Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Lorne Day 4

Today we drove along the Great Ocean Road towards Port Campbell.

This photo is taken from the Cumberland River 7kms South West of Lorne.

A short drive further south west from Cumberland River is the spectacular ocean lookout at mount Defiance. The Great Ocean Road here hugs the cliffs and provides a magnificent balance for the sweep of the ocean. I like the effect that looking back into the early morning sun on the landscape has given in this photo taken from the Mount Defiance Lookout.

Artillery Rocks is located within the Angarhook-Lorne State Park on the Jamieson Creek.

We then came across the first evidence of the Christmas Day fires that ravaged the Great Ocean Road in 2015. Nearly one in three homes in Wye River were destroyed in the fire. Authorities revised the number of homes destroyed in Wye River and Separation Creek at 116.

The next town along is Kennett River were the fire stopped 400mtrs short of entering the town.

About 5km on the Apollo Bay side of Kennet River is the high lookout at Cape Patton. The lookout offers more spectacular ocean outlooks and an equally spectacular panorama of the long sweep of ocean beaches culminating in Apollo Bay, along with the impossibly green hills of the hinterland.

We stopped in Apollo Bay and found this beautiful carving outside of the Tourist Information Centre.
Deservingly known as paradise by the sea, Apollo Bay is midway along the majestic Great Ocean Road, in the shelter of Cape Otway and on the lowest slopes of the beautiful Otway ranges. Valleys just a few kilometres out of town are full of rainforest, streams, waterfalls and fireflies.

Located on a spectacular bend of the Great Ocean Road at Glenaire, Castle Cove is easily accessible with towering cliffs.

The small township of Princetown offers many natural features. Adjacent to the township itself, the Gellibrand River estuary and wetlands, particularly the reed beds on the western branch of the estuary, are significant for their rich bird and plant life. It was also way back in 1837 - well before most of the famous shipwrecks which dot the treacherous coast - that Joseph Tice Gellibrand staggered into an Aboriginal camp at the mouth of the beautiful river.

At Gibson Steps you are dwarfed by the enormity of the cliff line and offshore stacks. The sheer scale of natural sculpting evident at this site is humbling. In local vernacular Gog and Magog are the names given to the two offshore stacks that may be viewed from both the viewing platform and from beach level. These are not considered part of the 12 Apostles. The steps were carved into the cliff by local settler Hugh Gibson who worked on traditional access used by the original Kirrae Whurrong inhabitants.

The next stop being the famous 12 Apostles the massive limestone structures that tower 45 metres above the tempestuous Southern Ocean, leave you awe-struck in wonder at their size and beauty. Behind the eight remaining stacks (five have fallen since their discovery) are majestic cliffs, around 70 metres high.

Created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland beginning 10–20 million years ago, the stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs. The forces of nature has gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs which became arches and when they collapsed, rock islands as high as 45 metres were left isolated from the shore.

Looking back at Gog and Magog.

We then started our drive back to Lorne for our last night there. We called into Cape Otway Lighthouse the oldest surviving and most important lighthouse in mainland Australia, on the southernmost point of the Great Ocean Road region.

Built in 1848, the lighthouse perches on towering sea cliffs where Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean collide. Hundreds of lives were lost in shipwrecks off Cape Otway. Though it has been decommissioned, Cape Otway Lightstation was in service for well over a century and is Australia's oldest remaining light house.

For many thousands of 19th century migrants, who spent months travelling to Australia by ship, Cape Otway was their first sight of land after leaving Europe.

On our drive back to the highway from the lighthouse we were blessed with seeing several koalas in the wild.

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