Tuesday, January 9, 2018


The alarm was set for 6am this morning so that we could get up have a quick breakfast and be in at Chloe and Dan’s before 8am.  Chloe still wasn’t quite a 100% this morning and was a little nervous about coming with us, but in the end decided that she would prefer the company rather than staying at home on her own….

We got away from Chloe’s just after 8am.  Last time we did the Great Ocean Road, we had driven inland to Colac and then out to Port Campbell and the main attractions of the 12 Apostles, Gibson Steps, and Loch Ard Gorge and then travel back along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne.   This time we decided to approach the Great Ocean Road from Geelong and drive along it to the attractions around Port Campbell.  
Cunningham's Wharf in Geelong Vic
There were  a few things along the way that we wanted to show the girls one being the foreshore in Geelong and all the painted bollards.  We had been here the previous week and enjoyed our time wandering around among them.  They were a bit of a novelty for the girls, and it was also the first time that Chloe had actually seen them close up and was able to wander around among them.  We didn’t see them all, or spend too much time with them, just looked at a couple of the real iconic Aussie ones like the surf lifesavers and beach girls and band members.  

Traffic backed up coming into Lorne - took us over an hour to get through town
  From here we headed out along the Great Ocean Road heading to Apollo Bay.  It was a very slow trip and had we realized the back log of traffic trying to get into Anglesea and Lorne, we probably would have gone the inland road and come back along the Great Ocean Road.  We lost over an hour getting into Anglesea and another hour getting through Lorne as the traffic was backed up for kilometres.  

It was after lunch time by the time we got to Apollo Bay.  We had stopped at a couple of lookouts along the way to give the girls a chance to enjoy some of the magnificent views along this stretch of highway. We had planned to take the girls for a walk up to Mariner’s Lookout at Apollo Bay but in the end just ran out of time.  This little coastal place has really come along since we were last here, with some lovely park areas in town.  The local bakery was our destination for lunch and we were not disappointed.  Steve and I both had scallop pies and they ranked up there with the best of them.  The Girls enoyed a typical Aussie Pie.  They don’t have the small pies in Denmark, just big family pies and usually it just consists of a pastry top over a casserole of meat.  
Koalas in the wild at Cape Ottway

We still had over 100kms to go from here to even get to the 12 Apostles.  Steve wanted to take a small detour around Cape Ottway as this was the place we saw Koalas in the wild back when we visited on our last trip down here.  Once again we were not disappointed and the girls were overjoyed to see several koalas high up in the trees.  For them, this was so much better than seeing them in captivity.  Their only disappointment was that so far they had not seen any kangaroos in the wild, which seemed strange to us because we had seen them everywhere on our travels.  

After stopping there for probably half an hour, we then took off again.  My now it was almost 4pm and we still hadn’t got to our destination.  We arrived at Gibson Steps at almost 5pm, and it was packed with tourists, in fact we couldn’t stop there as there we no parks so we were directed onto the 12 Apostles.  The cars were still pouring into the car park and there were hundreds of tourist there, there was a constant stream of people making their way to and fro along the boardwalk.  It wasn’t the best conditions for photos, a little overcast so the water wasn’t it’s beautiful jewel blue, but still the girls were in awe and so thankful that we had bought them.

The Twelve Apostles are an iconic Aussie Tourist attractions  that you will find rising out of the Southern Ocean.  They are limestone pillars that were once connected to the mainland cliffs. Waves and wind carved them into caves, then arches, and eventually battered them down into 45 metre (150 foot) tall columns. There are, in fact, only eight Apostles at the moment, but who knows when the next stretches of cliff will become pillars.

We were here for a good hour or more milling around with the other tourists trying to find a spot to get a good photo.  Because it was so busy and crowded here, Steve and the girls decided to walk back to Gibson’s Steps along the path as it was only 1.5kms back.  I couldn’t be bothered, so I walked back to the main platform overlooking the twelve apostles and took a few more photos with the evening light on the cliffs and then made my way back to the car to wait for them.  

There are 86 steps, carved into the face of the cliff by local settler Hugh Gibson, who worked on the route originally used by the Kirrae Whurrong People that take you down to the beach.  Once on the beach you are dwarfed by the 70 metre high vertical cliffs and get a birds eye view of Gog and Magog, the nicknames given to the giant limestone stacks rising up out of the sea.

The tide was right and they managed to go right down onto the beach at.  They took the obligatory photos for me and then headed back to meet me at the car.  

From here we drove a little further on to Loch Ard Gorge. It is impossible to walk these trails and not be moved by the powers of nature that have shaped and the shipwreck history that defines the area. Offshore stacks, blowholes and the indescribable beauty of formations like the Razorback and Island arch make this precinct the one with the lot

Loch Ard Gorge has an interesting and colourful history that spans back hundreds of years.

 Its name is no coincidence…  Back in 1878, a large clipper ship engraved with the name Loch Ard beached on nearby Muttonbird Island after a tumultuous journey from England. Unfortunately, only two of the fifty-four passengers survived, one of whom was a fifteen-year-old boy called Tom Pearce, and the other a seventeen-year-old Irish girl called Eva Carmichael.

Both passengers were washed ashore during the event where Pearce proceeded to raise an alarm to the surrounding locals. The act saved Carmichael’s life, though she returned to England soon after, having lost most of her family in the tragedy. Pearce continued to live a fruitful life and was often referred to as a hero of his time.

It hasn’t always been this way…  Back in June 2009, the arch of Island Archway crumbled in on itself, leaving two separate hunks of rock that run parallel to each other. Many of the landmarks along Australia’s Great Ocean Road collapse thanks to weather conditions or water damage, which serves to create and ever-changing landscape.

The two remaining rock pillars of the gorge have been named Tom and Eva after the two survivors of the shipwreck back in the 19th century.

It was probably 7pm by the time we arrived here, so this was to be our last attraction for the day.  The girls all decided that they wanted a swim here before we headed home.  This was bought about by the fact that Chloe’s brother Pete had swum in the freezing water here seven years previously.  Fortunately the weather was much better this visit than the last time we visited, so it was actually quite hot, and although the water was cold, it was quite refreshing once you got in and moved around a little.  

It was after 8pm by the time we left here and we still have a three and a half hour drive home.  We headed inland this time, and headed back to Geelong via Colac,  We arrived back in Geelong after 10pm, and decided that we were all a little hungry so should find a place to stop and have a bit to eat.  In the end we ended up at Maccas as most of the other places were either closed or closing.  

We also had to fuel up in Geelong again.  Thankfully we had got cheap fuel here a week previously so we knew where to go.    It was almost midnight when we got back to Dan and Chloe’s.  We picked up all of Chloe’s washing and then Steve and I headed back to our van.  We still had a good half hour drive to get home and then had to to and have our showers, so by the time, we got in, unpacked from the day, walked across and had our showers and crawled into bed it was after 1.30am.  We were feeling absolutely shattered and sent texts to both our girls telling them not to ring us before 9am that morning.  We wanted and needed a decent sleep in.  


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