We woke early and excitable on our second morning in Melbourne, for our pick-up. We were going on an adventure along the Great Ocean Road.
Our lovely tour guide from Bunyip Tours drove us to the furthest point of the route, whilst we napped in the car, so that we would beat the coach loads of tourists and not get stuck behind them on route. Something to look out for when booking your own tour.
After a pitstop for coffee and fruit toast, we arrived at the magnificent 12 Apostles.
The 12 Apostles are beautiful limestone stack formations, created by erosion of the sandstone cliffs along the retreating coastline. They’re formed from a mixture of sand and sea-shells, deposited in an ancient seabed, and compressed around twenty million years ago.
Why the stacks became known as the 12 Apostles is a bit of a mystery, as there have only ever been ten. Sadly they are eroding all the time, and only 7 remain today in this spot. Dotted around the coastline however, there are 25 limestone stacks, and five new ones have recently been discovered underwater.
I could have looked at them for hours, taking in the detail of the layers and feeling awe-struck and insignificant – in the best way. This is the beauty of seeing wild nature like this. It gives you a huge dose of healthy perspective on life, which I think does wonders for any lingering anxieties in the back of your mind.
Frothy white water forms on the surface, long before it reaches the shoreline.
The cliffs go on for miles. The view from this lookout is incredible.
Human life is just a blip in the history of our planet, and yet we’re causing irreparable damage through global warming. That’s not to say that the coastline here is only eroding because of global warming, but as sea-levels rise, it is speeding up the rate.
These stacks have been here long before humans, and will be here long after we’re gone. What a privilege it is to see them.
Spot the people…
Can you see them?
After taking as many pictures as we could, we got back in the car and headed to our next stop, Lock Ard Gorge.
The gorge is named after the ship Loch Ard which sunk on June 1st, 1878 as it was close to reaching it’s destination of Melbourne, at the end of a three month journey from England. Of the fiftyfour people on board, there were sadly only two survivors: Tom Pearce, a nineteen year old apprentice, and Eva Carmichael, eighteen, who was traveling with her family to emigrate to Melbourne.
Tom drifted under an upturned lifeboat for hours, and was eventually washed up in the gorge. He heard Eva crying out from the water and managed to rescue her. He was somehow able to scale the cliffs surrounding the gorge, and find help from locals who managed to rescue Eva. The two teenagers stayed in Melbourne for three months after the shipwreck. Hailed by the locals as a hero, Tom proposed to marry the orphaned Eva. She turned down his proposal, knowing first-hand from the death of her family, that the life of a sailor is a precarious one. She returned to England, and eventually her home of Ireland, where she married and spent the rest of her life. Tom lived out the rest of his days in England, and is buried in Southampton.
The ferocity of the waves at Loch Ard Gorge is quite terrifying. The largest I’ve ever seen for sure.
It’s easy to imagine a shipwreck here, but how there were any survivors is a miracle.
I couldn’t believe this guy was swimming.
Shortly after this was taken, we saw a lady get completely taken out by a huge wave as she stood on the beach, fully clothed, taking a picture. The swell knocked her off her feet, and dragged her into the water a good 15 feet or so before she was rescued. Her handbag was not so lucky. I felt really bad as I saw the wave coming and said to Marc, she’s about to be taken out, but was too far away to shout to her.
After lunch, our next stop was the Melba Gully rainforest in the Great Otway National Park. We had a twenty minute stroll through this little pocket of rainforest to see the ancient Tree Ferns and stretch our legs.
We carried on our journey to Split Point Lighthouse.
Does it look familiar?
Have you ever… ever felt like this?
Have strange things happened? Are you going round the twist?
We couldn’t miss the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch.
The Great Ocean Road is approximately 243 kms long, and is the world’s largest war memorial. It was built between world war 1 and world war 2 by returned servicemen, in honour of their fallen comrades, and took sixteen years to build.
Our last stop was unscheduled. Our tour guide got a call from a friend at a nearby golf club, who said the green was being invaded.
We arrived just in time to see a mob of Kangaroos hopping across the green and I only managed to take this grainy picture on my phone through the fence.
We caught these little guys though…
We wound our way through the beautiful surf towns of Anglesea and Lorne, before arriving back in Melbourne at sunset, exhausted after a jam-packed day of adventure along the Great Ocean Road.
Bunyip Tours were fantastic, and our tour guide truly brought each destination to life through his stories. I highly recommend the 1 day classic Great ocean Road and Twelve Apostles tour.
Full disclosure, I received a small discount as I was working with a partner of Bunyip Tours during my visit to Victoria. I’m under no obligation to review the tour, I just wanted to shout about it as we thoroughly enjoyed the day.