It was an early start for us (George, me, my brother Garry and wife Sue) on Thursday (21st Feb). Up at 05:30 a quick breakfast as the coach was picking us up at 07:15; we were on our way for a two day tour of The Great Ocean Road and the Grampians.
In 1917 the Great Ocean Road Trust was established to build the road and provide employment for returning servicemen. The work started in 1919 and progressed in stages according to the availability of men and money. A total of 3,000 ex-service men worked on the road with picks and shovels.
The road linked up the many seaside settlements and opened up the coast for development and provided motorists with one of the 'most beautiful ocean drives in the world'. The road stretches from Torquay to Nelson, a distance of 241 kilometres.
The coach picked us up near our hotel in Melbourne ...
and an hour and a half later we were at the coast.
We've stopped for a break and to look at Bells Beach ...
it was beautiful!
We're all so excited to be here in Torquay where the Great Ocean Road begins.
The cliffs were amazing ...
and the sea was the most wonderful turquoise!
After stretching our legs on the beach we had coffee and a snack before re-boarding the coach and moving on.
The Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch commemorates the building of the Great Ocean Road as a memorial to the Victorians who served in the First World War in 1918. This is the third arch on this site. The first was erected in 1939 and the second in 1973 when the road was widened but which was destroyed by fire in1983.
Here at Eastern View a toll was paid by travellers during 1922-36 a toll was paid by travellers to maintain the road, thereafter the government too over responsibility for the maintenance.
Back on the coach ...
the scenery is amazing ...
as the road winds its way along the coast
Here we're passing through the small town of Lorne where each year a swimming contest is held. The story goes (as Ash, our guid tells it) that many years ago two men were fishing from the pier above and one of them challenged the other to swim across the bay from the pier to the land and the first man at the pub would be the winner and the loser would buy the drinks.
When they arrived at the pub the publican was not happy that two men were standing in his pub dripping water all over the place but the winner explained about the challenged and it was then that they realised that neither of them had any money on them! The publican was impressed and said that they both could have a drink ... on the house! He further decided that the contest should be held each year as it would obviously bring more custom into his establishment which is exactly what happened. Today the number of swimmers allowed to take part is limited to 4,000 but the publican no longer provides free drinks!
Can you spot the rock climbers?
Along this stretch of road we passed through Anglesea and also the Wye River, and saw signposts to The Potteries before reaching our next destination at Kennet River!
Here we saw that the parrots were tame and saw Mallard ducks.
Agapanthus grows wild here too ...
And our first Koala's of the trip!
It was a bit disappointing that they had their faces hidden from us by the branches
As we got back on the coach I spotted this Kookaburra, not a brilliant photo taken into the sun.
Passing small settlements ...
as the road curves and winds along the bays ...
sometimes the road is quite high
and sometimes practically hugs the beaches.
The movement and colour of the sea was fantastic!
Four and a half hours after setting off from Melbourne we stop for lunch in Apollo Bay, not a particularly inspiring place, but there was plenty of choice of eating places. We chose fish and chips!
My next Australia post will be from lunch time to bed time ... watch this space!