The Great Ocean Road and on to Adelaide
14.01.2017 - 20.01.2017
14/1/2017 - We left the City centre this morning and took a cab to South Melbourne to pick up our rental car. A simple paperwork process completed and a quick check of the vehicle to note any existing damage and we were off. I'll admit I was relieved that Thrifty car hire is located out of the city centre and so we did not have to concern ourselves with any of these confusing right hand hook turns that seem to be peculiar to Melbourne. We crossed the West Gate Bridge in the direction of Geelong and we were on our way. We stopped at Torquay for a breakfast and then headed for Bells Beach where we passed an hour or so watching an endurance swim event. We were conscious that neither of us had applied sunscreen and so didn't stay out in the sun for too long, especially when you observe the locals all clad in long sleeve tops and trousers. A stop at Aireys Inlet a bit later in the day and a walkabout around Split Point lighthouse was a good opportunity to also stretch the legs and of course take a few pictures .
Our first scheduled overnight stop was to be Apollo Bay; we arrived late afternoon and checked into our motel, Sandpipers. We were very pleased with our welcome we had a very nice room and agreed that we were off to a good start. After a cup of tea and a half hour to unwind we walked the Main Street in search of the recommended pub for a drink and evening meal. And that was us done for the day, happy to get to return to bed after a hot day.
Apollo Bay to Warrnambool - we started the day by calling into La Bimba's bakery and getting a filled roll and coffee to go. En route to the infamous 12 Apostles we stopped at Cape Otway Lighthouse which we were able to go inside and climb the stairs to the top the views out to sea are stunning. I had it in my head that Inwanted to visit Otway Fly treetop walk so we made an inland detour of about 20 miles to get there. I'm kind of sorry that we did since the attraction for me was disappointing. Sure the treetop walkways are quite an engineering feat but the entrance fee is steep and though they have a zipline there (hence the name Otway fly) the places are booked out in advance so there is no point hoping to do this without prior booking plus it's a hefty 120AUD per adult. I think what's really disappointing about the fly is that unless you are a participant there is no spectator option to see how exciting it is. So, we did the treetop walk, heard lots of birds but saw none, bought ourselves another coffee and got back onto the GOR. We reached the 12 Apostles around 2pm, unfortunately around the same time as all the coach tours; the views are spectacular but you need to jostle with Mr and Mrs Selfie Stick if you want to try and take photos of the view yourself. And so onwards to Warrnambool for our next overnight stop. Of course, we did make stops along the way to get out and admire the beautiful beaches and the wild sea.
Warrnambool - we arrived early evening and again, another excellent motel - I'm impressed with the standards so far. We did a little drive around Warrnambool, stopped at Thunder Point lookout took in the scenery and then headed off looking for food to end the day.
Mount Gambier - Another early start the next day as we set off for Mount Gambier. We stopped a short way outside Warrnambool at Port Fairy. A lovely seaside holiday resort with lots going on. We went into the town centre to find a bakery and then parked up on the headland and sat at a picnic bench to have our brunch and happily watched the surfers below.
We decided to take the scenic route and pay a visit to Cape Bridgewater where, according to the book I've been reading, there is a seal colony. It was a very hot day and Graham was starting to feel drowsy so when we arrived at the designated car park looking out over the beautiful beach at Cape Brudgewater, he decided to recline the seat and have 40 winks while I went in search of the seals. So, we were in the right place but at the wrong time of day. What my book doesn't tell you is that from Cape Bridgewater there is a good 30 minute clifftop walk to a jetty where you pay 20 AUD for a 45 minute boat trip out to the seal colony and we had missed the last trip of the day - hey ho
Our accommodation in amount Gambier was different to say the least; an old colonial style house with some history. However, once again, we were not disappointed. Early the next Morning we set off to find The Blue Lake and It was indeed very blue. We went to a couple of the lookout points to get a good view and to take some pictures but both decided that we would skip the official tour. Instead, we went to view the Tantanoola cave, a brief but interesting stop and we pretty much had the tour to ourselves. Next stop Robe.
Robe - we had a scheduled 2 night stop here to give ourselves a break from spending so much time in the car. Again we had a motel in a great location just a short walk from the beach yet centre of town. Robe was quite a busy town, up,and coming it seems. The weather on our journey so far has been mixed, and at Robe it was bordering on cold due to the wind chill factor. On our second day , the sun put on a good show so we decided we would take our beach towels and have a little sunbathe on the beach. We applied a good dose of sunscreen and lay down to soak up the rays. Well, as you can imagine, we both fell asleep and by the time we woke, we were like a couple of sheets of sandpaper.
Our next destination was Adelaide with a plan to go via Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills. We arrived in Hahndorf in sweltering temperatures, quite a contrast from previous days. Hahndorf is a very pretty town with a History of early german settlement hence you can buy yourself all manner of Germanic souvenirs. Hahndorf that day was overrun with cyclists who had been following the official Australia Tour Down Under. Thankfully, by the time we reached Adelaide the race had moved on and therefore we did not encounter any road closures or detours. We dropped our hire car off at Adelaide airport and took a taxi ride to our hotel at Glenelg.
Adelaiide - we stayed at the Stamford Grand, Glenelg, situated right on the sea front. The beach at Glenelg is beautiful and when we arrived was a hive of activity with sunbathers and young families enjoying the heatwave, temperatures must have been middle to high 30's and much too hot for me to stay out in the sun. We familiarised ourselves with a Glenelg and found a restaurant to have dinneR. The heat was too much for me and I returned to the hotel, Graham stayed out and was going to walk to the end of the jetty on the beach. It wasn't long before he was back at the hotel because of a sudden downpour. Later that night there was an electrical storm which I watched from our room on the 11th floor. The storm didn't seem to be that. bad viewed from our hotel but it seems that many parts of Adelaide experienced serious flooding and power outages. We only had one full day to spend in Adelaide and so decided to do,a couple of museums in the. Enter. We took the tram from a Glenelg into the centre and went first to Central Market for a look around , we visited the art museum and the museum of aboriginal culture. Adelaide has a bustling shopping centre and so it seemed only sensible to take advantage and buy a few things more suited to the coming weeks travel than the stuff I brought from home! Graham found his favourite outdoor shop, Katmandhu, where he kindly bought me easy wash quick drying shorts and vests. He didn't have his loyalty card with him and was well chuffed that they were able to look his details up on their computer system and gave him a 30% loyalty discount. 😊😊
So, as our second leg comes to an end, here's a few statistics of what we've seen so far :-
Fairy Penguins - 1
Koala bears - 2
Kangaroos - 0 alive, 3 dead by the road
Seals - 0
Platypus - 0
Flies - too many to mention
Next stop Cairns