Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
332Trip End Jan 19, 2007
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Eventually found our way to the motorway and took the inland road up to Port Fairy so we could then wind our way back to Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road. Driving through the rain in the dark was not pleasant but stopped for supermarket supplies on the way and got to Port Fairy by about 10pm. Was shattered by this point and were staying in a pub which we were quite looking forward to but were too tired to have a beer with the locals
Up next morning to blue skies which was a good sign and drove down to the beach to have our brekkie. Weetabix in our mugs (no access to crockery!) Port Fairy is a lovely place, again lots of water and old whitewashed cottages and 50 National Trust buildings here. Really liked it here although weather is a bit more temperamental than I would like!
Then headed down the road to Warrnambol and onto the G.O.R. (Great Ocean Road) aim for today was to get to 12 Apostles before it rained or sunset. Road was pretty impressive winding single carriageway and after Port Campbell (where we planned to stay but no room) had to stop a few times to take pics of London Bridge (although main bit fallen down. Apparently 2 tourists had to be helicopter rescued from the new island that was created), arches and other erosional things that I should know the names of (see pics). Weather was starting to get cloudy and threatening rain so we tried to get to 12 apostles as soon as we could but got some available accommodation first as lack of it was becoming a concern. We eventually found room at the 13 Apostles Backpackers in Princetown which had a kitchen fortunately as we had rather overdone our supermarket shopping (for a change) and had bought pasta etc to cook (wise move!) After a longer than planned lunch (as the heavens opened) we headed to the 12 Apostles (with a couple now gone since last year) and caught a glimpse of the sunshine
Went for another wander round Port Campbell another small town and then back to 12 Apostles for sunset, or as it turned out, another shower! Were some impressive rainbows on the way but unfortunately couldn't get a photo with rainbow and 12 apostles. We also wanted to stay until after the sunset as apparently all the penguins come in from the sea onto the beach into their burrows. We gave up on that idea after a while in the cold and rain!
Back to the hostel and started to watch 'Oceans 12' (not that good in my opinion) on the DVD there before a bus load of other backpackers arrived. After dinner and watching 'High Fidelity' we were off to bed.
After brekkie (in bowls today!)and some blue sky we were about to do a morning visit to the 12 apostles but rain arrived so we headed off back on the G.O.R. towards Melbourne. We were driving through the Cape Otway National Park and heading towards the Lighthouse there when we saw our first wild koala on a low branch of a tree fast asleep with wind gusting around him
Further down the road saw a few more higher in the trees and occasionally have a wander around. We then went into the lighthouse (apparently the only one you can go into in Oz) and went out at the top and the wind was unbelievably strong (see photo of me holding on!). Then had a look around the museum bits here before back onto the G.O.R. via more koala spotting. After more driving we had a quick rainforest walk and lunch before we drove through Apollo Bay and then onto Lorne. Stopped off in Lorne to find somewhere to stay and found a great place (YHA) our own little cabin with verandah overlooking a valley of trees and cockatoos everywhere. After a wander around the town we decided to have some cheese and biscuits and wine on our verandah which turned into rather too much wine (on my part anyway)
Woke up with intention of not drinking for a while (well at least until I get to Marlborough). Fed the cockatoos before we left and I saw a kookaburra too. Went to Erskine Falls and then Teddy's Lookout before the rain came down again!
The final leg of the G.O.R. is the most impressive as you are right on the coast as you wind down the roads - not quite as scary as Corsica, for example but still pretty cool. We stopped a bit outside of Torquay at Bells Beach - the famous surf beach and watched about 50 surfers do their stuff
Drove up to the airport a bit ahead of schedule but gave us time to hand back the car and spend our last dollars before calling home again. Was really sad to leave Oz which feels really odd to me as I had no desire to go there before we left the UK and just felt like we should 'do'it and the bit of the trip I was most looking forward to was the next bit, New Zealand. Just shows you that you can surprise yourself sometimes!