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Melbourne/Great Ocean Road, Australia

Dianne and I spent a memorable ten days with Simon Greenland as he showed us the sights and sounds of Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia.

I posted this iconic photo of the Twelve Apostles which encompasses many of the numerous features you will encounter on the Great Ocean Road. The photos of the various sandstone/limestone structures are shown at the end of this Blog.

Hosier Lane is where we spent a couple of hours photographing Melbourne’s finest street art, often political in nature. It is a brightly lit lane well known for its quirky bars and the stencil graffiti art which adorns the lane’s brick walls.

Hosier Lane ….. Home to the iconic unnamed Indigenous boy by Adnate is this arresting, towering, 23-metre tall mural.

We went to the Brighton seaside on Port Phillip Bay to photograph these Beach Boxes, wooden structures lining the foreshore of Brighton Beach. In the front of this photo there were tourists everywhere, taking selfies, posing in front of the boxes and photographing these colourful structures. It was a nightmare trying to get a photo. The only way I could get a reasonable photo was to go behind them to cut out the tourists. Beach boxes are beach huts, a beach cabin or bathing box and were built well over a century ago in response to Victorian ideas of morality and seaside bathing.

One of the main reasons we wanted to see Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road was to stop and see our nephew, David Simes, where he was playing three roles in the show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. He has played Albus, one of the main characters. James and Cedric are also roles he has played in the show. Dianne and I got some scoop on the theatre and the show itself from David over coffee. The show was only in two cities, New York and London before Melbourne. It is now booked here in Australia for the next 5 years. The Princess Theatre spent 64 million dollars on the refurbishment of the theatre for the show and they have 1400 show goers attending each show and it is booked out solid every night. There were thousands of auditions for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in both New Zealand and Australia. Only 39 performers were chosen and our David was one of them.

We spent four days in Melbourne. For those who followed “The Block” on channel 9, Dianne and I went to St Kilda the day they filmed the auction. We saw Mark and Mitch being interviewed outside the apartments. We also saw them near Hosier Lane ( famous for Melbourne’s Best Street Art ) in Central Melbourne the day before and Dianne got a photo with them.

After leaving Melbourne we arrived at the most famous surfing beach in Australia. Known as Bells Beach and is located in Torquay, Victoria, Australia, a world famous surfing destination. The world’s best male and female surfers flock to the town of Torquay to compete for professional surfing’s most treasured trophy – the Rip Curl Pro Bell.The event holds a very special place in surfing folklore, as the longest running world championship surfing contest on the World Tour. Courtney Conlogue (USA) and John John Florence (Hawaii) won the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach that was held on the 17th April – 27th April, 2019.

On our trip we stopped in the small town of Torquay, Australia home to the world famous Rip Curl whose headquarters are located there and to the famous Bells Beach. Rip Curl has become one of the largest surfing companies in Australia, Europe, South America, North America and South Africa. Globally, Rip Curl is considered a successful member of the “Big Three”, of the surf industry alongside Quiksilver and Billabong. Three of Australia’s world surf champions are pictured along the side of their Headquarter’s. They are Gabriel Medina, Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore.

This photo shows the Great Ocean Road’s famous Split Point Lighthouse which is affectionately known as ‘The White Queen’. The Split Point Lighthouse is located at Aireys Inlet, and worthy of a stop for a few photos and to explore this little, gorgeous coastal hamlet.

On our way to Lorne, Victoria along the Great Ocean Road.

The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243-kilometre (151 mi) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. Built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I, the road is the world’s largest war memorial. This photo shows the Great Ocean Road Memorial Archway and the diggers sculpture by Julie Squires on the left hand side of this photo.

After leaving the paved area of the Great Ocean Road, we spent a few hours on the country roads where I photographed a mob of 100 Kangaroos, wildlife and this male Superb Fairy-wren with its gleaming, velvety blue-and-black plumage.

The male Superb Fairy Wren.

