Friday, January 06, 2017

The Great Ocean Road

Between sitting engagements, we took a couple days to drive the Great Ocean Road (GOR). From Wikipedia:

The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243 kilometres (151 mi) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. Built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I, the road is the world's largest war memorial. Winding through varying terrain along the coast and providing access to several prominent landmarks, including the Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations, the road is an important tourist attraction in the region.
Here is the first installment about the trip.

We joined the GOR near Torquay, south of Geelong on the west side of Port Phillip Bay south of melbourne (got that?). For the first half or so, it hugs the coastline and offers frequent views of the ocean and cliffs. The problem is that the road is not a wide affair with lots of shoulders for stopping. There are many overlooks, but you can't just stop when you see something nice. Here are a couple representative views.

As we neared the hotel where we intended to spend the night, the road veered inland. We came upon a road leading toward the shore and the "most significant lighthouse in Australia", the Cape Otway Lightstation. We didn't visit the lighthouse since there was an admission fee of $20/person to do so (ouch!). but the drive was wonderful.

First, there was two women herding their cattle from one field to another down the road. We looked up and an ATV was coming towards us with cattle running in our direction. After opening the gate and with the help of their dogs, the cows were promptly shunted off the road into the pasture and that was that!

Next along the road were two koalas having a snooze (what else?) in a tree.

It is easy to see why they have a flat face now...they sleep face first into the tree.

What is amazing is that these little guys are killing off the trees they depend on for food. They really prefer the manna gum and when they find one, they will eat the leaves from it until it is picked clean. When there are few koalas this is not a huge problem. However Victoria, at least this part, they are overly abundant. Cape Otway was estimated to be the home of some 8,000 of them! As a result, they are killing the forest. The result is this...

Further along the coast we again find the impressive sea views.

Pristine beaches and a sea as blue as you can possible imagine.

Just down the road a short way from the overlook for the Twelve Apostles (details to follow), is a set of stairs down to the beach.

And these stairs lead to a glorious beach.

More installments to come.