Road Trip! Day 7 – Cape Otway – 12 Apostles – Loch Ard Gorge

The 12 Apostles

It was time to move on again today, so we bid a sad farewell to our beloved Cape Otway Lightstation and headed off for Port Campbell – but not without stopping in the Koala forest again – who could resist them? Certainly not us! We saw maybe six koalas in two stops before getting back on to the Great Ocean Road.

As we drove along the windy Great Ocean Road, it started to head inland and straighten out, and we could keep more of a steady pace – but the views weren’t as good as they had been, with the ocean being further over, and much of the time now out of sight. Still, there were one or two great lookouts to see.

I popped in a DVD –  the story of the sinking of the Loch Ard ship that I had bought it in the Cape Otway Lightstation souvenir shop. We listened to the story of the Loch Ard, shipwrecked in 1878. What calamity as the huge ship went down, taking all on board with her apart from two amazing survival stories – a young lady and man – and we were going to see where it all happened today!

Just in case you were wondering...if you fall, you die! - a 12 Apostles sign

Just in case you were wondering…if you fall, you die! – a 12 Apostles sign

But first there were other sights to see. After around fifty minutes from Cape Otway we pulled into the Gibson Steps lookout – at last, here were the 12 Apostles! Or at least, two of them. We took a few pics of these enormous rock formations, and I took note that here there were a set of steps down to the beach – we might come back here tomorrow if we could find accommodation nearby.

We headed off again, and just a few hundred metres down the road pulled into the official 12 Apostles visitors centre. There’s a small kiosk here, and from here you can follow what is now a very civilised, wide thoroughfare under the road to the viewing decks and walkways high up, looking over the 12 Apostles – spectacular! Here it was swarming with international tourists – where did they all come from all of a sudden?!

Here’s a very quick look at the 12 Apostles…

We waited for our opportunity to take our pictures with the huge Apostles behind, and after walking right around to the promontory where you could also view the other two Apostles on the other side, I noticed that down at their separate beach must be where the Gibson Steps lead to.

The main 12 Apostles beach now appears to be closed to all. There seems to be several reasons, the most common that this protects the colony of penguins living there, and the other that the cliffs have just become too unstable for the descent onto the beach. Either way, that beach was deserted.

We went back to the car and moved on to the much-awaited Loch Ard Gorge – site of the sinking of the Loch Ard ship in 1878. We walked out to the sea view look outs to see the churning waves hitting the rocks – it was easy to imagine how a ship could get into awful trouble here.

The Loch Ard Gorge where the two survivors sheltered

The Loch Ard Gorge where the two survivors sheltered

Then we walked back and went up the path for the descent down into the Gorge itself, where the shipwrecked survivors had ended up taking refuge. At the bottom we found a beautiful sandy beach, protected on three sides – and a big snake lying on the sand. Quite alive, and almost certainly a tiger snake! We made a quiet retreat back up the stairs, but then looked down to watch tourist after tourist go way too close to the large and sleepy looking snake to snap pictures of themselves with it! Suicide selfie, anyone?! Luckily this snake didn’t move a muscle.

A silly selfie? We edited this photo to protect their identities

A silly selfie? We edited this photo to protect their identities

We walked back to the car and headed a bit further along to the graveyard where the only four bodies recoverable from the Loch Ard wreck lay buried – two of which were the mother and sister of the girl who survived. The other two, two men that had clung to life with her, for a time, before being swept away. All so tragic.

Port Campbell is very small but charming!

Port Campbell is very small but charming!

We left for Port Campbell, a ten minute drive to this sleepy little village set back in a protected cove. Here were several Motels, small shops and cafes, and it is here that we will stay the night at the SouthernOcean Motor Inn.

The SouthernOcean Motor Inn ($175 per night for a family of four) is your basic Motor Inn – it has everything needed to get back on the road clean, refreshed and ready to go! The shower was a bit temperamental, but there was a hairdryer, and our connecting rooms had plenty of space and were nice and clean and warm, with tea and coffee making facilities and breakfast crockery so that we could self-cater again – great! There was a small laundrette (oh bliss – clean clothes again!) and in the room, an iron.

A nice view down to the ocean from the Southernocean Inn

A nice view down to the ocean from the Southernocean Inn

The view from our room was straight down to the beach, which was very nice, and off to the left of the Motel were some dirt tracks to lookouts with views of the cliffs at the entrance to the Port – the sight of waves crashing into cliffs is always a spectacular one!

Once we got settled in I took the kids for a paddle at Port Campbell beach. This is a great kids beach, as the waves aren’t too high, but high enough to thrill the kids. We had a lovely afternoon at Port Campbell beach – what a perfect way to end the day!

Port Campbell beach is great for kids

Port Campbell beach is great for kids

Today’s route…

You can read our Road Trip! daily posts here:

Read the Road Trip! Day 1 blog here  -Canberra to Gundagai to Wangaratta
Read the Road Trip! Day 2 blog here – Wangaratta to Glenrowan to Aireys Inlet
Read the Road Trip! Day 3 blog here – Aireys Inlet to Lorne
Read the Road Trip! Day 4 blog here – Lorne
Read the Road Trip! Day 5 blog here – Lorne to Apollo Bay to Cape Otway
Read the Road Trip! Day 6 blog here – Cape Otway
Read the Road Trip! Day 7 blog here – Cape Otway to 12 Apostles to Port Campbell
Read the Road Trip! Day 8 blog here – Port Campbell to Warrnambool to Port Fairy
Read the Road Trip! Day 9 blog here – Hearn’s Beach & Port Fairy
Read the Road Trip! Day 10 blog here – Port Fairy to Warrnambool to Ballarat
Read the Road Trip! Day 11 blog here – Sovereign Hill gold mining village, Ballarat
Read the Road Trip! Day 12 blog here – Ballarat and the road home…

Tomorrow we will be moving on down the Great Ocean Road again…we’ll check in with you then!

Have you travelled (or want to) travel to Cape Otway, Port Campbell or along the Great Ocean Road with your family? Comment here!

 

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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at barbara@letsgomum.com.au!
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