Great Ocean Road to Victor Harbor

5th August, 1994
6th August, 1994
7th August, 1994
8th August, 1994
9th August, 1994
10th August, 1994

Day 7. Friday, 5th August

12 Apostles photograph

The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road

Drop Cap oday was great. The GOR headed away from the coast and up into the rainforested hills of the Otway National Park. We stopped at Maits Rest for a walk in the rainforest which was delightful. A lot of it was boardwalked and very artistically. We then moved on and took the road to Cape Otway but the lighthouse was closed so we had to come back. Continued on to Lavers Hill, the highest point on the GOR where we had lunch with a view at the Blackwood Gully Tearoom.

Loch Ard Gorge photograph

Panorama of Loch Ard Gorge

Rosemary GOR photograph

Rosemary near Loch Ard Gorge

Drop Cap hen on back to the coast, where suddenly we came on the 12 Apostles. The lookouts and viewing areas were much more extensive than I remembered, much closer, it seemed. It was spectacular. Moving right along, we arrived at Loch Ard Gorge, another major viewing site, we seemed to walk for miles to lots of different vantage points, including down a staircase to the beach of Loch Ard Gorge where there are 2 spectacular cliff fronts with stalactites.

Loch Ard Gorge photograph

Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Road

Drop Cap e saw the Blow Hole, which is enormous, it would have to be a gale to make it blow. We ensconsed ourselves in the tiny town of Port Campbell at the Loch Ard Motel and have booked into the licensed restaurant of the Flag Motel (which we spurned on principle) Mac doesn't like Flags.

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Day 8. Saturday, 6th August

London Bridge photograph

Panorama of the truncated London Bridge, Great Ocean Road

Bay of Islands photograph

Mac at the Bay of Islands, Great Ocean Road

Drop Cap fun day today, although the weather turned bad again, damn it! It took us an hour and a half to go 20 klm, stopping at every scenic point. We saw arches and grottoes and the Bay of Islands, and the poor old London Bridge which has only one arch left, it looked quite truncated.

Drop Cap e left the GOR at the end near Warrnambool and went to the Whale Viewing Platform at Logans Beach. Unfortunately, there were no whales so far this year but it's a good looking beach nevertheless.

Maritime Museum photograph

Street at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum, Warrnambool, Victoria

Drop Cap e went on to the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum where we spent the rest of the day. This is a mostly authentic small village based on 2 lighthouses and their keepers' cottages with various maritime based businesses like brassfounders, ships' chandlers and bond stores. There is a church and a schoolhouse, some boats being refitted, the bank and newspaper and a museum of the shipwreck coast. The number of ships wrecked in this area is stupendous. They have exhibited 2 items of treasure from two of the wrecks, the "Loch Ard" peacock, a fabulous Minton porcelain work about 3 feet high which was coming out for the Melbourne Exhibition and a diamond ring with a Brazilian diamond worth about $10,000 intrinsically, which was found adhering to a Communion set, when it was cleaned of wreck residue.

Peacock Postcard

Loch Ard Peacock

Drop Cap t was quite a fascinating museum and we were there till it closed. We had lunch there and Mac met a calico feetsface on board one of the boats which followed him around and talked to him. The staff say they have trouble with a cat which keeps coming in and they forget it's inside and lock up and it sets the alarms off wandering around. We got soaked, and the weather is very capricious at the moment. Heavy rain, then sun, then clouds and wind.

Drop Cap e are at Port Fairy tonight, an old port, lots of old buildings and we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant next to our motel.. Very nice, too. Tomorrow, Portland and Mount Gambier.

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Day 9. Sunday, 7th August

Drop Cap ort Fairy is very olde worlde, some lovely old houses along the river front. It has a lovely beach and the river is an attractive sight with all the boats and the houses down to the water. We went through Portland, not very interesting, quite a big port and continued on to Bridgewater Bay. There was another lovely beach with a little kiosk where we stopped to buy some sandwiches. The guy in the kiosk asked if we were lost! He hadn't expected anyone around that day. So we told him we had come here deliberately in order to see the Blow Holes and the Petrified Forest and he gave us directions to them. The Blow Holes area apparently keeps developing more blow holes and the sea was raging ! It was very windy and spume from the cliffs wet the car which was parked more than 200 m away. The petrified forest was a weird sight, like a moonscape. It seems that millions of years ago a forest was buried in sand dunes and water trickled through to make hard coatings on the tree trunks. Then the wood rotted away and all that was left was the hard coating. It isn't really petrified but it was a weird and interesting sight.

Bridgewater photograph

Cave Mouths near Bridgewater Beach, Victoria

Drop Cap e had lunch at Bridgewater Lakes and driving back from them to the road we came upon some huge and Disneyesque caves like open mouths full of rotting teeth. We drove on to Nelson through forests both natural and pine.(the kiosk owner at Bridgewater Beach had told us we would see kangaroos and emus and he was not just articulating through his Akubra) I saw at least 6 emus and one kangaroo. We have quite a wildlife tally now. Then to Princess Margaret Rose cave which, since its discovery is comparatively recent, is in better nick than Jenolan but not as big. Very interesting. On to Mount Gambier where we had dinner at the Pizza Hut. Mount Gambier is quite a big town now, it probably always was but on bus tours (which is when I last saw Mt.Gambier 15 years ago) you don't tend to get much of an idea of places.

