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Traveling the Great Ocean Road

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Sep 28th, 2012, 07:22 AM
  #1
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Traveling the Great Ocean Road

Planning a trip to the Land Down Under in March, 2013. Before flying from Melbourne to Tasmania for 11 nights, we plan on spending 7 nights in and around Melbourne (2 in Melbourne where we've been 3 times previously). My question is are we allotting too much time for the GOR?

Currently we plan on spending 2 nts in Apollo Bay (visiting places like Geelong, Bells Beach, Torquay, Aireys Inlet, Erksine Falls, Lorne, Cape Otway, etc). After leaving this area, 2 nts are planned for Port Fairy to allow us to see places such as Port Campbell, Twelve Apostles, Peterborough, Warrnambool).

Before returning to Melbourne, we'll head up north to the Grampians and spend one night in either Hall's Gap or Ballarat, depending on accommodations. Is this too much time? If so, where can we shorten? Thanks
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Sep 28th, 2012, 02:19 PM
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I think your timing is good, you'll get much more out of it than the " 24 hour whizz around " some people do.

There is plenty to occupy a few days and this way you have the flexibility to change plans to accommodate more / less interesting things you find along the way.
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Nov 10th, 2012, 06:36 AM
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If anyone has traveled the GOR and can recommend restaurants for dinner along the way, it would be appreciated.
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Nov 30th, 2012, 10:24 PM
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Too much time? Are you mad???

Two nights is one day for travelling (albeit not all the day) and one full day for doing stuff. That's not much. Okay if you want to just drive to all those places and get out of the car for 20minutes and hop back in, but not much time if you want to explore, walk, sit in a cafe, have a swim.

With one night in the Grampians you won't be able to see or do much in the way of walking, etc, but it is beautiful there. Ballarat and Halls Gap are chalk and cheese and will give you very different experiences. I wouldn't have thought accommodation would be a problem until you hit school holidays in very late March.

So no, not too much time.

The Royal Mail at Dunkeld (on the way to the Grampians) is a very well respected restaurant but I imagine you'd need to book in advance. I've never been there (but would love to) as we tend to lean towards fish and chips on the beach or a meal at the local pub.

btw anyone who attempted to do this in 24hrs would need their head read!
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Dec 1st, 2012, 08:34 AM
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dreamon: btw: so if two nights equals one day of full sightseeing, then I guess the 4 nights we allotted for just the GOR should be enough? I know we don't have much time for the Grampians, but we'll leave Port Fairy pretty early and head up toward Dunkeld and onto Halls Gap, etc. Looks like for now, we'll spend that one night in Ballarat before flying to Tassie.
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Dec 1st, 2012, 01:45 PM
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I know all too well the feeling of not having enough time, when planning a holiday. I'm sure you'll have a great time with your plan. I just felt that if you've an interest in nature and exploring, then you shouldn't find you've got too much time. We just spent a week hiking the Great Ocean Walk and had a wonderful time.

If you're coming back from the west, you may find Avalon airport to be more convenient than Melbourne. Air fares are also sometimes cheaper from there as many Melbournians don't want to travel to Avalon but it serves the west very well. It's freeway all the way from Ballarat to either airport but be aware that traffic in peak hour (especially heading into the city in the morning and out in the evening) can slow you down quite a lot.

At the Grampians, there are a number of short walks which won't take a lot of time, some flat some not. If you decide before you get there which one/s you'd like to do you'll make the most of your time. There are also lookouts that you can just drive to. There are also some vineyards and olive groves in the area if you're interested. Last time we were there, the ice cream from the gelateria in the main street was pretty good!

Have fun!
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Dec 1st, 2012, 02:39 PM
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Just a postscript....

I think that the majority of Australian small towns are pretty uninteresting to visit as a tourist. While they may be fantastic places to live, they are not always particularly attractive and can look very similar to each other. What makes Australia appealing to visitors is, in my opinion, it's natural wonders and, to a lesser extent, it's cities. There are also notable smaller towns which are also very appealing.

A holiday which just stops at the town centres along the way would be dull and indeed quickly over. I'm sure that's not what you intend.
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Dec 1st, 2012, 09:17 PM
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Just back from a great trip along the GOR and the Grampians.. Suggestion is one night Apollo Bay and one night Port Fairie, or better, two nights Apollo, one night Port Fairie, if you can. Trip report (with restaurant recommendations/comments) coming soon!
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Dec 2nd, 2012, 06:09 AM
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Dreamon: Wish you had given advise sooner but we have already booked our Melbourne to Tassie flight. At the time, wasn't aware of the other airport. In hindsight, should have done more research. Our flight doesn't leave from MEL until 3pm so we should have plenty of time to explore in and around Ballarat.

Ice cream is my vice so I'll certainly look for the gelateria in Halls Gap, I guess. Any specific suggestions for the short walks or looks outs would be appreciated.

We love Australia. Cities, smalller towns, magnificent scenery. This will actually be our 6th visit there so you can tell we're big fans.

RalphR: Looking forward to that trip report. I've read many of your other ones as well. I remember reading one up in the Northern Territory. We'll be spending two nights in both Apollo Bay and Port Fairy.
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Dec 3rd, 2012, 02:04 AM
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http://www.grampiansnationalpark.com...park/walks.asp
Wonderland Car Park to The Pinnacle
Reed Lookout / The Balconies
MacKenzie Falls

The above are probably the three best walks. The pinnacles is a bit step and has quite a few narrow steps/ladders but most people cope, just take it gently. It is all up hill there so not bad on return. No water on the track and can get very hot with the heat coming off the rocks.

The balconies givea similar viewbut with an easier walk.

Mackenzies falls is all down hill there and a steepish climb back out but with steps it is not too bad.

