An Aussie Roadtrip Adventure - Pt V
13 Nov 2012
Day 5 – Port Fairy to Apollo Bay
I awaken to the warble of magpies, I guess I managed some sleep last night despite the partying neighbours, wild winds and pine cones dropping on the roof all night. Today is the day we tackle the Great Ocean Road.
We are packed up and back on the road before 9am heading East. First port of call is the carwash at Warrambool, a notable experience believe it or not! The soap sprays out of the jets and onto the car in vivid colours, making rainbows on the windows. Yes, we have been on the road far too long if these things are becoming highlights.
Next we stopped off to explore the Blue Hole at near Warrambool. The hole itself is a small channel running through a narrow, impressive, rocky headland, sweeping into a deep, fast moving pool of brilliant blue water, before winding its way across a wide sandbar and ending in the coffee coloured water of a small river. There are lots of people walking dogs and swimming. Although the morning was bright and sunny, it was still far too cold for me to contemplate a dip in the Southern Ocean.
About 20km further East from the Blue Hole we reach Allensford Cheeseworld. We explore the Australian Cheese Museum, drink a delicious milkshake and taste a heap of different cheesea, a decision I will soon regret. Allensford specialise in cheddar cheeses, the tomato and chive and the chilli versions being particularly good. We buy a few wedges of cheese, a bottle of local wine and head off to explore the Great Ocean Road.
We take in all the features the Great Ocean Road has to offer, around 15 formations in total, from Petersborough to Princetown. By the time we reach the Grotto the sun is shining, we have all shed as many of our layers as we decently can, and the cool, pristine waters of the Grotto are begging for me to paddle in the serene and beautiful pool. Trying to set a good example for my daughter, and under the watchful eye of my parents, I ignored the temptation, and stay on designated tourist path.
We stop in Port Campbell for lunch, a lovely, sea side village with many parks and picnic areas. We set up for a picnic, but don't eat much. The copious amounts of cheese we scoffed earlier have not settled well after all the walking we have done this morning. While I nibble at a sandwich a flock of seagulls sense we have food and descend on us. Sitting on the table and benches right beside us. A few game birds even eat bread straight from my hand, much to the delight of my daughter, but not so for my mum. She has a fear of anything with feathers and the close proximity of the gulls has her boarding on hysterics. Just to push her over the edge, I lob pieces of bread over her head, the gulls dive to catch them and mum is done. Later she sees the funny side of it all, but at the time it is safe to say I am not her favourite child.
Further East we take in London Bridge and Loch Ard Gorge, both spectacular. The iconic 12 Apostles are a stunning formation, but I find their beauty completely ruined by the swarming hordes of tourists, literally thousands at any given time, all scrambling, pushing and bumping for a glimpse. By comparison the Bay of Isles and The Grotto, on the western end of the road were all but deserted and of equal natural beauty. By the time we reach the last formation, The Steps, we are all exhausted, sun burnt and ready for bed.
We decide to push through the Otways, enjoying the beautiful scenery as we drive past, trying to reach a camping ground in Apollo Bay before dark. On arrival we all decide that we are much too tired to camp and pull into the first motel we find, The Marengo Hotel where we get a good room for a reasonable price. Apollo Bay is beautiful, we head into town, order fish and chips, enjoy the foreshore and head home for bed. Well, everyone else goes to bed, I stay up half the night editing and uploading photos while I have power and free Wi-Fi.