First day on the Great Ocean Road

First day on the Great Ocean Road

Cape Otway, Australia, Australia

Today started out with an early wake up call to get ready for the trip down the Great Ocean Road. We got down to the Bunyip office just next to the apartment and boarded our bus with 7 other people coming on the tour, and our guide Cameron.

It was a little bit of a quiet start to the trip, as no one was talking to each other. It took a little time for us to get warmed up to each other, but by tonight we were having a great time together. We left Melbourne and headed west to Geelong and made our first stop in Torquay at Surf City. This was nothing too exciting, just a few shops and the head offices for Rip Curl and Quiksilver. Cameron needed to do some shopping for lunch and dinner and this was the best place on the way to do that. After about 30 minutes of hanging around the town (which most of the shops hadn’t opened yet), we hopped in the bus and continued on to Bells Beach.

This is the site of a yearly surfing competition that takes place on Easter weekend. I had watched a lot of it when I was up at Erin and Jono’s house, so it was cool to see it in person. It’s not a very big beach, and there are a lot of jagged rocks along the coast, but there were some good waves and probably a hundred surfers out in the water. They didn’t seem to care about the small beach or rocks, there were waves so they were happy. Our next stop was Airey’s Inlet to get another view of the coast. We weren’t there for long before moving on again.

The next stop we made was at the Split Point Light House. Unbeknownst to all of us except for Lisa, this was the spot where a kids show called Around The Twist was filmed. Needless to say, it meant nothing to the rest of us, but Lisa was very excited. Regardless, it was a nice spot to stop and get a few pictures. This really is a beautiful part of the country.

We then made the obligatory stop at the Memorial Arch to get pictures of the “Great Ocean Road” sign. This road was built by 3,000 soldiers who had returned from WWI, so this whole road is a memorial to the fallen and wounded soldiers. I found the houses on this road almost as impressive as the scenery itself. There was one house that is built on a pole that must be 60ft tall, so if there were a tsunami or excessive erosion, his house wouldn’t be affected. It’s a very cool looking place.

We made another stop at Teddy’s Lookout to get a different vantage point of the coastline, and again it was stunning. We were really lucky with the weather today considering what it’s been like in Melbourne for the last week. It’s a bit brisk but sunny and more than comfortable. We stopped at a place called Koala Cove to make lunch and see some birds and koalas. This is a well known place to see koalas in the wild and we were able to feed some birds. They are so used to being fed by people coming through, that even if you don’t have food on you, they will come and land on your shoulder or head, just hoping that you find something to give them. We made some sandwiches and had some chips from the store next door, and hit the road with full stomachs.

Our next stop was a place called Mariner’s Waterfall, but we had a bit of a hike to get there. We had to pass through a few small creeks to get there, so I had to walk barefoot considering I left my flip flops at home. This was fine on the way there, but on the way back I cut my toe open, so I am not happy about that. The waterfall was very cool though. It wasn’t very big, maybe 25ft hit, but it was in the middle of a temperate rain forest, so the surroundings were pretty impressive.

After leaving the waterfall, we headed down the road to the Cape Otway Light Station, where we are spending the night. I wasn’t expecting too much from the accommodation when we pulled in to the site, but I was very pleasantly surprised. We got there at 5pm, took a walk around the lighthouse and to their aboriginal art exhibit before moving into the lodge we were staying in. It turned out to be a proper house, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and living room with a nice big tv. We all had a good barbeque dinner together and had a few drinks we had picked up earlier in the day. This made it a bit easier to get to know each other.

Our group consists of our Aussie guide (Cameron), an American (me), a Scot (Lisa), two Germans (Ellie aka Goon Girl, and Daniel), a Swiss (Phillip), a Dutch (Alex) and three Chinese girls (Coco, Amelie, and Claudia). That’s a good mixture! The Chinese girls’ English is not great so they ended up spending most of their time together, but the rest of us chilled together till about 1am having drinks and cake. We had a walk down to the lighthouse at about 11pm to check out the perfectly clear sky and the unbelievably bright moon that appeared to be full. It was a great night and a perfect way to finish off a good day of sightseeing. Tomorrow is another early wake up though, so it’s off to bed now.

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