Location: Melbourne, Australia
Another day, another great tour! Today we went for a drive on the Great Ocean Road, a famous 243 km road along the south-eastern coast of Australia. It was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932. It winds along the ‘Surf Coast’, through the Otway Ranges and through the ‘Shipwreck Coast’ and ending with sunset at the famous Twelve Apostles rock formation.
We started our drive at Bells Beach, Australia’s most famous surf beaches for tea/coffee and a snack. Our second stop was at Fairhaven Beach, the location of the Great Ocean Road memorial. We also made sure to get our feet wet (or hand in Rachel’s case) in the Indian Ocean. Note: The Australians claim this is the Southern or Antarctic Ocean.
After a short stop for lunch in the town of Lorne, and an hour drive along the Surf Coast (with a couple of photo stops), we entered the Otway Ranges. We drove through temperate rainforests on our way to the Cape Otway Lighthouse for a beautiful view of the coastline. The lighthouse was the southernmost point of our whole trip at 38.857º S
Along that road, we also got to see lots of Koalas and native birds. We were lucky enough to see some Koalas actually moving around (they sleep for 17-20 hrs/day). We even watched a male koala get off one tree, cross the road, climb another, and attempt to mate with a female koala. Male Koalas make some strange noises, but the female was not interested.
After a dinner stop in Port Campbell (we managed to find a cute little Italian place for yummy pizza), we headed toward the coastline to check out some landmarks before making our way to the Twelve Apostles to watch the sun set.
We first stopped at Loch Ard Gorge, the location of a famous shipwreck. Then we went to Gibson’s Steps, a steep walk down to a beach. About 30 minutes before sunset, we made our way to the site of the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone sea stacks. Now, because of natural erosion from wave-action, only 8 actually remain. The sunset was beautiful and the view was spectacular.
We then headed back to Melbourne. After a 3 hour drive, we arrived back at our hotel around midnight. Another long day, but a great one.
Tomorrow, we get up VERY early in the morning to catch a 7 am flight to Uluru to see Ayers Rock!
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