27.01.2016 31 °C
An early start this morning as this was the first of one of my booked excursions. This was along the Great Ocean Road with a company called A tour with a difference, they turned out to be very good and I would highly recommend them.
We headed out to bells beach about 40 minutes from Melbourne and the beginning of the GOR. The weather was overcast and cooler than yesterday and that meant we got a nice surprise when we got there - wild kangaroos in the field opposite! Photos taken we then had a cup of coffee and some Australian delights of tim-tams and lamingtons before we were back on the road and down to another beach although the weather remained cool so no paddling!
Next stop was a small wooded area where a number of other tour buses had already arrived and it was soon clear why there was so much excitement, wild koalas in the trees and parrots that if you held food in your hand would come down to eat out your hand.
We got back on the GOR and continued driving, stopping at various stunning lookouts, eventually ending up in Apollo Bay for lunch. After lunch we went to head back onto the road but it was clear someone had been messing with the temperature gauge again as the weather had turned hot and sunny and the degrees were quickly climbing.
I was grateful then for the next area which took us more inland and was a really lovely walk through a cool temperate rainforest, there were not too many other tourists around, a refreshing smell of eucalyptus, cool air, lots of shade and stunning tall trees and tree ferns.
It was then an hours drive onto the most famous part of the day, starting with Gibson Steps, a long flight of steps leading down to a beautiful long sandy beach leading to the start of the Twelve Apostles. Then back on the road for the quick hop onto the rest of the Apostles. Worth noting there is no relevance to any religion here, nor link to any Apostles, these are tall rock stacks jutting out to the big blue ocean - but there isn't 12 of them either! There were also an awful lot of other tourists at this stop and I have to confess that the heat and the crowds were getting to me at this point.
The next stop was welcome relief then and in my opinion the prettiest beach of the day - Loch Ard Gorge. Made famous for a shipwreck for which the the beach is named after where the only two survivors came ashore and clambered out (before they had steps). This lovely beach didn't have so many crowds and a beautiful jade-coloured calm inlet sea.
Finally we moved on to dinner at Port Campbell and a stop at London Bridge, no not a railway station but another rock formation that look a little like a bridge. It is seperated from the mainland but was once connected until one of the arches collapsed in 1990. Remind anyone of the nursery rhyme?
On the 2 hour drive back to Melbourne the day ended with a huge storm and lighting. It has been a fantastic day and wonderful to see more of this amazing country.