The Itinerary

The Itinerary

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 13, GOR to Melbourne

Friday, March 13 - Day 38 - Johanna to Melbourne

On the road again! Dick just can’t wait to get on the road again!

NOT! But it is time to move on, to finish our exploration of the Great Ocean Road and to be in place to fly to Bali tomorrow morning. We have a long day ahead and are up, breakfast eaten and car loaded by 10AM and moving by 10:30AM. Never let it be said we get an early start!
We turn left out of The Boomerangs and follow the GOR toward Port Fairey. The road runs along a high ridge that soon offer views south toward the ocean and north and inland to farm country. Traffic is fairly heavy but the Aussie’s have good road manners and slow vehicles regularly pull over in the spaces provided to allow fast cars to pass. Our first stop of the morning is to view "The Twelve Apostles," now shy a few due to the constant erosion of the coastline. There is quite a crowd at this stop as junior high age school kids have offloaded from their buses just before our arrival. They are not a problem for us other than it just being crowed on the viewing platforms. The view up and down the coast is most impressive. At Gibson Steps there is a walk of 86 steps down to the beach for a view looking up at the 12 Apostles. It would be a nice view, but going down means coming back up the same 86 steps so we pass.

Next we stop at Loch Ard Gorge which is really three walks two no each side and one out on a finger of land between. The two bays formed are quite relative calm with some people playing in the water even though there are signs everywhere saying it is unsafe to swim. The other is every rough and much larger. There finger offers a view of an area know for its ship wrecks.

Next we stop to see "London Bridge" which has fallen down. Up until January 1990 this formation was a double arch but the landward arch collapsed. Nobody was hurt but two people were trapped on the seaward side of the collapse and had to be rescued by helicopter. This is also another spectacular view.

The final stop is at the Bay of Islands with its string of small island like outcroping just off the shoreline and specular wave action...beautiful!

The road eventually drops down from the hight ridge, leaves its coastal route and moves inland some. We drive through the fairly large town of Warrnambool and on to our lunch stop destination of Port Fairey. This is billed as a fishing village and is rather quaint but not exactly as expected. We are looking for a lunch of fish and chips but the source delivered by the GPS is no longer in business. Carolyn asks a shop keeper and we are directed to the wharf area where we find fish and chips being served up, along with other lunch type food, by three very tattooed young men. Two medium filets, one serving of chips, a beer and a coke cost $30AUD or about $27.75US. Food is very expensive in Australia!!

After lunch and a pit stop, we drive out to the local headland and take few more photos before heading toward Melbourne. Here is where we nearly end our day sadly as Dick does not see a speeding truck with the right of way until it is nearly too late! Fortunately, the brakes work fine and there is no harm done except to the tires which skid as there is no ABS system on the car. Also, the speeding Aussie gives us the universal salute proclaiming that we are #1. He never hit the brakes!

Now comes the 300km drive to Melbourne. The GPS takes us on some good local back roads as the fastest route and we move along at posted speeds with very little traffic. Farmers are burning stubble off fields in several places, despite the "No stubble burning!" signs we see along the road. This strikes us a third world farming but we are not experts.

With a very necessary gas stop, where Dick gets rid of his Australian coin (well almost) we arrive at the Holiday Inn by the airport at 7PM. A lady manager type with Julie on her name tag is extremely helpful and even pushes our luggage cart to the room for us. Later she accepts the Aussie coin Dick finds in the luggage as apart payment on our bill. Coins are not exchangeable for other currencies. The reviews of the Holiday Inn were less than stellar, but it was cheaper than the other choice by $50US and offered breakfast and a shuttle to the airport. It is an old style airport Holiday Inn...the curved building style, but was clean with fresh paint on the inside and surprisingly large rooms. We get two splits of wine, one red and one white and some nice chocolate candy.

Dick takes the car, tops off the tank and returns it to Avis. The guy in the garage actually has another man drive him back to the hotel; how kind is that? We eat a light dinner in the room and call it a night.

Almost forgot...interesting signs for today!


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