Tag Archives: Apollo Bay

Thursday, September 12

The drive from Apollo Bay to Lorne was only 45 kilometers, but it took me an hour and a half, partly because of the winding roads, but also because I stopped every 10 minutes for photographs. Lovely bit of coastline–gentler than the one I left behind, but still impressive, with long beaches, sparkling water, and dark, green mountains.

I stopped for lunch in Lorne. I was here on my first trip to Australia, though coming from the opposite direction. It was on that first drive to Lorne that I decided that I’d have to return to this coast someday and explore it further. So glad I succeeded in doing that.

I had chicken and chips from a take-away shop, as I did on that first trip, eating on a beach that was sunnier but only slightly warmer than it had been on my previous visit. Lorne has grown since I saw it last, and it is prettier than I remember. I walked around a bit, looking for things I remembered, especially the golden cypress trees. Then it was time to get back on the road, continuing the drive, shoot photos, drive, shoot photos, drive routine of the morning. This was still a wildly picturesque bit of coastline, with the mountains (Otway Ranges) rising out of the sea, the road a narrow ribbon clinging to the land’s edge, forests giving way to beaches and small communities, occasional dramatic cliffs, lighthouses –all truly wonderful.

From rugged coast...

From rugged coast…

...to verdant grazing land.

…to verdant grazing land.

Through Aireys Inlet and Anglesea, and around Torquay. Leaving the coastline, I found myself amid surroundings that alternated between increasingly grand cities and handsome farms with broad, green paddocks. Up through the center of Geelong, and on into Melbourne. Driving in Melbourne is a special treat. Ha. Because of the trolleys, you can’t stay in the middle to make a turn, you have to go to the far curb and wait for the light to change, and then turn across all traffic lanes. Glad I only had to do it a couple of times. I dropped the car at the Thrifty office in Elizabeth Street at 3 o’clock. It would be almost an hour before Judy (of the white crash helmet, if you remember her from my book) was due to pick me up, but the folks at Thrifty kindly said I could leave my gear in the office if I’d like to go for a bit of a stroll through town. So off I went, to see how well I remembered Melbourne. There were, of course, changes, but there was also a lot that was familiar.

I was not far from the Melbourne Central Shopping Center, which has the unusual distinction of having a historic shot tower rising up through the center of the complex, and I headed there first. I was not interested in shopping, but I enjoyed exploring the shot tower. I then continued up Elizabeth Street as far as Bourke Street and the ornate, old Post Office. I picked a side street and then swung back in the direction of Thrifty. I was surprised (and pleased) to find Judy waiting for me. She said she’d known the gear in the corner was mine because she recognized my Akubra (the handsome gray Snowy River hat I bought on my previous trip). We grabbed my bag and set off down the two blocks to where Geoff, Judy’s husband, awaited us in the Land Cruiser.


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September 11, part 4

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.

Crashing Waves

Crashing Waves

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.
Two of the "Apostled"

Two of the “Apostled”

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.
Weather closes in

Weather closes in

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.

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay

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.

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