Twelve Apostles to the Dog Valley via the Great Ocean Road
Left the State of Victoria and entered South Australia
Distance Traveled: 240 Miles
Our second day on the Great Ocean Road (GOR)!
After a good night’s rest in a pitch dark parking lot — which made stargazing quite amazing — we were up in time to walk over to the Twelve Apostles platform for sunrise. We watched the sea stacks slowly light up as the sun rose. Maybe 3-4 other early birds sharing the experience. Just lovely.
We returned to the caravan for breakfast; got ready for the day ahead. Then, back to the lookout for one last look at the Twelve Apostles. WOW! During our short absence, a thick marine layer/fog had moved in to veil the scenery. Having now experienced the Twelve Apostles under varying conditions, we were ready to leave them behind.
By 9:00a, we were on the road. Our first stop, just 3 miles or so down the GOR, was at Loch Ard Gorge. What an amazing spot this u-shaped gorge, which lets the sea in to crash ashore, turned out to be.
The gorge was named for the iron-hulled clipper Loch Ard, which, in 1878, sunk off Mutton Island in the wee hours of the final day of its voyage from England. Of the 37 crew and 19 passengers onboard, only two people survived. They sheltered in a cave on the beach until they were rescued. Normally, one can walk down for a closer look at the cave, but due to recent cliff movement resulting from an earthquake, the trail has been deemed unsafe and closed off.
The light on the cliff faces was perfect … especially when we walked over to the lookout for a closer look at the tip of the headland where we could see that one of the rock formations had an arch developing at its base. The sea was coming into the gorge in big waves, crashing into the rocks where it had to squeeze through the cliffs. A spectacular sight.
Our next stop was in the small seaside resort town of Port Campbell. This is where we had initially planned to overnight last night. Since we didn’t, we could have bypassed it. But we drove in anyway, parked the caravan, and went for a short walk. While Mui stopped into a café to get us some refreshments, I strolled down to the beach for photo ops. We enjoyed our break at one of the picnic tables overlooking the beach … nothing like having a view to entertain us.
Next up, was a rock formation called London Bridge. Just like the nursery song says, it has fallen down. The breaking of the soft limestone bridge happened in 1990. Signage at the site states that it was a matter of time before the 10-25 million year old rock would give way to the erosive power of Mother Nature. At the time of the event, two tourists were marooned on what Lonely Planet refers to as “the world’s newest island.” No worries … a helicopter rescue brought them back to the mainland.
As we neared the end of the GOR, the pullouts leading to overlooks became more numerous. A number of them had signs indicating that they were not suitable for caravans and buses. But we did manage to go in at Bay of Martyrs and Bay of Islands for our last glimpses of the beautiful scenery that had brought us here for a two-day drive.
Warrnambool, was our diesel top-off point. Our first time having to use AdBlue — similar to DEF in the USA … a diesel exhaust fluid used in vehicles with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology. The purpose is to reduce harmful gases being released into the atmosphere. At truck stops, the AdBlue nozzle is on the pump, so it’s easy enough to add it when topping off. Smaller stations don’t always have that option. Since we don’t know what lies ahead in respect to topping off our diesel — and thus our AdBlue — we purchased a 10-gallon drum to carry with us. Better safe than sorry!
By the time we had the caravan fueled up it was time to fuel up ourselves. Port Fairy, a town described as having a “relaxed, salty feel” was next up. It also had a public campground in the Gardens Oval next to the Botanical Gardens where we could dump our cassette waste, thus killing two birds with one stone.
After taking care of the dumping, we headed over to Port Fairy’s East Beach. A nice breeze off the water made the decision for us to eat at the picnic bench overlooking the beach …. A strip of white sand which fronts the sea … every shade of blue imaginable … tipped with white surf. Al fresco dining with a view … what’s not to like?
Our route from Port Fairy would have taken us through Portland, where Regatta stopped in January. But we were done with our sightseeing, so we opted to go inland instead … a faster route.Read more