We had spent lovely days in South Australia but now were very keen to see the Great Ocean Road. This scenic drives is said to be one of the best in the country and certainly a “must” when in the state of Victoria. Between Portland and Melbourne we cruised for 440 kilometers along and above a most spectacular coastline with limestone cliffs washed out by the sea and its crashing waves. Over the time of millions of years the water cut into the stone forming caves, arches and natural bridges. When the arches finally break down (as it last happened in 1990, leaving 2 perplex tourists on a newly formed island) only rocky stacks remain standing in the surf like gigantic terracotta soldiers.
Great Ocean Road
Limestone cliffs at Bay of Islands
Springtime: No more red sand, it’s lush and green in Victoria!
The best known, and certainly most photographed, formation of those pillars can be found along the stretch of the Great Ocean Road winding through Port Campbell National park. “The 12 Apostles” are a truly magnificent site as they stand there in the golden glow of the morning sun, just off a beautiful beach, unfortunately not good for swimming as the currents and under curls are far too dangerous there.
The Twelve Apostles
Another spot we particularly liked was Cape Bridgewater, outside Portland. From the massive cliffs you can spot two seal colonies lazing in the sun or fishing in the wild waters beneath. Funnily enough, we learned from the message board on our walk that the seals never mix between those two colonies as one consists of Australian seals, the other one is a group of New Zealand fur seals. We had already gathered that the Aussies are not too fond of the Kiwis…
The wicked Victorian waters are also the cradle of surfing in Australia. The town of Torquay and the famous breaks of Bell’s beach are where it all began. The two iconic surf brands Quiksilver and Rip Curl both started in this little sea side town and we took the chance to go shopping for the first time in ages and hunted down some real bargains in their factory outlets. Believe it or not, Manu found herself a skiing jacket in the middle of the Australian spring!
Locals know how to surf …
Owning a surfboard for over two months now I also had my first go on (or better “beneath, besides and behind”) it. It looks really cool in the van, but is a real bummer to surf when you are a beginner. Next time I forget about my super hot shortboard and get one of those boards that look like a little boat but actually make it possible to catch a wave or two, even if you are not Kelly-bloody-Slater!
… I don’t
Anyhow, our 5 days on the Great Ocean Road were a big success, also because at the end of it Melbourne was expecting us – a city we were very keen on checking out. First night we had a lovely dinner at our friends Charlie and Claire’s who had come here 13 years ago from London and stayed happily ever after. And why would anyone leave a place like this? Melbourne is a fantastic city! Set all along a massive waterfront it combines the flavours of skyscrapers, beachlife, a young, urban scene and lush parks with lots of green to a perfect eclectic mix.
High in the sky
Rush hour at lunchtime
We had a great time strolling through the city center, having coffee and cake in the cool suburbs of Brunswick and Fitzroy or enjoying some sun at St. Kilda beach. Somehow, it reminded us of our beloved Barcelona and for a moment we got all nostalgic
Artsy city …
… and again!