Great Ocean Road or Ayers Road Please Vote!!!

Jan 27th, 2004, 12:20 PM
  #1  
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Great Ocean Road or Ayers Road Please Vote!!!

Please cast your vote with either:

Great Ocean Road

or

Ayers Rock



Please help us decide between traveling and staying along the Great Ocean Road for a couple of nights or going to Ayers Rock.

We are travelling in January 05 and only have time to do only one as our internary has Syndey for New Year then Melbourne (family) then either GOR or AR then a flight up to Cairns - Palm Cove to go Scuba diving then home (can't have any more leave!!)

Any suggestions would be most helpful

or if not just please vote - highest vote by Saturday wins!!!! (if this works)!!!!

all the best

B
British is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 01:01 PM
  #2  
 
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I love the GOR, and it should be gorgeous in January. That said, the GOR is not something I regard as so uniquely Australian -- at least not when it's compared with Uluru / Ayers Rock. Although Uluru will be hotter than hell in January, perhaps you might decide in favour of Uluru.

Another thing to think about is combining family time and GOR. Maybe it doesn't have to be either / or. Perhaps it can be both / and. I'm thinking that maybe your Melbourne rellies -- if they can get time off work or if you can do it on a weekend -- can do a one day drive along the GOR route with you. You might not be able to do the entire GOR which, from Melbourne, is a 2 day outing. However, if you have only 1 day you can drive from Melbourne to Lorne and back again, which allows you to see part of the GOR and makes for a delightful outing.

Hope you have enough time in Far North Queensland that if one day's weather is unsuitable for going out to the Great Barrier Reef, you can substitute a visit to the tropical rainforest or some such activity and postpone the GBR till the weather cooperates. I say that because The Wet will be full on during January.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 01:10 PM
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British - I'd have to say Ayers Rock but unless you absolutely love the heat, make it GOR. It was over 40C out at the Rock the other day - January is hottest month in most of Oz.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 01:49 PM
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i would vote for ayers rock as well. i went in january 01 and it was really hot but it was well worth seeing. just doing the base walk was amazing. make sure you drink lots of water!

if you are pressed for time, know that there are flights in and out of ayers rock too, which bypasses traveling from alice springs.

also agree with judy re. the wet in queensland. try not to book a gbr boat trip ahead of time. wait until you arrive, then head to the tourist info desk and ask how the water conditions are, then book accordingly. but if you are only scuba diving, i'm not sure if this would still apply. probably just for the ride out to the reef. anything over 18 knots will be a bumpy ride out (about 1.5 hours).

have a great time!
quimbymoy is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 09:04 PM
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Ayers Rock in January will be HOT - today it is 41 degrees celcius there. It certainly won't be suitable weather for walking and sightseeing. I'd vote for the Great Ocean Road. The weather may still be warm but you will get the breezes off the ocean and be able to have a swim along the way.
marg is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 02:01 AM
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Hi British,

Well I believe you will have a more enjoyable time on the GOR in January.

I live in Alice Springs and unless you are used to extremely hot temperatures you will not enjoy your time at Ayres Rock in January. We have been having over 40 degree celcius daytime temps for the last few weeks and it has rarely gone below 32 during the night. We are also experiencing high humidity which is making life even more uncomfortable at the moment, I feel for those here that only have swamp coolers cause they just do not work when there is high humidity. Oh and along with all this we are having a bad fly season.

Cheers

Paul_S
Paul_S is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 02:38 AM
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Hi, British!

Without question, the Great Ocean Road. True, it's not an instantly-recognisable truly Australian icon, but one of the probelms about Uluru is that once you've made that long trek out to see it, and you've stood there for a while saying "Wow!" (and taken a photo of everyone in your party standing in front of it), there's not much you can actually DO with it. It's time now for the long trek back. The GOR, while having less of a wow factor, wins out because you can spend a couple of days exploring different parts of it, and learning about Australia as you do so. There's a lot to learn about Australia at Uluru also.... but, in January, these are all things I'd rather you didn't have to learn. In July, however, when the temperatures have dropped below unbearable and the insects have retreated momentarily, well, it would be a different story. Maybe come back then and do Uluru and be sure of enjoying it.
Alan is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 08:35 AM
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I must say following this and doing a search on other posts on the subject I am leaning towards the Great Ocean Road

It was also on our BBC televison holiday program the other night and looked lovely

Another question I have on this is because we are traveling in the Australia holiday period will it be advisable to book accomadation on the Great Ocean Road before or as we go (just find some) Can anyone recommend any.

thanks again and its now snowing here!!! lots of snow

B
British is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 10:54 AM
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British, if you've done searches on the GOR you may have come across this already, but I'll mention it in case you haven't. Lorne is a nice place to stop for lunch on your first day out. But, regardless of whether or not you lunch in Lorne, it's worth driving into the temperate rainforest just behind the town and visiting Erskine Falls. Walk down the steps to the bottom of the falls, and walk along the banks of the Erskine River for a little way. It's a nice interlude during the drive.

Another little anecdote. Anglesea, near the beginning of the GOR, is a coastal community that attracts retired people. One of the local pet projects is to keep the nearby heath covered hillsides pure, i.e., to protect the native Australian vegetation from invasion by imported species. (Seeds from people's gardens are blown by the wind and take root in the native heath.) Some retirees do volunteer work, going out into the hillsides and weeding out Africana and other invaders.

