|One of the lookouts on the road|
The first place we stopped was Apollo Bay, which is a beach town along the road. We had some lunch and wandered a bit and went on our way. Apollo Bay is the first "main attraction" to see and it's close-ish to the beginning of the road, but unfortunately after that the road goes inland for quite a while, where there's really nothing to look at. Although, there was a really nice view of Apollo Bay shortly after we went inland.
There's quite a long stretch at this point with not a lot to see other than a pleasant road, most of the sites are towards the other end. The first big one is the Twelve Apostles and it was insanely busy (no surprise) and by far the most crowded site we saw. I was kind of disappointed though because by the time we got there it was about 4 p.m. and it was so bright you could barely see it.
It was nice, but it was hard to make out much because the sun was so harsh and right by them. We came back the next day, but I'll get to that later. After we saw the Twelve Apostles we got back on the road and really wanted to see the Bay of Islands before the sun set so while there were a lot of sites in between we ended up only stopping at two of them (another reason why we came back on Sunday). At this point we were driving into the sun and it was so bright and hazy that I was really struggling to see any of the road. It was fine, thankfully, but I've never been so blinded by sun and haze before, it was quite bizarre.
One of the other sites we stopped at is this rock arch called London Bridge. It used to be connected to the mainland but in 1990 the connecting rock fell into the ocean. Luckily no one was hurt, but two people were stranded on the new island and had to be rescued by a helicopter hours later.
London Bridge was a lot bigger than I thought it was. From pictures, mine included, it doesn't look huge, but it really was!
The other one we stopped at was the Bay of Martyrs, and this one I thought was awesome because with the sun setting and the mist of the water, it looked totally amazing.
|Probably one of my favorite photos from the trip|
We made it to the Bay of Islands as the sun was setting and it was gorgeous. We ended up going to the viewing point that's not very popular so we were the only ones there for most of the time we were there and only shared the viewing deck briefly with some Chinese who came, took some photos pointing at it, and then left.
We were staying in Warnambool, which was about another 40 minutes from the Bay of Islands, so we set off and got to the hotel, checked in, and then went and had some Chinese food. Warnambool is a small regional town and we didn't get a chance to explore it a ton, but it looked quite nice.
Although it took us the whole day to do the Great Ocean Road, Warnambool isn't actually all that far from Melbourne-- just a few hours on the highway. It's just because the Great Ocean Road isn't as direct and far windier, so you can't go nearly as fast. We decided on Sunday we we would drive back to the Twelve Apostles (about an hour from Warnambool) see it again and then come back, stopping at all of the places we missed the day before. I'm so glad we did because there were some pretty awesome things.
The Twelve Apostles was fantastic to see when the sun wasn't so harsh, so I was really glad we went back.
The first stop after that was something called Loch Ard Gorge. It's called that because in the 1800s a ship called Loch Ard crashed there.
Nearby there was a cave called Thunder Cave, and it was massive and incredibly impressive.
|Thunder cave, it was very dark so it's hard to see|
After that we stopped somewhere called the Arch (really imaginative name, I know), but it was really cool. And when you have a backdrop of an ocean that blue anything looks nice.
After that was probably one of my favorites, called the Grotto. It was this huge arch-like rock with some pools of water that then opened into the ocean. You had to go down a ton of stairs to reach it, but it was really cool.
All of the sites were really awesome and we had a great time. Unfortunately we were outside a bit more than we intended so we burnt a fair bit, but I'm much less lobster colored today. We were going to take the highway almost all the way back to Melbourne, but then saw on the map there were all of these really huge lakes marked on the map if we went a slightly country-road-ish way. We chose that only to discover almost all of the lakes were dried up. They covered massive distances and would have been spectacular... if there was any water.
It was a nice enough road though and didn't take too much longer. We arrived home a little before 8 p.m. and returned the car this morning. It was so much fun and I'm glad we did it before we leave. Here are some bonus photos.
|Bay of Martyrs on Sunday during the day|
|I believe this was called Broken Head|
|Bay of Islands on Sunday during the day|
|A view/lookout just before the GOR started|
|An ocean view in Warnambool|
We're finally mostly booked for New Zealand now. We leave tomorrow night and arrive Wednesday morning and we'll be in Christchurch until Friday when we take the train up the coast and the ferry across the channel to Wellington. We're in Wellington just Friday night/Saturday and then we're renting a car and making our way up to Auckland. We're staying two nights at a town called Taupo, which is on a lake and has a volcano and looks awesome, and then one night in another town called Rotorua, which also is very "wild" and pretty. Then we'll have Tuesday and part of Wednesday in Auckland before flying out that evening. I'm really looking forward to it and I'll be sure to post photos as we go.