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Peter & Joan's Adventures
5th Mar 2018 - 11th Mar 2018 - Adventure before Dementia Tour
A great week on the Road - The Great Ocean Road.

Monday and Tuesday in Halls Creek were overcast and windy. We did venture out Monday afternoon to visit Reid’s Lookout and the Balconies. It was a pleasant walk, out of the wind, but the view was hazy. Tuesday was a similar day heading out again after lunch to Pomonal in search of a tunnel that was dug by hand in 1870 through the Mt. William Range to establish a secure water supply from the Grampians to the nearby gold mining town of Stawell. To our surprise, no walking was required, a road (Tunnel Road) took us straight to the sealed entrance of this tunnel. The other surprise was the water tunnel was still in use, depositing water into a sump which was being pumped away presumingly to Stawell as originally planned. Not getting to do a walk I decided to to go in search of a geocache on the edge of town. There were no muggles around and it was a relatively easy find, giving me another successful cache lodged. 

Wednesday we relocated the van to Warrnambool, our chosen base for exploring the western end of the Great Ocean Road (GOR). After setting up at the showground we headed into town to find the Information Centre, discovering there was a lot more to Warrnambool than the GOR, including the Merri Marine Sanctuary, incorporating Middle Island, home to Warrnambool’s famous Maremma dogs which protect the penguin population. This phenomenon was the subject of the popular Australian movie ‘Oddball’.

Thursday morning was taken up exploring Pickering Point. We walked across to Middle Island but it has been closed to the public to protect the growing penguin colony. We walked from Stingray Bay through to Thunder Point overlooking Shelley beach before returning to the car. After a stroll along the Breakwater, we enjoyed a picnic lunch at Lake Pertobe before driving across the Hopkins River to Logans Beach and the impressive Whale Viewing Platform. Wrong time of year for whales but pleasant looking out over Bass Strait. From here we headed for Port Fairy, calling into and having a look around Tower Hill Reserve, just west of Warrnambool; a dormant volcano, which last erupted some 30,000 years ago. You can drive into the crater and around the lakes that surround the volcanic cones. Port Fairy was a hive of activity setting up and preparing for a 3-day folk festival being held there over the weekend.

Friday we headed east for Allansford, start/end of the GOR. Plan for today was to explore the Shipwreck Coast as far as the Twelve Apostles. We have driven the GOR back in 2002, and have seen postcards and documentaries but nothing compares to standing on the edge of a cliff looking out over the blue water at the rugged coastline, sheer cliffs and the colourful jagged rock formations that make up this coastline. This is the first time I have really missed not having my camera. Joan’s point and shot camera just isn’t as crisp or sharp as the Canon and certainly doesn’t capture the real beauty of this Shipwreck Coast. We stopped at and admired the Bay of Islands, Bay of Martyrs and Hallandale Point before stopping in Port Campbell for a fish and chip lunch. After lunch we drove straight to the Twelve Apostles.  A collection of limestone stacks that tower above the water, off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park. We think there is now only nine, as a number of stacks have disintegrated due to the ongoing battle between sea, wind and sandstone. Could not believe how crowded this viewing point was. By the time we explored the headland and descended to the beach via Gibson’s stairs to get the photos we wanted it was 4:00 o’clock so we decided to head back to camp and return the next day to view all the points we intended to call into on the homeward journey but wouldn’t get to that day. We did pop into London Bridge on the way home as parking was available and it was only a short walk to tick this one off our list.

Next day, Saturday, we retraced our drive of the previous day and visited the Grotto, the Arch and Loch Ard Gorge, which also included the Thunder Cave. We settled for a picnic lunch this time in Port Campbell, before enjoying a quick, read refreshing, swim in Port Campbell Bay. It was a warm afternoon but the water was definitely cool.

Sunday was overcast and windy again. There was a market at the showgrounds where we were camped so we visited after morning coffee but before breakfast. Picked up some free range eggs but no other bargains. It may be just me but markets seem to be loosing their appeal and community support. Ended up having a quiet day around the van, doing some grocery shopping, cooked a few chicken cacciatore pies for dinner and sketched out a few rough plans for the coming weeks. Tomorrow we move on. Suspect we will pull up at Apollo Bay.

Next: Small hiatus from our ongoing Hiatus
Previous: The Grampians

Diary Photos

Mt Sturgeon, the Grampians

Lake Pertobe from Cannon Hill Lookout, Flagstaff Hill

Middle Island, Merri Marine Sanctuary, Warrnambool

Breakwater, Lady Bay, Warrnambool

Whale watching Platform, Loagans Beach, Warrnambool

Bay of Islands, Peterborough

Peter, Bay of Martyrs, Peterborough

The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road

The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road

The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road

London Bridge, Great Ocean Road, Peterborough

The Arch, Great Ocean Road

The Island Archway, Great Ocean Road

Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Road

Thunder Cave, Great Ocean Road

Port Campbell Bay, Port Campbell

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