Australia Day 8

This was supposed to be an early day, but we never set an alarm or got a wake up call so we were late heading down to the Ocean Road. We left around 10am and opted to take the inland route to get to the highlights of the road – the Twelve Apostles. We passed through Geelong and filled up the tank with gas and then a quick stop at the Red Rooster fast food restaurant that Mom had been itching to see what was inside.

We were then on the road. It was a very beautiful drive through areas reminiscent of the coast ranges of California and lots of wonderful little neat towns like Camperdown and Colac. We decided to take another back road to Port Campbell to be more directly on the Ocean Road instead of going to Warrnambool where we would have to backtrack. It was along this route that I almost burst a kidney and had to stop at the side of the road to pee. Nothing like peeing in the open air when a car comes by. Gary then took over driving duties for the rest of the day. I was feeling a bit sick to my stomach, due to a combo of a bad croissant at brekkie and maybe a bit of the Red Rooster. It was not that much longer and we began to see the scenic wonders of the Great Ocean Road. I have to admit it was a mixed bag of sights. Some were so-so and others were breathtaking. I particularly liked the London Bridge feature and the Loch Ard wreckage site.

The next stop is the Twelve Apostles. It is the big attraction and the main tourist point for the trip. Sadly, the area is way overcrowded. I guess it has to be expected giving how much they promote this section of the road. There were tons of tourists – Japanese, Chinese, German, American, and some unidentifiable. The walkways were nice and wide, and it looks like they have recently upgraded the facilities. The part that was the biggest disappointment were the scenic overlooks. Some of them did not offer many vantage points and the ones that did were severely overcrowded.
I did manage to get some good photos, but overall the experience left me disappointed.

I was starving at this point, but we wanted to get to the Cape Otway Lighthouse. We drove and drove and drove and drove, and finally we reached it only to have the gate practically slammed in our face since they closed at 5pm and we got there at 4:58. I think they need a sign that says that they close at 5 since most of the signs just say that they open at 9am. I was disappointed because instead of telling people that the Cape Otway Lighthouse is the farthest south I have been, I have to settle for the admission gate for the lighthouse. We then headed to the city of Apollo Bay. We ate at the Apollo Bay hotel – a very English restaurant. You needed to pick a table and then go to the counter to order. They then brought your food out after a bit. I had a porterhouse which was OK – a bit bland but filling. I was going to have some of the awesome looking chocolate cake, but the lady said it had a toffee filling and since my stomach was doing flip flops I did not want to risk it.

The rest of the drive was long and winding and I nodded off most of the way back. When we got back to Melbourne I got a second wind and went out exploring. I chatted with Nach from Thailand and he gave me some inside tips on what to see and where to go. We are planning on sleeping in tomorrow and taking it easy, but hopefully we will get to see Little Italy as well as get some shopping done. I also need to write some postcards!