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The Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road – Day 5

by on Nov.12, 2010, under The Great Ocean Road

Nov 12, 2010

After an extremely windy and stormy night we were surprised that our tent still was in perfect order. Thank you, Aussie Disposal, for providing quality camping gear at a low price. But wait until we get into the hot sun of the Outback .. but more on that later ..

Our first walk began only a few meters from our camp. No wonder, we had camped in the car park. It led us to the Cape Bridgewater Blowhole.

Actually, we expected something different. All the former blowholes we had visited had a very special geological structure, consisting of a washed out cave through which the tide presses water that blows up to the surface. However, it is a nice cliff. See some steaming pacific .. 🙂

We walked on to the Petrified Forest and were misled by the name as probably many others before. Look at the structures – what do they remind you of?

Right! Just as you (hopefully did) we thought these were the petrified remains of trees in an ancient forest. Wrong – these structures are hollow tubes of limestone, eroded as a result of millions of years of rainfall. Nifty, eh? 🙂

Here’s a video overview of the scenery:

Returning to the town we took the 4 km long walk to the seal colony located on a foreshore, hoping there would be any seals at all. On the way we enjoyed a great view of the seemingly neverending coastline:

Panorama view of Cape Bridgewater

Panorama view of Cape Bridgewater

I even stitched together a panorama view out of 3 single shots – the things we do for you, huh? 🙂

The walk was nice, but steep and exhausting, as it meandered along Stony Hill, the highest cliff top in Victoria. We did not know then what we would be able to hike just some time later in the Kata Tjuta’s and Kings Canyon –  more than 30 km’s in 3 days under the unforgiving, hot sun in the desert. So this must have been a really good training. 😉

The signs were actually not overly helpful..

The worst thing were the myriads of flies annoying the hell out of us, flying into every facial hole possible, ears, nose, eyes. What in god’s name is their agenda?

When we came to the viewing platform we found these cute fellows enjoing themselves (sorry, we have no better pictures):

Seal colony at Cape Bridgewater

Seal colony at Cape Bridgewater

There were about 35 seals swimming or lying around lazily. When we peeked into the guestbook we found ourselves to be lucky – other visitors hadn’t seen a single seal on the same day! How disappointing after the long walk .. we were better off, obviously:

Taking the walk back we stumbled upon these lizards, unable to figure out what they were up to..

Two lizards eating each other?

Two lizards eating each other?

Next stop was a a quick visit of the Cape Nelson Lighthouse:

Cape Nelson Lighthouse

Cape Nelson Lighthouse

Not much to see, however, it was closed. We’ll spare you the view to the cliffs and beaches, though – the Great Ocean Road was nicer. 🙂

It was then that we decided to head up to Adelaide, leaving Victoria and entering South Australia. And then we realized how we had underestimated the distances in Australia – again. We still had 550 km’s to go, and it was already late in the afternoon.

Nevertheless, we stopped in Mt Gambier and found this interesting phenomenon called Umpherstone Sinkhole:

Basically, it is an almost perfectly circular shaped big hole in the ground that you can walk into. It is used for functions of all kinds as it provides a great scenery.

Mt Gambier is much more famous for another interesting natural phenomenon: the Blue Lake. Again, for you I created a panorama view to enjoy:

The Blue Lake in Mt Gambier

The Blue Lake in Mt Gambier

It shows a grey color in the winter, which turns into a massive blue within a few days in November at the start of summer. Interestingly, the exact causes are yet unknown.

We rushed further to Adelaide, passing the Coorong National Park in complete darkness and therefore unable to see any birds or the pink-coloured lakes. However, we witnessed a truly fiery sunset that concluded the day and our travels from Melbourne to Adelaide in an appropriate manner.

Fiery sunset in Coorong National Park

Fiery sunset in Coorong National Park

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The Great Ocean Road – Day 4

by on Nov.11, 2010, under The Great Ocean Road

Nov 11, 2010

This was one of the happy days with facilities like tap water, electricity and .. yes, an own bathroom. And oh did we enjoy it! 🙂

A good day starts with a good bath!

A good day starts with a good bath!

After leaving Peterborough we immediately reached the Bay of Martyrs. And believe me, there was a lot to see! We started at Halladale Point.

After that we strolled around for quite a while and found a few not so popular places with views like hidden gems.

Here’s a short panoramic video:

Maybe here and there we should have kept a respectable distance …

However, we felt more than rewarded with great views of the rock formations and the ocean:

The weather on the previous day had been not to sunny, but today it was just great – a few clouds, warm and a comforting sun. Therefore we decided to quickly head back to the Twelve Apostles and find out, what they look like under the Australian sun. We think it was worth the ride, what do you think?

Need more arguments? No worries! 🙂

Continuing in our previous direction we drove straight to the Bay of Islands, another exciting place with stunning views.

This day felt like an endless stream of visual euphoria. Come and join in:

Just when we thought, it could not get any better, we found we were wrong. We decided to go to Childers Cove, a small bay that’s not so quickly reachable. We took a detour and found the Murnane Bay ..

