beach off the steep and unsturdy cliffs. This is why there are beautiful formations - the shore keeps collapsing. A beautiful beach with the start of the sea stacks that form the 12 Apostles (really only 6 or 7). Varying in shape and size, you don't realize until you start to walk around the base and see the shapes changing. Their size is immense when seen from the beach and not even imagined when viewed from the platforms.

Then there were a few 'jump-out-and-take-a-photo' opportunities to see the Arch and London Bridge, but weren't nearly as atmospheric

We decided to stay in Peterborough near Martyrs Bay and the Bay of Islands where we chatted with a cycle tourist (still not over that!). We are not sure what we will do tomorrow. The plan was to go to the Grampians, but there is a 9000 ha fire burning there right now.  The temperature drop and rain may be helping, but it's out of control and we don't think we want to rush into that!



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