Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trip Report, Great Ocean Road, Day Two, Part One

To start the report from day two, we need to back up to day one for just a bit. We ended our day in Port Campbell, which is a really small town. As you may have seen in the Apostles pictures, there was some smoke in the background, and driving into town, we saw this why - there were pretty serious fires going on above town. We asked at the bar (naturally) and were told that CFA was doing some burnback work. No problem.

The map that we had showed two campgrounds in town, one clearly more removed, and without hookups, so that seemed like the logical choice. Once we finally figured out how to get in, we learned that the campground was around and above a footy oval. So we drove around, and there wasn't a soul there. It was actually pretty creepy, because you could see the fires still, and you were close to town, but there was absolutely nobody around. It was just close enough to town that we were concerned that without being able to tell anyone that we were there, we might have an issue if CFA started doing something overnight. Oh, also, camping there was seemingly free, since there was nobody around. When we were leaving, we saw a tree very close to the entrance that had sparks falling from it. After the Black Saturday business, we were out of there, and went to the $20 campground in town. It was fine, whatever.

The next morning, we went back up there in the daylight to see what was actually going on. The sunrise was great, and we learned that they had finished a burn where we saw the sparks, so it was just in the process of going out. Better to stick to the paranoia I guess than get in a bad spot.

But, back to the drive. We were on the road a few minutes after 7, and basically had the road to ourselves. It was pretty awesome. The landscape is sort of a mix of desert, the moon, and the California coast with taller cliffs.

Our first stop was at The Arch. It was like something in the Utah desert, just in the ocean.

Next stop was London Bridge. We presume this is because part of it fell down. It seems to gone for the same reasons as the Apostles.

Stop number three was to The Grotto. At this point, we realized that we weren't going to make good time. The Grotto was this really cool cave that had no roof and emptied into the ocean. Pretty sweet stuff.

Next stop - the Bay of Islands. It's sort of just like the name suggests - its a huge bay with a ton of land masses in the middle. To me, this may have been the best part of the drive to me. We stopped a few places in the park, and got a number of pictures that didn't really capture any of the beauty of it. But to me, this is way underrated, and I liked it that way.

Also, we learned that Australia knows how to build a boat ramp. It really is as steep as it looks.

Shortly after leaving the Bay of Islands we were treated to what we feel that we should have seen in New Zealand - a flock of sheep running down the road blocking traffic. Luckily, we were the first car, and got pictures. We probably followed them for 400-500 meters down the road.

Just before getting to Warnambool, we stopped at a "whale nursery," and weren't quite sure what to expect. Turns out, it was just a beach with a huge viewing platform. According to the signage, whales frequent the area during migration. Despite being there at the right season, we saw no whales.

This got a lot longer than expected, so I'll break here and write about the second half of the day later.

No comments: