Australian Traveller on the Great Ocean Road

“Oh my God, it’s the 12 Apostles!” I exclaim as the GOR, just past Princetown, rounds a mound to reveal the huge sentinels that stand as final courageous warriors against the advancing sea. The first two appear like meerkats peeping above the cliff edge before I spot the rest of them silhouetted against the ocean.I am actually on the phone (hands-free, officer) at the precise moment I first lay eyes on them, so my reaction gives the caller a bit of a surprise. “Oh my God!” I exclaim again. And so it goes on for another minute.

And that’s what makes the GOR great. It is a deserved icon and stands up to the examination of such snobby “travellers”. I was expecting to be a little dismayed by a ho-hum experience; looking down upon the silly hordes of bus tourists. They are there, admittedly, but we are all in it together.

Parking at the visitor centre, I make my way to the clifftop lookouts. The cliffs are like a huge Violet Crumble – soft and flaky against the oncoming sea. The Apostles are very beautiful.

But if the 12 Apostles are majestic in their losing battle against the sea, Loch Ard Gorge is a beguiling jewel. A sometime oasis of calm and meditation, the gorge can become a dangerous, thundering beast – lovely to watch from a safe distance when the seas are up. The sheltered cove is stunningly picturesque, the opposing cliff faces nearly meeting at the mouth of the gorge, protecting the pretty little beach. If it were in the Bahamas it would be the most famous beach in the world.

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