Mon 19 Mar 12 - Wed 28 Mar 12
What a journey! Definitely a must-see of Australia, and a trip that I already want to do again. You could easily spend a week doing it, to really make the most of all the places, lookouts and walking trails along the way. But I certainly got a good taste of it, and it was amazing.
Day One took me from Melbourne to Port Campbell, via numberous stops in quaint little towns, which is a description which could apply to most places along the route.
Torquay was my first stop, with wind-swept sand dunes and beautiful surf beaches. More beaches were on offer at Anglesea, along with some huge properties on the hills overlooking the coast. All with glass walls facing out to sea - must be stunning in summer, but pretty miserable in winter!
Next stop was Aireys Inlet, which I had to stop off at to see the lighthouse. Those of you who used to watch the Australian kids TV series 'Round the Twist' might recognise it... All together now: "Have you ever, ever felt like this?..."
I stopped off in Lorne for a delicious lunch of fish and chips, after which the road became increasingly bendy, with cliffs on one side and sea on the other. The scenery was amazing, with constant photo opportunities. For a while I found myself stopping on almost every corner to capture the changing landscape.
Unfortunately, speed-restricted tight corners and a delays at a 'burn off' before Apollo Bay (where they start controlled fires on the hills to prevent bush fires from breaking out) took their toll on my limited time to get to Port Campbell. Apollo Bay was more or less engulfed by smoke, so there were limited photo opportunities. From there, time and daylight were both in short supply and I only stopped to take out my contact lenses (later to find out that mozzies had had a feast on my ankles in the 5 minutes I was out of the car) and headed straight for Port Campbell.
Day Two started with a short back-track to the Twelve Apostles - a collection of rock formations that have been separated from the cliffs by sea erosion and now stand alone. It would have been amazing to see at sunset, but I missed that on the way to Port Campbell by quite a bit - maybe another time!
Onward from the apostles, the towns themselves are nothing to write home about, but some of the scenery along the coast was incredible. There were loads of rocks and sea to take pictures of, and after a while I had to resign myself to the fact that I probably had enough pictures of rocks and another few wouldn't make a whole lot of difference. Regardless, I've included a few pics here to give you a feel for the landscape.
I stopped off breifly in Port Fairy for lunch, and Portland for a little look around. From there the road heads inland, and while there are still opportunities for short detours to coastal lookouts, the majority of the journey takes you through forestry areas on both sides of very long, straight roads.
That night I stayed in a hostel called The Old Mount Gambier Gaol, which actually IS the old jail in the town, which was closed in the 70s (I think). It was a maze-like 'fortress' and the rooms are the original cells that the inmates lived in, still with heavy iron doors and bars.
Day three of the drive took me through Beachport, Robe and Kingston (and many more lookouts I found by following brown signs from the freeway). I got a bit carried away on a scenic drive around Beachport, but eventually got to Jeff & Sandra's place in Adelaide Hills, where I'll be looking forward to relaxing a little and seeing some of the sights Adelaide has to offer.
Final pic is of a giant lobster they are very proud of in Kingston (famous for its seafood, apparently...)