After leaving Princetown and stopping at a couple of lookouts near the 12 Apostles, we were headed for our next stop, Portland, via Port Fairy. It was particularly cold and wet this day so after having brunch in Port Fairy and hesitating on whether to visit the lighthouse or not, we ended up skipping it (another time perhaps) and just moving on to the accommodation in Portland. We ate at Rebecca’s Cafe for brunch, which was quite good, and had a great selection of cakes as well.
Portland, well, there isn’t much to say about Portland, pretty much your average regional town, not much to do or eat in town, maybe any attractions are outside of town. We did get out to have a look at the Cape Nelson Lighthouse but it was only a brief visit due to the weather. I would have loved to stay longer but the better half and the little one were in the car and it would have been very rude to keep them waiting too long. I would definitely hope to stop by in the future better equipped (an umbrella maybe) and more time to snap this location, very nice indeed. We stayed at the Victoria Lodge Motor Inn, it was okay, nothing special, clean and tidy.
After Portland, we headed to Robe in South Australia, via Mount Gambier, we had a wander around Blue Lake before having brunch and continuing on to Robe. Cafe Melzar in Mount Gambier was okay, but the portions were a bit small for the price. Driving on to Robe (em took a quick look at the sink hole garden) we were well and truly in South Australia, the timezone having changed, and the roads becoming very monotonous and boring with nothing interesting to keep the eyes from drooping.
We stayed at the Best Western Motel in Robe which had a nice, big room and a spa, but it was a bit too loud (Oscar is a light sleeper) so we weren’t able to give it a go. There isn’t a lot to do in Robe itself, a couple of walks around the town, see the Obelisk, I think the area is mainly for food and wine tourism, as for such a little town, it seemed to have a good selection of dining options. The two that we had time to try out were Sails (fine dining) and Provedore, a French bakery. Em had the lobster special at Sails while I tried the steak and an octopus salad, pretty much everything in the lobster menu was great, my octopus salad was very good and massive (it was virtually a main), the steak and prawn main was again, massive, the sauce I remember was a bit salty, otherwise, a very fine dining experience. We only had time for a take away breakfast from Provedore before heading for our longest day of driving. So a couple of rich, buttery croissants, and an orange friand were pretty much going to have to suffice until dinner time. They were very fresh and very French, absolutely delicious and well worth the extra step before leaving.
Six hours in a car with an unsettled baby, yikes, and finally we got to Cape Jervis where we could all get out of the car and relax for just a bit (on the ferry) before driving an extra forty minutes from Penneshaw to Kingscote where we would spend four days on Kangaroo Island. Next on dtraCorp…
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We hit the road looking for our first stop, Lorne for lunch, before we would make our evening stop in Apollo Bay to spend the night. I’ll leave the overview of the trip for the last post of this series so that I can concentrate on the actual places we went here. We had lunch by the beach in Lorne which was nice, the weather was warm and sunny, and we got pies from Grandma Shields Bakery of which I am a fan (although having to pay for sauce is not something that I do like). We were a bit tired already (haha and some of us a bit cranky too!) and decided not to push our luck too much and so did not stop at the pier this time.
From there we carried on along the Great Ocean Road which is a treat even if you’re driving (although as usual, it would probably be nice to be there around sunset or sunrise), for a bit more than an hour to Apollo Bay. I’m going to be perfectly honest when I say that Apollo Bay is quite underwhelming and not somewhere that I’d be spending too much time in the future. Both the accommodation and the restaurant we had dinner (take away) were disappointing. The Seaview Motel, the name of the motel is not a lie, but you have to look pretty hard to see the sea, the rooms are perpendicular to the road (and the sea) which means you have to look out to the side and you might see the ocean, and on top of that, there is a newer, nicer looking accommodation right in front which would have better views.
We got a take away pizza (can’t remember what) and pasta (puttanesca) from La Casalingo (rated fairly well on urbanspoon) and I could definitely do better myself, just like some cheap take away here in Melbourne, but it wasn’t cheap at all. So, overall I would pass on Apollo Bay. From there we basically got up really early (thanks Oscar) and moved on as quickly as possible, heading down to Princetown and Port Campbell National Park via the Great Otway National Park.
This is when the weather turned to shit and hopes of a photographic dream with fluffy clouds, blue skies, and amazing scenery were blown away by the Antarctic winds and washed down the drain by the “Summer” rains. Whatever, we had to make do, and at least we still had the scenery, if not the weather. The Great Otway National Park is pretty cool, the trees that line the road going toward the Cape Otway Lighthouse are very interesting and have great textures. The Lighthouse itself is not particularly interesting, and it is extremely windy up the top. After that we went down the road to Port Campbell National Park and visited Loch Ard Gorge.
I’ve seen the Twelve Apostles before, and Gibson Steps as well, so I wanted to see something else and maybe scout some sunset/sunrise locations. Loch Ard Gorge was well worth it, and finding the Geology Walk which took us past Island Arch and the Razorback which I decided looked like a great spot for sunset. With the weather the way it was, I didn’t expect many people to show up later, as I was having a look at Loch Ard Gorge just before sunset, a tour bus showed up so I hurried over toward the Razorback to capture what I could. I got to try some multi-exposure shots as well as long exposures which I think turned out quite well. There even ended up being a tiny hint of a sunset and some interesting clouds, it definitely was not a waste of time (and I finally got some good use out of my tripod!!).
