Great Ocean Road

Apollo Bay Travel Blog

 › entry 17 of 40 › view all entries
Chris exploring the beaches of southern Australia.

Often labeled as one of the world’s most beautiful scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road stretches quite a ways westward from Torquay (a small town about 100 km southwest of Melbourne).  The road, originally opened in segments between 1922 and 1932, hugs the southern Pacific coast of Australia and provides some absolutely amazing vistas along the way.  

For most of the morning, a steady rain fell.  That made the drive slightly more harrowing but did not dampen the splendor of the scenery.  At one particular overlook, we walked down to the beach and explored these amazing sedimentary shelves that formed a barrier between the sands and the water.  Natural tidal pools full of crystal clear water surrounded us.  Globs of green algae hugged the rocks and multicolored shells collected in little pockets of cold water.

Sheldon found a piece of rubbery kelp and started exercising with it.
  

Shortly after that stop, Sheldon and I popped out of the car and took a 15-minute walk in a temperate rainforest.  Huge tree ferns and myrtle beeches dominated this ethereal forest that was only slightly inland from the shoreline.  The sign at the entrance told us not to worry if it rained, because, after all, it was a rainforest.  Thank goodness we were covered in Gore-tex, though; the precipitation just slid right off of us.

After more winding and curving, we arrived at the Twelve Apostles, one of the most famous sites in Australia.  Only seven or so of the twelve now exist.  The apostles are stacks of rock in the sea that set a goodly number of yards from the cliffs just onshore.  At some point long ago, the stacks were connected to those very cliffs, but over time, the land collapsed and created a set of magnificent orphans that now stand as sentinels for the beach.

First of the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road.
 

The sun arrived just ahead of us at the national park.  We crawled out of our sports car and observed the Apostles from several vantage points.  They truly are breathtaking and amazing.  Vibrant oranges and soft yellows and creams provide most of the color for the stacks.  Each has its own pattern… jagged on the top but smooth on the edges… or vice-versa.  We were unable to see them from ground level, but the view we had (parallel to their tops) was impressive in its own right. 

Before turning back to Melbourne, we visited a couple of other little coves, grottoes, and formations on the shore.  One in particular bears mentioned.  The locals called it the London Bridge before the accident ever happened.

In case you didn't notice...
  Then, in 1990, two tourists stood on the far end of what was a single cliff jutting into the ocean.  Crack.  London Bridge fell down.  The tourists were stranded, caught on the newly created island with a gaping, impassible chasm of churning sea water between them and the mainland.  Eventually they were rescued by helicopter, but the tale is a cautionary one because the coastline is ever evolving.  Signs warning us of the danger of the cliffs were ubiquitous.  But we survived and headed back to our base camp.

At some point, I’ll write an “impressions” entry of Australia to fit between today and the start of our posts from New Zealand… which start tomorrow!

Chris

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Chris exploring the beaches of sou…
Chris exploring the beaches of so…
Sheldon found a piece of rubbery k…
Sheldon found a piece of rubbery …
First of the 12 Apostles on the Gr…
First of the 12 Apostles on the G…
In case you didnt notice...
In case you didn't notice...
12 Apostles in the background.
12 Apostles in the background.
Start of the Great Ocean Road.
Start of the Great Ocean Road.
What the heck are those squishy ba…
What the heck are those squishy b…
Great view.
Great view.
12 Apostles. One has fallen. It mu…
12 Apostles. One has fallen. It m…
What are these???
What are these???
A neat little inlet.
A neat little inlet.
A natural arch.
A natural arch.
London Bridge fell down.
London Bridge fell down.
The Arch, as they call it.
"The Arch", as they call it.
Apollo Bay
photo by: tropiksun