The Great Ocean Road is considered one of the world's great drives for a reason. It is stunning! So, on our way back from Horsham, we drove its full 243km from Allansford in the west to Torquay, stopping overnight in Apollo Bay.
Getting there really was half the fun. We twisted our way through the Grampians, taking seldom-used roads through the flat farming land of Victoria. Big gumtrees were often planted as windbreaks along the roads and on our drive the provided a beautiful shaded canopy as we pootled along. Popping out near Childer's Cove, the prairie suddenly dropped away to a pounding surf.
The Great Ocean Road was built as a memorial to the fallen soldiers in
World War I, it is a wonderful tribute. Sean was very impressed that
the road was almost completely paid for before workers started
construction. The RSL (Returned Servicemen's League) had done a two
year campaign and raised 81,000 British Pounds. The rest of the funding
was brought in through tolls (two shillings per vehicle) on the road
over the next fourteen years. Originally built, the drive was harrowing. It was one way, due to the narrow sections along steep cliffs and it had few places for white-knuckled drivers to pull over and enjoy the view. Over the years it has been widened and many viewpoints added.
From the Shipwreck Coast to the Surf Coast, we wound along the top of sheer cliffs, along sandy beaches, through rainforest and the devastation of fire. Fires on Christmas Day had destroyed over 100 houses and tracks of bush in Wye River and Separation Creek. It must have been terrifying, one road in, one road out. Fortunately, the towns were evacuated early and no one was injured.
Despite the Twelve Apostles dwindling in number as the pounding surf of The Southern Ocean erodes them away, they remain a stunning and iconic. We spotted koalas, echidnas, wallabies and any number of cockatoos, parrots, rosellas and other brightly coloured native birds.
And as a fitting end to a fabulous few days, we caught the ferry across the Rip from Queenscliff to Sorrento landing back in Flinders in time for lamb roast!
|Australia has prairies - who knew?|
|a rural general store|
|awesome wave viewing|
|incentive to stay on the pathways|
|a view from one lookout|
|Koalas are easy to spot when they are along the road|
|much harder to spot in the trees of Cape Otoway|
|magical sandy bays along the way|