The next morning, the body clock got me up about 45 minutes before sunrise, I decided to head to Gibson Steps rather than the Twelve Apostles because I thought it would be more secluded, it was empty, but I don’t think there would have been many people (if any) at the Twelve Apostles either. Again, I experimented with the same techniques from the night before, and also added in some auto-bracketing for good measure. Almost lost the stupid lens cap off my DA 21mm lens, but got some nice shots I think (again, a hint of a sunlight and clouds and the flowing water gave me some interesting elements to work with).
After that, we left for Portland via Port Fairy, but not before stopping along the way at The Arch and London Arch, both very worthwhile although I do prefer The Arch myself (but I may have missed something at London Arch). We did skip Bay of Islands, but seeing it as we drove past I must say, it definitely looks like somewhere worth visiting next time, it was raining quite persistently the whole day which made it hard to spend the required time at these great sites.
We stayed at a self-contained cottage in Princetown which was pretty nice, although the fridge froze everything we put in there (the fridge, not even the freezer). There is a selection of DVDs to watch and a couple of separate rooms which meant that we didn’t need to tiptoe around while Oscar slept in the evening. There is a stock standard pub in Princetown which is where we had dinner. I’m not sure where we had lunch, it was in Port Campbell, but the name of the restaurant escapes me, it was modern Australian cuisine I guess (it may have been The. Karoa, it’s next door to Frying Nemo any way), it was not bad, but nothing special.
I’ll leave it at that for now, next time we’ll be heading into South Australia and to the brink of Kangaroo Island.
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Total kilometres covered, 3, 411.2, from home here in the suburbs of Melbourne to the southwestern end of Kangaroo Island (via the Great Ocean Road), Adelaide, and back again (via the Grampians), it was a heck of a lot of driving (for me anyway). The weather was pretty horrible for the first week or so (until the last day on Kangraoo Island), and then a bit too hot (considering we had a six-month old, was bloody good otherwise), I think if I learnt one thing from this trip, it is not to go anywhere where the main attraction is hiking, during Summer. I snapped a lot of photos (for the first time in ages) and tried some new techniques, which worked some times and not so much others, but live and learn.
Just a short post here, I will be adding much more content for this trip including about twenty photos hopefully over the next week or so and over the xmas break. Hopefully I will get the photos up here in a timely manner and over a couple of posts to spread the pictures out, I’ll be taking my time as usual with the flickr shots as I don’t know when I will be going anywhere next. Good to get away from home and work for a bit, but it’s pretty good to get a break from all that driving too, and settle back into some form of routine.
I’ll also be adding some reviews of the accommodations, some good, some not so good, which I will probably also add on to tripadvisor at a later time.
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Hey, it’s not the first time I’ve ever been on the Great Ocean Road, I mean I’ve lived in Melbourne for over thirty years, that’d be crazy, but this time I actually went down to see the Twelve Apostles as well (that was a first). Unfortunately I was the one driving so I couldn’t really enjoy the scenery as much winding along the beautiful coastal road. From Melbourne we stopped in Lorne for a break, and Apollo Bay for lunch (word of advice, don’t bother going to La Bimba, let’s just call them Lord of the Flies) before reaching our destination of Port Campbell National Park to see the Twelve Apostles, which is just a name, they’re actually just big limestone stacks in the sea, not the apostles of Jesus Christ, also, there aren’t twelve of them.
It’s a lot of driving in one day, I would definitely say too much for one day, take a night at least cos there’s plenty to see down there and if you don’t want to see anything, just go and relax on the beach, it’s nice. Leaving at about 8.30am we didn’t arrive at the national park until about 3.30pm (that’s including lunch of course but still), and then we only spent an hour or two there, I would have preferred to see the stacks at sunset, sunrise, or any time in between as the light would have been a lot less harsh and much more conducive to some artsy photography (cos that’s what I do).
It was actually a really nice day, very sunny but not too hot (I did manage to get sun burnt a little), stupidly none of us remembered to take sunscreen so let that be a lesson to you. Yeah, I was very impressed by the scenery, and will go back one day but definitely staying overnight so that I can pay a visit at a time more conducive (I can’t believe I used that word twice in one post!) to clearer photos and less tourists, more towards twilight and after sunset and before sunrise for those sweet long exposures.
The other thing is, we didn’t even visit London Bridge or Loch Ard Gorge so there’s plenty more for me to see definitely and to photograph, next time I’ll go on my own terms :D. We took the inland road back to Melbourne which only took about 3.5 hours and with pretty much no traffic is probably the way to go (to avoid the stress of traffic jams), but there are a lot of lookout points on the road, so if driving towards sunset, it might be worth it. I took my big tripod and didn’t even use it, so I reckon that’s going to get some heavy use next time. I’ve got another post lined up for next week or whenever I’m bored next but after that I don’t know, haven’t seen Anchorman 2 yet, would like to, will have to see if I can make it.
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