15.09.2008 - 18.09.2008 12 °C
The weekend before we set off on the Great Ocean Road, we had friends from New Zealand visiting us, who we had originally met in South America. The weekend had been an incredibly indulgent one with far too much rich food, over refreshing amounts of alcohol and plenty of competitive card games. So, on Monday, waking up at 5:30 am to catch our flight, we realised that perhaps the indulgence of the last three days had been a little excessive on our bodies!
We made it to the airport 45 minutes before departure and somehow found ourselves running for the plane. With Sam always insisting on being there at least an hour and half before departure, this early morning rush did not make him too happy!!
We arrived into Melbourne at 8:30 am to be greeted by a blast of strong wind and cold weather. Having collected the car and found out a bit about where we were going, we began our trip.
Our first stop was Torquay, which is known as the surf capital of Australia, and also home to the final scene of the iconic film, Point Break. Although on arrival, we were more concerned with finding somewhere to eat. Tired and both slightly irritable, we managed to find a small cafe on the high street. On entering the cafe, we couldn't understand why the waitresses and waiter were looking at Sam in a half fascinated, half peculiar way. As Sam ordered the breakfast, the cafe staff all huddled around the till, to then look rather disappointedly at Sam. Sam initially thought that perhaps scrambled egg and sausages was the wrong thing to order, but then was quickly informed that they had mistakenly thought he was a contestant from Australian Idol called "Wes"!! After finishing our breakfast, E-J and the celebrity got back in there Hyundi Getz and headed for Bells beach.
Despite the wind blowing with great force into the beach, we both were still able get a sense of how colourful and picturesque the beach could be. However, after a few minutes of enjoying the view, E-J found the cold and Sam's constant quotes from the film, Point Break too unbearable to stand and headed back to the car.
Driving west towards the border of South Australia, we arrived in the sleepy seaside town of Anglesea. Sam couldn't quite believe his luck when E-J said she wanted to go to the Anglesea Golf Club. It all became apparent why, when E-J became all excited when she saw a row kangaroos lying on the green at the first tee. Desperate to see some more, we drove around the back of the course and at the bottom of Birdy drive, E-J managed to sneak onto the golf course and see some wild kangaroos, lazing on the grass, taking cover from the terrible golfers.
Having both enjoyed the experience of kangaroos in the wild, we set off in search of koalas. Sadly, we were unable to locate them, but managed to enjoy a fine cup of tea at the Split Point lighthouse. By this stage in the day we were both totally exhausted, but felt proud we had achieved as much in the first day of our trip, so decided that Lorne would be our final stop that day.
We arrived into Lorne and quickly found a lovely bed and breakfast, where our large nosed host Neville, made us feel very welcome. After an hour of rest we drove up to Erskine Falls. It was lovely to appreciate the 30 metre waterfall all by ourselves, but sadly it was not as spectacular as the many other natural heritage sites we have experienced already along our trip.
After a brief and blustery lookout at the towns observation point called Teddy's lookout, we headed back into town for a light supper before retiring to our charming bed and breakfast. Out of the strong wind and thrashing rain we sat down in front of the log fire and enjoyed a good cup of tea and while having our usual argument over the television channel.
After having a brilliant frie-up, we thanked Neville and headed off with the intention of doing a long walk around the Sheoak Falls. With intermittent bursts of torential downfalls and blustery winds, E-J still insisted on doing a walk, so a compromise was made with a 30 minute walk to the falls. Reluctantly Sam agreed although he wasn't too impressed with the view!
Next stop was Grey River Road, just off Kennett River. This top tip was from our friendly host Neville, who claimed that this was a great stop for seeing Koala's. As we drove up the road we would spot the large furry animals sleeping in the trees, this delighted E-J who loved there soft, cute and cuddly toy-like appearance.
Our next stop was the Cape Otway lighthouse. The 18 metre lighthouse is an iconic feature, as it protecting the many various ships that tried to sail accross the tempestuous bass strait. It was also the first sight of Australia for many imigrating English families after three months at sea.
We climbed up to the top of the lighthouse and took in the view of the Otway region.
With a strong easterly wind and the waves crashing in against the coastline we gained a idea of how hard it must have been for the tall ships not to end up smashed against the jagged rocks.
With little else to see in the Otway area we drove on to Port Campbell. Our first stop in the area was the Gibson steps. Sadly the walkway down to the beach was partially closed, however we were still able to take in the ginormous limestone cliffs.
A further five kilometres up the road we arrived at the Port Campbell national park. This is home to a collection of natural limestone stacks standing just off the shore line known as the Twelve Apostles, although there are currently only eight apostles left.
We admired this popular tourist attraction for a good fifteen minutes before heading back to the car to warm up as it was freezing! The other reason for remaining in the car was due to E-J insisting on seeing the apostles at sunset, but with huge black clouds hogging the skyline and a bitter sea breeze, Sam became slightly impatient having to wait for a sunset that he was sure would never arrive!
With the sun finally down and no sunset, we headed off to Port Campbell to find a warm place to rest and sleep.
Awaking early on the Wednesday morning, we headed back to the Port Campbell National Park to view the other limestone gorges. Along a walk, we were able to get down to the beach and with the crashing waves coming in, we could really appreciate the enormous limestone caves and gorges and the power of the sea.
The rest of the morning was searching for the natural arch known as London Bridge. Sadly we never found it, and so headed off to Melbourne. We think the reason why we didn't see it was due to the fact that it collapsed in 1990!!
Sam's Comments: With the weather being so cold during the trip I can only take the positive that it is good training for the English winter!
E-J's Comments: I really enjoyed the beautiful landscape, despite battling the elements. I still can't believe how cute koalas are, I was so tempted to smuggle one home, but I don't think Sam would be able to put up with its smelliness and constant need to sleep and eat - sound familiar to anyone else...!