Ocean Drive

Margaret River
Ocean Drive

Jan 6 - Tues.  Actually it was more like the middle of the night when we left Perth and caught our plane to Adelaide.  Drew and Megan met us at the airport, helped us rent a car and then participated in our quest for some authentic Aussie clothing.  At Trims,  Care bought Blinnies and Jon has an authentic Australian Polo shirt.  We passed up the opportunity for Uggs.

We left our friends and drove on to the Barossa Valley.  After dropping our luggage off at the Peppers Hermitage, our B&B for the evening, we headed out to explore the vineyards for which this area is so famous.  We were taken back by the amount of acreage (fewer wineries) and the size of the vineyards.  This area has been in production for a number of years and has a strong Germanic presence - some of the locals still speak German, wineries have German names, the religious architecture follows the European forms, etc.  Production facilities and cellar sales rooms tend to be one and the same.  None of the fancy spas, B&Bs, trendy foody restaurants of Napa, Sonoma and even Margaret River.  We tried Bethany and Peter Lehrman wines and took a couple of bottles for later enjoyment on our trip.  Although the Hermitage was a little fussy for our tastes, the couple who have taken over prepared an excellent dinner with an Asian twist to the dishes.  We could not resist watching the DVD of the "Quiet American" again.

Jan 7 - Wed. We enjoyed a late breakfast and hit the road for a 4 hour drive to the south coast. We moved from rolling hills to the seashore.  We drove into Kingston and stopped for a picture of "Larry the Lobster" and a lobster sandwich - very 50's.

By mid afternoon, we pulled into Ann's Place at Robe.  The house is situated on the harbor point with a view of the Guichen Bay.  Robe is a comfortable fishing village with white beaches and gusts enough to knock us down.   We dined on crayfish at the Caledonian Inn.

 Jan 8 - Thur.  We drive on to Port Fairy with a lunch stop at Portland, a shipping center and lobster fishing center.  Early in the afternoon, we checked into the B&B, Shearwater House, situated along the Moyne River in Port Fairy.  There are over fifty houses of colonial architecture preserved as National Trust buildings in this early port town   This also is town in which everything is in walking distance so we head over to Griffith's Island by foot.  This is a sanctuary for the protected Mutton bird and its paths are shared with bikers and joggers as well as the casual walkers.  We also drove around the outer reaches of the town and received an appreciation for the number of families who vacation in the town through a large beach rental pool.  Dinner was fabulous at Portofino with a Lake Breeze wine. 

Jan 9 - Fri.  The Shearwater House has a few things to work out in order to accommodate its guests. The noise level at 5:30 am was as if people were sitting in our room instead of the common areas.  Breakfast was so-so and the rooms were very small.  We hit the road along the Shipwreck coast toward Apollo Bay.

At Warmambool, we start to experience the Great Ocean Highway.  Often compared to Highway 1 in California, the road was begun in 1919, took 14 years to complete, and was built as a memorial to the soldiers who died in WWI. It was a major civil engineering project in its day since much of this coastline had been accessible only by ship until the highway was completed.  We enter the Port Campbell National Park and stop at the Bay of Martyrs - Jon says it is named after me. 

The coast road is perched atop a desert plateau and the land has been worn away by surf and weather.  We marvel at Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge.

The famous Twelve Apostles, sandstone islands, are the crown jewels of this area.  Each of these  giant rock formations of varying heights in the Southern Ocean began forming 20 million years ago when erosion gradually began whittling away the limestone cliffs of Port Campbell. Since returning from our trip, one of the Apostles has collapsed to a pile of rubble.


We move inland toward the Otway LIghthouse and the Otway National Park.  We do a short hike in the Maits Rest Rainforest Boardwalk enjoying giant ferns and eucalyptus. 

Located at the Otway Lighthouse region in Blanket Bay, koalas sleep in the Eucalyptus trees.  We pull off the road and watch several taking afternoon naps.

From here we drop down into the port of Apollo Bay, nestled against the green foothills of the Otway Ranges.  As all the towns along this part of the coast, surfers and beach visitors (camping and renting cabins) are in abundance.  We are staying at a nice B&B, Captain's Inn hosted by Robin and Lynn.  We spend some time walking around town before heading up the hill to Chris At Skene's Creek.  Recently remodeled, the restaurant has a fantastic view of the bay and the setting sun.  The food with a hint of Greek origins was very good- wine Vasse Felix Merlot 2001. 

Jan 10 - Sat.  We have a hearty breakfast and we get an early start to Melbourne.  One of our intended destinations is the Angelsea Golf Course, known as a playground for local kangaroos.  We must have been too late in the morning since all we saw were foursomes teeing off the greens.  The drive from Apollo to Melbourne is dotted with little beach communities, lots of young people and weekend campers.  Near Torquay, we take a short detour to Belles Beach to catch a weekend surfing contest in progress. 


We continue on to the airport in Melbourne where we catch our plane to Launceston, Tasmania.

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