Continued to stop at any place marked as a lookout. At many of these, including the at the Twelve Apostles, when I reached them, the salt spray from the waves far below was being whipped by the wind up over the cliff edges. And in some places, the waves themselves were topping the cliffs. It was too beautiful to leave, so I ended up fairly drenched. What an amazing place.
The Twelve Apostles is probably the most famous of the rock formations along the Great Ocean Road, even though only nine of the twelve rock pillars remain standing. It is the last of the great, towering formations along the Great Ocean Road, and the closest to a major city (an easy weekend away from Melbourne). These and the other formations are reminders that erosion has been the main shaping force, at least for the last few millions years, of Australia’s landscape.
Finally, the road turned inland, climbing into the Melba Gully rainforest and then into the mountains of the Otway National Park. Here, the scenery alternated between wild moors, forested mountains, and rolling sheep paddocks. A light snow began as I climbed higher.
At Laver Hill, I stopped at the charming Blackwood Gully Tearoom, owned by the daughter of a woman I met at Binna Burra, near the beginning of this trip. The daughter wasn’t in, but the weather had turned ugly, so I pulled a chair up to the fireplace and gazed out the picture windows over the mountains as I enjoyed a pot of tea and bushman’s pie for a late (4:00pm) lunch. Then, back into what was becoming an actual blizzard. I headed down the far side of the range, through dense, beautiful forests of eucalypts and tree ferns.
As I left the mountains and neared the coast, the clouds began to part. It was a bright early evening as I pulled into Apollo Bay and began my search for accommodations.
No funky, old hotels here. Just as well, since I’m cold, wet, covered with sand and dried salt spray, and just as glad to pay a bit more for a nice motel with attached bath and a heater in the room, plus a TV and tea making facility. Also, I’m just across the street from the beach, and they say the sunrise here is beautiful.
Actually, probably because of stiff competition during the summer season, when people from Melbourne flood to the area for fun in the surf or the nearby mountains and rock formations, the Apollo Bay Hotel-Motel is quite nice, and would probably cost a lot more in finer weather. The walls are wood paneled and the ceiling is woven grass of exactly the same golden color as the wood, with a handsomely tiled bathroom–that I don’t have to walk down the hall to reach.
Soon, I was clean, cozy, warm, and dry, after a wild, wet, but glorious day. Not a bad way to end a day of wonders.