Road trip across Australia – Day 9 the Great Ocean Road

After an enjoyable stay in Warrnambool we left to drive the Great Ocean Road, a spectacular drive along the south coast of Victoria. We are doing the drive from west to east, but most people do the drive in the opposite direction.
The turn off to the drive is at the town of Allansford, which is a cheese-making centre. The road to Peterborough passes through fertile rural land, and just before you reach Peterborough you see a sign to the Bay of Islands. This was our first glimpse of the outstanding coastline. It was cold and windy, and the sea was rough, but it didn’t matter as the conditions just added to the wildness of the location.
The Bay of Islands, which is four kilometres west of Peterborough, consists of a large cove that is bordered by steep cliffs and high rock stacks, the islands, which lead a solitary existence just off the coastline being constantly pounded by the rough seas.
On the cusp of Peterborough is the Bay of Martyrs. Here the cliffs aren’t as spectacular as the Bay of Islands, because you are sitting atop an accessibly beach, but there are rock stacks to look at.
Peterborough itself is a small beach resort, but you would need to enjoy being refreshed by strong winds in order to enjoy a stay here.
There are many coves, bays, and rock stacks to see along the road, but our next stop was at London Bridge, the imaginatively-named former part of a peninsular that has been separated from the mainland. It is called London Bridge because the waves have washed away the middle of the island, giving it an arch, which is similar to a bridge.
To see The Gap properly involves a walk down a steep path. The walk down isn’t too bad, but the walk back does remind you that gravity is a powerful force. The Gap is similar to London Bridge in that a large arch has been eaten away by the seas. Seeing it in a heavy sea with waves crashing through the gap is probably the best way to view The Gap, so we were fortunate to see the spectacle at its best.
Port Campbell is the biggest town on this part of The Great Ocean Road, and it is a town geared up to cater for tourists.
Just east of the town is the number one attraction on the Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles, a curious name given that there are only about eight of them left following the collapse of a couple.
A row of rock sentinels, each about 45 metres in height, stand just off the mainland cliff face in a display that is truly spectacular. The last time I was here, which was many years ago, you could drive up to a simple car park and walk out to a viewing spot, but these days you park across the road from the Apostles, where there is a visitor’s centre, and follow a track which leads below the road to a series of walkways which give you different perspectives of the Apostles.
Time was running out and we needed to be in Geelong by late afternoon, so we left the Great Ocean Road at Laver’s Hill, about half way between Port Campbell and Apollo Bay, to take a more direct route to Geelong.
This road took us through the Otway Ranges, along a long, narrow and very winding route that gave us ample opportunity to admire the Otway’s temperate zone rainforest. It was raining during this point of our journey, which seemed to enhance the experience of travelling through lush forest.
We met up with family members in Geelong, and followed them to the rural town of Teesdale to spend another couple of nights freeloading.

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