Murnane Bay

Murnane Bay

.. and the Childers Cove bay which proved to be a very exclusive gem. It is a small variant of everything a small paradise just needs – white sand, pretty rocks, steep cliffs, great waves and a view of the ocean.

Enjoy this short clip:

We had to engage in a duckling rescue mission to reunite it with its family, all the time repelling evil seagulls that picked ducklings out of the small crowd. Why the gooses did not defend their breed although being meters away, was beyond our understanding. See the reunited happy goose family here:

Sadly it was time to leave the Great Ocean Road behind after Warrnambool. We had plenty of time left on our hands and went on to the Tower Hill State Reserve which is actually a giant volcano crater that serves as a habitat for wildlife these days.

To get into the crater bottom, the first thing to do is pop down the crater rim:

A steep ride, but the crater views are worth every millimeter of worn brake pads:

We took the Lava Boardwalk, hoping to see our first free emus. Instead we first saw snakes, wallabies and birds. Just when we became grumpy and wanted to get to the car, we took a final detour, and .. BAM! Here they were, peacefully grazing …

What a show! And it’s on TV, eh .. PC for you! 🙂

We happily left the crater and took the scenic drive along the crater rim, and it really shows you a lot ..

That was enough for today. Phew! On our search for a campsite we thought it might be a good idea to camp as close as possible to our next destination. That was Cape Bridgewater. And we set up our camp just below the windfarm located only a few hundred meters away.

Campsite at Cape Bridgewater

Campsite at Cape Bridgewater

Honestly – that was an absolutely stupid idea. We woke up several times that night when the winds were so strong that our tent was bent over in all directions and nearly flew away, with us still in it. So – don’t go there. It’s illegal to camp there anyway! 😉

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The Great Ocean Road – Day 3

by on Nov.10, 2010, under The Great Ocean Road

Nov 10, 2010

This day would be just packed with all the great things that you can see on the Great Ocean Road. We started from Princetown towards the Port Campbell National Park. First stop: the Gibsons Steps.

Of course we were unable to resist the urge and went down to the beach.

A lot of steps later we set foot on the beach and got a first impression what all the beaches and cliffs around here look like.

We continued to the probably best-known attraction of the Great Ocean Road – the Twelve Apostles and took a stroll to the viewing platform.

To better understand the geological process look at this foreshore rock that might sometime in the future become an apostle itself after millions of years of erosion by wind and sea:

Twelve Apostels - future Apostle?

Twelve Apostels - future Apostle?

If so, someone will have to relocate the viewing platform or people will have get on these annoying scenic helicopter flights that are buzzing around all the time.

See the following short clip to vaguely grasp the atmosphere of the area:

On our way to the Loch Ard Gorge we were surprised to see some burnt areas – although this region was supposed to be completely safe from bushfire. Never trust a travel guide ..

Bushfire close to the ocean

Bushfire close to the ocean

A few of the apostles are hidden from the main viewing platforms, still make up for a great view when you take the time to see them along the way on one of the many, many walks.

To be honest, I cannot remember exactly if those were apostles or not .. anyway, nice rocks! 🙂

The Loch Ard Gorge was our next stop. It is named after the ship „Loch Ard“ that was wrecked there just upon the coastline. All passengers but 2 were killed. One of the two, a young man, managed to swim to the shore, then heard the screams of the other one, a young lady. He swam out to rescue her and, risking his life, struggled an hour in the sea, but eventually saved her. We went on to the beach where the two lucky fellows made ground contact with Australia.

Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge

Enjoy a scenery view of the gorge from the beach:

Nearby you can find this wonderful sea cave and a small, but interesting arch:

Again, I cannot remember exactly if the sea cave is the Lord Arch Blowhole. It was just six weeks ago .. too much to see and to do „down under“ to memorize it all appropriately.. 😉

A short stop at the Loch Ard Cemetery revealed the gravestones of the only four bodies that could be salvaged and properly buried after the „Loch Ard“ sank.

There are a lot of these sad stories associated with the south east coast of Australia, far more than 100 ships suffered a similar fate.

We rushed on to The Arch, it was already getting late and still so much to see ..

The Arch

The Arch

Watching the waves crushing into this formation gives you a hint what erosion does over elongated periods of time. That must have been what Inka was wondering raptly while watching ..

Cutie on the Great Ocean Road

Cutie on the Great Ocean Road

Take a look at the waves yourself:

Next stop: London Bridge – in the sunset.

The London Bridge in the sunset

The London Bridge in the sunset

One of its arches collapsed a few years ago with two spectators trapped on the remaining arch. They got rescued by a hellacopter – maybe one of those tourist hellacopters was put to good use at last? 🙂

After a mostly clouded day we were lucky to see some sunlight. It makes the colors of the rocks and the ocean so more beautiful as you can see in the following beach impressions:

And the coast is just stuffed with this – isn’t it simply amazing?

Our last stop of the day was The Grotto, an unique formation eroded into the rocks.

