The Great Ocean Road Adventure

Two days and three states..........

Day one Albion Park to Bendigo. Left early enough to make the day trek - felt great to be a roamin'. Stopped in Holbrook for lunch amongst the autumn colours and found a second hand book and extras shop to explore. Thought we might find another book for the 'collection' but found a teapot and a gravy jug instead.

Arrived in Bendigo and found our travelling companions for the next week as well as our abode from which we then set forth to enjoy a chinese meal - well it is Bendigo and it does have a strong Chinese history - delicious meal with great company. Retired for the night - well almost just a little proof reading to be done - ahhh sleep.

The morning shines crisp and clear - to the Woollen Mills we go. I have been keen to visit here since I have been purchasing wool and cotton from here for some time. It's like being in a lolly shop only better - no sugar but lots of colour and choices.

A coffee stop then on the road to Ararat for lunch. The sweep of country is green, yellow, gold and brown and always wonderful to watch as we drive - I love that we can move around with such ease and enjoy this magnificent place. From Ararat to Hamilton and an afternoon break - a little nippy but a cuppa in the park was just right.

Hamilton to Mt Gambier - we had planned to get to Mt Gambier on our honeymoon 34 years ago so we are just a little behind time but a least we make it this time!! Passed through more amazing country The heart of Australia Felix (as in the latin) Fortunate or Happy Australia whose heart, so called by Major Mitchell one one of his jaunts around the country, is Casterton and it looks to be a very inviting town.

Along the road side there is lots of road kill and as we were heading into Mt Gambier we spotted an eagle with very broad 'shoulders' feasting on emu. You can almost spot the bird in the picture - I am a complete failure as a wildlife photographer!!!!

Stunning sunset as we make our destination.

How good is travelling around the country - awesome!

Two days and three states..........

Today we go to the Blue Lake - a place we were to visit 34 years ago! This lake changes colour over summer - today it was wearing its winter coat of steel blue and it looked great.

We walked around the rim with lots of birds keeping us company and watching the lake, the water source for the town, change character as light and wind changed. The original inhabitants told a creation story to explain this and the other lakes in this recently (25.000 years recent) volcanic area. Once white settlement established themselves they began installing a pumping station to access the water for the town.

Although a brisk afternoon we still had a picnic alongside Valley Lake - birds joining in and we had the place to ourselves.

We headed off to the Sink Hole - this had been converted into a stunning garden in the late 1886 but over time had fallen into a shadow of its former self until lots of volunteers began sorting it out and it now looks like this.

The day had offered lots of things to learn and lots of surprising things to look at. I discovered that there is a Green Triangle which covers the forestry area of Victoria and Adelaide, that the reason for the changing of colour in the Blue Lake is still not definitive and that locals can be sensitive about any possibility that we may consider that convicts were involved in the initial settlement of the colony and that some people see Adelaide as the poor cousin to Mount Gambier. A fine day indeed.

Oh I do like to drive beside the seaside

Heading off on the road again towards Portland. But that is later before we get there we pass through Port McDonnell - right on the edge of the coast and very pretty.

Onwards to Nelson where we will hook up with a river cruise on the Glenelg and then explore the Princess Margaret Rose cave. This area is full of craters, sink holes, and caves. 

The day was eventful and fun - I was ready for a nanna nap on the return journey!!! A little ray of 
sunshine for at least a moment - very nice.

Always start the day with a good breakfast........

Today we started with a most excellent breakfast. Just as well because there were many elements to face.

Once consumed, our first stop was the Maritime Discovery Centre in Portland. Here I discovered that Ian cut a fine jib as a sailor and that I was to be a good breakfast for a hungry whale!! Then there is usual warning about holes again!!!

So on we go looking for The Great Ocean Road - I was beginning to think it might be an almost Great Ocean Road when it seemed the ocean was always beyond the heathland or something else got in the way!! On the way the wind blew us up to Cape Nelson Lighthouse. Seen in the film South Solitary the local cafe owner told us that when he stays in the house he has the room that the Barry Otto character died in ....  I didn't ask how well he slept!!

Blowing away from the lighthouse we landed in Port Fairy just in time for tea and cake.

Whizzing out of Port Fairy towards the anticipated Great Ocean Road and had a brief but very productive visit to Cheeseworld - a yummy discovery here!

Away we go again - driven by wind and rain we find the Great Ocean Road and it really is a Great Ocean and the road takes us there!!

There is much more to come tomorrow but for now we needed to complete the day and so we did.

Windy,wet and WOW!!
A new day dawns on a southern coast of Victoria. Anticipating a possible chill is one thing but the wind, wet and WOW factor were all in store for today - many times over. First point of call was the beach at Port Campbell - no obvious takers this morning but at least there is the surf life saving club.

A visit to the visitors' centre in town had confirmed that I needed to back track and visit a couple of locations I had not ventured out of the car for the previous evening ( it was very cold and wet is my only excuse) and I did not want to miss any of this coast line. 

While at the centre the question of the local Aboriginal story - which had been difficult to locate - presented itself in the names of two bays - Massacre Bay and Bay of Martyrs - the person at the centre seemed to think that although little is known the the Bay of Martyrs was where women died and it was likely to have been in response to the Massacre Bay event.

So to begin at what is now called London Bridge - this was all connected until bits fell in in 1990 - bits seem to fall in regularly but on this occasion there were tourists stranded on the outer arm. I considered where I walked after this sobering thought - definitely didn't need to be amongst any falling in stuff.

From here the wind blew us to what has been named The Grotto. An interesting moment of quiet and still - sort of - when we ventured down the steps.

A stop for coffee - thankfully because the next few stops were definitely cause to think we were standing on the edge of the world and it was a wild world indeed. Lots of ship wrecks along this coast in the 1800s - it would have been a brave soul that took this trip - many didn't make it.

So to Thunder Cave....

and lots of WOW outlooks that I'm not sure of the names of or even of that are named - makes little difference really just WOW - I do look like I'm about to take flight in one shot and the video may give an indication of the challenging environment we took on - at least we weren't at sea!!!

One more venture to sea level onto a beach - remnants of limestone caves and two amphitheatre like formations - don't think a concert will be held here though - background noise just a little challenging.

I think from this point we made it then to the Apostles - never 12 but only 9 and one fell down in 2005 so now 8 - previously known as the Sow and Piglets, the The Apsotles and then the 12 Apostles - wacky name really.

On the walk back to shelter (ahh shelter) a group of tourists decided that the wet and wind was just too much and made their own arrangements!!!!!

Guess who's behind these.

So nearly to the end of a fantastic, awesome and amazingly WOW day. A windy drive on the edge of the world, a stop for tea in Lorne - very pretty - and finally a hot shower and sleep in Torquay. WOW!!!