Great Ocean Road – Love it, love it, love it. I’m currently lying on a glorious beach in Lorne, one of the many small towns along the Great Ocean Road. I’ve stunned. These types of crashing waves and roaring seas only existed in my imagination and the scene is truly hypnotic. I’ve never seen anything like it – what a paradise!
My travel buddy, Emma, and I drove down to the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne. There were several backpacking day trips offered for reasonable prices, but not being one to hop on organized tours, I wanted to rent a car to fully enjoy the lazy drive along the famous highway.
Great Ocean Road History – The Great Ocean Road technically begins in Torquay and stretches over 300 km to Warrnambool. It’s a twisty, impossibly beautiful road that was built by the returned WW1 soldiers in 1918. The entire road was constructed with pick axes and shovels as a monument to those who lost their lives in World War 1. It is truly mind boggling to think of the sweat and laborious hours that went into their feat of beauty. Many sections of the road teeter right on the edge of the rocky cliffs, so close to the side that you feel that you will actually drop into the ocean below as you swerve from curve to curve. I’m only glad that I didn’t have to drive, especially since the steering wheel is on the WRONG side of the car. Emma took care of that for us, and I was free to gaze out at the blue ocean and foaming surf for miles and miles.
Great Ocean Road wildlife – Oh!! We came upon some wild koalas. They were just walking along the narrow road (odd, because I thought they just sat in trees and slept all day!) I took a liking to this little cuddly bear and walked beside him on the road for about a kilometer. Since he was directly in the middle of the narrow pass, I was concerned that my buddy would be hit by a car so I tried my best to urge him off to the side or up into the trees. However, he must have had a final destination in mind because he eventually shuffled along until he found a proper spot on the cliffs and disappeared.
Great Sights along a Great Road – We took our time savoring the sights of The Great Ocean Road. Such popular destinations included the Twelve Apostles, a uniqe rock formation outside of the Port Campbell National Park, the London Bridge, The Arch, and Gibson’s Steps. I especially enjoyed photographing the Twelve Apostles. Once just part of the rock wall, forces of nature have eroded the soft limstone over hundreds and hundreds of years. At first, they simply formed small caves in the cliffs until, eventually, these caves broke away, leaving twelve isolated rock islands. Actually, there are no longer twelve of them – more like Eight Apostles with some extra piles of broken rocks lying nearby.
We didn’t have plans for accommodation that evening. Instead, we drove, photographed, and gazed at the sights until we were sleepy, and then grabbed a bite to eat at a local pub we came across in Port Campbell. Our intention was to find a little nook hidden among the trees in which to park the car and sleep for the night. After some searching, we found a tiny oasis overlooking the ocean and (tried) to sleep. I was a bit worried that we were parked in someone’s backyard and we would be awakened in the middle of the night with blinding flashlights and knocks on our windows. Poor Emma was worried that our car would be mauled by wild kangaroos and stayed awake half the night guarding the car. We both woke up the next morning with crinks in our necks and sore backs, but, hey, whatever saves money, right? Plus, we had a breathtaking view of the sunrise along the water the next morning. Life is good!