Ballarat is lovely. Town was extremely rich during the gold rushand this shows in the architecture. The Ballarat Fine Art Gallery houses the original Eureka Rebellion Flag - if only that flag coudld talk... took my breath away.

If you are staying in or near Ballarat for the night be sure to do the Blood on the Southern Cross (ie the flag) preferably before you see the actual flag. It is on at Sovereign Hill (www.sovereignhill.com.au/) it is a recreated version of what Ballarat would have been like in the 1860s. It is brilliant but if you have seen similar old town there will be not much new for you. It is very historically accurate.

HISTORY LESSON
In case you are unaware - on Dec 3rd 1854 there was a 20 minute battle on the Eureka diggings at Ballarat. Ballarat being the town and various gold bearing sights having different names. The cause of this battle was frustration. The miners (and anyone else on the goldfield) were charged 30 shillings a month for a licence fee more than a labourer would earn. The licence allowed the miner to mine one patch of 12 feet squared. In contrast a squatter could run sheep/cattleon huge areasof land for a penny or so per head. Miners did not have the right to vote as they did not own land. The police were very strict and made a game out of "hunting Licences". Miner had to have the paper on them and in good condition. The police would call a miner up from his shaft to see his licence. Then call him up again just as he got back down.

This and a murderer getting off because the judge was a silent partner in his hotel lead the miners to make certain political demands such as the vote. The word demand insulted the Governor who came down even heavier on the miners.The miners then built a stockade as a place of refuge/defence. They raised a flag - the Eureka Flag and swore to defend it and their liberties. This incensed the governor and police as it did not have the Union Jack on it.

On Sunday morning most of the miner had gone home most being settled family men. They didn't think anything would happen as it was Sunday. Just before dawn 300troops attacked the stockade killing 30 miners and woundin gmany others.One of the troopers cut down and kept the flag not in the gallery.

Thiteen miners/supporters were tried for treason and all were acquitted.The public had taken their side.Over the next few years all "demands" were met.

It is considered our war for democracy. All the demands would have been met eventually. The Rebellion just sped thingsup again.

Peter Lalor (who lost an arm in the battle), the leader was voted into parliament and later became the speaker. He is interesting as he was not one of the original leaders. He turned up tothe speeches and rallies and at one stage decided that he had had enough and spoke himself. The men then followed him.




Are you going through Daylesford? I spent much of my youth there when it was just a normal country town, now it has been yuppiefied almost beyond recognition. It is the home of natural mineral springs each one different even those very close together. There is a spa centre for massages and the like.

Enjoy.
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Dec 3rd, 2012, 01:01 PM
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PeterSale: Once again, you have supplied a wealth of knowledge for our upcoming trip. You already were a great resource for us in the Tassie planning and you've come through again. Can't wait until March when we can commence the vacation.
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Dec 3rd, 2012, 02:37 PM
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No worries. That's what we are here for.

Cheers.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 12:46 AM
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Peter has beaten me to it. His recommendations for walks are very good. Another easy walk, although perhaps not quite as interesting, is the walk from the town to Venus Baths. Good if you just want to go for a stroll. In March, there will be far less water at any of the falls but still nice. The Balconies used to be known as the 'jaws of death' as they resemble a giant crocodile or dinosaur in formation. Boroka Lookout provides great views (no walking).

If you want to see kangaroos, they come out in numbers at Zumsteins. When I was a child, there used to be a cottage at Zumsteins and the owner fed the kangaroos at dusk. It's a rather bigger affair now. Check at the tourist office to see if anything has changed. You can also see them at dusk at the golf course - they like to live dangerously!

Have a great time.
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Dec 4th, 2012, 03:37 AM
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Thanks Dreamon. We can't wait to get started.
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Dec 6th, 2012, 09:31 PM
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Queenscliff is worth a visit if you've time.
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Dec 6th, 2012, 10:36 PM
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Queenscliff is home to one of the forts that guarded the entrance to the bay and another great story.

They had disappearing guns. The guns were basically spring loaded so that the recoil would push the gun down into its pit and it would be held there while it was being loaded, before popping up to fire again.

Anyway, years went by wars came and went and it was decided to restore one of these historic guns now that the fort was a tourist attraction and officer training base.

The restoration was duly done and they decided to give it a test fire - no ammo and only half a charge. Dignitries fromfar and wide were in attendendance and the firing went brilliantly ...

...until someone turned around and saw that the blast had shattered every window in the three storey Officers' Training building!

Whilst the fort was active there were earthern bunds behind the guns to prevent such things, but as time went on these were remove as they spoiled the view.

Legend has it that the local glazier retired after fixing every window - he'd made enough money.

Fort Nepean on the other side of the bay's entrance has the honour of firing the first allied shots of both World Wars, when it fired across the bows of ships trying to leave the bay.

The shell dug a nice furrow in the Queenscliff cemetery!

Consequently, the Guns in both forts had their ranges reduced as people in Frankston a bayside town (suburb now) were somewhat fearfull of friendly fire.

There is lots to see in Victoria.

Do enjoy.
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Dec 7th, 2012, 02:59 AM
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PeterSale: Your wealth of knowledge about the Land Down Under is greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to write your stories.
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Dec 7th, 2012, 04:27 PM
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No worries.

Stories maketh the country.
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Dec 9th, 2012, 10:17 PM
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We were in Lorne on the weekend and it was too hot to walk and even too hot for the beach (I fry if it's high 30's) so we visited Qdos art gallery and cafe for lunch. Very pleasant.
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Dec 12th, 2012, 04:24 PM
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lovingretirement - We are leaving next weekend for Tassie. Is there anything you want us to check out for you?
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