Driving the Great Ocean Road

Early on September 8th I collected a vehicle at a Melbourne Hertz rent-a-car and begin a two-day drive to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road. My Frommer's guide describes this road as "One of the World's Most Scenic Drives." That would be hard to dispute.

First Day

From Melboune I drove west along the northern coast of Port Phillip Bay until I reached the town of Geelong. At that point I continued south across the Bellarine Peninsula until I reached the village of Torquay along the ocean. I picked up an informational booklet (shown here) in Torquay.

In Torquay I took my first picture of the seashore. A small stream can be seen emptying into the cove.

This picture shows the interesting coastline of the village of Anglesea, my next stop travelling southwest. (I don't know if at this point the ocean is the Pacific or Indian. It was pretty in any event...)

When I reached Lorne I drove inland to the "Ever-popular" Erskine Falls. It is a five-minute walk from the parking area to the bottom of the falls. This picture was taken from above as I was walking down to the falls below.

This is a picture of the stream leading away from the bottom of the falls. Very primeval looking.

The falls itself -- this time from the bottom.

In this picture the falls are directly behind me. I think I am standing on the boulder visible at the bottom of the last picture. (And I managed to get there without serious injury.)

This and the next picture are from Apollo Bay, the last village on my southwestern trek. The inlet to the protected section of the village's harbor can be seen at the right in this picture.

A picture of the bay outside the harbor.

Generally west from Apollo Bay is Otway National Park. You can stop for a walk at Maits Rest and tour a "cold-weather" rainforest. Ferns like that shown here would not have been uncommon in the time of the dinosaurs.

A gnarled tree from the rainforest

A peek from inside a tree in the rainforest.

Taking a detour from the Great Ocean Road leads one to a lighthouse at Cape Otway, the farthest point south I reached in my entire trip. Unfortunately it was very late in the day and I was unable to get into the compound to take a closer look. This is the best picture I have.

At this point in my drive I was behind schedule and the sun was starting to set. Luckily, there was still enough light so I did not miss one of the wonders of southern Australia, the "12 Apostles." These are a number of spires rising from the sea, the result of erosion of the limestone cliffs on the coast. This picture and the next 5 show various views of these formations.

The 12 Apostles (picture 2).

The picture is "only" a shot of a cliff near some of the spires.

The 12 Apostles (picture 4).

The 12 Apostles (picture 5).

This particular formation is known as London Bridge. I spent many minutes just watching the waves lap around these rocks.

As the sun set I hit the road again and headed for some place to spend the night.

Second Day

Portland. Not Oregon or Maine, but Victoria. This little coastal village was where I decided to stop and find a motel for the night. In the morning I took this picture from the driveway of the motel before setting off for Adelaide.

My first stop on the road to Adelaide was the Naracoorte Caves Conservation Park. First, I wandered through the Wonambi Fossil Centre which has displays of modern and extinct Australian fauna. Then I went on the self-guided tour through the "Wet Cave," a series of underground caverns. This picture is shot from inside the cavern looking back at the entrance.

A picture from inside the caves (picture 1).

A picture from inside the caves (picture 2).

A picture from inside the caves (picture 3).

A picture from inside the caves (picture 4).

Interesting texture.

Note: If you click on the thumbnail, you will see a 2000x1168 pixel image. You are welcome to download and use this texture for your own purposes.

18 kilometers east of Adelaide is the Warrawong Santuary, one of a number of sites in Australia that have been created to preserve the native flora and fauna. Here is a picture of the sanctuary entrance.

This santuary is not government-run, but is a private effort designed to deal with government's inability to act.

To quote from a pamphlet: "In 1969, Dr John Wansley established Warrawong Santuary in the Adelaide Hills as a way of showing what could be done. He fenced 35 acres with fox and cat-proof fencing, replaced habitats, put back the animals that used to live there -- and they thrived!"

Here is a picture of some thriving kangaroos (one of which I had the chance to pet during the tour). There are also bandicoots, wallabies, battongs and (hard to see) platypuses.

The sanctuary's website is http://www.esl.com.au.

Third Day

I stayed the night at a motel near the Adelaide airport, and I dropped my car off early the next morning before flying to Alice Springs.

This is really all I saw of the city :(

©2000-2001 Joe Pearce. All rights reserved.

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