Cape Patton was one of the many lookouts along the Great Ocean Road. We pulled into the small turn off to check out the views towards Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek. It was a beatiful view although a bit chilly and windy so we didn't linger too long.
The Great Ocean Road represents alot of things to Australians... determination, hard work, and memories. In particular, the road was built to memorialize the heroic actions of Anzacs in World War I. As the work became completed, a toll was implemented on the road, and at the beginning of the toll portion was a memorial arch, "Returned Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Great Ocean Road".
Throughout the changes of the road and the years, it was determined that this arch was actually too small because of vehicle advancements, and there was a dispute over whether the memorial should be removed or replaced. After months of discussion, a truck actually lost control, smashed into it, and brought it down. Although it was rebuilt to more acceptable specifications, a fire burned the second one down! Yet again, it was rebuilt and stands still today around the "Eastern View" portion of the road, very close to Lorne.
Enjoy your drive, and at some point, please do remember those who lost their lives in World War I, as well as the dedicated soldiers that returned and built this wonderful memorial!
If you are in Lorne, one of its portions of natural beauty is the beach park that is located at its focal point. On the shore of Louttit Bay, with the Lorne Surf Lifesavers club just seconds away, a nice safe swim is possible for people of all ages.
As a reminder, always swim within the flags!
During its busiest months, it is also a dog-free beach, which means you will not have to run back into the surf to clean off your feet after stepping on a landmine.
I had a chance to complete an extensive 1 day tour along the Great Ocean Road in south west Victoria with Bunyip Tours based in Melbourne. This is a long tour, but well worth the effort if you on a tight travel schedule. The first point of call is the world renowned Bells Beach Surfing Reserve. The surf was certainly up the morning we arrived, high glassy swells were peeling around the point and across the reef in nicely paced sets, as dozens of eager surfers jostled for a position on the wave in the sparkly morning sunshine.
After a quick cuppa, we headed to picturesque old Aireys Inlet Historic lighthouse, restored in classic whitewash complete with a bright red rounded roof. It is a steep walk down to the beach, however, there is a large collection of colourful rock pools at low tide which makes for a very pleasant stroll along the shoreline to collect a variety of seashells. We then headed around a constantly twisty and winding stretch of the Great Ocean Road, which by now had became engulfed in a light eerie sea mist, to the pretty little holiday haven of Kennet River. We went Koala spotting amongst the long leafy gumtrees there and managed to spot several sleeping Koalas to our delight. After a spot of lunch, we continued on to Cape Otway to take a stroll within the gully of a cool temperate rainforest in the calm drizzle, along a descretly built boardwalk. The spooky calls of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos echoed around the towering Mountain Ash eucalypts and the bright green ferns glistened with condensation.
We had to keep our visit brief as we had a tight schedule, so on we went to the rock monoliths stabbing skyward out of the ocean, the popular and frequently photographed 12 apostles. A couple have toppled in the last few years, and that is easy to imagine whilst looking at the heaving dark grey ocean waves smashing into the cliff faces. This part of the coast is sprinkled with shipwrecks. Ships that had sailed for several months or more, down from England, around the tip of South Africa, deep into the trecherious freezing Southern Ocean and across to the bottom of south east Australia, only to run aground on one of the many sharp reefs west of Cape Otway, just a short distance from their destination. So on we went to Loch Ard Gorge, the site of a famous shipwreck well known for the miraculous survival of two teenagers, Tom Pierce and Eva Carmichael, the only survivors. They cheated severe hypothermia and Tom Pierce scaled a steep cliff to seek help from one of the very few sheep grazing homesteads in the then very remote area. A very beautiful stretch of rugged coast.
We then headed inland into pouring rain and gusty winds, across the deep green grassy hills full of fertile volcanic soil, to Colac for a spot of tea, then into night back to Melbourne. Our guide Bernie was wealth of knowledge and kept us well informed throughout the entire day with plenty of facts and stories. I easily recommend this tour if you have little time to explore this fascinating corner of Australia. Well done for a great day!
Roadknight's Head is not in Lorne but further north towards Geelong - I am putting it here as not to open another page. The rock formations are quite pretty. In case you are coming from Melbourne, this place is worth a stop and you will find them rather spectacular. In case you are coming from the other side and have already seen the really spectacular cliffs of Port Campbell National Park, Roadknight's Head is, of course, nothing...
Anyway it is a nice and clean sandy beach with shallow water.
Lorne was rather quiet but it was more or less off-season when we visited. The seaside resort will be much busier in summer. Anyway, it was a nice place for the first stop along the Great Ocean Road. I suspect my driver was happy to have our big campervan safely in a campground after the first day on the road.
We walked the beach in late March and it was really chilly. Besides, it was full of seaweed. I have no idea how the waters are for swimming. Maybe it is better in summer. Since Lorne claims to be a seaside resort there must be better options in other seasons.
The river mouth with a suspension bridge is a romantic spot...
A sandbank closes the river off the sea at low tide.
We stayed in the campground right on the river bank. There is aboardwalk towards the beach which leads to the bridge. You can then walk along the beach to the centre of Lorne.
Not far from Loch Ard Gorge, the best of the Great Ocean Road, lies the most publicized part of the Great Ocean Road.
One thing you can rest assured on here is that you will never be lonely. The last time (of three) that I was there there were 4 helicopters taking off in rotation (unintended pun but I'll take it). They had a new load every ten minutes so, since it was a five minute flight, you've got some idea of what the noise was like.
The new carpark and walkways make it all so easy these days, so unlike the first time I was there when you simply pulled up and followed the track over to the scenery.
No, these days it's fully boarded with proper viewing platform, busloads of tourists and, at sunset, everyone wants that memorable shot so they're queued up along the railing.
However, it doesn't happen every evening so sometimes you have to give nature a little help, such as here in pics 1 & 3 where I covered my lens with my sunglasses. Pics 2&4 show you what it was like without that tinge.
The last picture clearly indicates that though it was sunset of much promise, it never really happened. Oh, well, same time tomorrow.
As a signature of how time worn they are, the nearest one, now collapsed, only did so in 2005.
The Gable lies between Lorne and the Twelve Apostles yet is seldom visited by tourists.
Here you have the highest cliffs and splendid views though without the dramatic spires of rock sitting alone in the ocean.
Even the turnoff is something you have to keep your eye out for. If you plan to visit I would suggest you check your map carefully so you don't get caught out and drive past.
It's only a couple of kilometres, albeit down a dirt road, before you get to the carpark and then it's around a 15 minute walk to the viewing platform.