We concluded the day here enjoying a wonderful sunset ..

Yes, this day was full of highlights and amazing scenery. Every reason to be happy! 🙂

King of the hill!

King of the hill!

Oops .. please don’t tell anyone how often we went off the given tracks! 😉

We found an acceptable campsite in Peterborough and stayed there for the night – that means we only made about 50 km’s per day.

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The Great Ocean Road – Day 2

by on Nov.09, 2010, under The Great Ocean Road

Nov 09, 2010

In the night the kookaburras and magpies made a huge noise every so often. The barkings dogs all around us also didn’t make us feel much safer. But daylight arose and we arose as well, seeing our campsite in full detail. Just when having breakfast a big kookaburra suddenly came flying to our table in an instant of a second from out of nowhere, picking my just prepared cheese bread and going off with it. You little bugger, hope it tasted well!

We have video proof as well:

After packing up we headed to Mariners Lookout near Apollo Bay. The view was simply stunning .. for the first time ever I was definitely sure to recognize the curvature of the earth very clearly on the horizon.

That’s the view you get .. look at the overview from left to right:

That’s what a happy Great Ocean Road Traveller looks like – c’mon, I’m doing my best! 🙂

LandCruiser Jet Pilot

LandCruiser Jet Pilot

We drove on to Cape Otway Lighthouse passing the Cape Otway National Park that we had just visited on our camping trip a few days before. But today the weather was great, the sun warm and the trees .. full of Koala bears!

Every here and there other people stopped and were amazed by these cute little fellas – so were we, especially by this Koala and Baby-Koala:

We decided to visit the Cape Otway Lighthouse site which showed the old Telegraph and Lighthouse keepers‘ station among many other things as well as the Lighthouse itself.

The outlook onto the sea and the cliffs were .. once again .. stunning!

It was quite windy up there ..

On top of Cape Otway Lighthouse

On top of Cape Otway Lighthouse

We have seen quite a lot of warning signs so far around here, but that combination was even new to us:

Birds, koalas, kangaroos .. and .. eh .. cows?

Birds, koalas, kangaroos .. and .. eh .. cows?

We could not detect any wild cows, however.

From Cape Otway our next stop was Melba Gully where we looked for the Big Tree, a giant Eucalyptus regnans. And we looked .. and looked .. and then found it, already smashed on the ground. It must have been quite an impressive one, though, as it was still huge when we found its remains:

Again we were lucky to have the LandCruiser for our next target: Moonlight Head, accessible only via dirt and gravel roads. It’s supposed to have Australia’s highest cliffs – is that actually true? See for yourself:

It is incredibly beautiful, anyway ..

Just a few minutes from there we found Wreck Beach, one of the biggest surprises so far. Not being mentioned in any guide or recommended by anyone we found it to have an incredible atmosphere – all misty, secretive, quite and mysterious. We were the only human beings around, the waves got bigger and louder with every new move towards the beach, the sun was going down .. AWESOME.

Look at this ocean ..

Look at the scenery ..

What an ambience!

What an ambience!

Get an even better grasp of this experience in this short clip:

The highlight of this experience was probably the moment when we came around a corner, saw some distant objects and when we came closer ..

.. it was actual ship wreckage from the „Marie Gabrielle„, wrecked there in 1880. More than 120 ships sank on the famous Shipwreck Coast which Wreck beach is a part of. Only 250 meters further there would have been the anchor of the „Fiji“, but we missed that .. we left Wreck Beach when it was near dark.

The day was concluded by heading further down the Great Ocean Road and finding a campsite in Princetown. For the first time we rented a camping spot, but enjoyed a warm shower – happy campers! 😉

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The Great Ocean Road – Day 1

by on Nov.08, 2010, under The Great Ocean Road

Nov 08, 2010

Our first stop was Anglesea where we took a short walk and enjoyed a scenery that we should get quite used to in the following days, only to be surprised that it would be more and more amazing.

Our next stop was the Split Point Lighthouse near Aireys Inlet where we walked down to the beach as well.

The inlet is another lake behind the coast line with an inflow of natural waters and a beautiful beach. We could observe the sea crushing against the limestone rocks, eroding them over time and leaving behind a most impressive coastline made up of cliffs, stones, rocks and all sorts of flora and fauna remains.

We continued to Lorne – reminded of what kind of tourist thing we were actually doing.

Nevertheless the road was amazing, curvy, just a few meters from the sea, up and down the hills .. if only we had brought our Aprilias!

A small detour to the Erskine Falls near Lorne in the Angahook Lorne State Park was well worth the way:

See here for a short clip of the Erskine Falls:

Actually there seem to be a lot of threats that require your clear and present mind:

Oops .. watch your step!

Oops .. watch your step!

Since the sun went down ..

Sunset on the Great Ocean Road

Sunset on the Great Ocean Road

.. we decided to stay near Apollo Bay for the night and found the Barham Picnic Reserve hidden in the forests. Wild camping again! 🙂

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