12 Apostles on flickr by warmheartcold
Views along Victoria’s Southern coastline
The Great Ocean Road is truly a spectacular drive with views of breathtaking ocean cliffs from time to time as you traverse the winding roads from Allansford on one end to Torquay at the other. There are many viewing platforms off the side of the road where you can capture these unbelievable views with a camera to remind you of this wonderful trip.
This is a growing rural and dairy community and lies to the East of Warrnambool with its great cheese factory.
The next main town on your great ocean road experience is Peterborough. This is a quiet and relaxing type of town where many anglers enjoy fishing from the rocks. Crayfish and Australian salmon are caught here and bream and mullet can also be found in the Curdies River.
Close by you can see the remains of the London Bridge which collapsed in 1990. Continuing on you can view the Bay of Islands and the Bay of Martyrs. There are four shipwrecks in this area which offer interesting diving sites for those enthusiasts.
This is a protected beach with summer patrols ensuring a safe place to take a dip into the ocean. The outside reef to the west is not so safe and challenges even the more experienced surfers and swimmers. Fishing enthusiasts can test their expertise from the local pier or from a boat.
The road then passes the Sentinel Rock, Loch and Gorge and the 12 Apostles. Beware: Fishing is prohibited in the 12 Apostles Marine National Park areas.
Bay of Isles, rocks warn away by the ruthless ocean
Princeton- is a National Park area although the Princetown Camping Reserve is actually just outside this and is one of the few where you can camp here with or without power with a dog. We stayed there and enjoyed the local kangaroos also camping on the sports oval and watched them testing out which one of them was more superior to the other by flexing their boxing techniques.
Cape Otway- on the way you can enjoy a twelve kilometre drive through the forest where you may be lucky enough to see a few Koalas. Visit the one hundred and fifty year old telegraph station, a part of Australia’s first submarine cable link to Launceston. While there don’t forget to check out the radar bunker which was built in 1942.
If you are one of those more daring people then you should take a ride on the Otway Fly in the rain forest. This is a zip line which traverses from one tree platform suspended thirty meters above the ground to another. No my nerves would not stand that trip best to leave it to the younger generation.
Apollo Bay- lies along the coastal villages of the Wye River and Kennett rivers. Visit the many waterfalls like the Beauchamp falls north of Apollo bay and the Carisbrook Falls near Wongarra.
Lorne- This place is well known for its beaut beaches and situated on the Loutit Bay. Or visit the Point Grey beach which is protected from the ocean swells.
Torquay- is Victoria’s famous surfing capital for the Rip Curl and Quick silver events. If surfing is not your thing then a holiday and swim with the family on one of its protected beaches might be just what you need to relax and unwind.
The more experienced surfers could check out the big swells at Bells Beach or Jan Juc. Do not try these if you are new to surfing.
Maps can be deceiving
The maps make it look like you are driving right beside the ocean, this is a little misleading. In fact, you will not always see the coastline as you negotiate the winding and often hilly Great Ocean road. Lack of maintenance by the powers to be makes this road a somewhat bumpy experience although some of the views definitely make up for that.
Stop for that coffee
I have a habit of making a thermos of coffee every morning before we leave our overnight stop. I would suggest that you stop by the roadside to pour your cup of coffee while traversing down this road; in fact many of the Victorian roads or you will more than likely burn yourself.
It never fails as soon as we decide to pour a coffee the road surface changes dramatically to a real bumpy road even part of the M1 Highway is not the best. I hope Victorians will read this bit and do something to improve their roads. I know, yes I am dreaming but we have to have our dreams, right.
Personal Travel Experience
After travelling most of this road we turned north and headed through the hills to Lavers Hill. On reaching this we could not negotiate entry to the service station, so we followed another caravan which managed to turn around on the road. We are larger and had no manoeuvrable room to turn so continued looking for a suitable spot.
Too late we found ourselves on a very narrow winding road down through tall timbers which appeared to be going nowhere. As it was raining on and off and the ground wet we could not risk turning on a couple of runoffs as there was about 100 foot drop on the side.
Eventually we found a small area after ten kilometres and started back again; keeping in mind we were now extremely low on fuel. I had just said to my husband; I hope nothing decides to come the other way. And within minutes we turned a blind corner to come face to face with a large tractor towing a utility. I was so glad we had not been about two or three seconds slower, or I may not be here writing this today.
The tractor driver stopped and said, “Gosh you are game driving this road towing a large caravan”. He must have thought us stupid, until we explained what had happened. So yes we were very lucky.
Quite often there is not really good signage to warn unexpected uses on the roads of these dangers.