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The official starting point of the Great Ocean Road.

During our brief nine days off between house sits in Albury we embarked on a 2200km road trip. The main goal was to experience the Great Ocean Road. Along the way we got a glimpse of Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as meeting a bunch of super friendly Aussies,  we managed some diving as well.

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Our journey began on what locals claim is the longest covered train platform in the southern hemisphere.
Day 1
Our train trip from Albury to Melbourne. Uneventful, other than a bit late. The carriages on this section of the V-Line service certainly are not the pride of the fleet I am sure.

After a 4 hour train trip to Melbourne we encountered our only hiccup of our trip. We arrived just late enough to have the car rental office close before we could pick up our vehicle so we ended up spending an unplanned evening in Melbourne. Other than the expense and stress of trying to find a hotel room at 6pm on a Friday when the city is hosting a Formula 1 race that weekend, it turned out just fine.

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The 50 metre high Coop’s Shot Tower has been turned into a museum inside Melbourne’s Central shopping mall. http://www.melbournecentral.com.au/our-heritage
Day 3
Our first real day of driving after doing a dive in Geelong, just outside of Melbourne. Also our first glimpse of the Southern or Indian Ocean.

Stay tuned for another blog on our diving in Melbourne and Adelaide.

Day 3 saw us get our first glimpse of the Ocean proper and also the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Absolutely awe-inspiring for a number of reasons.

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The interpretive stop at the Memorial Arch on the Great Ocean Road is a must do. The majority of the work on the road was done by 3000 Australian soldiers who had just returned from the First World War.

One of the truly impressive things I have noticed in travelling around Australia is the effort that has gone into recognizing and acknowledging the contributions of their veterans. The reason for building the Great Ocean Road was to be able to employ and help as many returning soldiers from the First World War as possible. (This was also the reason for building the Story Bridge in Brisbane)

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One of hundreds of memorials you see as you travel around Australia. This one was just outside of Torquay, Victoria.
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When we got to Torquay we took a walk down by the water and got our first glimpse of the Southern Ocean (or the Indian Ocean, depending on what you read).
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Ended our day in Lorne with a short walk into Erskine Falls. Unfortunately due to a very dry summer here all the waterfalls we stopped to see were significantly less than impressive. Still, beautiful areas though.
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Enjoyed a pleasent walk along the shore in Lorne at sunset.

The towns along the coast vary from tiny hamlets to full tourist magnets so you get to pick whatever suits you. The road itself is great. It would be even greater had we been doing this trip on a motorcycle.

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A fair representation of what we had to look at the entire time we were on the Great Ocean Road. This was early in the morning just as we were heading out of Lorne.
Day 4
Day 4 was all Great Ocean Road. Dozens of stops. Truly tested Karen’s patience when it came to hauling out the camera.
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While sitting on the beach having lunch in Anglesea two rescue helicopters came by and practiced retrieving people from the water with long lines. Great entertainment.

Other than the first and last nights of our trip we did not prebook any accommodation along the route. This left us open to spend as much time as we wished at places we came across. The greatest serendipity of this was the people we met at the motor inns and motels we found on the way. Not once did we have a problem finding accommodation, (Thanks again Bryce for the sim card). We learned, despite its convenience, the evils of Expedia when it comes to small businesses. And most of all how universally helpful and friendly the locals could be to a couple of tourists.

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Karen managed to spot this little fellow in a tree when we were near the Cape Otway lighthouse. The best part was having an Aussie from Perth stop to see what we were looking at and seeing his delight in seeing his first ever koala in the wild.

The main purpose of this trip was to see the Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles along with the other unique coastal features in that area. We were not disappointed. The roads, stopping areas, and weather all combined to make it a spectacular sightseeing trip.

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I drove out to the Apostles an hour before sunrise to try to capture some of the beauty of the area.
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It was neat being out there with only about a dozen other people. It is not so much that the Apostles themselves are so amazing. It is the whole combination of colour, form, and light that make it so wonderful.
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The light was wonderful and with the power of the ocean it was a very serene scene I found.
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This was a classic example of how the world changes. People who visited here two years ago were able to walk over what was called London Bridge to the rock at the right of the photo. Then one day the land bridge collapsed. No one was hurt, but a couple had to be airlifted off the new island.
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The Grotto is one of the many cool formations along the coast.
Day 5
Having spent the first half of this day checking out the 12 Apostles and associated sites it was a long day making the trip to Portland.

Having completed the Great Ocean Road our next destination was Adelaide. Luckily we stopped in Portland where we met one of the most interesting inn owners (Mariner Inn) and an incredibly helpful fellow at the tourist information office. The tourist info gentleman pointed out how we could make very efficient time and still be able to do some wine tastings near Penola on our trip to Adelaide. Love multitasking.

Day 6
The push for Adelaide. Long day with some drab weather, however the day is never a total loss when you get a chance to check out some wineries.
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The drive to Adelaide saw the dreariest weather of the trip which made for a bit of a depressing shoreline drive.
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At the suggestion of tourist info we ended up getting to take this free ferry across the Murray River. Super friendly operator and just kind of cool.

We loved Adelaide and would love to go back for an extended stay. For this trip we did some diving (awesome) and checked out the old town on foot.

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The State Library was amazing. The enthusiasm of the volunteer at the front door made it difficult to get out of the building.
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You have to love a place that has one of the largest wine cellars in their section of the world in their botanical gardens. Love it!
Day 7
Long day of driving as the morning was spent diving. By the time we had arrived in Kaniva the inn owners had gone to bed and just left the keys to our room in the door.
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Due to the Easter weekend our Easter dinner was fish and chips at a gas station diner in Bordertown. The only business open in the entire town.
Day 8
Another long day of driving with a lunch stop in Hall’s Gap. Reminded us a lot of Banff in the summer. Busy Easter weekend.
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Just past Nhill we stumbled across a small lake called, appropriately, Pink Lake. The shore line looked like it was snow-covered but it was just dried salt. Rather surreal place.

Our last stop on this trip was in the city of Ballarat. As we drove into this city I was overwhelmed by the power of their Avenue of Honour. It took me awhile to realize there was a pattern to the trees along the road as we drove into the City.

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Just over 22km long with over 3900 trees, each with a name plate for a local citizen who served in the First World War. It was chilling when you realized the sheer size of it and the people it impacted. http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/lae/attractions/arch-of-victory-avenue-of-honour.aspx
Day 9
And home we go. A short drive into Melbourne and a train trip back to Albury.

Our Great Ocean Road road trip was an outstanding success. I highly recommend it to anyone who is going to be in the Melbourne area.

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Looking back down the highway at the end of our trip. An amazingly beautiful place to visit or call home.

 

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

1 comment on “Great Ocean Road

  1. Beautiful pictures, I loved our drive along the Great Ocean Road! And totally jealous you saw a koala in the wild 😉

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