The Great Ocean Road – Tuesday 3rd January 2012


So, yes, we did dawdle over breakfast at Quamby Homestead. First time in ages that we were made such a fuss of. Thank you William and Ailsa. But we finally did get going.

I’d seen a sign for Tower Hill Nature Reserve on the route here. The guidebook said if we did not see a koala here, we needed to see the optician. So…

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Our first view of Tower Hill was incredible. The usual ‘lookout’ sign, a lay-by and a few steps between a curtain of road side trees, reveals this prehistoric panorama. Far below less a massive lake, which appears shallow and clear. Yellow ochre patches of week pattern the lake and the surface is covered with patterns of thousands of black dots.

Over your head 20 or more butterfly dance in pairs or trios. In the mid-distance 50 dragon fly hover.

On the far side of the volcanic blast crater, the trees wrap the hillside. But the body of water! It’s massive! Still, massive, reflectingly peaceful and this commands your attention. Those thousands of dots turn out to be ducks! Brown, simple but overwhelming in number. In addition, there are black swan and white egret punctuating the setting.
I can’t wait to get in!

A couple with a motor home pull up and share their map – leading to a conversation about mutual journeys, families, retirement. They show us the way to the entrance.

Once in the reserve, a single road leads us round and almost the first thing we saw was a pair of emu.

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One of which had no qualms about coming right up to the open window. Sadly, I felt compelled to close the window rather than take its photo!

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We walked up the side of the crater, whilst it was only 35 degrees, that’s enough to break into a sweat, yet the geology of the place makes it so worth while.
We met emu, but a koala? We need to visit an optician!

The Great Ocean Road follows a particular rock formation in beautiful tans, coffee, creams, caramel and burnt sienna limestone. It has eroded into amazing patterns.

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It rises up exhibiting its layers as we follow a spectacular cliff top forming a massive plain above.

All along the Great Ocean Road, literally every half mile of so, look outs allow you to pull up, get out and marvel. A series of stacks, arches, broken arches and doors build up your anticipation. We were lucky because we are traveling East towards the famous 12 Apostles landmark, so our expectation was built gradually and each site superseded the last.

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Not only is it an incredible distance of similar geology but the quality of colours, their balance, intensity and clarity are amazing.

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At the end of the day we shared a bottle of wine on the porch of our motel and had a long chat with the owner who had spent the previous three months sorting out his new acquisition. We left him to wander down the street away from the street lights and marvel at the stars.

It really is a wonderful world.

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7 thoughts on “The Great Ocean Road – Tuesday 3rd January 2012

    • Thank you for your comments. There such classic shots, aren’t they’ EMarie. You can’t help but try to capture them for yourself. While I was there I kept saying, “It’s just like the guidebook!”

    • Thank you, Shelley. I love seeing geology when it is this beautiful! I hope to take more shots of our wonderful Earth when I go to New Zealand this week. I’ll be there for two months so I should see some wonderful things. Good to know you!

  1. Lovely pictures, thank you, and very nice to meet another Old Marion!

    I’ve never seenTower Hill, but I found your photo amazing, because it is so close to the Eugene von Guerard painting of the same place which I saw at the Queensland Art Gallery a couple of days ago. There’s a copy of the picture here – http://qag.qld.gov.au/exhibitions/current/eugene_von_guerard_nature_revealed

    According to the caption, the area became degraded and was recently cleaned up – and they used the EvG painting as a reference for their plantings!

    • Thank you so much for finding this information. When we were looking at the scene, there was a copy of this painting on the information board. But when we got home, neither John nor I could remember the artist. Just as you said, they used the painting to re-establish the environment, because it was painted with such clear detail, they could see exactly which plants to put where.
      I’m so pleased to make your acquaintance and to learn of our similarities in name and age group.

  2. Pingback: One year of retirement and counting! | A Londoner In Dorset

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