Written by Tom
11/03/2009 - 12/03/2009 24 °C
After crossing into the state of Victoria we came to Portland. Again we had no accommodation booked so we went to the tourist information building down by the harbour. These guys in Australia are so helpful!!! They have long lists of all the accommodation options in town. The lists are then split into types like hotels, self-catering or backpackers hostles with phone numbers, address, prices etc. We asked for something self-catering and they recommended a couple and even phoned them up for us to check availability. In the end we went for this house only a couple of minutes away, next to the town centre with views of the harbour. It was such a delightful & complete house (even had a spa bath) and it cost us altogether $130, so so cheap!
Once we were settled in we headed down to this national park just 20km away. We stopped at a secluded beach and after dipping our big toe in realised it was too cold to swim in (England sea temperature). Then it was on to the petrified forest which was pretty cool but whilst walking to and from the car park to the stone trees we were followed by a sweet (lost-looking dog). We then walked to a blow hole but the dog still followed. No-one else was around and nobody seemed to be looking for it. When we called the number on the collar the person knew nothing about any dog so we took it with us in the car.
On the way home we got a call back and the story became clear (the woman I had originally spoken to had left the dog with her mother and it had wandered off quite far away). We then met the mother along the road and all was sorted.
In the morning we drove to Port Fairy, which is a bit like Sidmouth, and walked around Griffith Island to the lighthouse.
Shortly after Port Fairy we detoured to Tower Hill Volcanic Craters for a steep walk along the edge of some extinct volcanoes.
Then we started on the Great Ocean Road (one of the most beautiful drives in the world...official) a road through rugged coastal scenery and rainforest. Our first stop was at the Bay of Islands. Unfortunately the weather was becoming stormy, so we didn't have the idyllic sun and blue sea we wanted, but it still made for an atmospheric photo. The funny thing was, due to all the static electricity in the air, Mum & Coralie's hair was standing up on end at all angles, like you see at school when you use the Van der Graph generator in physics class.
By the time we walked to the next feature (the Grotto) the rain was starting to come down. We therefore skipped a few sights along the road and headed straight to Port Campbell and checked into the Port 'O' Call Motel. Whilst Mum prepared a delicious cottage pie, Steve, C and I headed out to the 12 Apostles (tall, isolated rock stacks in the water) for sunset armed with a box of red wine.
Luckily for us the clouds cleared a bit and we got the most beautiful sunset. It began with rays of sunlight behind low lying cloud, turning to red skies lighting up the apostles and ended up with a moody, angry fire-bursting sky.