Day 10. Monday, 8th August

Blue Lake photograph

Mac at the Blue Lake, Mount Gambier, South Australia

Drop Cap e started by looking at Mt.Gambier's Crater lakes, a lovely picnic area in the middle of the City. The Blue Lake was not particularly blue but it is the wrong time of the year, it changes in late November, early December.

Drop Cap e did some banking and shopping in the town and looked at the Cave Gardens in the main street, then went to Lady Nelson Park which contains a replica of the boat which brought the discoverer of Mt.Gambier to SA. It also contains geological info and a GREAT representation in neon of a volcano, archaeological relics, wetland walks and historical information with computer quizzes. It was very well done.

Drop Cap e drove then towards Millicent, stopping at the Tangalooma Cave, which although tiny by Jenolan standards was extremely lovely with myriads of chandelier formations, columns and even a reflecting pool. It was well worth seeing. We had a late lunch by the road and drove on towards the coast. We passed Millicent and Beachport, stopping to look at the Woakwine Cutting, an incredible draining feat completed by only two men back in the fifties. It is almost unbelievable. Then we arrived at Robe, a tiny sea and lakeside port with historic features. Hundreds of Chinese arrived at Robe to walk 200 miles to the Victorian goldfields to avoid paying a ten pound tax. A stone by the beach commemorates this. We have a huge family room at the motel here, the biggest motel room I have ever seen! A double, two single and lots of room. We had a great dinner at another motel locally (sharing the dining room with the family cat which was pretending to be a cushion on one of the chairs.) Tomorrow, the Coorong!

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Day 11. Tuesday, 9th August

Coorong photograph

The Coorong, South Australia

Drop Cap e headed on up the coast towards Kingston SE. I am glad we decided to stay at Robe, altogether much more pleasant. However, outside Kingston, near the "Big Lobster" there was a very unique sundial. I forget what the technical name of it is but the idea is you stand at a certain place on a figure 8 in the ground, nearest the current date, rows of which are written on both sides of the figure and face down your shadow. The shadow falls on one of a series of carved rocks representing the hours and that tells a reasonable replica of the time. The best thing was the carvings on the granite rocks, native marine fauna, beautifully carved in relief.

Drop Cap e went on towards Salt Creek along the Coorong, a huge inland lake system, bordered by a 90 mile sand dune and beach about 2k wide. We went into the Coorong National Park but couldn't get very far because of not having 4WD. It was very interesting though and stretched on for miles. The film and book of "Storm Boy" was set and shot here. Had lunch at Meningie on the shores of Lake Albert then pushed on, crossing the Murray twice by ferry to Tailem Bend, which was tiny and only had one motel which didn't impress so we moved on to Murray Bridge. We have a family suite in the Budget Motel and had dinner brought to the unit. TV and bed - tomorrow to Victor Harbor.

Day 12. Wednesday 10th August

Drop Cap here was a white frost on the ground and car this morning which had to be scraped off the windscreen. Put me in mind of England. Through Murray Bridge where we stopped at Woolworths to get some biscuits and cereal (we are making our own breakfasts and saving up to $16 per night) Then on, getting on the freeway for Adelaide inadvertently but being able to exit for Strathalbyn, a lovely little historic gem of a town, nearly all the building are stone, with wide lace edged verandahs. Absolutely charming.

Drop Cap hen, Goolwa at the mouth of the Murray on Lake Alexandrina. We went to the wharf and saw some paddlesteamers which are used for touring and we discovered "Signal Point", a display and historical interpretive centre (I think that's what they called it). All about the Murray /Darling River systems and the riverboats. It had films, computers, models, maps, photos and implements. Fascinating stuff. We had lunch there then went to see the Goolwa Barrage, a dam like structure which keeps the salt from the sea out of the Murray (theoretically). As we walked along it there were pelicans, cormorants and gulls all swimming purposefully around the outlet and we actually saw a pelican catch a fish! Its beak pouch extended like a balloon filled with water and he lifted his beak and there was a fish about a handspan long, stuck sideways in his pouch. Then he swallowed and it disappeared.

Victor Harbor photograph

The Granite Island Horse Tram, Victor Harbor, South Australia

Drop Cap fter this we drove to Victor Harbor where we visited the Tourist Information Centre and were told where to get bookings for Kangaroo Island. They couldn't book the car back from the island as the ferry was full up. So we decided to leave the car on this side and take a tour. It was all organised and paid for, stay the night at Cape Jervis Tavern (the closest place to the ferry terminal),cross on the ferry to KI in the morning, be met by a coach at the ferry, do the wildlife tour (sea lions etc) have a BBQ lunch and back for the ferry at 6. Stay the night again at Cape Jervis where the car will be all day and head off on Saturday for Adelaide. It saves us about $40 by not taking the car.

Drop Cap e then explored Victor Harbor, which seems to have closed down for the winter - not much in the way of food outlets. Still we got a meal at a fishcafe and went to wash the clothes at a laundromat. These mundane tasks must still be done.

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