The Great Ocean Road starts at Torquay (about 100kms from Melbourne) and
winds its way for 180 kms along the south-western coast of Victoria,
It is one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. It winds its
ways around ragged cliffs, windswept beaches, and tall buffs and passes through
lush mountain rainforest and towering eucalyptus.
The Great Ocean Road was started in 1918 and completed during the Great
Depression as a public works project to give returned soldiers and unemployed
THE LOCH ARD
The 18 passengers and 36 crew on the iron-hulled clipper Loch Ard
had a party on the night of March 31, 1878, to celebrate their arrival in
Melbourne the next day after a three month voyage from England. But Captain
Gibb stayed on deck all night, worried by the thick mist that obscured the
horizon and Cape Otway light. At 4am the mist lifted and the lookout cried:
"Breakers ahead." Despite desperate attempts to turn the ship away -- and then
to hold it with its anchors -- it struck rocks. water flooded in, the masts
flailed against the high cliff face before crashing down and waves swept across
the decks, hampering attempts to get the lifeboats into the water. Only two
survived -- ship's apprentice Tom Pearce and Eva Carmichael, both aged 18.
Eva's parents and five siblings were lost. Tom drifted into the gorge where he
saw passenger Eva clinging to a mast -- he swam out, pulled her into a cave and
found some brandy in the wreckage to revive her. He climbed out of the gorge
and came upon two stockmen, and a rescue party was organised. But only four
bodies -- including Eva's mother and sister, were able to be recovered from the
treacherous seas and most of the ship's valuable cargo was lost or looted. Tom
Pearce became a national hero for his rescue of Eva, who soon returned to
A few days after the disaster a packing case washed up in
the gorge. It contained a life-sized Minton pottery peacock destined for the Melbourne Great Exhibition of
Some of the sights along the way are:
Bells Beach - a great place to go surfing and where the Bells
Surfing Classic is held each Easter.
Shipwreck Coast - where the wrecks of over 80 ships lie on
the ocean floor. Many ships carrying immigrants to the gold fields of Victoria
floundered in the treacherous seas.
Lorne - a popular sea side resort in Apollo Bay.
Port Campbell National Park - One of the most photographed
sections of the road where shear golden limestone cliffs and rock formations
withstand the buffeting of fierce seas
Twelve Apostles - there are only 10 left!
Port Fairy - a well preserved fishing village which was
settled by sealers and whalers back in the 1820s.