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Great Ocean Road (Part 1)

Sunday 23rd August 2015

overcast 11 °C

It is becoming a bit of a theme that we stay places for one or two nights only to wish we could have stayed longer. This is particularly the case with our lovely lighthouse cottage; a bit battered by the elements on the outside but both cosy and luxurious at the same time on the inside. An added bonus was the food that had been left for us to cook our breakfast; bacon and toast for me, with the addition of eggs for Nigel. As check out wasn't until 11am we had a bit of a leisurely start, however reluctantly we had to leave if we were going to continue down onto the Great Ocean Road (GOR) proper. Before we did we had one more look round near the lighthouse and cliffs.


We were told that a whale had been sighted the previous evening but sadly it was no longer to be seen. Although there are guided tours inside of the lighthouse, this was only possible later in the day and as both Nigel and I have previously visited lighthouses, we gave that a miss.

The road we took initially ran quite close to the coast and after about an hour or so we arrived at Port Fairy and decided to have a break and something to eat. We knew that cooking at our next port of call might be difficult so we had a main meal at midday. We both went for chicken on flat bread with salad at a lovely place called Rebecca's Cafe. After lunch we went to have a look at the beach which was clearly a favourite with surfers. There was quite a swell and most of the people going into the water seemed to be teenagers.


Just watching them paddle out into the surf looked exhausting and potentially quite dangerous. We watched them for a short time before setting off again.

For a while the road turned inland before zigzagging back down towards the coast. We decided as we had time, to stop off at a few of the first beauty spots along the GOR. The first place we parked up was called the Bay of Islands (not to be confused with an area of the same name that we are going to visit in New Zealand). I was expecting gentle grass covered islands, but these were rocky outcrops indicating that we were at the start of the GOR proper.


We spent a bit of time admiring the view and taking photographs before driving further east to a place called The Grotto. This was equally stunning with steps leading down to an arch with a greenish pool of water, separated for most of the time from the ocean by the rocks. The experience was enhanced by the fact that we had the place pretty much to ourselves, which wouldn't be the case with some if the other viewpoints we were to visit later.


Another short drive took us to London Bridge; what had been a double arch projecting into the sea until one of them collapsed a few years ago. A few people were stranded and had to be rescued by helicopter but fortunately no one was hurt. Whilst we were walking from the car it started to rain and we were rewarded with a lovely rainbow so close it looked like you could reach out and touch it.


When we got to the cliff edge we again took in the view and some photographs. It was much busier here and it was a bit of a case of dodging the 'selfie sticks' which was both mildly irritating and amusing at the same time!


Fortunately there were a couple of other viewpoints that most other people didn't seem bothered to walk to. Nigel thought it would be a good idea to do his own version of a selfie pose at the first.


The second was a little further away and gave a great view of both the beach and the rock formations with the added bonus of a small waterfall tumbling over the rocks immediately below us. It was a lovely spot and so nice to be able to get away from the crowds.


From London Bridge we continued on to another rock formation called the Arch, which was exactly as the name suggests. It was just a short walk from the car park, so nothing strenuous or time consuming.

Once we left there we decided to make our way to Pebble Point our 'glamping' camp site. We found it easily enough and when I double checked the paperwork it told us which tent we were in and how the get the key (to the padlock securing the tent and to our shower pod). What I hadn't realised is that there would be no owners/ staff on site, and for that matter no other guests! The view was great and the tent itself was large, with a big comfortable double bed and warm blankets including a heated over blanket.


We had a kettle and coffee making supplies and the shower pod was really nicely fitted out. There was a partially open sided communal kitchen area, which seemed in pretty good condition considering its availability to the local wildlife. Initially we were pretty happy, but this was short lived. As the sun started to set it got progressively colder dropping from the 11 degrees we had experienced during the day to about 6 or 7 degrees once the sun had gone down. This was significantly warmer that it had been at night time in Uluru but somehow it seemed colder. I think this was because here the temperature dropped earlier and also there was less residual heat in the ground. There is also something about being jollied as part of a group. It got so cold that we didn't feel like venturing outside the tent, and inside it was fairly dark (we did have a couple of lamps that provided very limited light) and decidedly cold. We had a light supper, and ate our remaining supply of chocolate in an attempt to cheer ourselves up, but it didn't really work.

By about 8:30pm I had thoroughly gone off the glamping idea, certainly for a second night. Nigel checked the weather forecast for the next day, and it was going to get colder and windier which did nothing to reassure us. Throwing my last remnants of caution to the wind I switched my phone on (I was past caring about the £5 fixed charge) and researched other places to stay in the area. We found a nice room with good reviews not that far away that would cost us just under £75 for the two of us, so with hardly a second thought we booked it, happy in the knowledge that we would at least be warm tomorrow evening. About 9:30pm we got ready for bed (this involved nothing more than a dash to the loo, and then snuggling under the bedding almost fully clothed). Once the lights were turned off the severity of the wind seemed even more acute and every time there was a strong gust it shunted the whole tent, hard floor and all. This gave the sensation that something about the size of a large kangaroo was jumping on the bed! Initially I had to get Nigel to turn the light back on so I could check all was OK, but after a while I sort of got used to it and eventually fell asleep, not sure if I was too hot under the bedclothes or the bits of me outside of the blankets too cold.

Posted by Gill's Travels 00:58 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes beaches australia rock lighthouse

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