Monday, December 30, 2013

On the Road Trip - Australia - The Great Ocean Road - Victoria

Leaving Wilsons Promontory behind we were back on the road and heading for ‘the road ‘ I had heard and seen so much about, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.
As we traveled out of ‘The Prom', we passed through the smallest of towns, Yanake and Fish Creek, then through the larger towns of Leongatha, Korumburra and Loch. Rather than continuing on to Cranbourne, to then pass the big smoke of Melbourne and Geelong, we instead headed further south, down into the picturesque Mornington Peninsula. Through a maze of little, country backroads and vineyards, we eventually stopped in the town of Red Hill for lunch. We were able to stock up on local produce and groceries at  The Cellar & Pantry  - Red Hill Grocer, as well as grab some delicious sourdough loaves from the Red Hill Bakery
Making our way further down the peninsula, we arrived in the seaside town of Sorrento, a thriving tourist town, with a gorgeous, long Pier and aqua coloured waters. 
We had booked passage on a Searoad ferry, for our car and boat to cross Port Phillip Bay, to the town of Queenscliff.
This half hour ferry trip, saved us the equivalent of a two and half hour drive. I really would have liked more time to stop and explore the historic town of Queenscliff, so much character in this place, with enticing shop fronts, heritage hotels and delightful eateries, beckoning me to explore them, as we drove past.
Passing through Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads, by mid afternoon we had reached Torquay and the beginning of the two hundred and fifty three kilometre stretch, that is the Great Ocean Road. We stopped at Bells Beach to take a peek at this world renown surf spot.
I thought it would be appropriate for me to at least take my surf board off the roof racks and stand on the sand with it for a photo, however the boys thought that was a complete waste of time and on we drove!
We were surprised at how windy the road then became, with continual twists and turns, coupled with the most rugged coastline vista, the road literally runs alongside the ocean for many, many miles. 

Every half hour or so, a decent size town would appear, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet and Lorne, followed by some smaller, more secluded spots, such as Wye River and Kennet River which looked lovely for quiet camping. 
Our next stop, where we were to camp for three nights was Skenes Creek, just four kilometres short of Apollo Bay. The camp ground was a step back in time, a no frills experience, yet with all the basic necessities. 
Our protected patch was just a short stroll, down a sandy pathway to the most secluded beach.
After a full day of driving, it is always a slow start for us the following morning. It is usually our favourite day as we settle in, to discover a new place, knowing we don't need to pack up the tent and move again for at least a couple of days. 
In such a relaxed state of mind, cooking breakfast is always a joy!
buckwheat pancakes with butter & maple syrup
buckwheat pancakes with Barambah Organic yoghurt & stewed fruit
We enjoyed the beach at Skenes Creek very much...Mr G fished, Jake ran and kicked his football and I walked, sat in the sunshine and took photographs!
From Skenes Creek we spent three days visiting the many surrounding attractions of this part of the Great Ocean Road.
Apollo Bay

Sunset at Cape Otway

Cape Otway Fly Tree Top Walk
600m long walkway, 25m above the rainforest floor, made from over 120 tonnes of steel, it rocks and sways. Jake loved the experience, I was daring but cautious....and it both fascinated and terrified, my slightly acrophobia (fear of heights) suffering, engineer, husband Mr G!

We also made a much needed tyre change on the boat trailer in Skenes Creek and then ate out at a restaurant for the first time in fourteen days!
Dinner at Casalingo Italian Restaurant in Apollo Bay
Handmade pork & fennel ravoli with a tomato, chilli & eggplant sauce with a side of garlic green beans. 
We left Skenes Creek after a relaxing three days, continuing along the Great Ocean Road toward the much anticipated attraction of the twelve apostles. There are three spots along the road, designated for stopping to view these icons. Seeing them up close was a highlight of the trip so far, for me. You can get even closer by organising one of the very popular helicopter flights available, enabling you to see them in all their brilliance, from an aerial perspective.  
Gibsons Steps

Twelve Apostles Viewing Platform

Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge and Bay of Islands

I am hoping that these images will inspire you, to add visiting these natural wonders to your bucket list, before they completely wash away into the sea.
From here we headed onto the scenic town of Port Campbell, just half an hour further on from the apostles, for a late breakfast. This was another place worth spending further time, with a sheltered beach for swimming, a protected bay for boating and plenty of places to stay.
Next we passed by both Port Fairy and Portland, although beautiful places to explore we just couldn't do it all. For us our journey along the Great Ocean Road finished in the large town of Warrnambool, where we were able to get new tyres for our boat trailer. This was a necessity to enable us to continue safely on the road, into South Australia and travel beyond to the many adventures awaiting us. The South Australian border was now looming in our sights and the food and wine filled Fleurieu Peninsula and the gorgeous area of McLaren Vale lay ahead for us to enjoy.


Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things said...

Hi Jane, happy holidays! Love this post. I remember the first time I saw the Twelve Apostles, I had tears in my eyes and was awe struck. The tears might have been from the wind, it was incredibly cold and windy that day, but oh so beautiful.

Happy new year to you and yours, my friend.

Jane Grover said...

Hi Liz,
Lovely to hear from you xx I too was awestruck by the sight of the twelve apostles...for us it was a 38 deg C day so except for the sweltering heat I would have stayed looking at them all day long! Happiest New Year you too!

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