Cruising the Great Ocean Road – Great Ocean Road, Australia

Yesterday we took a road trip down the Great Ocean Road. It was absolutely striking! The day started out a little wet and overcast but that didn’t stop us. Terry at the wheel and armed with what seemed like thousands of sandwiches, we drove a few hours from Melbourne through unusually light traffic for a Friday afternoon.

Our first stop was at Bells Beach which is famed for its world renown surfing. I forgot my board so I climbed onto the crest of the sign and surfed that which was almost as good as the real thing. It was still a little drizzly so getting up there was a bit of a challenge but after watching Terry manage I knew I could do it.

We then stopped every time we saw a beach or cliff worth checking out. There are heaps of “scenic lookouts” as you drive up this fantastic stretch of road. If you stop at them all, it would take you days to get through. We stopped for sandwich breaks and ate some pastries that looked like alien eyes.

There are “rock pools” everywhere in which the waves crash onto the dark jagged formations creating small pools teeming with tiny sea life. The fun part is balancing on a rock edge then getting drenched by a random unexpected wave just as the camera clicks.

As we weaved along the heavily treed asphalt, I noticed the clouds dissipating allowing the bright sun her daily debut. We cruised only feet away from steep rocky cliffs gazing down at the thunderous surf bathing its earthy counterpart. We sped along happily with our tires hugging the pavement at every snaky curve.

As we rolled into the small seaside towns of Lorne and Apollo Bay, we would reduce our speed to a leisurely crawl. Breathing deeply to inhale the wafting aroma of fish n` chips as we stopped for the occasional pale skinned tourist jaywalking to the beach. Back on the picturesque concrete pathway, I opened the window allowing the warm wind to whip through my hair.

We stopped at Anglesea and it was all I could do to keep Sarah from running into the ocean fully clothed. We drew Happy New Year messages in the sand just in time for the frothy surf to gobble them up hungrily. We descended the Gibson Steps to the sunny beach getting our first view of the awe-inspiring 12 Apostles. After taking many pictures of my feet getting kissed by the white fluffy surf, we admired the dangerously powerful ocean throwing itself onto the shore.

Next we entered the interpretative environmentally friendly visitor center. Here you can buy a scenic helicopter ride or walk through the tunnel taking you right under the Great Ocean Road to the viewing platforms. Located in Port Campbell National Park, these exquisite rock formations face the impressive limestone cliffs creating a visual nothing short of poetic.

Peering into the dark caves and grand arches, I was overtaken with a feeling of mystery. I wondered how it would feel to set foot on one of these forbidden beaches. There is no way to access them as they are guarded by the 70 meter high stony cliffs. To try and access it by sea would surely teach you why this area is named The Shipwreck Coast.

We stopped for traditional fish n` chips in Port Campbell before taking the shortcut back to Melbourne arriving home just before midnight. I noticed that Australians use the word “great” a lot in their landmarks (Great Keppel, Great Barrier Reef, Great Ocean Road) and I must say that it seems to describe things perfectly. I couldn`t have said it better myself. It was a GREAT day!

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