The Great Ocean Road with its Twelve Apostles are as iconic as the Great Barrier Reef or Rottnest Island – any ordinary Aussie doesn’t have to ask where any of them are. Even with this fame, I certainly didn’t expect it to be as spectacular as it has turned out to be.
First, we stop at the high cliffs above Bells Beach, at Torquay, just 100km from Melbourne, and find hundreds of surfers, tiny dots below (see if you can spot them in the photo of Ted below), braving the chilly waters. With a reef offshore and a deep-water bay, it’s no wonder it’s famed as a top surfing spot, where world champion Tyler Wright has just made it three-times lucky to win the World Surf League event there. Careful though, we learn it’s not for beginners.
A Dizzying Ride along the cliffs and beaches:
It’s hard to depict the sharpness of turn after turn after turn, while the amazing spectacle of cliff after cliff, mountain after mountain drenched in raggedly beautiful trees, ferns of all sizes, then swooping low to the deserted rocky dangerous beaches before climbing again – definitely meant for one tourist and one totally dedicated driver, not allowed even an eye-flick to the scenery.
On the way, we pass through Airie’s Inlet and Anglesea – well, we can’t stop everywhere – we want to be home before Christmas.
It’s time to stop in the seaside village of Lorne, able to park almost on the beach, wonderful for walks. It’s also time to get out our bicycles and explore. The food is excellent – fish, fish and more fish, and the cafes cozy. It’s seaside life at its best, even if it is FAR too cold to swim.
Sights from the Cliffs:
We pass the Kennett and the Wye River, then through Apollo Bay and onto the really spectacular sights of the Road.
Spectacular is such an overused word, but each one of these has its own version of spectacular, in colour in shape – weird, solid, elegant, blunt, shining in the sunlight – we’re lucky with the weather here…
The Twelve Apostles – only eight left; Loch Ard, with its outsized fat lumps; London Bridge, although the likeness itself is pretty weird…
Now we stop for lunch at Port Campbell before heading to the final Great Ocean Road stop, Port Fairy:
Gentle Port Fairy was named, they say, after a small ship, The Fairy, which entered the port and the River Moyne, looking for whaling port opportunities.
We take to the bikes, and explore the fishing port, as well as fall in love with the 18th Century buildings. Wandering by bike gets you into so many places impossible by car…
We’re going north inland from here towards The Grampians, so Charlie has to say goodbye to early morning walks on the beach.