Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Great Ocean Road

Well another fabulous day trip I had today. This was another guided shuttle bus tour. The trip was along Victoria's Great Ocean Road, and just like the name suggests, it was a coastal road the spanned across many of the Australian's great beaches and coastal views.

The trip was ran by Bunyip Tours and my tour guide for the day was a bloke named Felix. Felix was an energetic guy, maybe a bit too energetic for my liking, but still pretty informative and a quick, somewhat of wreckless driver that made the trip all the more fun. The bus was filled with a lot of older couples, much to my disliking. I did however start talking to a young bloke that was wearing a Oneills Santa Cruz shirt. His name was Sebastian from Germany who had been to Santa Cruz before making his way to Australia. Great guy.

The first stop off was a town called Torquay. Torquay is an absolute surf town and the home of two of the biggest surfing brands today, Quicksilver and Rip Curl. A quick drive out was Victoria's most famous beach, Bell's Beach. Bell's beach is where the Rip Curl Pro Surf Competition is held every Easter and is the longest running surf competition in the World.

Next up was a lightower. There was some significane to the lightower, it was a place where an old teleivison show from England was filmed I believe, can't remember the name.

We continued on the Great Ocean Road for quite sometime, stopping at various scenic lookouts and beaches.

Our lunch stop was at a place on the coast that was a Koala hotspot. After some koala spotting me and my new German mate from the bus Sebastian went for swim in the ocean. This was the first time being in the ocean for quite some time, due to the lack of beaches on the northern eastern coast and the presence of the dangerous stingers. It felt great to be back in the water and riding the waves. The water here however was a lot colder than that on the east coast. There was also a nearby river that we jumped in and washed the saltwater off before headin back on the bus.

From our lunch spot we headed inland where we did a walking tour of a rainforest, at a place called Mait's Rest. The "rainforest" was a lot different to those that I experienced just days earlier in tropical queensland. This one was obviously a lot more temperate of climate but filled with some great greenery. The forest was home to the second tallest tree, of course just behind the great California Redwood. There were also heaps of fern trees along the rainforest walk.

After our great walk, the road led us out back to sea where we went to the popular tourist destination, yet still spectacular Twelve Apostles. The apostles are just rock formations that were left after the erotion of the coastal walls. I could only count 8 and the sky was a bit hazy but still pretty cool looking site.

Our next stop was Loch Ard Gorge, my favorite spot on the stop. A great example of Mother Nature's mighty forces and majestic beauty. After millions and millions of years the ocean sea has carved thru the limestone walls creating almost a paradise cove. It was the only inlet around that actually had a beach. This was also the area where a shipwrecked sailor was brought to shore and was lucky enough to be one of 2 people to survive on the ship of 40+ people. There was a whole story about it but I was more interested in taking in the surrounding views. Anyway the paradise cove was too much paradise feeling to resist a swim so Sebastian and I went for a swim in the cold water. We were only 2 of 4 people from the entire 25 person tour to go in the water, shows how many limpers were on the bus.

It was awesome, swimming an the area looking up at the towering rock formations on both sides of you, a truly remarkable sight.

After Loch Ard Gorge we headed a couple kilometers down the road to our final spot of the day, London Bridge. Not so much a bridge resembling rock formation any more, it was still pretty cool. There used to be 2 arches, therefore somewhat resembling London Bridge, but the left arch collapsed around 20 years ago.

After the long coastal drive, we had a good amount of road to cover on our way back to Melbourne, about a 2 hr drive. Ended up getting into the city around 9 oclock, a FULL day tour, well worth the price. It was a great day on the beautiful Great Ocean Road

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