Our tour started off by visiting a kangaroo sanctuary. It was a nice way to break up the long drive, because our tour actually did the Great Ocean Road in reverse in order to avoid the huge tour groups. That meant that we had to drive all the way to the 12 Apostles FIRST, and then make our way back. What better way to break up that drive than with kangaroos?
Nobody is entirely sure how many “apostles” there actually are. They’re made up of sandstone and limestone, but there’s debate over which ones actually constitute “apostles.” Some have also fallen over the years.
There were some beautiful poems dedicated to the Apostles at the end of the walk.
The Twelve Apostles by Suzanne Howard.
Were you halted marching south,
or anchored climbing to the beach?
Did you yearn for freedom through the
Is the mystic Southern Ocean,
yours to rule or empire lost?
The mist around your rain or wasted tears?
Are you prisoners or guardians,
at the clash of rock and wave?
Do you feel us gaze in wonder at your might?
You have seen the stars before us,
and beyond us you will stand.
Forever at the edge, through day and night.
The Wave by Christie Gulbis
Whipped by wind
Gathers strength in tumbling dance
Rolling thunder in the kelp-shred foam
A crystal power
Foaming head and smoking tail
Sending kamikaze hand of liquid loam.
Meet your goal of rock and sand
Sighing crash at your journey’s close.
Those were my favourites.
Loch Arg Gorge tells an interesting story. The gorge is named after the ship that sunk. Only two of the 54 people onboard survived. One was Eva Carmichael, one of eight children in an Irish immigrant family; the other was Tom Pearce, the ship’s apprentice.
Tom was swept ashore after the crash, and heard Eva’s cry for help. He struggled for an hour to bring her back to the beach. They took shelter in a cave and enjoyed some brandy that had been washed ashore.
Tom later proposed to the beautiful Eva, but she rejected the poor guy and returned to live with her family.
Waves formed the smooth grooves on this stack over time, with one wave crashing on the stack ever fourteen seconds.
On January 15, 1990, the main arch, which connected the London Bridge to the mainland, collapsed. Nobody was hurt, but two tourists were stuck on the Bridge until a helicopter could rescue them. When news reporters asked to interview them, they vehemently declined, sparking rumours that they were not actually a couple, but having an affair together. A reporter caught up with them years later, and found out that they were in fact brother and sister. But then why all the secrecy?…
We got to enjoy a bit of the Otway rainforest. Had time not been a problem, I gladly would’ve camped and hiked all over this beautiful place. They’re not quite Sequoias, but they’re damn tall and magnificently beautiful.
While staying with Natalia and Rhys, Rhys introduced me to Vegemite. It’s a national delicacy over there. Vegemite is revered and beloved by Australians the way maple syrup is here in Canada. It’s a spread that they put on toast. It’s thick and black and made from leftover brewing yeast extract, as well as a variety of spices and veggies. However, unlike maple syrup, which is pretty much universally loved (unless there’s something very, very wrong with your taste buds or your soul), Vegemite is an acquired taste among non-Australians. Natalia urged me not to try it, but my curiosity was not going to let me not try it. It wasn’t that bad. It almost tasted like soy sauce.
While we stopped at this random little beach town, our tour guide highly encouraged us to try the Vegemite-flavoured ice cream. I had a sample. Oddly enough, it almost tasted like salted caramel…just not as good, of course.
We stopped by a campground to look for some koalas. Our guide reminded us that koalas are not actually bears, but marsupials. He even played a cute folk song for us to remind us. The song was called “Please Don’t Call Me A Koala.” They’ve got the whole pouch thing going like kangaroos.
We only found two koalas, but this one was the most visible. He was going to town on those eucalyptus leaves.
Our last stop before the end of the tour was just on the side of the road in order to snap a photo of the mighty Great Ocean Road.
We ended the tour where the Great Ocean Road starts, since we did the tour in reverse order. This statue stands right by the start of the Great Ocean Road. I can’t be sure, but I assume it commemorates all of the men who worked to build the GOR. It was built by war veterans who were returning from World War I. It gave them something to do, it provided the camaraderie and community of their fellow soldiers, and it was an easy way to gradually re-integrate themselves back into society. Plus, Australia benefited as well, as the road finally provided a link to various coastal communities.
Survey work started in August of 1918, and the road was finally opened just over 14 years later, in November 1932. It took three thousand men to build the road.
We finished the tour with pizza by the beach, two of my favourite things in the world.