Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Kookaburra Cottages

In my previous post on the Great Ocean Road (click here to visit), I mentioned the wonderful cottages where we stayed in Apollo Bay. We had one of the front rooms looking out to a little private garden and the sea. I think the photos pretty much speak for themselves. It really is a magical place.

Our veranda

Summer might have been just round the corner, but the weather was bleak. Both Jayne and I opted for Michelin Man style gear.

Was this a sit-in protest by the local cockatoos to have the cottages renamed Cockatoo Cottages? There were certainly more cockatoos than kookaburras on our visit.

We both clambered up the hill to the first of a series of lookouts.

The cottages are home to more than 60 Shetland ponies.

The little chestnut foal was only about 5 days old and the dark one, even younger.

Cuteness overload!

Jayne purposefully striding uphill to the most impressive lookout.

Inspiration for the throne in Game of Thrones??

The babies were snoozing on our way back.

Was tickled pink to see this little guy waddling determinedly towards the fence. Earlier on the walk, I had come almost nose-to-nose with a fox - too stunned to take a photo. They are the very devil for Australian wildlife, but still so beautiful.

An echidna or spiny anteater.

The vegetable garden

Inside the reception area

The cottages are called Kookaburra Cottages and are on the Great Ocean Road on the Melbourne side of Apollo Bay (and you can like them on Facebook).

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Great Ocean Road

I am home on leave from work at the moment, and since I have been so remiss with my blogging this year, it is providing the perfect opportunity to catch up. A few posts back I shared memories of my visit to Wilsons Promontory with my friend Jayne late last spring. Here is a little more of our journey, along the south coast of Victoria, via the famous Great Ocean Road.

We took the car ferry from Sorrento on the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay across to Queenscliff, the town where I spent my early childhood. I still love it so much; it is always a joy to visit. The narrow entrance to the Bay is known as The Rip and is absolutely treacherous. In the photo below, you can see the lifeboat shed on the jetty and, in the distance, Queenscliff's two lighthouses: a white one near the tip of the point and a black (bluestone) one above the lifeboat shed. Our family store was directly behind the impressive building with the tower to the far right (the Ozone Hotel).

The Great Ocean Road itself starts a little further along the coast at the surfing mecca of Torquay. The road is Australian National Heritage listed and was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932. It stretches for 151 miles/243 km of spectacular coastal scenery.

We pulled in for a leg stretch and wander at Cumberland River Holiday Park. If we hadn't been short of time, this would have made a wonderful stop-over.

Instead, we continued onwards to Apollo Bay for the night.

Our overnight destination, Apollo Bay, where we stayed in such a beautiful B&B it warrants its own blog post! 

Some of the locals in Apollo Bay

The next morning we continued our drive east to Cape Otway National Park, where Jayne was able to see some true blue Aussies up close - koalas.

And being the tail end of Spring, there were beautiful babies to see in the surrounding countryside.

The stretch of coastline that is home to the famous Twelve Apostles is known as the Shipwreck Coast. Hundreds of ships fell victim to the treacherous conditions during the 1800s. One of the most famous was the Loch Aird, which gives its name to the gorge where it came to grief. 

Of 54 passengers and crew, just two teenagers survived, a young Irish girl who was emigrating with her family and the ship's apprentice, fifteen-year old Tom Pearce, who climbed out of the gorge to raise the alarm.

After continuing on to the town of Port Campbell, it was time to head home, and to make sure we caught the last ferry from Queenscliff back to Sorrento, we opted for the inland route, which still offered up lots of glorious rural scenery.

Next post, I'll share my impressions of the wonderful B&B where we stayed at Apollo Bay.


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