Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Great Ocean Road!

Today is our official Great Ocean Road day.  We started this morning around 9:00 a.m. and arrived at the Bay of Islands shortly thereafter.  Wow!  What gorgeous views!  The water is an amazing color of turquoise.  Combined with the lush greenery and copper sandstone, it's really stunning.  Our next stops were martyr bay and the grotto.  They were both gorgeous.  The grotto in particular was really cool because there was a cave-like structure that was half-filled with water and had a sandstone arch above it.  Very stunning.  London Bridge was cool too because you could see where it collapsed in 1990.  It's neat that the rocks are constantly changing and eroding.

We decided to take a little detour to try and find some foodie havens--Berry World, gourmet ice cream (honeycomb flavor), a distillery, cheese factories and a chocolate shop.  Well, this detour took a lot longer than expected and was not nearly as nice as we thought it would be.  Berry World didn't even look open.  We didn't get out of the car.  The distillery was cool and we did a tasting of their spirits--vanilla vodka, limoncello, strawberry vodka, coffee liquor and whiskey.  They didn't have the ice cream though, which was so disappointing.

We couldn't find one cheese place, but the one we did find was pretty good, actually.  They had some nice brie, feta and Camembert.  We also stopped at a local winery.  The wine wasn't great, but the scenery was beautiful.

We made our way back to the Ocean Road to see the Gibson steps and the 12 Apostles.  They really live up to the hype.  It was a little crowded though.  Again, we got beautiful weather.  The water was crystal clear and the sky was bright blue.  It was such a nice day to be touring the ocean views.  Since we were short on time we drove straight to Apollo Bay and skipped a few of the local icons.  We visited the tourist center to get some info and enjoyed an ice cream.  We went to Mariner's lookout for a fantastic view of the Bay!  It was really amazing!

After that we found a street that is apparently known for koala sightings.  We got out of the car and wandered up the street craning our necks to try and see something.  We had no idea what to look for though.  The road was blocked up ahead because they were doing a controlled burn.  The guy who was directing traffic showed us how to spot the koalas and found three for us!  They were really far away though and basically looked like big, gray lumps.  It was cool to see them in the wild though.

It was getting kind of late so we drove straight to Lorne where we were staying the night.  We found our hotel easily and decided we wanted to see the kangaroos that gather every evening at a local golf course half an hour away.  We got to the course and it did not disappoint.  There were tons of kangaroos just hanging out!  There was even a golfer playing with/through them.

We went back to Lorne for dinner, but again almost everything was closed.  We had to scramble to find an open restaurant.  We actually ended up just getting take out and a couple of beers and bringing them back to our room.

Overall, Great Ocean Road was amazing, but we probably should have spent at least one more day on it.  So far though, there's nothing we've done that I'd be willing to give up, so we really didn't have one more day.  It was still great the way we did it.

Read more about our trip to Australia:
Off and Running
Blue Mountains and Wildlife
We Are Now a Hostel-Free Family
A Night on the Reef
Day Two on the Reef
Travel Day
To Kangaroo Island
Eating Our Way Through Kangaroo Island
Flinders Chase, Vivonne Bay and Little Sahara
Last Day in Australia
Longest Day Ever

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