12. The Great Ocean Road Rocks

When the “who has the best scenery?” inter-state competitions start up, then Victorians have ready on their tongue “the great ocean road!”. It was indeed one of places on my list of things to see. I hadn't been there before and it was good to see what the fuss was really all about. Did it live up to all it was cracked up to be?

I was starting from the west, and about the first thing you reach from that direction is the bay of Islands. It also turns out to be about the most spectacular in terms of coastal formations.

Bay of Islands
This picture is actually from the boat harbour side. There is a boat launching ramp - but one unlike any I've seen before. With those cliff-edge rocks, you can't expect the normal sort of arrangement. Instead there is one mighty steep, long descent right into the water. It could make for a rather interesting billy-cart experience. Forget I said that. Don't even think about it.

The Arch
In this area, there are quite a series of lookouts accessed from side-roads and walking tracks. For this part of the great ocean road, in order to see anything, you need to pull up at those places, get out, go for a walk. As a result, you need a reasonable amount of time to “see” this section. This is one of the lookouts, at “the arch”.

The Twelve Apostles

But then eventually you get to the big one. The one that gets all the attention.... the great twelve apostles. Having heard the repute, I was watching out for the turnoff for this one. Little needed I have worried. The other spots generally had small brown signs pointing down a side road, but here at the apostles, there were the big warning signs in advance (lest you should accidently go past without seeing the attraction) directing the traffic off to the designated carpark on the North side of the road. From there there is a big carpark, a visitor centre, and wide pathways to funnel the tourists under the road and out on to the official viewing platform. Its like an optimised production line.

Twelve Apostles
From the said viewing platform, this is the view out to the North-West. Classic postcard scene. Actually, my timing here was good. A summer afternoon gets the sunlight shining onto the cliff-faces. The blue sky helps a lot too, but being the Victorian coast, don't count on it.

Twelve Apostles
The viewing area is in the middle of the string of rock columns, and so some of them are on the other side. A couple have fallen off into the sea to, so don't go expecting to see 12 neat stacks in a line. Speaking of the viewing platform, this is part of it, making its own statement of aesthetics along the cliff-top.
Viewing platform, Twelve Apostles

Don't forget to expect the afternoon salt-haze from that roaring wind coming up off the southern ocean.

Twelve Apostles