We woke from our campground and checked the trees again to see if there were any koalas. There was just one munching it’s way through the eucalyptus leaves on the tree. I’m so happy we’ve seen them in the wild now as well as kangaroos and wallabies! Just wombats to go now and to date we have seen six dead ones, frozen on the side of the road!
We took Betty’s advice and headed to her home of Tower Hill, an area that used to be a volcano! It didn’t take us long to get there and we drove the loop round the park. It was beautiful and we were even lucky enough to see another koala! There was even an emu! Well two actually as one was frolicking in the tall grass. The views were lovely as we climbed higher up to exit the park.
From Tower Hill we proceeded along to Warrnambool which is the largest town situated on The Great Ocean Road. We peered down at the view from Cannon Hill and over at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum, which is a recreation of a 19th century port and village.
We then stopped by Hopkins Falls which has platypuses at the base of it. Not that we could see any today! It is also one of the widest waterfalls in Australia!
On from Warrnambool was Port Campbell National Park, named after Captain Alexander Campbell who chased a whale into the bay back in 1843! Here lies the Bay of Martyrs, which is where the Falls of Halladale ran aground in 1908. The captain became disorientated in the mist and crashed on to the reef.
The Bay of Islands is the coastal park that runs west from Peterborough for 32kms! The grotto is one formation about 700m from the car park and down some steps. It is a wonderful arch filled with crystal clear water and beautiful purple flowers in the greenery running down to it.
Another spectacular formation along this beautiful coastline is the London Bridge. It used to be a double span bridge until 1990 when the first arch unexpectedly collapsed, leaving just one now stranded out in the sea! It is now called London Arch!
Loch Ard Gorge is named after the boat Loch Ard which wrecked on Muttonbird Island just east of it. There were two survivors out of the 54 passengers and crew who survived. Tom got to shore and heard screaming of a woman, Eva, clinging to a rock. He got back into the sea and helped her back to shore! They eventually were found and were cared for at Glenample Homestead. You’d think it’d make for some sort of love story wouldn’t you? But no, instead they went their separate ways.
Atop the coastline there is a graveyard which has the bodies of those recovered from the ill-fated ship.They do cater for those that drive on the opposite side of the road to us and the Aussies. I mean at every turnout, and I mean every one and possibly for the following kilometre, there were signs reminding people which side of the road to drive on!
The Twelve Apostles, possibly the most famous of the formations along this stunning coastline and the one thing I’d been looking forward to seeing all day! The sun had been shining and it was very warm. Perfect weather. It was until we looked out to sea and saw a horrible fog storming it’s way to the shore. We pulled into the car park at the Twelve Apostles visitor centre and set off on the walk to the viewpoint.
So unbelievably disappointing. The fog had covered all but one apostle. I was gutted. We waited for just over an hour hoping the fog would clear but it didn’t. I then checked Instagram that evening and was even more disappointed to learn that the fog cleared in the late afternoon and the Apostles were as clear as day!
We also headed to the Gables Lookout at Moonlight Beach but again, we couldn’t see anything as the fog had completely rolled in! From there it was down to Cape Otway, the oldest surviving lighthouse in Australia! Built in 1848 it is 20 metres high and 90 metres above sea level. There is one long road leading down to it which is home to a colony of koalas! Sadly, when we reached the lighthouse there was a sign saying it was $20 per person for a tour. We turned round and went on our way up to Apollo Bay!
This was a beautiful little seaside town with cafes and shops running along the roadside, all overlooking the crystal clear ocean. The sand is golden and soft. We stopped here for a while before moving on.
Erskine Falls, the tallest waterfall in the Otways was next. About 10km north of Lorne up a winding road to a car park. The top of the Falls is about five minutes from the car park and the bottom is 240 steps down. The water drops 30 metres into a pool with luscious green ferns either side.
Aireys Inlet is a small village just along from Lorne. The red tipped lighthouse was built in 1891 and stands 34 metres high and 66 metres above sea level overlooking Eagle Rock. The views from here were magnificent.
Aireys Inlet is also home to the ‘Diggers Statue,’ which was built in honour of the 3000 Australian soldiers and sailors who returned from World War One, who built the Great Ocean Road as a memorial to those who didn’t make it home.
The Great Ocean Road runs for nearly 300km of the Victorian coastline. The views along the way are just magnificent, even those at pull ins along the road looking back to see the rugged coastline. The coast is known as Shipwreck Coast due to the amount of boats that ran aground along it. The road took us about eight hours to drive as we stopped whenever there was a sign to look at something but you could do it faster or slower depending on if you wanted to stop in the towns too. It’s definitely a road to take your time on though!
That evening we were going to try and stay at Hammond Camp Ground again where the kangaroos joined us a few nights ago. Sadly, when we got there all the pitches were taken so we had to move on. Luckily there was one about 8km away but that meant 8km along a winding, dirt, gravel track with the back end swinging out at each bend.
We arrived at Tanners Campground and found we were the only ones there. Thankfully it wasn’t a grassy area as my hay fever was deciding to be a bitch yet again! We put the tent up then set about cooking us some spaghetti on toast as we hadn’t eaten all day and were pretty ravenous!Until next time…