Monday, April 21, 2014

The Great Ocean Road

One of Australia’s best known tourist routes is the Great Ocean Road from southwest of Melbourne to Warrnambool along the southern coast. We left on Saturday morning of a holiday weekend and there was a lot of traffic. The first few towns we came to were packed—parking full up, people all over the towns and the beaches, traffic bumper-to-bumper. But the sights along the way were worth it. As we got further west, the traffic thinned out. The formations the waves have created along this coast are truly amazing. We got to Warrnambool soon after 4:00. As we came into town, we stopped at the first hotel, a Comfort Inn. The helpful desk clerk said they were full, but checked on the internet and found two possibilities, neither of which sounded very appealing. So we went to the town centre and the info desk. They were very helpful, and made a reservation for us at the Warrnambool Hotel. It turned out to be one of the typical older establishments that appear in nearly eery town. A bar and bistro on the ground floor, and rooms above. We did get a queen bedroom with ensuite bath; most of the rooms used shared baths in the hall. The noise from the bar was quite muted and didn’t bother us. It was  charming. We had supper in the bar, where they had a wood-fired pizza oven. Ours had tandoori chicken, spinach, snow peas, and onions on it.

The second day of driving turned out to be not nearly as scenic.We took the road that appeared to follow the shore, but the water was rarely in sight. We were fortunate to find a small coffee shop open in one of the towns at lunchtime. One thing that we’ve enjoyed is the excellent food at even the most humble coffee shops and cafes. 

We had made a reservation in Murray Bridge, just east of Adelaide, where we spent the night. After cruising around town trying to find an open restaurant, we finally located the old hotel and ate in the bistro.

We are finished with our major driving. We’ll be in Adelaide for the next two days and then fly to Sydney for our last adventure — a trip to Alice Springs.

Views along the way:

"London Bridge" which is now broken. Some tourists were stranded on the far side when it went down and had to be rescued by helicopter, according to someone we met.

That darker spot along the path is where it has washed away. The erosion is still going on.

A large group of riders crossing the road near a tourist camp.

The bar of the hotel where we stayed in Warrnambool. Lovely Tiffany-style lampshades and lots of character.

Tandoori chicken pizza!

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