When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

Great Ocean Road and Onwards

The Great Ocean Road was built by the survivors of WWI as a tribute to their fallen comrads. It was also a way to put the returning service men to work. It was done in sections taking about 20 years to build.

The Great Ocean Road follows the coast in the southeast part of the country. In the USA it would curve from South Carolina to Mississippi, if you cut across Florida. But the terrain is not nearly as flat as that part of the USA.

 

 

 

After leaving Ballarat and the Sovereign Hill fun park we headed south for a day. We stopped at a small town campground and the next morning was the Saturday farmer’s market. So we went.

We enjoy these local events and have a good time talking to the locals, eating local foods, in this case breakfast, and generally watching the fun, like harp and violin music or wool spinning. After an hour or so we headed out and a few kilometers down the road came upon the arch at the top of the page.

 

 

 

The Great Ocean road follows the water’s edge for most of its way. It only goes inland when the path is insurmountable. It in many places reminded us of the Oregon coast near home.

 

 

 

 

 

In other places it looked more like Big Sur in California with the road cut into the steeply sloped hillside.

When we took a break at a local info center we saw all of these hopeful Cockatoos watching a family from India have lunch out of the trunk (boot) of their car.

At other times of the day we were dodging rain clouds. During our stop at Stevensons Falls we wore our raincoats but didn’t need them after all.

 

Not all of our travels are boring, just look at the sign on the inside of the stall door in the men’s toilet. Who really needs to be told not to “stand on the toilet” or to “do it” on the floor? I got a good laugh at it but someone thought it was necessary and that was probably because users were actually doing this!

And then on the right is a warning sign for wildlife that has been modified by someone with a black marker and a sense of humor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cape Otway lighthouse is on the tip of a point that sticks out and caught unwary sailing ships. It was built in 1848 and used whale oil to create the light. In 1891 the top was replaced with a “modern” kerosene lamp and a Fresnel lens. In 1939 it got electricity from its own

 

 

generator. In 1994 it was replaced by a smaller (to the right of the tower) light that is completely automatic and no longer required a lighthouse keeper. The keeper lived in the right hand building and his assistant in the left. These were married men with families and life was tough at first. Supplies came by sea every 6 months and landed about 6 k. away (over 3 miles). Then the family hauled it all home by cart. A WWII radar bunker is near the hump in the left side of the picture. Both German and Japanese ships and subs patrolled this area.

 

One of the big attractions along the Great Ocean Road is the 12 Apostles. These are several (not 12) pieces of the coast that are standing free of the coast. Over time Mother Nature washes away the cliffs and creates the towers. She also washes away the base of the towers and collapses them too.

 

 

 

 

The best viewing platform was out the narrow point that someday will become its own tower. Look close and you can see the crowd all along the trail out to the tip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is out on the point looking back. This is a VERY popular site and draws the busloads of tourists, most of whom are Chinese. We saw tour buses with the name of the company written in large Chinese characters and, underneath, in very small English letters. They obviously are doing fine from just the Chinese visitors to Australia. We have seen these buses everywhere in Australia but not in the numbers as there are here and at the “Three Sisters /Scenic World” lookout.

 

 

 

This was just about the end of the Great Ocean Road and we headed to Ararat where the Gum San Chinese Heritage Center resides. This center is a museum of the work, art and culture that 85,000 Chinese miners brought to Australia, mainly in the southeast section of the country, including Sovereign Hill. Three quarters of them eventually went home or on to other countries to work. One group of 700 hopeful miners sailing on the same ship landed and was exploring this area, looking for gold in creeks and draws when they came upon the alluvial gold at this site. They tried to keep it a secret but buying supplies with gold nuggets gave it away, swamping the area with all kinds of miners. This turned out to be the richest gold site in Australian history and the only town based on a Chinese discovery of gold. The alluvial field was 8 km. (5 mi.) long, 200-300 feet wide and up to 70 feet deep allowing some 3,000 claims to be registered. The gold was being found up to 25 ounces per “wash” (the bucket of gravel brought up to be sifted).

Most of what they brought with them were mining tools but as they spent the years here they brought their culture and arts too. The Chinese had real problems with the other, European heritage, miners. The European countrymen controlled the government and the Chinese were heavily discriminated against, including a yearly head tax that no other group had to pay.

The gentleman in the opening picture for this section is Guan Di, the guardian of China and her people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next destination is the Grampian Mountains. The mountains are the remnants of old volcanoes. Shield volcanoes that spread out instead of towering high like the ones at home (Mt. St. Helens for example). This is one of the old calderas.

There are many hiking trails in these mountains. We took the one to MacKenzie falls. It was about 800 meters (½ mile) each way. Alongside the trail the trees and brush were recovering from a bush fire three year earlier that burned the entire area. These flowers were the prettiest of the several we saw in the recovering forest. And we haven’t shown you any flowers in a long time.

We are now one day away from our friend’s home in Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills. We will be staying with them through Christmas.