The Twelve Apostles were breathtaking. The rest of the Great Ocean Road? Uninspiring. Before I go any further, I need to insert some caveats to quell the howls of protest from the many staunch lovers of the GOR.
First off, we did the GOR in a ridiculously short amount of time. This travel blogger took two weeks to explore GOR, while we did the whole thing in under 24 hours, something every writer I read begged us not to do.
Second, as the driver I didn't get to see as much, as this blogger talks about.
Third, I was driving this:
Which meant that driving was often more fun than looking at the scenery. Looking at the scenery was downright inadvisable at times, as I enjoyed the fun curves and high speed limits of the GOR. Don't get your self-righteous scold face on: the Audi A4 had excellent handling and stuck to my lane very nicely around the curves; I never made any dangerous, blind-corner departures from my lane.
Fourth and most importantly, the short amount of time meant we skipped three things I wish we could have visited: Loch Ard, London Bridge, and The Arch. Reviewing other people's pictures of those places again tonight make me really wish we could have spent the next day doing that instead of sitting at the airport, as you'll see in tomorrow's post.
Tellingly my favorite photos of "the Great Ocean Road" (besides 12 Apostles) were not actually on the Great Ocean Road, they were when we cut across the countryside on our way to Lethbridge Airport, when we found some nice sheep and an amazing tree tunnel:
The lamb above made a short-lived attempt to nurse, but its mum was having none of it as she preferred to glare warily at the strangers intruding at the edge of her pasture. Sheep are very easily frightened creatures. I've noted in frustration that 90% of the time I try to photograph sheep, all I get are photos of sheep posteriors as they quickly trot away from me.
While these sheep initially trotted away, when they had reached a seemingly safe distance, their curiosity overcame their fear and they turned to watch us.
Bottom line on the Great Ocean Road IMO: it is a beautiful, fun stretch of highway on the way to the Twelve Apostles. Definitely take the extra time to take the coast route. Take more time than we did, make sure you know every spot you want to hit and meticulously plan to hit them. But I bet you'll cut across the peninsula on the way back to Melbourne.