What happened along the Great Ocean Road...

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We’ve both been and spent quite some time in Oz, but Rachel hadn’t done the 3 sections listed, which are always great to do again!  We started the Great Ocean Road (GOR) flying into Melbourne very early.  Known for its shopping, eating culture and hosting many top sporting events.  They sure are ready and raring to go for the Commonwealth games next year.  A bit more construction needed to finish, but the competition timetable is set, the t-shirts printed and all the merchandise is ready to be bought!


We based ourselves at St Kilda which is by the sea.  We mooched round the shops, drunk some good lattes and Rachel even got a haircut.  We went to the cinema and paid for the “Gold Service” where you are only 1 of 18 people in a room all in comfy reclining arm chairs having food and drink served to you during the film, which is cool.  The film (War of Worlds) wasn’t bad either.


On another evening we went to a “Blind” restaurant.  Yes, you all eat your food in complete darkness!  Set up by a blind person it’s supposed to enhance your other senses and make the food taste better and make your hearing more sensitive.  They even have an option for the restaurant to select your food and not tell you what it is…


Well we ordered our food and drinks in normal light, put our paper bibs on, got told some basic rules.  No mobile phones, torches, matches to be lit or funny business!  If any of that then you’re out!  We then followed a waiter who was wearing night vision goggles into the dark side!  Yes it was pitch black, your eyes had nothing to adjust to.  All you could see was a tiny red led light on the waiter’s goggles.


We fondled the table to find our napkin, knives and forks and got ready to eat with our hands!?!  Waiting for the food you could here what other people were saying very clearly as noise just seemed to amplify.  Even more so when two large groups came in, one for a birthday party and the other for a works night out.  All the lines where coming out “pass the salt”, “sit down when I’m talking to you”, “guess what I’ve got no shirt on”.  Little did that person and others doing the same know, they would end up with a different shirt as the waiters like to swap them around if that happens.


Well the food arrived.  You attack it with knives and forks guessing what veggies have been served, hoping not to stick an asparagus up your nose.  All eating manners go out the window as you use your hands to see if your plate is clear.  Funny though when eating and because you are concentrating you don’t seem to here any back ground noise.  We also shared a desert, it had to be done.  Not surprised we didn’t lose a finger or two over that one!  Great experience.  I think they have a place in London that you can go too, worth a visit if you get the chance…









Split Point lighthouse

Us at the Balconies, Grampians











































Alexanda caves, Naracoorte

Adelaide far from anywhere!

Us at Jacobs Creek wine tasting!



Flinders station, Melbourne

Melbourne city from St Kilda pier



Next day we picked up a car to do the GOR.  First off though we hit Victoria market.  Known as a must do in Melbourne, we loaded up the car with some great fresh fruit and veg for the next few days.  Rach couldn’t believe the size of the place, they had literally hundreds of stalls selling everything from fruit and veg, meat, fish, breads and cheeses and clothes.  Wish we could’ve stayed longer for a proper shop!


Not long after getting out of Melbourne and actually hitting the GOR we saw our first sign to watch out for Kangaroos on the road - and we actually saw some straight away on the road side.  Rachel was very excited at this as she hadn’t seen a roo in the wild before…


First night we managed to get along as far as Lorne still in time for a run along the beach in the late sun which was great.  We stayed in a kind of rainforest lodge that had pet white cockatoos that provided a great wake up service in the morning.  The next day along the GOR was a day to stops lots and see the sights in the various coves and bays along the way.  The famous couple of places are the 12 Apostles (Now 11 as one crashed into the sea a couple of months before) and London Bridge.  Great clear blue skies as well.  We even got to see some emus running around Tower Hill Nature Reserve before spending the night at Port Fairy an old historical navy town.


That’s pretty much the end of the official GOR, so we headed in land a short distance to the Grampians to a town called Halls Gap and stayed at the very nice eco friendly award winning YHA.  With beautiful weather we did a great run/hike to the Balconies Look Out that afternoon which had us doing lots of rock climbing to a point with some amazing views.  Chilling out in their big comfy lounge in front of the log fire was a great end to the day after the hard run!  Definitely in the top 10 list for Rach so far!


The next day on our way to Adelaide we stopped at Naracoorte to pay a visit to the limestone caves.  They have been there for millions of years and are really long with a mixture of dry caves and wet caves with some great stalactites and stalagmites to be seen.  There are also lots of fossils in the caves as that part of Oz used to be under the sea many millions of years ago.  That night we crashed out at a place called Murray Bridge after some long driving and stayed in a place set back in time.  It was a guest house set above some shops with huge great wooden furniture and larger than life 4 poster beds, but all with flowery décor!  Hmm Nice.  Run by a very friendly family though which was great.


After about an hour the next day we rocked up into Adelaide.  But before dropping off the car we got ourselves booked into a small hostel.  It was also lovely and warm in Adelaide.  In fact it was Adelaide’s hottest day for 10 years in August.  But then the rain came down for the hostel’s city bus tour that night, which was good.  Afterwards we all went down the local pub which was cool as it was local jam night.  Even a couple of people from the hostel got up sang and played an instrument…


Next day we woke to lashings of rain but had planned a wine tasting tour in the Barossa Valley.  This is a great location to do some wine tastings in Oz.  A great trip with a very knowledgeable driver Matt who was from a family of wine makers and had some great stories to tell about the drunken antics aboard his bus from all the backpackers over the years!  We got to go to Australia’s most famous Jacobs Creek (biggest export is to the UK!) as well as 4 other wineries.  So plenty of wine was drunk that day as well as some good info taken in.  We both liked lots of the wine from the Shild Estate and bought some of their Frontignac to sample later! 


We also got taken to a couple of the other famous landmarks.  One being the “Largest Rocking Horse” in the world and the other the “Whispering Wall”.  The wall is bizarre.  It’s basically a dam but a person can be stood either side and have a normal conversation without having to shout across the water!  They say this was first discovered when it was under construction and the bosses could here the work force bitching about pay and conditions…


Next day we mooched around the city in the sun and went for a long run down by the river.  We ran off some wine, but soon put it back on again that night as the hostel had a dvd and pizza night!  Next day we had an early flight up to Alice Springs and connection onto Ayers Rock.




A selection of Great Ocean Road shots


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