Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is described by the Australian Tourist people as one of the world’s most scenic drives. It runs from Geelong (just south-west of Melbourne) in Victoria,  along the southern coast of the state, 243 kilometres - 151 miles - to Allansford, just east of Warrnambool. It has some beautiful views of what can be a rough and wild coast, and is heavily populated with excursion buses and the like for a large part of the year.

Recently I drove the road for the first time, with a friend, and found it a worthwhile and interesting experience. One of the first places to stop at is a popular surfing spot, Bells Beach. They have a big-time surfing carnival there every year, the Ripcurl Pro - it's been held there every Easter since 1960.

There wasn't much of a swell this day - just a few slick black shapes sitting out the back, waiting for some action.  The day was beautifully sunny, with little wind, and quite cold.

It's a stunningly beautiful place, although looking out from the beach towards the south I could totally believe that the next landfall was Antarctica; somehow in spite of the sunshine,it had that bleak desolate beauty down to a fine art:

We had a lunch stop at Apollo Bay (great coffee, yummy falafels and pita bread) and a brief, cold walk on the beach -

Next we headed inland to visit the Otway National park, where we walked around the Treetop Walk:

 This claims to be the longest and tallest elevated walk of its kind in the world. It is 600 metres (about 0.4 miles) long and 35 metres (115 ft) above ground level. I don't like heights at all but I walked around it without minding the bounciness too much!

The best stop of the day was at the 12 Apostles, a group of weathered limestone stacks which has long been a visitor draw on this part of the coast.

By the time we got there, the sun was low, but I was reasonable happy with some of my photos all the same.

All in all it was a lot of fun - a great day to be alive !

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.  
~John Burroughs


  1. Ah the beauty and splendor of a free and limitless expanse opening out into vast distances of places you are seeing for the first time. What an exciting trip to treasure forever. I can bet you felt really refreshed when you returned home!

  2. Thanks Karen I did - it was a lovely holiday!

  3. Note to self: always check posts in IE before publishing. Why doesn't EVERYONE use Firefox?????

  4. I think reading this entry qualifies as a vacation as well. Stunning!

    Re. the limestone stacks: I've always loved the effect of early morning/late afternoon light. The so-called golden hour arises when the sun's rays come in low, and are sufficiently spread out such that they cast broad shadows and take on a softer cast.

    It's a very special time of day, and the light is generally more flattering than it is around midday. You've captured the subtlety here, and the stone pops that much more because of it.

  5. Oh, these are lovely.
    I really need to see this part of the world!


It's great when you leave a note!