The weather wasn’t the best this morning. The wind was howling off Lake Yambuk and the beach and with the wind came the rain. Not much, possibly a few millimetres of precipitation. Due to the inclement weather, the girls preference was to eat indoors before heading off exploring the Great Ocean Road.
Another jam-packed day was planned courtesy of Caroline. The intention was to see the 12 Apostles, The Arch, London Bridge and Bay of Islands however our plans were extended after a timely visit to the tourist information centre.
We arrived at the 12 Apostles around 9.30am – nice and early to beat the crowds. WRONG! The car park was packed and there were a few coaches unloading tourists onto the area. We walked with the masses a 500 metre journey towards the ocean before hitting the timber boardwalk. Now it has been a long time (I would guess 30 years) since I saw the 12 Apostles with Beattie family senior, they were more beautiful than I can recall.
Plunging deep into the Southern Ocean, these small islands extend 70 metres above sea level. Constructed of limestone, a result of millions of years of shell and sea life settling into layers, the 12 Apostles are now less in number with 8 Apostles and 2 ‘sisters’ still standing strong. We walked over a land bridge to get the best view of this remarkable landmark, Caroline commented that in time the land bridge will also cease to exist. Amazing how much can change in a lifetime!
Using the information gathered from the tourist information centre, we decided to see some of the sights along the “12 Apostle Gourmet Trail”, a 75km detour that definitely had some appeal for the girls. First stop was G.O.R.G.E Chocolates, a company that makes their own ‘Belgian-style chocolate’ with a tasting room! Yumbo!
We arrived at G.O.R.G.E Chocolates. Not sure whom was quicker through the door, the girls or I! Caroline diligently handed out the tastings of dark, milk and a white mint chocolate before we decided to purchase a few treats. For the girls we bought some marbled chocolate frogs, for Caroline and I we had some rocky road. Caroline commented the “rocky road was yummy”, particularly enjoying the little bits of biscuit in each bite, while the girls were SILENT -a little moment of indulgent ecstasy for the little ladies. Before scooting off at our next destination, we noticed a little farm on the same property with a miniature pig (that wasn’t really that miniature), a few sheep, chickens and some geese. G.O.R.G.E Chocolates was a lovely stop over for the kids and big kids alike.
Next stop, Apostle Whey Cheese whom proclaimed their cheese was produced from a mix herd of contented cows – 260 cows on an environmentally sustainable farm producing eleven different types of cheese.
The girls were extremely active during this tasting, Caroline referred to them as “cheese addicts”. The poor lady didn’t get enough time to describe the cheese and how it was produced before Audrey called out “Mmm mummy, yes I like that one. What’s next”. Tasting all but the chilli infused feta (made from cows milk, so a little less crumbly than the sheep/goat variety). Before leaving Apostle Whey Cheese the girls had a chance to pat a friendly black and white Cockerspaniel while Caroline carried the cheese we purchased back to the car.
We left the ’12 Apostle Gourmet Trail’ and headed back to admire some more of the prolific rock structures along the Great Ocean Road. We stopped at The Arch (which now looks like a bridge), London Bridge (which also looks like a bridge) and Bay of Islands. We still aren’t sure why London Bridge was named as such, however Caroline advised me that she believed you could walk over London Bridge before it collapsed no longer possible due to erosion.
Before heading back to the caravan park, we decided to visit one last landmark of the region, Hopkins Falls. Formed by volcanic activity of yesteryear, the waterfall boasts it is one of Australia’s widest waterfalls. While water doesn’t flow over at the same rate as Niagara, Hopkins Falls was quite a beautiful spot. Clear water trickled over the dark basalt rocks into the waters below, providing refuge for eels and platypuses.
On the road again and homeward bound We started getting our momentum back before a final detour for the day. A family photo on ‘Beatties Rd’. We continued our drive back to the caravan park, Audrey was being her usual thoughtful self, whom even through imaginary play was offering Ava the choice of “a chardonnay or milkshake”. Ava chose chardonnay naturally! Amazing to see how the experiences from our 3monthsinacaravan have influenced our little ladies – maybe the girls will have a career in viticulture or oenology!
The girls played with a friend they made in the caravan park, a seven year old girl from Victoria who was on holidays with her grandparents. Zoe was commonly seen walking their 10 week old dachshund ‘Lucky’ around the caravan park. Not sure whether Lucky was a fitting name for this dog, as he was either being dragged around by the seven year old girl or pushed in a dolls stroller. Detracting slightly from the crux of this story, while the girls played, Zoe suggested to Ava that they should be pen friends. Ava wasn’t too sure what that meant and initially retracted the offer. Shortly afterwards commented ‘imagine if I had made pen friends with all the friends I have made while on holidays’. Too many funny quotes from little miss Ava. Another question from a trip to the bathroom “who was the first person to invent the toilet?” Caroline replied “I don’t know”. Ava “Maybe we will leave that question for Arden”. Such a funny little girl!!
Caroline and I are now relaxing our way into the evening. The sun is still streaming through, slight breeze coming from the beach while we listen to ‘summer acoustic’ on Spotify whilst drinking an incredible drop, the 2016 Graham Stevens Fleurieu Chardonnay.
Another day in paradise and I am back in the swing of things!!