And into Victoria we drove…
Being into the extreme sport of crochet, I could see that Victoria was going to be a state at the cutting edge, when I noticed “guerilla crochet” on the drainpipe at our first lunch stop – Port Fairy. This is the graffiti of the craft world – textile art applied to ordinary structures without permission – Grandma defying authority! Go Victoria.
Next it was on to nature’s own display of coastal beauty – the Great Ocean Road. The sand coloured rock sculptures, the crisp blue ocean, stories of shipwreck and surfing make this stretch a unique and stunning journey. The colours, while more subdued than outback, were marvellous hues of sky, sea and sand. The kids did so well – in and out of the car every few kilometres to see yet another rock formation…
The Bay of Islands…
At the Bay of Martyrs we could see the same view from a different angle. I always love a sparkling sea.
This stretch of road from Warnambool to Geelong draws thousands each year (…or perhaps day). Some of the lookouts off the road are fenced, signposted and filled with the latest busload of sightseers. Since Michael and I visited 11 years ago, an entirely new “interpretive centre” and kiosk has sprung up at the 12 apostles and a new underpass has been constructed under the highway! We were a little overwhelmed by people sometimes. We hoped the Bay of Islands crowd would skip a few of the smaller lookouts…
On to the Grotto.. where there were few tourists, but enough to take a family picture!
London Bridge did actually fall down in the 90’s – leaving 2 tourists stranded for a couple of hours before they were airlifted to safety. The one remaining arch is still spectacular.
After a night in Port Campbell, it was on to Loch Ard Gorge. In 1878, travelling from Scotland with a cargo of people, pianos and crockery! amongst other things, the Loch Ard was enveloped by a fog off the coast of Victoria. The Captain kept watch on deck all night, but when morning came and the fog lifted, the ship was thrown upon the treacherous rocks of what is now known as Loch Ard Gorge. It splintered on impact and was sunk with all hands…
…except for 2 survivors, who were washed into this narrow cove. Tom went for help and a nearby stockman helped him to carry 18 year old Eva, up to the nearby station, where they were both revived, and Tom was declared a hero.
Not many of the drowned were recovered, but those who were, are buried in the cemetery at Loch Ard Gorge. BloggiE and axo1000 wept for them…
At the 12 Apostles, we loved watching the waves roll in past the tall sandstone sentries.
After a picnic at Gibson’s steps we made our way to Cape Otway National Park for the night. On the way, the tourists were out of their cars, cameras focussed on the trees. We looked up to see…koalas…just sleeping there. It was wonderful to see them in the wild. Later at our campsite, we saw a mother and baby together.
And finally, after months of stalking small birds, a Superb Fairy Wren just strolled into our campsite waiting to be photographed. Hooray!!
On the last day of our Great Ocean Road adventure, the track hugged the coastal hills. The view out to sea was lovely and the rocks and hills made for a spectacular drive. Well done Spike, towing on that narrow, winding road, avoiding oncoming buses and caravans.
Wonderful blog/photography again! Loved the crochet graffiti! Great you had clear weather for the Great Ocean Road – it was misty and drizzly when we travelled there in the early 90’s (just after the arch collapsed).
Thanks Marnie! Hope you’ve enjoyed your QLD stay,
lots of love from all of us.
What a beautiful part of Oz. Cannot believe the year is almost over! Seems like you just left. Wishing you all a very happy Christmas!
Thanks Trudy, Happy Christmas to you and your family too.
Hi Guys, your blog has kept my spirits up this year no end! I look forward to seeing it and looking at all your wonderful photos. Today’s one is definitely one of the best and I am so envious. All those lovely beaches and coves and rock formations! I thought South Africa was God’s country, I will have to re-think that one! Mmm! 🙂
If I don’t hear from you again, which I’m sure I will, please enjoy your time together as a family. These are such precious times and all too soon they are gone. You have made such a wonderful thing for your kids. This will live in your memory forever and bind you forever. I think you are the most amazing family.
Have a wonderful Christmas and continue to drive safely.
Lots of love
Hi Stellamarie, Thank you! It’s been lovely to have you along for the ride. We do feel incredibly blessed to have had this opportunity this year and we have enjoyed all your comments and support for our adventure. Hope that your Christmas is filled with love, and special family times.
love from all the onlinewheatleys
Re: Operation Sand Sample
Mission Status: Completed
Just wanted to let you know that we successfully completed the assignment you set us (viz – collecting some sand from the beach at the 12 Apostles) – although you will have to supply your own yellow-topped specimen cup to maintain the symmetry and consistency of your “collection”. All we could come up with was a clip-lock bag.
Also, we regret to inform you that your intention to establish a sculpture exhibit at the base of Gibson’s Steps was scuttled by a wandering art critic (or perhaps just an extremely high tide); We did our best to recreate the “scene” but were limited by time, materials, and the high-pitched yelling of several onlookers!
We did manage to see some Fairy Penguins returning home to their burrows at London Bridge – it was a close race between seeing them around 2130 hours and our joints freezing solid, but luckily the FP’s turned up just in time (mental note – dress more appropriately next time – Antarctica isn’t really that far away, after all).
Have uploaded 4 photos to flickr – Natalie and Jeremy holding your sand while standing in our “sculpture”, a view of the 12 Apostles, and two murky photos with little black blobs that could be penguins: http://www.flickr.com/photos/72333435@N03/with/6530390465/
We got home yesterday after an 8 hour drive from Echuca. It was great to meet you all at Ballarat. Best Wishes for a fun and peaceful Christmas. If you’re ever back in Dubbo look us up.
Tommie, Jeremy, Natalie, Michelle and Paul
PS Will mail your “package” this week 😎
Hope your trip was thoroughly enjoyable to the end! Thanks for helping us out with our sand mission. Loved your structure at Gibson’s Steps. Well done! We’re looking forward to hearing about your next big adventures on the road. Enjoy your Christmas holiday together in Dubbo!
K, M, W & E
hay eley were the koalas cute?
we had a new girl in our calss called crystall she could not speek english only krean
Those superbs are contrary critters – Tanya chased them on KI then on the last day they hoped around us while we were having lunch!