Well that was an entertaining evening. The temperature dropped significantly overnight and we were a bit chilly, in fact I've not been this cold for months!! I did not order cold weather when we planned the trip, it is supposed to be high 20's to mid 30's for the duration. You may recall the bed situation wasn't going particularily well, overnight it deteriorated dramatically when we moved and it all collapsed. Being distinctly unamused with the situation and really cold to boot, it's fair to say there is now a distinct lack of love for the camper life. While Si was showering i was nosing around in the overhead bunk, and found some nice squishy looking cushions that i've ear marked for the bed tonight. It wasn't very comfortable at all last night!!! Along with the cushions, I found some more bed slats, that actually fit the gaps. What the woman in the depot was on about with the others is anyones guess. We don't even know where they go or what purpose they have. All being well tonight should be a lot more comfortable.
I mentioned that is was cold too, well the guy in the tent next to us was wearing a bobblehat and a massive puffa coat, that's exactly how cold it was! We aren't in possession of such things, so had to go heavy on the layers after the shower this morning. By the time I'd loosened up under the boiling water and got back to the camper, it was all paccked away and we were ready to go. Si was just chatting to the guy next door, who was saying they pitched their tent that particular way last night as it was out of he wind direction. During the night the wind changed direction, and was blowing right into the tent. They must have been freezing, although two adults and 6 kids would have kept each other warm i think.
Keen to get going we drove out of the campsite and back onto the Ocean Road. Just five minutes away, we pulled into the Twelve Apostles. I was a little confused as we were required to turn right off the highway and I knew the Apostles were on the left. It all became clear when we got to the carpark. There, along with a huge amount of parking was an underpass and a Mildred friendly path to the viewing points. The Appostles are known as stacks in geographical terms and were origionally called the sow and piglets. A bright spark in the 60's thought by renaming them the apostles they may invite more tourists to the area. Since the Apostles come in a dozen the twelve was added on later. The cliffs are soft limestone, and as suvh they are vilnerable to the waves and are constantly erroding. one 70 metre stack crashed into the sea in 2005 and the Island Archway lost an arch in 2009. At our time of arrival at the twelve apsotles, it was overcast, and grey, a few minutes before leaving the sun came out and highlighted the Apostles in the most spectacular fashion. I was so chuffed because the photos turned out pretty good.
A few minutes down the road from the Apostles is Loch Ard Gorge. This is where one of the shipwreck coasts most famous tales unfolded. An Iron Clipper, The Loch Ard succumbed to a watery grave and it's only two survivors managed to make it to shore in this little cove. At one time you could go down to the beach. Unfortunately now, due to cliff collapses, its deemed too dangerous now so you can only go to the view point, which probably gives a much better photo. There are other paths and walks from the Gorge to the scenic beach and cave the pair shelteredin, a cemetary, blow hole and another rugged beach. We didn't do any of those obviously, but for the normal person I imagine they would be really nice to walk.
After visiting these two spectacular speciimins of mother nature we called into Port Campbell for a brew. Its a thriving little place, with cafes galore, the one we picked was aggod choice I think because not only did the park rangers come in for the morning drinks so did the local police. That's got to be a sign of good brew, and to give cretit where it's due, it was good. Si has a bacon and egg breakfast pie. which he assured me was very nice. The town has once of the few safe swimming beahes along the shipwreck coast, with gentle waters and golden sands. Not wanting to waste the sunshine, we carried on our chosen route to our next stop off. London Bridge.
When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth died, we were told by the media that London Bridge was down. Sadly the Great Ocean Road's London Bridge is down too. The double arched rock platform that was linked to the mainland, collapsed into the ocean in 1990. Amusingly, (well it is amusing to me) two tourists were trapped on the newest Island in the world and had to be rescued by helicopter. I guess it would have been a little bit scary being trapped there but holy cow what an experience to tell the grand kids! Even though London Bridge is only half of what it used to be its still pretty impressive, but i can't help but wonder, how long it will remain there stuck out in the ocean, being battered relentlessly by the waves.
