Australia's Great Ocean Drive: Photo Valhalla

The Great Ocean Drive

There are just a handful of iconic scenic drives in this world. One, of course, is Highway 1 along California’s northern coast. Others include Ocean Drive in Acadia National Park, and the spectacular Road to Hana on the island of Maui. Add to that Australia’s Great Ocean Road, a jaw-dropping drive starting southwest of Melbourne and continuing west to Port Campbell and beyond.

As part of my current photo adventure (future photo travel workshop anyone?), I got to spend several days along Australia’s Great Ocean Road. It’s a marvel of engineering, with backdrop courtesy of Mother Nature.

The Great Ocean Road is easy to access from Melbourne. It’s a smooth highway jaunt (except for rush hours) along the west side of Melbourne with possibilities of joining the road at its far eastern section or at the more popular slightly more western start. Remember that everything is marked in kilometers, one of which is 6/10 of a mile, so the distance is not as far as it first appears. BTW, the Aussies drive on the left, so if you drive please do so leisurely until you’re acclimated. Actually, you’d have to drive leisurely.

Unparalleled Views

The scenery as you traverse this coast is jaw dropping. Fortunately, the Aussies have carved turnouts frequently along the route, so you can allow others to pass or just get out to admire the view.

Oh, God, what a view! The every twist and turn reveals towering cliffs beaten by ocean surf, white sand beaches that stretch for kilometers, sandstone rock formations standing by themselves in the ocean, having been carved from the mainland by the sea’s relentless wave action for eons. If you are a photographer, you’ll need to plan your agenda carefully, or else you’ll never make it past the first 20 kilometers.

Along the road are photographic side trips, images of fields, sheep grazing, even rain forests with huge, tree-like primitive ferns that give you the eerie feeling of walking the earth of 300,000,000 years ago. There are also several waterfalls that offer great photo opps.

Critiques & Comments Welcome

On my agenda were certain iconic shots- the 12 Apostles, various arches and the like- but also some less frequented sites where I could play with light and water motion. I’ve included a few of those shots here, but I haven’t been able to do any post-processing since I’m on the road. But, I think you’ll get the idea. In any event, I welcome your comments and critique.

And Your Favorite Scenic Drives?

Also, I’m curious to know what are your favorite scenic drives? Please share them with us here. Until my next blog, happy shooting!

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