Monday, February 11, 2013

Great Australian Drives - The Great Ocean Road

Where is it?

The great ocean road is found in Victoria, Australia, and is not only one of the best drives in Australia, but is well known worldwide. Starting at Torquay running along the coast to Apollo Bay, the route then progresses inland through the Otway region. From here the road emerges to the west on the wild and windy Shipwreck Coast and the well-known landmark of the Twelve Apostles.

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Highlights of the 254km drive include the famous Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, The Grotto, London Arch and Bells Beach as well as the beauty of the rain forest. The road has many interesting bends and corners for the performance driver, as well as for gentle touring taking in the sights along to what is affectionately known as the Shipwreck Coast. Over the past 200 years many ships that have floundered there, naming it so.

The History

An interesting and important road along the southern coastline of Victoria was constructed between 1919 and 1932 by returning soldiers from WW1 as a memorial to their fallen comrades.

The Sights

The Twelve Apostles are limestone towers up to 45m high that have been constructed by the sea eroding away the limestone cliffs. There were only ever 9 apostles which were reduced to 8 in 2005 when a 50m stack collapsed.
The Twelve Apostles
Loch Ard Gorge was named after the clipper Loch Ard ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island in 1878. Of the 54 passengers and crew who had sailed for 3 months from England, only 2 survived. The beautiful gorge surrounded by high rock cliffs has a secluded beach that is accessible from the road. There is a small museum on the site and a cemetery for the sad happenings many years ago.

Loch Ard Gorge
The Grotto is a sinkhole found outside Port Campbell and is a short stroll from the Great Ocean Road to a viewing platform overlooking the Grotto and the rugged coastline. Wooden steps wind down the cliff face to the bottom, which at low tide provides visibility of the sea beyond a pool.

The Grotto

London Arch near Port Campbell was formally known as London Bridge due to its similarity to its namesake with a double span eroded by the sea. However, in 1990 the section closest to the mainland collapsed, leaving two tourists stranded for several hours until they were rescued by helicopter.
London Arch

Bells Beach
is about 100km south west of Melbourne near Torquay and is named after John Bell who leased the land in the 1840’s. The beach has waves of such quality and consistency that it’s the location of the world’s longest running surfing competition, the Rip Curl Pro Surf and Music Festival. It started off as the Bells Beach Surf Classic which is a much classier name in 1961 and held annually on the 4-5m rollers from Bass Strait coming all the way from the Southern Ocean.

Victoria Australia and The Great Ocean Road. from Curtis Redden on Vimeo.

Carzoos Great Aussie Drive Rating

Family Touring 3.5/5
Performace Driver 4/5
Overall 4/5
Star Rating


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