Melbourne – Great Ocean Road

Normal transmission has been resumed, with a backlog of blog entries about to be uploaded over the next few days. 

We got over the flu/broncho-pneumonia fairly quickly, Roy was well on the way to recovery by the time we got back to NZ  and I recovered after about a week of doing very little apart from sleep, sleep and sleep…as well as discovering a new diet which I am calling the Tomato Soup diet.  When I am not well, all I want to eat is Tomato Soup and it has to be a particular well known NZ brand, and I can now attest to the fact that after eating nothing else for a week, the pounds fall away.  Hopefully they will stay away!  Unfortunately Karel came off the worst out of the three of us, which required many many visits to Dr’s, even getting to the stage of having her bag packed and ready for an emergency admission to hospital, however she is now on the mend and should be back to her usual self soon.

Now back to a recap of our Melbourne sojourn.  First will be a summary of the day trip Karel and I took to the Great Ocean Road, a 243km stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the towns of Torquay and Allansford.   Although Roy and I had driven the road a few years previously, albeit at a more leisurely pace, I was looking forward to revisiting the area.  The day started early with our pick up from our apartment at 7.15am.  This was a small tour with just 8 of us on the tour.  Our first stop was at Bell’s Beach 100kms south east of Melbourne, famous as the home of the world’s longest-running surfing competition, first held in 1961 but surfing has been an activity here since the 1930’s.

6Bell’s Beach Entrance

1Surfers braving the freezing cold water

It was here that we stopped for morning tea, a traditional Aussie morning tea with Billy tea, lamingtons, Tim Tams and crackers with vegemite!

5  4

Morning tea                                              Brian swinging the Billy

From there it was onto the start of the Great Ocean Road itself.  We stopped at the Memorial Arch for the next photo opportunity (see below).   

8  9

Karel and I at the Arch                       Info board

The road was built by 3000 returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to soldiers killed during World War 1, the road is the world’s largest war memorial. It winds through varying terrain along the coast and provides access to several prominent landmarks with the most famous being the Twelve Apostles.

17View from Cape Patton

Among many stops for photo opportunities we also stopped in Torquay for lunch, note that it is nothing like the English Torquay!  We also had other stops for wildlife viewing along the way but  these will be included in a later blog entry.  We stopped in the Otway National Park for a 45 minute walk through the diverse landscape and vegetation which was expertly narrated by our guide.  On our last visit to the Otways a few years ago, Roy and I did the treetop walk, this time we were at ground level. 

18  Karel taking shelter in a  tree

The next scheduled stop should have been at the Gibson Steps, but unfortunately these were closed to the public due to high seas.

The next stop was at the Twelve Apostles, a collection of naturally occurring limestone stacks off the shore.


Currently there are eight apostles left, the ninth one of the stacks collapsed dramatically in July 2005.  We just happened to see the ninth stack just prior to its collapse and have evidence of this somewhere in our myriad of photos!

 22  21

Looking east                                     Westerly view

24Karel and I bundled up against the freezing cold with London Arch in the background….this was as close to the edge that Karel could comfortably manage.

25London Arch.

The span closer to the shoreline collapsed unexpectedly on 15 January 1990 leaving two tourists stranded on the outer span before being rescued by helicopter.  Prior to the collapse, the arch was known as London Bridge.

Further along for the Apostles is Loch Ard. The gorge is named after the ship the Loch Ard which ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island on 1 June 1878 approaching the end of a three-month journey from England to Melbourne. Of the fifty-four passengers and crew, only two survived: Tom Pearce, at 15 years of age, a ship’s apprentice, and Eva Carmichael, an Irishwoman emigrating with her family, at 17 years of age. According to memorials at the site, Pearce was washed ashore, and rescued Carmichael from the water after hearing her cries for help. Pearce then proceeded to climb out of the gorge to raise the alarm to local farmers who immediately set into plan a rescue attempt. 

23Loch Ard

It was here that just after we arrived that the heavens opened which meant we did not take the climb down to the beach and cave.

Onto Port Campbell for dinner and then the long drive back to Melbourne along the inland route where we arrived back at the apartment around 10pm.


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