The Great Ocean Road

For some time I had been trying to cajole Lucy to make The Great Ocean Road and Apollo Bay the focus of one of our weekends.  Constantly referred to (by Lucy) as the “Great Scary Great Ocean Road” and a refusal to contemplate the thought, she finally succumbed to my begging and tantrums well considered argument and we booked a lovely little two bedroom unit in Apollo Bay with views of the ocean.

For those unfamiliar with the Great Ocean Road it is a “Heritage listed 243-kilometre (151 mi) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Warrnambool. The road was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932, and is the world’s largest war memorial; dedicated to casualties of World War I. It is an important tourist attraction in the region, which winds through varying terrain alongside the coast, and provides access to several prominent landmarks; including the nationally significant Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations.”  

Doesn’t sound too scary does it.. but it is cut into the side of the cliffs.. is single lane each way, very bendy and twisty and has very little room between the road and a drop to the sea, hence her rampant paranoia understandable concerns.  There is a short excellent video history of the road HERE  that’s well worth a watch

Our trip down started in sunshine on the friday morning.. a tad cold, but beautiful sunny blue skies…We stopped off in Anglesea for an early lunch and continued on……A brief stop at the Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet….and back in the car…on into Lorne and then up into the hills to see Erskine Falls…I had left my glasses in the car – so didn’t get the best shot as I could hardly see the settings and was NOT going back to the car to get them!   This was classed as a ‘moderate’ walk according to Parks Victoria…  320 steps down to the falls… means 320 back up… it was touch as go as to whether we would MAKE it back up… took lots of wheezy breaks trying to suck air into burning lungs… legs wobbly and refusing to go up another step…if we had mobile reception we may have been tempted to call in the rescue chopper! 😉

Split Point Lighthouse

Split Point Lighthouse

 

Erskine Falls, Lorne

Erskine Falls, Lorne

From Lorne we continued on to Apollo Bay.. .Collected our house keys and went for a walk around the harbour….After enjoying the sun at the harbour we headed back to our unit, nuked up the heating and settled in to do some art.. working on our journals.. ATCs for a swap etc.,

 

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay

 

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay Cray Pots

Next morning the sun had left us – was very overcast and windy but no rain predicted so we headed to the Cape Otway Lightstation.  Driving along the road the trees suddenly all looked totally stripped bare… was a very odd sight…Bit further down the road we came across the culprit…apparently there is quite a large koala population.. don’t know what they plan to do when the food runs out… cause the cupboard is bare!

Road to Cape Otway Lightstation

Road to Cape Otway Lightstation

 

Cape Otway Trees

Cape Otway Trees

 

Cape Otway - Koala

Cape Otway – Koala

Cape Otway Lightstation is the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia and has been in continuous operation since 1848.  Life must have been terribly lonely and bleak there a hundred years ago… it’s perched above huge cliffs where the Southern Ocean and Bass Street collide.. and its no summer picnic.. great view.. but wind-swept and bitterly cold.  We took refuge in the cafe for a serve of fresh scones with jam and cream and steaming hot coffee.  After the climb to Erskine falls we didn’t do the lighthouse climb.. though compared to split point and Erskine it would have been a breeze (it’s not that tall due to the height of the cliffs it sits on)

Cape Otway Lightstation

Cape Otway Lightstation

From Cape Otway we drove towards Port Campbell… Gibsons Steps was our next stop.  They are just before the Twelve Apostles and were originally a series of steps cut into the side of the cliff by Hugh Gibson (so he could get down to the beach to fish).  They have since been replaced by 84 concrete steps  – down to Gibsons Beach..from here you can walk along the beach and the limestone cliffs tower above you.  From there we were off to the Twelve Apostles (there is seven of them not twelve lol).  It was getting very grey with threatening skies.. sun came out briefly for a  few mins at a time – but we could see a storm coming – and Sunday was predicted to be quite wet

 

Gibsons Steps

Gibsons Steps

 

 

Gibsons Beach

Gibsons Beach

Twelve Apostles

Twelve Apostles

From the Twelve Apostles we went into Port Campbell for lunch… Port Campbell, apart from the pub, a cafe and servo seemed to be closed … expected it to be bigger, and for 2pm in the afternoon it was VERY quiet.  We ate at the only cafe open – meals took almost an hour to arrive and I was ready to walk out except that Lucy was chewing the table legs in hunger.  Once we wolfed our meal down we headed back to Apollo Bay, bought dinner provisions and got back to the unit just as the rain started… we had a good thunderstorm that night, and brief sunshine again sunday morning before the heavens opened again and it kept raining, quite heavily all day.  T’was a day for staying in and arting…..
Lorne

Lorne

As had been the case every time we go away – Monday was bright, sunny and very nice in the sun.  We left Apollo Bay a little before nine.. took breakfast in Lorne and went for a walk along the beach and through the rock pools…All in all a very enjoyable weekend.. our accom was very comfy, weather was kind to us (considering it was winter after all), we made art, ate junk food, talked, laughed and had a wonderful time…..

 

Footnote:

in the months following our visit to the Cape Otway Lightstation a secret koala cull was commenced to deal with the over population.  For more info you can see the article Here

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2 Comments

  1. Lucy September 17, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    OK, I have now decided that the Great Ocean Road is not so scary,in fact the only problem was trying to drive whilst marvelling at the views!

    Your pictures are beautiful, giving the fabulous scenery the justice it deserves!!

    I have now recovered from the 200+ steps back up from the waterfall, but will not be doing it again!
    had a wonderful 3nights, 4 days!
    Hugs Lucy

  2. Glenda September 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    What a fabulous post GF, I am so jealous LOL. I wanna come too… Can I give the kids back to whoever will have them so I can come with you. BUT I am so looking forward to “our” trip to where-ever we decide we are going. Glad you got past your fear of that road Lucy. Time fixes most memories, even if it takes the local council to fix the road. Feel for the Koala population tho that their food supply is running out. Needs humans to plant more for them to survive. See you soon.

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