I hadn’t been across to the west of Victoria for twenty years. The last time, I was in between houses. I had left one and had space before getting into the new one, so to fill in the time, I took the Great Ocean Road and then the Princes Highway across to Adelaide, coming back inland. It was an interesting experience: no address, no mobile phone at the time; floating free.
I decided it was time for another look at the gorgeous Port Campbell National Park and, further along, the Bay of Islands Coastal Park. This time I took the Princes Highway from Melbourne through to Camperdown to avoid the longer ocean road and cut down to Port Campbell.
The rock stacks and islands are formed by a combination of waves and winds from the Southern Ocean battering the coast, and seeping rainwater, eroding the soft limestone. There are now only seven of the twelve Apostles left.
I was glad I was looking down as I walked back along the path because at one stage I found myself two paces from a snake. We looked at each other for a couple of seconds, then it decided it would be better off back in the grass. By the time I’d got my camera out, it was gone.
I decided against Loch Ard Gorge, being a bit short of time (it was a five-hour drive from the other side of Melbourne), and having seen it last time. It’s the spot of the Loch Ard shipwreck, and the gorge was the place of an amazing tale of survival. Not to be missed if you haven’t been there.
I headed back to Port Campbell where I was staying for the night in the new backpackers hostel.
It was very quiet and peaceful, sitting on a bench looking out to sea after a very long day on the road. This little guy sat with me for about a quarter of an hour. He was probably patiently waiting for a chance at some food but I liked to think we both enjoyed the company.
In the morning, I headed west to what I remember as my favourite place along the coast, The Bay of Islands. I stopped at various spots along the way.
London Bridge has a good story to it. Originally a double arch, the inner arch collapsed in 1989, leaving two people stranded on the outer side. They had to wait there for a helicopter to come and rescue them.
I stopped for coffee at Peterborough Antiques and Art in Macs Street, Peterborough, an absolutely beautiful little shop. Really worth a look if you’re passing through Peterborough. Re-energised, I headed for the Bay of Islands.
From there, I drove along to the rural city of Warrnambool, which I’ll leave for next time.