Great Ocean Road

Trip Start Jun 18, 2008
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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Great Ocean Road, Victoria - 7th/8th September 2008

The Great Ocean Road stretches some 200km along the Victorian coastline, passing by endless famous surf beaches, huge cliffs and numerous shipwrecks.  It seems to be a very popular attraction, since this is the first time since Coober Pedy that we have seen other Hire Camper vans and Motor homes, and some Backpacker tour buses.

We also chose a decent time to pass through, as since it's low season still, the prices are half what they would normally be, and it's not cheap as it is, especially for accommodation - it's the most expensive area we've been to thus far, and those costs double in summer.  In addition, it's still fairly quiet - not much traffic, lots of scenic lookouts and trails all to ourselves.

Coming from South Australia, the first stretch we passed through is known as the Shipwreck Coast.  Here there are endless cliffs and very large waves constantly attacking the shoreline.  There are numerous wrecks along this stretch, hence the name.  We stopped off at a few scenic lookouts, and a number of the Coastal features that people drive down here for.  London Bridge, for example, was once a couple of arches in the cliff caused by the sea.  Then one day one of the arches fell down, so it looks less like London Bridge and more like an archway.  Also, the Bay of Islands.  The name sort of gives it away - it's a bay, with lots of large islands in, each of them once being part of the land and gradually becoming little outcrops.  

To be honest it is much the same for quite a distance.  The most famous part of this stretch, and perhaps the whole route, is the 12 Apostles.  I think you can guess what they are - yes, more little outcrops in the bay.  But there are no longer 12 of them, thanks to that pounding ocean.  I think there are now 6.  Naturally we jumped out and got the obligatory photos of them all.

On past Port Campbell, and you enter Great Otway National Park.  We had been recommended by quite a few people to go up to the Otway Fly, a tree top walk way, but we decided that since we did the same thing back in Western Australia, to give this one a miss.  The carpark was rammed too.  So we did something slightly more fun, and a lot cheaper, and that was to go on a couple of hikes to some waterfalls.  This involved very lonely logging tracks, lots of tall trees and some stunning waterfalls, unsurprisingly.  Again, we had them all to ourselves.  

Past Apollo Bay and it becomes a series of very famous surf beaches and little villages that cater to the maniacs who go out in those huge swells.  

In all, it reminded me a great deal of various coastal drives elsewhere in the world - especially the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles up to San Francisco.  The endless cliffs pounded by the ocean, the numerous surf beaches, the cool little villages etc.  It's very similar in that respect.  So yeah, enjoyable, some great little walks and hidden treasures, and some nice views.  

And it also happened to be the way to Melbourne, our next destination, and the only time we have actually had to be somewhere on a certain day...
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