Leaving Melbourne we followed the heritage listed Great Ocean Road, a 243km stretch of road linking the towns along Australia’s south east coast. Built between 1919 and 1932 by surviving service men of the First World War it is the worlds largest war memorial and feet of road engineering. Now popular with tourists and backpackers the route traverses rainforest, cliffs and beaches and links a number of spectacular areas of interest. The most notable point is Port Campbell where the sand and limestone cliffs have eroded into rock formations including Loch Ard Gorge, The Grotto, London Arch and The Twelve Apostles.
The Twelve Apostles The Great Ocean Road
Having familiarised ourselves with the inner workings of the camper and begun to settle into life on the road we soaked up the rolling scene with enthusiasm, unfortunately the weather was not in our favour and we had a number of grey and rainy days, however our spirits were not dampened. We free camped each night on the rugged coastline and clad in our wet weather gear hiked out to some great lookouts.
The Great Ocean Walk stretches from Apollo Bay to the site of The Twelve Apostles and connects one hundred and four kilometres of tracks through National Park, beautiful beaches and rugged coastline and when the weather allowed us we took advantage of the opportunity to stretch our legs and head off on foot to explore.
Around half way along the route the towns become smaller and less frequent, unfortunately it was here we found ourselves in a sticky spot, literally. Needing just a small oil top up we had taken assistance from a portly mechanic earlier that day and on arriving in the next town noticed oil leaking from underneath the cab, thinking the worst we opened the engine cover to see what can only be described as an oil explosion. Vacant from our engine was the cap that plugs the well which holds the oil, with no lid to contain the oil it had spurted out covering anything in its path. Feeling somewhat isolated with little hope of finding the correct replacement Ben plugged the hole with a tea towel and we set to googling the location of the nearest mechanic. Something we Pommes forget is the distances Australians are accustomed to travelling, with a huge road freight industry operating around the clock you are hard pushed to find yourself in a part of the country with little or no mechanical assistance. Just a kilometre through the town and we found a chap with an engine cap that would see us through to Adelaide where we could source the correct cap from Isuzu.
A Wild Koala in South Australia
Since leaving Melbourne we had mentally psyched ourselves up for the inevitable sighting of a kangaroo. I am pleased to say we were not disappointed and our second day of travelling produced one large and rather furry Kangaroo who jumped out in front of the speeding Winnebago. Lucky the distance between Winifred’s Kangaroo bar and the kangaroo itself was such that neither made contact with the other and both were free to continue travelling without injury.
We have also had a close encounter of the furry kind with some very relaxed Koalas who were hanging around on the side of a track down to the coast. Ben was thrilled that they obviously had previous modelling experience, they posed without effort for some brilliant pictures and hardly seemed to notice they were being filmed.