Well, it is just that. A memorial built by the Australians for the fallen Australians (from WWI). In true laid back Aussie nature, it took 13 years to complete (Sure, it was a huge feat but during our Sydney tour, we learned all things take a while in Australia.) I must say-well done Aussies. Well done. Imagine how much easier road trips would be when you can at least stare at this, green and rich blue ocean water as far as the eye can see.
Let me take a step back and bring you up to speed. We began our journey after Sydney, flying Tiger Airways (a low cost Singaporean airline...not to be confused with Singapore Airlines of course). Everyone who reads this next part and then flys Airtran or Southwest must thank them. And here's why. We takeoff and soon cabin service begins. As Srin and I shoot the breeze, we are asked by the flight attendant if we would like something to drink. We rarely get anything (except water) but we brought lunch aboard so we figured a ginger ale and diet coke seemed quenching. The flight attendant abides and returns and says "That will be $6." As Srin and I exchange looks of shock and shy smiles, we pay up. But, we notice no one else was asked. Certainly not the people in back or next to us-I watched intently. We must have exuded American. So, let all Americans who take to the skies be thankful for complimentary drinks (and even a snack on Southwest).
We arrive and haul our bags to the Hertz, anxiously wondering what it was going to be like to drive on the other side of the road.
Srin took the first stab at it. I would say his biggest issue was the switch between the wipers and the turn signal. The other big issue (which was my main one) was perception of lane space. By that I mean keeping the car in the middle of the lane, instead of creeping to the left too much (a natural tendency when you are used to driving a left-handed car!)
It was odd being a passenger too. They should put fake steering wheel and pedals in rentals to help us Americans feel "right".
The driving was quite easy and became a bit natural, albeit via a slow transition. The GOR essentially goes between Melbourne and Adelaide and has many scenic points between.
We stopped at numerous points just to allow the eyes to soak in the ocean, and stayed the night in Apollo Bay, which was about 3.5 hours from the Melbourne Tullamarine airport. Summer days are quite agreeable to road trips, providing sunlight until nearly 9PM. We grabbed a bite to eat (an adventure in and of itself-like our top choice cafe losing power right as we walked in) had dessert and called it a night (in Hotel Yaris of course).
We continued our way to one of the most revered sights along the GOR called the 12 apostles. There are only 10.5 left though and formed naturally millions of years ago. The gradual process started with the accumulation of tiny marine skeletons mixing with sediment on the ocean floor, creating limestone formations. As the ocean retreated, the creations were exposed.
One of the most famous GOR stories is probably with the so-called London Bridge which fell around 1990 leaving people stranded on top of the structure. They had to be rescued thereafter.
I must have not captured the other side but this is the right part which was the part still in the ocean.
Around Port Campbell, we saw other natural rock formations.
This is called a grotto and was probably my favorite, even more so than the apostles. A grotto is a natural formation sort of like a cave near water.
The so-called arch. Self explanatory I guess.
We left the GOR to head inland, where we were lucky enough to find a quaint and clean motel (which had free Wi-fi!) in a town called Camperdown. Along the way, we stopped at two cheese making factories (yummy!), a distillery and ice cream shop, and a winery. It was so different than anything we had done thus far, and that made for a fun (but filling) last day.
We went to the grocery in Camperdown and decided to lay low on the eating out. This greek salad came complete in a bag for only $4 AUD. Contrast that to ONE salad (not the two big salads I made from this bag) that costs about $14 AUD in restaurants and doesn't taste nearly as good. Combined with our locally made cheese platter and wine, dinner was superb. For the record, I still do not like wine. Bleh. And don't call any wine sweet. It is not sweet. At all. It is mouth cringing and just bleh.
We drove safely to Melbourne the next day and returned the car. It was the road trip of all road trips. A phenomenal view, music (a la the iPAD. Thank you Drs. Clarke), and a good friend.
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Location:Great Ocean Road