The Great Ocean DriveThere 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, 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 ViewsThe 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.