Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Great Ocean Road

After a big weekend in Melbourne it was time to move on so we hired a car to drive the Great Ocean Road between Melbourne and Adelaide. We eventually navigated our way out of Melbourne with their weird right-turn rules and got on the road.

We first stopped at the famous surfing beach Bells Beach outside Torquay. The Rip Curl Pro surfing competition is starting on Tuesday 3rd April, so the sea was packed with surfers practicing for the big competition. Some of them were amazing - really made us wish that we could do it!

We stayed overnight in Apollo Bay and went for a run. The views there and the surf were great. Apollo Bay is a quiet enough place so we had an early night and got up the next day and went to Mariners Lookout above the town for some nice views out over the whole Bay. The weather was pretty overcast but we've got our fingers crossed that it will get better when we get to the Twelve Apostles part of the road.

After we came down from the lookout we drove on again. Out luck was in and the weather was improving all the time. We spent the entire day stopping and getting out of the car every 5km or so and there were so many "wow" moments. The stretch of road between Apollo Bay and Portland is nothing short of spectacular.

The whole area is rugged sandstone with sheer cliffs dropping hundreds of feet into the huge surf below. The 12 Apostles (there's actually only 8) were stunning. A definite highlight of the Great Ocean Road. Then we saw the Arch and "London Bridge" - again these were absolutely beautiful.

We stayed the night in a dodgy 'hotel' in a dodgy 'town' called Portland aka Hicksville so next day we were up early to drive on to Adelaide. For some reason we thought it was only 200km but after a quick visit to the information centre we discovered it was nearly 600km, a long day in the car lay ahead of us!

This area of South Australia has been in drought for eight years so for hundreds of miles all we could see was barren flat dusty land, however from time to we were lucky enough to see more interesting things including wild emu's running along the side of the road. On one stretch of road we felt like we were driving through kangaroo death valley, literally every five metres there was a dead kangaroo, we must've passed at least 100 dead roo's! Things started to get a bit nicer when we reached Coorong National Park, not that it was a particularly beautiful place but after 400kms of barren land we really appreciated some trees!

Next stop is Adelaide where we meet up with my Dad who's joining us for our west coast trip. It'll be great to see him after so long away from home...


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