Oceans of Scenic ViewsA WANDER DOWN UNDER, CHAPTER 12: IN WHICH WE MEET THE APOSTLES
Day 13: Melbourne to Apollo Bay. Departing from Melbourne's central business district on Monday morning, we wanted to get an early start, so we left the hotel just before 7 a.m. Though we dreaded the prospect, we had to execute one hook turn before leaving town. Like so many things people seek to avoid, the anticipation was far worse than the actual event.
Heading southwest on the M1, we were driving on the world's longest national highway. Much of Australia's inland area is very arid, with almost 20% being named deserts, so it comes as no surprise that 85% of the population lives within 30 miles of the coast. The location of the M1 reflects this as it circumnavigates the country near the shore. Seven of the nine state and territorial capitals and most other large population centers are strung along this highway.
We strayed from the M1 in Geelong, turning onto B100, which would become the Great Ocean Road a few miles south in Torquay. This famous scenic route was conceived by highway engineer William Calder, who sought to connect isolated coastal towns, while providing meaningful labor for military veterans coming home from World War I. Work began in 1919, and the final section was completed in 1932. More than 3,000 returned servicemen worked on the project, which was dedicated as a war memorial to their comrades who died in the conflict.
|View from Teddy's Lookout|
As we turned onto the unpaved Grey River Road, we began searching the forest of eucalypts for those little bundles of fur. At first, we weren't having any luck as we scanned the canopy of the massive trees 80 to 100 feet tall. Finally, when we stopped along the quiet lane to eat our picnic lunch, Ken spotted one koala, way up near the top of a tree. That gave us an idea of what to look for, and eventually we detected a total of eleven.
|Pushing the limits of my little camera's zoom to check out this koala|
|Gog and Magog from the top of the steps|
|Twelve Apostles (some of them, anyway)|
|Loch Ard Gorge|
After Loch Ard, we turned back east to Apollo Bay for the night. Tomorrow we will return to Melbourne in preparation for our Australian exit on Wednesday.
- "If you drink then drive, you're a bloody idiot."
- "Only a little bit over? You bloody idiot!" (Sense a pattern?)
- "Don't fool yourself. Speed kills."
- "Wake up to yourself. Fatigue kills."
Though these messages are pretty blunt, this one has to take the prize for directness:
- Started in Melbourne, ended in Apollo Bay
- Mileage - 255 (Trip total: 11,547)
- Weather - 44° to 54°, overcast to rainy
- Lane drift reminder signs (stay in left lane): 94
- Koalas in the wild - 11
- Kangaroos in the wild - 0
- Cars with bicycle racks - 253
- Curves in the road - 87
More Photos from Today
|Split Point Lighthouse, Aireys Inlet|
|Lower part of Erskine Falls (top hidden by leaf growth)|
|Walking to Teddy's Point viewing platform|
|Great Ocean Road|
|Rental campervans are very popular in Australia. Some, like this from Wicked Vans, come with slogans on board.|
|View from the beach at Gibson Steps|
|Lane drift reminder signs follow most intersections and overlooks for all the tourists who visit the Great Ocean Road.|