Though rated as one of world’s best drives, we weren’t too excited about the Great Ocean Drive, after a disappointing experience in The Road to Hana (Maui, Hawaii), which was also very highly rated. We debated between taking a tour versus us driving till the twelve apostles and back to Melbourne. We delayed the decision until, the only good option was to take a tour.
That morning, after getting some brekkie and coffee, we started on our journey from Melbourne. The first one hour of the journey until we hit the Great Ocean Road was nothing appealing, just agricultural lands and industries along the way. Once we hit the coastal roads, the views dramatically changed from boring landscapes to bright turquoise blue waters crashing the coastline with white beach sands.
Split Point Lighthouse
While driving on the Great Ocean Drive, as the road turned around, a majestic, tall, white lighthouse emerged from the cliff. It was the Split Point Lighthouse, and that’s where we were going to make our first stop. No wonder it is popularly called “The White Queen”.
A short uphill walk led us to up to the 34 meters fall white lighthouse perched on the coast with deep blue waters in the background and majestic rocks by the peninsula.
The most prominent rocks are the Eagle Rock and Table Rock, adding all the drama one needs to perturb you from the far-stretching monotonous view of the ocean waters. To one side of the viewpoint is the Witch Rock, not sure why it is named so. Nevertheless, the entire place was brilliant!
Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch
This is a historic spot marking the beginning of the Great Ocean Road and its a very popular sport for pictures. We continued our drive to stop for lunch at Koala Café.
Feeding parrots by the Koala Café
While burgers were being prepared, we walked around the campgrounds nearby to see beautiful, bright colored parrots. Initially there were just two parrots perched up somewhere high up in the tree branches. We picked some leftover bird food from the ground, birds came swooping down and comfortably landed on our hands to eat the food. These birds were so flamboyant with bright shades of orange, blue and green. We walked around a bit in the campgrounds, hoping to spot a few koalas in the wild, but in vain.
Hike among the tall redwood trees in Port Campbell National Park
No doubt, California boasts itself of the tallest redwood trees in the world. The Port Campbell National Park is proud of its tallest flowering plants in the world. The short and easy hike through this forest was a nice break and refresher from the long drive along the Great Ocean Road.
This was a good chance to stretch ourselves, breathe in some fresh, cool air and walk amidst greenery.
Climb down the Gibson Steps
Named after the Gibson family that first settled in this neighborhood, the Gibson Steps is a stairway of 99 steps that take you down to the beach. Easy to walk down, while enjoying the ocean and the tall rock stacks nearby. Seems like a popular fishing zone because I noticed a couple of people with their fishing rods. Climbing down and up 99 stairs is certainly not a cakewalk, but it is all worth it!
Loch Gorge and Razorback Peninsula
Razorback peninsula is a perfect example of the action of strong waves crashing against the peninsula, erosion of the peninsula and the limestone formations around these rocks.
Loch Gorge is beautiful by itself, but learning about the historical significance of this place makes you appreciate it even more.
In the 1800s, a vessel from Scotland, carrying 54 people was close to completing its 3 months journey to immigrate into Australia. When they were just a day or two away from reaching Melbourne, the ship crashed against one of the rocks near Loch George, sinking in just 12 minutes. Only two survived, Tom and Eva who swam to the Loch George and spent the night there, to be rescued by the farmers the next day.
Sunset at 12 Apostles
Perhaps it is about time to change the name, because there are just 8 apostles now. And not all the 8 rock stacks can be seen from the lookout points because they are hidden behind the headlands.
Now you can see 2 of the recently collapsed apostles which just look like some rocks on the ocean floor. With the erosion happening by 2 centimeters ever years, in a few hundred years, all the remaining apostles will gradually crash into the ocean bed.
We were so happy that we watched the sunset from here; it was something that we’ve been waiting for, ever since we planned this trip to Australia.
We fell asleep on the drive back to Melbourne. Exhausting but a beautiful drive!