Even though the days of Spring are fast approaching, the close proximity to the end of winter does not guarantee fine weather. In fact, I have cautioned that in Victoria, expect the temperatures to peak at 12°C for the most part up til October; and sunshine? Forget about it.
So when the BoM forecasts fine weekend weather, topping 20°C on the Victorian south coast, what do you do? Hit the Great Ocean Road that’s what!
So the basic plan was set: head to Torquay, then follow the Great Ocean Road all the way to Portland.
Eager not to miss the sunrise at Bells Beach, I decided to get there the night before. So, in typical fashion, my sleeping bag was packed, the Up&Go was chilled, my camera batteries charged and my ute filled with fuel. To Bells Beach!
Having not used my SLR since February, using the camera before first light was certainly a re-learning experience!
Once the sun was up, it was time to continue the journey along the coast. The first notable icon along the road was the Split Point lighthouse. Standing 34m high, and immaculately cleaned, it definitely stood out from the horizon.
Unlike travelling along the Great Ocean Road during summer, the roads were generally quiet…. except for the crazy, opportunistic road cyclists! However, apart from the adrenaline filled periods passing the pedalling maniacs around the non-stop, blind corners with no shoulder, the drive along the coast was spectacular- and even warm enough to drive with the windows down at 80km/h!
Now most people who travel the Great Ocean Road do so to see the iconic, “Twelve Apostles”. Unfortunately, to actually see the Twelve Apostles is now impossible as only Eight remain… for now. See them whilst they last I say!
With around 2 million visitors each year, it is no wonder that half of the world’s Robinson R44 fleet operates in this area (okay… maybe not half, but the sky was full of them!). Suprisingly, the heli-tours weren’t too expensive, with some starting at only $95.00. However, for me, that was $95.00 too much… especially when there’s HD footage available on Youtube!
Obviously, the Great Ocean Road is a scenic drive; but the number of ‘scenic lookouts’ along the way is absurd! I lost count after 10, and that was in a 3km stretch of road!. I did however, stop at a few and ignoring their cheesy names, they were actually quite cool!
The the sun on the way down, the final stop along the Great Ocean Road was Portland. A small town with a population of approximately 10000, it is Victoria’s oldest settlement and the only deep water port between Melbourne and Adelaide. Fitting for the end of the journey, one of the attractions of the town is the Cape Nelson lighthouse.
Almost identical in design to the Split Point lighthouse, the lighthouse at Cape Nelson is flanked either side by one of Australia’s largest wind power installations (installed capacity of 195MW).