Day Two of our Great Ocean Road adventure began in Apollo Bay.
You can read all about our first day’s journey from Melbourne to Apollo Bay HERE.
Our morning drive wound through thick forest canopies in lush Otway National Park.
This was the first time we’ve seen koalas in their natural habit, so we stopped several times to watch them sleep and eat eucalyptus leaves.
Cape Otway Lightstation is the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia.
Hundreds of lives were lost in shipwrecks off Cape Otway; a sad but fascinating history which led to the building of the Lightstation in 1848.
It is possible to climb to the observation deck at the top of the lighthouse, but since we had a long day of exploring ahead of us, we chose to just sneak-a-peek from a trail we found by accident.
There are countless places worth pulling over for along the Great Ocean Road, from ocean lookouts to rolling hills.
Castle Cove Lookout isn’t as famous as its neighbor Twelve Apostles, but it is definitely worth a stop.
The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks formed by erosion.
Interestingly, there have only ever been nine Apostles:
And currently there are only eight Apostles left as the ninth collapsed in July 2005 from the same waves that beautifully formed them.
Gibson Steps is a staircase leading down to the of beach where the Twelve (eight) Apostles are located.
Take the 86 steps down to be dwarfed by the enormity of the cliff line:
As well as the massive limestone stacks.
Plan on spending at least an hour exploring the Twelve Apostles and the beach below.
A couple of minutes drive from the Twelve Apostles is Loch Ard Gorge, named after the wreck of the Loch Ard in 1878.
You’ll want to take your time exploring this area and its collection of natural beauty featuring Razorback and Island Archway.
Razorback is another limestone stack formed from the constant force of wind and water erosion.
One can deduce he earned his name from the narrow, craggy, and jagged formations along his “back”.
The arch of Island Archway succumbed to the forceful elements and collapsed in June 2009:
The two unconnected rock pillars have been since renamed Tom and Eva, after the two teenage survivors of the Loch Ard shipwreck.
We continued our journey along “Shipwreck Coast” — suitably named as more than 50 ships have run aground or struck reefs and sunk — towards Port Campbell.
You can hike the Port Campbell Discovery Walk or simply stop at the lookout for a bird’s-eye view of the seaside village and bay.
The Arch is another interesting limestone rock formation:
It was naturally drilled by the powerful bulldozing waves of the Great Southern Ocean.
A popular stop along the Great Ocean Road is London Bridge:
The eroded limestone once formed a double bridge, but an unexpected collapse in 1990 left a single arch.
The formation is now known as the London Arch but I prefer London Bridge. I mean, we all know the song “London Bridge is Falling Down”, so . . .
The Bay of Martyrs is a 2.5 km long southwest facing bay accommodating numerous reefs and limestone stacks.
The shoreline is composed of brilliant red limestone bluffs:
And the water has an inviting sparkle in the afternoon.
Our final adventure for the day was a self-guided drive through Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve.
We mainly wanted to see the animals.
And if I were being honest, I really just wanted to see more koalas.
Port Fairy was one of Australia’s largest ports, catering to the whaling industry. Today the main industries are tourism and fishing.
Port Boutique Accommodation is located right in the heart of the historic township of Port Fairy, and that is where we chose to stay for the night.
We really enjoyed the location and the lovely courtyard right outside of our room.
Merrijig Inn is Victoria’s Oldest Inn. The Inn wasn’t available for the night we needed, but we were able to book a table for dinner and enjoyed an exceptional meal featuring local meat and produce.
After reading rave reviews about The Farmer’s Wife, we knew we needed to stop there for breakfast the next morning.
The restaurant is tucked away but look for the yellow bike on Sackville Street and you won’t miss it.
I think their use of quality ingredients is what sets them apart from other places in town.
The chocolate with the coffee was another great touch and sent us off well-fueled for Day One of our Southern Ocean Drive adventure.
Day Two Highlights
Drive from Apollo Bay to Port Fairy with stops: 223 km
- Cape Otway Lightstation
- Castle Cove Lookout
- Twelve Apostles
- Gibson Steps
- Loch Ard Gorge
- Island Archway
- Port Campbell Discovery Walk
- The Arch
- London Bridge
- Bay of Martyrs
- Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve