Thursday, November 12, 2015

As we drove along the Great Ocean Road, I constantly found myself being awestruck by all the indescribable natural beauty around me.

Sure, we came to tick the 12 Apostles off our bucket list, but in the end, we discovered so much more here. Standing along this rugged coastline, with the howling winds whirling around and the light sea spray in your face, is an invigorating feeling. I was amazed at every turn we took!

Don’t do this trip in one day! You’ll barely scratch the surface if you do. I’d recommend at least two days, three preferred, to see as much as you can on one of Australia’s most famous road trips. In fact, we’re preparing to visit for a second time once my in-laws arrive for the holidays.

Here are 8 more dramatic landscapes you’ll find along the GOR:

Bay of Martyrs

Starting at the western end of the GOR trail, just on the outskirts of the small town of Peterborough, this is a wonderful place to see the beautiful Bay of Martyrs. This area has several walking paths that run along the cliff-hugging coast and feature several lookout platforms. The Bay of Martyrs is not as popular as the 12 Apostles, but I’ve heard this area is just as beautiful at sunset when the rocks are backlit by the sun.
2 km west of Peterborough
As you can see from the photos, we were plenty impressed with the Bay of Martyrs.

The Grotto

Our next stop was at The Grotto, basically a sinkhole that was created in the limestone cliffs. I took dozens of photos here trying to frame the peaceful Grotto in contrast with the wild ocean behind it.  
9 km west of Port Campbell

The London Bridge

Well, I guess technically this rock formation is now called the London Arch because of the relentless waves. Originally called London Bridge, this natural archway and tunnel collapsed in 1990 and became a bridge without a middle section. Mother Nature also left two tourists stranded here that had to be rescued by helicopter. There are several wooden platforms here to look out over the rugged landscapes.
7 km west of Port Campbell

The Arch

This natural arch gets pummeled by the surrounding rough seas as the waves crash around and continue to erode the rock. I also took dozen of photos here, trying to capture that perfect moment when the waves crashed into The Arch.
6 km west of Port Campbell

Loch Ard Gorge

Another popular tourist spot right before you land at the 12 Apostles is the Loch Ard Gorge. The gorge is named after the ship Loch Ard, which ran aground in May 1878 on nearby Muttonbird Island at the end of a three-month journey from England to Melbourne. Only two passengers survived. Here, you can stand on top of the cliff and be amazed by the sheer size of the nearby cliffs, or wander down to beach and sit awhile watching the crashing waves.
8 km east of Port Campbell
The Loch Ard Gorge also featured predominately on the cover of my Lonely Planetguide for Melbourne and Victoria.

In addition, the shipwreck site is a good dive spot where you can still see general cargo such as lead ingots, lead shot, tiles, bottles and pottery.
Creating shadows along the Great Ocean Road.

The Razorback

The next three landscapes are all located at the Loch Ard Gorge site. Simply park your car and give yourself an hour or two to explore these amazing landscapes.

This rock stack is called the Razorback because of its sharp edges and bumps along the top, caused by wind-spray and erosion. Notice how the waves also cause deep smooth grooves along its base. You can even see vertical cracks along the Razorback’s side, so it’s only a matter of time before more rocks collapse.

Island Archway

We followed the signs out to the Island Archway, which collapsed in 2009 and crumbled into the sea. Mother Nature continues to erode Victoria’s coastline, so it will be interesting to see how the coast changes over the years.

Thunder Cave

We could see Thunder Cave, but we couldn’t really hear it (apparently as loud as thunder) during our visit. The cave is about 25 metres deep and a local dive site that can be accessed only by charter boat.

Have you visited the Great Ocean Road? Or would you like to do so?
 This Great Ocean Road trip was my first time driving on the "wrong side" of the road.
Definitely takes some adjustment!
My Traveling Joys

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Julia said...

Wow, great photos, Joy. Love how powerful the sea always seems to look in that part of the world. Happy explorations of the area! :)

Carrie @ Season It Already! said...

Beautiful. We did just one day on the GOR, but only because we had 17 days for all of Australia and had time constraints. It was so beautiful and totally worth it! If we hadn't done a tour and actually drove, I can see why you'd like to spend several days. Glad you enjoyed it.

I also like that how you bookmark your guide! Do you have a color-coding scheme?

jaz@octoberfarm said...

just gorgeous! are you having an ex-pat thanksgiving?

BacktoBodrum said...

Such dramatic scenery . I've never been "down under" and probably never will so thanks for the photos.

Joy said...

Thx Julia! We're pretty lucky to explore this part of the world for awhile! :)

Joy said...

@Carrie, I totally understand that one day is all most people have. Such a beautiful area though!

I tried to have a system at first like pink for restaurants and purple for sights, but didn't quite work out! :)

Joy said...

Thx Joyce! Yes, I'm not hosting this year, but we'll still do something for Thanksgiving.

Joy said...

@Annie, Thx so much, and am happy to share all these amazing places!