There are a few more incredible things to see along the way, but unfortunately they aren't accessible really. So factoring in the changing weather from bright sunshine to pouring rain, we decided to move on to Warrnambool.. Wow if all cities could be like that, I would happily live in one, nicely spaced out, old buildings, lots of beaches, tree lined streets and public gardens. Its a former Whaling and sealing station, and during the 19th century the whales were being hunted with harpoons. Today the whales are a huge tourist attraction between May and September with the Southern right Whales heading from Antarctica to the warmer waters . The whales can be spotted from Portland to Anglesea, but in Warrnambool they use the waters as a nursery. There is a platform on the beach and a website you can access to see if the whales are about. At the right time of course!
Once we'd fuelled up in Warrnambool, we drove the short distance to Port Fairy (honestly, thats what its called) I mean where else were we going to spend the night? In 2012 it was voted as the worlds most liveable small community. I can definately see why that was, with several lovely beaches, surfing, fishing, wildlife and a chilled out vibe going on, I could happily live there. Maybe not at the few million dollar price tags on the houses, but perhaps a tent or something? In 1833 it was established as a whaling and sealing station and it has an old maritime charm about it. Whitewashed cottages, bluestone and sandstone buildings and fishing boats galore. In the 1850's the towns Port was one of the busiest in Australia, and the main departure point for ships heading for England loaded with wool, gold and wheat. The wharf today is a stunning marina, with stunning yachts and weather worn fishing boats moored. A new fish and chip restaraunt has opened up in the Marina and after checking on trip advisor we thought we'd get some lunch there. When we got there, we took a walk up the marina, the boats are really stunning, the wharf is calm and paddleboarders were gliding up and down it. Such a pretty little place, grassy green banks and unusual boutique hotels and apartments for rent along the board walk. Moored up was a lady selling crayfish from a bucket, along with all sorts of other fishy delights. Initially I thought she was cooking them on the boat but the only things instantly edible were prawns and oysters. Not fancying that, we checked the menu at the restraunt out. Whilst it was all very fishyfied, it was also astronomically priced. Generally we don't mind paying for tidy food, but we couldn't justify the prices for what was basically fish and chips. Back to trip advisor which gave rave reviews about The Hub. A council run place with an impressive menu. Si had the fish platter and it was enormous and I had veg fritatta and salad. I failed to finish mine and had to ask for a box to take the left overs back to the van in. For a fraction of the price of the Wharf, we had three meals essentially and helped the local community. Being a Sunday, we were surprised to see that just about everything was open, even a fabric shop, which you will be shocked to discover I didn't go in, no matter how much I wanted to!! There was music playing throught the speakers on a kind of bandstand and people were just lying on the grass, chilling out, eating icecream, having picnics in the sunshine. We found another charity shop, and looked for shorts for Si but failed to find any there. After seeing all the scrummy looking eating places, we decided before leaving, that we are going back for breakfast in the morning and to have another look around.
Our campsite was 800 metres away from the main centre of the town and has beach access. The sun was superb and although it would have been nice to have a few hours on the beach, I wanted to update the blog using the sites WiFi. My aim is to keep it that way, as much as possible over the next two weeks in the campervan. We'll see if I can manage it. The site is spotless, the facilities smell great and you would never guess that that its a massive site. We are only here one night and tomorrow are moving on back towards Geelong. There are loads of kids running around and riding bikes without much in the way of road sense. Our pitch is on Pea Soup Road, which amuses me greatly. It's always the little things in life isn't it??
We are hoping for a better night tonight, now we have the correct bed slats. There is a family next to us, the kids are running around doing kid stuff, parents are sat in bobble hats and puffa coats. Admittedly we are in the van but we've not found it cold to that extreme yet. Maybe, they know something we don't and are laughing at us, well me, in my little vest top and shorts! The sun is out therefore it is hot. The end. It is not bobble hat weather by any stretch of the imagination!!