Day 6: The Great Ocean Road

Originally, I wasn't planning on doing the Great Ocean Road.  Not that I didn't want to, but I had a ton of other things planned, and so this just didn't make it in the schedule.  As the time got closer and closer, I read more and more about Melbourne, and I realized this was probably something I really wanted to do.  I just couldn't figure out how.  Then my market tour was changed, and some how it freed up a day.  As soon as I realized I had a free day, I booked a bus trip and was on my way down the Great Ocean Road.
The Great Ocean Road is a rugged, beautiful, winding coastline heading west from just outside Melbourne.  The road is windy and there are some amazing lookout points.

Our day started with a quick stop for morning tea in the town of Anglesea. 
 I hadn't had breakfast yet, so I found a little bakery to get a bite to eat.
Everything looked and smelled so good.
In the end, I picked this apple cinnamon roll.  It was delicious!
The bus driver served tea, crackers and Vegemite, which is a classic (traditional) Australian spread.  Sorry, I didn't try any at that time, but I have had it before, although I can't remember what it tastes like.
He also served this cake, which is apparently a classic treat around here.  It was cake rolled in chocolate and then coconut.  It's called Lamington cake.
After morning tea, we headed off to our first lookout point.  Gorgeous!
What was special here was that a whale was spotted, so we sort of hurried along to get here before the whale moved along.  It is tough to see, but that little thing sticking out of the water is the tail from that whale.  It was a mother and it's calf was just along side it. 
Here is another picture from that lookout spot, in the other direction.
As we drove along the coast, I took some pictures of the ocean.  This is the furthest I have ever been south so I was busy being mesmerized by the sights of the ocean running along the south of the country.  It is crazy that somewhere off in the distance is Antarctica.
Then the driver pointed out this house.  Have you seen this before?  Actually, I have.  And it was recently too.  I just saw it on an episode of an extreme homes show.  This home sits on top of a pole.  I didn't realize this was in Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road, but I was definitely excited to see this house.
Alright, here I am at the official start of the Great Ocean Road.
That arch where I am standing in front of in the picture above is known as the Memorial Arch.
Next up are some pictures of the beach and coastline as we made our stops along the way.

Me on the beach!
I love this sign!  Obviously it is funny yo me.  We drive this way in Japan too, so I would not be confused, but apparently many tourists get confused.  They stop along the way, get drawn in by the beauty, chat with their friends, and then pull out heading down the wrong side of the road.  Given the curvy nature of this road, that is not a good thing!  Hence, the very helpful signs along the way.
More beautiful pictures of the coastline.

Don't forget that it is winter in Australia, so therefore a fleece jacket is really necessary.  Actually, I should mention that this day happened to be the first day of Spring, so it the weather was getting a little better.

We stopped in the small beach town of Apollo Bay along the way for lunch.  There was no set plan, so I just checked the menus out at a few places and settled on Sandy Feet.
I picked the smoked salmon omelet with cream cheese, spinach and topped with chia seeds.
After lunch I walked along the beach.
Then I checked out the park area.
And then (no surprise here) I stopped off at the local ice cream shop.
I enjoyed a small cup of the cookie dough gelato.
Then it was back on the bus for some more driving along the great ocean road.  I couldn't resist taking a picture of this sign.  Love it!
Next up was a visit to the Twelve Apostles.  All I can say is this is some of the most breath taking views, probably anywhere around.  I am sure many people would agree (and perhaps some may disagree).
There are not 12 of these anymore, but there are still quite a few of the rock pieces sticking out in the water.  They are made from a soft stone, so the erosion quickly does it's work, changing the landscape and altering what these look like.

Another sign that I could not resist taking a picture of.  Thankfully, no one in our group had any issues.

As you can probably tell, I just couldn't stop taking pictures here.
Then they took us to Gibson Steps so that we could walk down onto the beach area by the Twelve Apostles.
These are Gibson Steps, which lead down onto the beach area.  There are quite a few steps to make your way down, but definitely worth it.
Here is a nice waterfall that was along the rock wall by the steps.
The last major stop along the way was Loch Ard Gorge.  There was a shipwreck here many years ago, and there were 2 survivors, both around 17 years old.  They were in this area, which served as some protection from the open water, but it was not easy to get out.  The boy climbed out and brought back help to pull the girl out later.
It's another very beautiful area.

I went down on the beach here too.  So beautiful here!
There were also 2 other look out points here, so I made sure to check those out as well before heading back to the bus.

Absolutely beautiful!  I am so glad I was able to fit this trip in to my schedule.  This is one trip not to miss out on.

By the time I got back in to Melbourne it was late and I still had some work to do.  I also knew I needed to eat something for dinner.  I needed some actual food, not just snacks.  Plus, my internet in the hotel was acting up and taking forever to open pages (it should not take 20 minutes to open gmail), so I knew it was time to give up and head to China Town.  I was only staying a few blocks away, so it was the perfect spot to go.  Not to mention Chinatown stays open late. 

I had Chinese the other day, so I thought Thai would be perfect.  I stopped in to try Lemon Bistro.  
I guess I was hungrier than I thought because I realized I wanted to order one of everything on the menu.  Instead of going too crazy, I ordered some vegetable spring rolls to start.  These were really good.
Then I went with the shrimp pad Thai for my main meal.  It was good, but I definitely couldn't finish eating it all.  I was glad I made it over to Chinatown one more time for a nice meal.  It was a nice way to end the night, and then I was able to go back and do some work without my stomach making noises.
QUESTIONS:  Have you ever travelled on the Great Ocean Road?  Have you seen that house on a pole before?  What is your favorite scenic spot?

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