Victoria II -- The Great Ocean Road


Please Click on the thumbnails to view pictures.

The Great Ocean Road refers to a section of world-famous scenic highway, some 270km, along the Southeastern shoreline of Victoria. Constructed between 1919 and 1932, it was mostly built by World War I veterans in memorial of their fellow soldiers killed in the war.

A lookout over the exit of a river. See the highway wraps tightly along the coastline. One side is the cyan ocean, on the other side are mountain ranges and forest.

A 130-km stretch of the highway from Moonlight Head to Cape Otway is known as the Shipwreck Coast. A long range of rugged limestone formations along the shore, together with frequent thick fog, rough sea, and the lack of lighthouses have made the coast a nightmare for mariners in the old days. Ever since European settler discovered Australia, the Shipwreck coast has engulfed a good number of great ships. In the words of the great explorer Captain Matthew Flinders, who circumnavigate the coastline of Australia, "I have seldom seen a more fearful section of coastline."

The most famous attraction along the Shipwreck coast is the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks off the shore in Port Campbell National Park. The name is a bit overstated because there are actually only nine of them. But what a scene they make!

A few km down the highway, about 10 minutes drive away is the Loch Ard Gorge. The name came from the Clipper Loch Ard, which was wrecked here in 1878, probably the most famous victim claimed by the coast. Only two of the 54 passengers and crews survived the wreck.

The Loch Ard Gorge is an excellent specimen of limestone erosion by the ocean and weather. Some were etched into arch like the Elephant Rock in the 1st pic; some form sharp vertical cliffs; some have 100-meter deep Blow Holes (last 3 pix) dug deep into the rocks. When waves compress air in the hole it makes a thunderous noise.

Closer look at the erosion.

More interesting limestone formations. In the 1st 2 pix is the London Arch, which used to be the London Bridge. In 1990, the longer section of the bridge collapsed, left two tourists stranded on the lone standing arch. They were later rescued by a helicopter. In the 3rd pic, the quiet little pool is the Grotto, a kind of sinkhole.

Bay of Islands Coastal Park covers a 32km-long coastal strip.

Random scenes along the Great Ocean Road.

Wildlife. An Oyster Catcher in the 1st 2 pix; a Splendid Fairy-wren in the 3rd pic; in the last pic is a Skink.

Proudly introducing the most annoying creature on the surface of the earth: flies in Australia. It's the most persistent being that we know of (for that honor it ties with mosquitoes in Alaska). Every spring and summer, millions, or maybe billions of them roam the coast. These flies, if they like a particular spot on your face, they'll devote their lives to settle on it more or less permanently, probably to lay their eggs. You shake your head, wave your hands, and even slap yourselves like a lunatic; they hover for a second, and fly right back, usually to the exact same spot... And that's not the worst thing that can happen; given the chance they'll bravely explore any cavity that's open around your skull, meaning your ears, your nostrils, your gapping mouth... now that's beyond annoying. Fortunately we came prepared. See that mosquito net Qing's wearing, it's the ultimate defensive weapon. Don't go to Australia without one; it'll save your life. In the next 2 pix these little devils are feeding the bugs hit by the car and lay eggs on the surface. When it rained and the eggs hatched; we saw millions of tiny maggots wiggling in every droplet of water. It was quite a sight.


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