13. The Great Ocean Road Road
The great ocean road varies quite considerably over its length, and has some quite distinct sections. At the West, between Peterborough and Princetown are the rocky ocean cliff-faces of the previous page. The the “great ocean road” isn't really an ocean road at all, but more a slightly inland service road to link up the coastal lookouts.
To the east of that, there is a large section between Princetown and Apollo Bay where the road leaves the coast completely and winds through the mountains. Don't be dismayed... it is still a good drive! At the time I went through, that section of road was almost deserted and I was free to wear down my tyres and brakes through the corners in peace.
At that point I stayed the night at Apollo Bay, in the YHA “eco” hostel. Actually, I couldn't really see much that was specifically “eco” about it, but there were signs encouraging people to take short showers.
Apollo Bay is a nice enough spot, but the weather was turning on grey for me, and that southern ocean didn't quite have the friendliness that it did at, say, Beachport.
|Parrot, Apollo Bay|
The Ocean Road!
At this stage of Apollo Bay, I was getting a bit disillusioned about the whole “Great Ocean Road” thing. Sure, the rocks out west were spectacular, and it was a good driving road through the hills, but none of that image of the winding road around the ocean cliff-edge!
Well, finally, between Apollo Bay and Lorne I found the ocean road part of the great ocean road. This is the only part where it actually follows the coast.
|Great Ocean Road|
As a case in point, at one spot there were these Koalas in the trees alongside the road. The way to spot them is to observe all the cars stopped by the road and people gawking and pointing up into the trees.
One thing that I distinctly noticed is that the road is built with Westbound touristing in mind (starting from the Melbourne end). There are very few pullouts for Eastbound traffic to stop and take a look. I guess this also helps avoid having too many people running across the road too.
|Great Ocean Road|
A cute town up the East end of the ocean road is Aireys Inlet. It also helped that the sky was getting quite blue for me at that point. I went for a bit of a walk around the tracks on the headland up to the lighthouse.
|Aireys Inlet Lighthouse|
Bells Beach has a name in the surfing community, and that was what attracted me to take a look. There wasn't any exceptional surf going at the time I was there, but it was nice to get some context. Kind of grey ocean and a deserted beach. In that aspect, it reminded me a bit of my visit to Margaret River in Western Australia.