Blog 222 Great Ocean Road 2nd-3rd April 2012

We are now in same month as the accident of 27th April but still a way to go to be up to date. In this blog we have returned from Tassie and are back on the mainland again.  

Blog 222 The Great Ocean Road 2nd – 3rd April 2012 

Our first priority on waking was to phone around and find a new tyre, Ken (our friend in Melbourne) joined in the search and after a few phone calls to various establishments, Kev managed to source a Metzeler Marathon for a reasonable price. We all parted company, Ken to work, Kev to collect and fit the tyre and me to the computer.   

Now we knew we were returning to Melbourne and not pushing onto Brisbane to ship to South America we could backtrack to all the wonderful bits we had had to rush past on our journey to Bright from Mt Gambier. The Great Ocean road was one, the Grampians another. 

Newly booted we made tracks to Geelong and our Guzzi contacts Mish and Rowan. Rowan is a dark horse and we spent pleasurable hours in the garage learning the intricacies of the harmonica. They run a business, Loud Bark making tiny microphones for the harmonicas mounted in native hardwood. Check out their website  Rowan also makes tiny cigar box guitars. Mish treated us to a lovely meal which their Guzzi friend Bronwyn (secretary of MGCoV) joined us for. The evening continued to the wee small hours, the company was good and the beer flowed well.

In the morning the reporter Mish organised showed up and we did a bit for the local paper. We also did a little photo shoot of our own with Adam her son on her Griso and not wanting to be left out, Nigel their dog got in on the act. We were headed for one of the biggest tourist attractions in these parts the Great Ocean road but before Mish sent us on our way she supplied us with a goodie bag of yummy leftovers for lunch. 

Torquay is the official beginning of the road and we stopped for photos, a surfer obligingly posed for us symbolising the surf culture surrounding this famous stretch.

The road is fabulous for bikes and we weaved and wound our way through Lorne, stopping briefly for lunch and on through Apollo bay where I spied someone waving from the café. Sadly I didn’t realise it was Reg, one of our Melbourne Guzzi friends or we would have returned for a chat. We get a lot of people waving at us so it was not unusual, we pushed on to the twelve apostles rock formations. You can see the road mimicking the coast line in the first picture.  

The road headed inland for a while before we resumed our coast hugging ride and it was 4pm by the time we reached the twelve apostles, its official name despite only ever having nine stacks. The apostles were formed by erosion from the harsh weather conditions of the Southern Ocean which gradually eroded the soft limestone to form caves in the cliffs, these then became arches which in turn collapsed, leaving rock stacks up to 45 metres high.

The sun was dropping and we had a variety of features to visit around this area before we lost the light completely. We rushed around Loch Ard gorge, The gorge is named after the clipper ship Loch Ard, which ran aground nearby in 1878 there were only two survivors, teenagers Tom and Eva. The birds are swifts or swallows.

Further down the road we visited the Arch, lesser known than the twelve apostles but spectacular none the less.

We headed on to what’s left of the double arch called London Bridge, one arch collapsed in 1990 leaving two people stranded who had to be helicoptered off the newly formed island.  

There was no fuel along this stretch and we had to stop a while to change to our emergency fuel tank, meaning we ended up doing what we try never to do and rode in the dark to our ‘home’ for the night at Jason’s, who we had met previously on the road. He fired up the barbie for a delicious feast and is seen in the last photo standing third from the left.

Next morning we still had a bit of time in hand so we made the decision to back track to the twelve apostles in the hope the light was more favourable.

It was, it was also a long way back but it enabled us to see the grotto that we missed yesterday. Heading down a flight of steps we arrived at the fairy grotto, a truly magical place, the sea spilling over the natural retaining wall to fill the pool within surrounded by the cave like structure. Well worth the ride back.

After returning again and stocking up in Warrnambool the “home” of cheese and butter according to the hundred year old factory we took a recommended back route towards the Grampians. We passed this inland canal the water a vivid green from all the reeds. Gradually we could see the Grampians looming up ahead, rising majestically from the surroundings. It was quite rooey and we were thankful to spy our camp for the night before nightfall. We even had the luxury of being allowed a fire.

Inside the Grampians national park we visited Lake Bellfield another dammed water storage facility now a mecca for fishermen. We also took the time to look around the visitor centre which was supposedly in the shape of a Brambuk with its wings outstretched. Brambuk is the Aboriginal name for the Cockatoo and the totem for this area.

We also managed to fit in visits to the various recommended lookouts as we were heading off away from the Grampians tomorrow on a mission before the Easter bank holiday weekend but hoped to return again on our way back, however we didn’t know if we would be able to camp as it was Easter school holidays starting then.  

Here are views from Boroka lookout. 

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