Ironically, when we lived in Melbourne (July 1997 - January 2000) my parents lived in Hermanus, South Africa. They were amongst a group of volunteers who did exactly the same thing in the hillsides surrounding their home. The only difference was that my parents were weeding out Australiana.

I thought there was a sweet irony in that.

Sorry, I can't give you advice about accommodation.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 01:02 PM
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Hi Judy

I went to Hermanus last year to watch the whales on the rocks on the way to gansbaai to dive with the great white shark it is a lovely place, - I can't belive how close they get to the rocks

Thanks for your comments of GOR i did read the post on Lorne and have put this down as a stop

How many days/nights are needed for this trip if we were to hire a car, I was thinking 2 nights 3 days

thanks

b
British is offline  
Jan 28th, 2004, 07:50 PM
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We drove the GOR last month. We saw a number of vacancies throughout the length of the drive and didn't pre-book.

We chose to stay in Port Campbell, although the selection of hotels there are not of the quality of those seen in Lorne or Apollo Bay. As a rationale for choosing a clean but tired hotel, we happened to choose Port Campbell as it is closest to the Twelve Apostles and the Loch Ard Gorge formations. I wanted to capture the rocks and cliffs in both evening and morning light.

What I can say is that one of the most enjoyable parts was a slowly driven deviation into Otway National Park towards the lighthouse. The drive was memorable in that by moving slowly throught the gum tree forest, we spied several koalas in the wild. Also chanced upon other wildlife such as flocks of cockatoos and an echidna.

My favorite sight though of the drive, I admit, was a small, neatly done sign attached to a rural mailbox (so concise):

Sheep Poo $2
Clifton is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 12:18 PM
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Even weather aside, I think I would vote for the GOR. I think Uluru is special and beautiful, but when all is said and done (as someone else said) there isn't much to do there (of course we did do a very interesting walk with aborigines, and a hike in the olgas, etc.) but in general I think it's a long way to go for not that much )my American analogy is Niagara Falls).

If you do take the GOR, keep an eye out for the steps down to the beach in one place-- makes for a very nice stop.
Doh is offline  
Jan 29th, 2004, 01:04 PM
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Take a minimum of two days to do the Great Ocean Road, but you could easily fill in a week as I've shown below.
Start off driving from Melbourne to Geelong - re-vitalised waterfront with cafes, esplanade, gardens etc and pleasant city. Wander off to Queenscliff - lots of Victorian-era buildings, old fort; if you have lots of time, take the ferry across the bay (without the car) to Sorrento for a few hours. From there go through Torquay, then stop at Apollo Bay and visit Mariners Lookout for fantastic views (just before you get into town on right hand side of road). Lorne is upmarket, lots of good eating places and nice shops and accommodation. From here you drive through the Otway Ranges - lots of places to stop and take a walk. Once you get back to the coast, watch out for Loch Ard and the Twelve Apostles. Warrnambool is a nice seaside town with good choice of accommodation - there is a good maritime museum.
My personal favourite for an overnight stop (or two or three) is Port Fairy - little old fishing port with good choice of accommodation and eating places. Between Port Fairy and Warrnambool is Tower Hill - extinct volcano crater now nature park.
From Port Fairy, you could take the inland road to Mt Eccles - another extinct volcano with usually lots of koalas. From here to Hamilton - nice inland town centre of pastoral industry with small excellent museum. Head from Hamilton to Dunkeld and turn north to drive through the Grampians National Park. Halls Gap is a good overnight stop - several motels, B&Bs etc. There are lots of places you can see wildlife, particularly kangeroos at dusk.
From Halls Gap, head for Ballarat - old gold town city with lots of good Victorian-era buildings, good art gallery and one of the best folk museums around (Sovereign Hill) which also has a good sound and night show.
From Ballarat, it's only about 90 minutes drive and you are back in Melbourne.
marg is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 04:18 AM
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British,

The good news is that which ever option wins, you'll have a wonderful time.
Personally I'd pick Ayers there's nowhere like it in the world, but as you're planning to go in peak holiday season flights and accomodation might be a problem.

The GOR is fantastic too, so don't regret your choice !
MikeD is offline  
Jan 30th, 2004, 09:34 AM
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Before I left for Oz in December, I faced the same dilemna: Uluru or GOR?
I chose GOR because I live in a farming area in North America and feel so landlocked - I wanted to experience the ocean as much as possible. We took the all-day Gray Line Tour from Melbourne
which went all along the coast to London Bridge, then transversed some very nice dairy-farming country on the way home. The "steps down to the beach" is at Loch Ard Gorge which is the site of the Loch Ard shipwreck. The only two surviviors of this wreck washed up in this cove. I think it is the only place where one can get down to the beach as the GOR cliffs are very high and straight up. And don't forget a light jacket either. Even in the middle of summer it quite brisk there.
Airsick_ is offline  
Jan 31st, 2004, 03:48 PM
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GOR hands down. You can fly to the rock and fly over it it a helicopter. I've done both (GOR twice) and I would not have missed either, however it is just a big rock in the middle of nowhere and the real significance of it is to our Aborigines. Having said that at sunset it is mgic. Sorry I would try to fit in both. Qantas has special deals-check their website.
Lyndie is offline  

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