The Great Ocean Road Tuesday, 11th September, 2007Posted by DelftRed in Location, Travel.
The view along Australia’s Great Ocean Road.
A few months ago, on the way to Adam and Dee’s wedding, I took a road trip from Adelaide to Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road. Well, it actually starts off as the Princes Highway and only becomes the Great Ocean Road once it gets closer to Melbourne. I used to think that that part of the road was romantically called the “Princess Highway” – that’s what it sounds like, of course – but when I grew up I discovered it was named for the then Prince of Wales when he visited in 1920. I would have called it the “Prince’s Highway”, but for some reason it doesn’t have an apostrophe. I suppose there weren’t enough greengrocers in the highway department at the time.
The coastal region between Adelaide and the Victorian border is called the Limestone Coast. According the tourism website, it is “a scene of alluring beauty, changing colour, thriving contrasts, wild coastlines, unique wetlands, underground wonders and welcoming locals.” I guess that’s pretty accurate.
The shores of Lake Albert, along the Coorong wetlands.
The coastal scenery is magnificent. The highway goes along the Coorong wetlands, past Mount Gambier, and along some of the most beautiful, desolate coastline in the world.
The Limestone Coast.
Mount Gambier is famous for its Blue Lake. This old volcanic crater is filled with water that, for largely unknown reasons, turns from steel grey in colour during winter to startling cobalt blue in summer.
Mount Gambier’s famous Blue Lake – in the summer.
Windmills are a traditional part of the Australian landscape. Some of them are a little more traditional than others, of course.
Into Victoria, and along the Great Ocean Road proper, the limestone cliffs are spectacular.
The Twelve… er… Eight Apostles.
The most famous attraction along the route is the collection of limestone stacks known as the Twelve Apostles. Although there were actually only nine of them to start with, in 2005 one of them collapsed, leaving only eight. It’s still a great photo op, though.
The Martyrs are another stand of sea pillars along the Great Ocean Road.
When I got to the Twelve Apostles around sunset, I was planning to get a room somewhere nearby so that I could mosey along the rest of the road at my leisure the next day. But in the first town I came to everything was full. And in the next town. And the one after that. Not a bed anywhere. It was just mad. So I ended up driving the rest of the way to Melbourne in the early hours of the morning. I found out the next day that in Victoria it was a long weekend. So what was a normal Thursday night in South Australia was the start of a mass exodus of the population from Melbourne, all of whom seemed to want to visit the Great Ocean Road while I was there.
In the end I arrived a day early, in time for the preparations for Adam and Danielle’s wedding. Adam is one of my best mates from the time we shared living as expats in Delft, in The Netherlands. And Danielle is his lovely fiancée – well, now his wife. The wedding went off wonderfully. Even if nobody else got any of my jokes about life in Holland during my speech at the reception. Oh well.
Danielle and Adam getting married.
Helen came over by air in time for the celebrations. She got the jokes.
Helen and Mike all dressed up for the wedding.
Mike and Adam stop to smell the roses.
Afterwards, we drove home overland along the Hume Highway. During the week. After checking that there were no public holidays.
Image credits: Mike (and friends using Mike’s camera) on Flickr