There were about 50 kangaroos in a mob that began hopping over these rolling hills and then bounded down the other side out of site. This large male stopped on top long enough for me to get this photo.

Off the beaten track…… The rolling hills of the countryside is well worth a visit once you get off the paved highway of the Great Ocean Road. Just a few minutes on an old country road gave me this shot of a mob of kangaroos.

Hopetoun Falls – Otway National Park -Victoria, Australia.

Some of Australia’s best rainforest scenery can be found in the Otway Ranges amongst tall trees, ancient plant life and lush ferns.

Some of Australia’s best rainforest scenery can be found in the Otway Ranges amongst tall trees, ancient plant life and lush ferns. This photo was one of the rainforest photos I took when we visited the Otway Ranges. Below is one of The Great Ocean Road’s coastline photos.

Two photos of the harbour at Apollo Bay with the rolling, green hills in the background. Apollo Bay is an Australian town in southwestern Victoria. We stayed in this friendly little town for 3 nights and each day we ventured down the Great Ocean Road to photograph the sandstone structures.

The photos below show many of the sandstone/limestone structures that the Great Ocean Road is famous for. We were lucky and got one of the rare sunny days when some of these features were photographed. Usually, your fighting, wind, rain, clouds and the tourists . That is why a guide with local knowledge, (like Simon Greenland), is highly recommended. Especially, if limited for time. Try to avoid the Great Ocean Road’s paparazzi that will greet you at every stop.

Two Photos of the “The Iconic Twelve Apostles”

At the London Bridge structure you can take in the sweeping views of the great Southern Ocean. London Bridge is an impressive offshore rock formation that collapsed in 1990 and became a bridge without a middle. From where I was standing and photographing this London Bridge formation, to the right and not shown here, is where little penguins come each evening to holes in the ground known as burrows.

Loch Ard Gorge is part of the Port Campbell National Park and is located just three minutes west of the mighty Twelve Apostles. Loch Ard Gorge, along the Shipwreck Coast, is named after the famous clipper ship, the Loch Ard. For an interesting read, Goggle the story of the Loch Ard shipwreck.

The Bakers Oven is an impressive stop that will have little to no crowds. This large, limestone rock structure has a small arch in the middle with water streaming down the side. While not as popular as other stops, the Bakers Oven is still really beautiful.

The Razorback. It’s easy to see how it got its name! The limestone formation has a warm glow to it as the last sun rays bounce off it. Pictured against the natural vegetation of the coast. This formation is very close to the 12 Apostles with the salt and pepper shakers in the centre of the photo.

The weather gods were not on there best behaviour during our Great Ocean Road Trip. It’s worth going to all the formations to appreciate them and “The Arch” formation is another sandstone structure that should not be overlooked. It is certainly worth the stop no matter what the weather conditions. Many of the stops had cloudy skies, wind and rain but I was happy with the photos I took, even though the wind at many of the stops was so strong, a tripod was useless.

When you walk up the paths to view the limestone structures and the ocean, it is a good idea to look into the shrubs that surround the pathways. We spotted an Australian echidna photographed here. I believe snakes are also spotted quite often in these areas.

The Grotto is located in Port Campbell and at eye-level can be very dangerous, particularly if it’s windy and the tide is high. It would be impossible to stand where this top photo was taken during high tide. The cliffs in the area are very unstable and it is recommended that one stays on the marked paths only.

Bay of Martyrs – The pale limestone of this section of coast reflects a different quality of light and offers superior photographic opportunities even in overcast conditions. I was lucky and did get some blue sky. – A storm was brewing causing very windy conditions.

Just past Peterborough is the Bay of Islands. This is a large bay with dozens of eroded rock structures. There are walking trails to several different lookouts all providing a unique view. The Bay of Islands is beyond where tour buses typically go, but this is a good stop before turning back towards Port Campbell or continuing on to Warrnambool.

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Bob Libby is an award-winning photographer based on the sunny Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia. Known for his lighting mastery and craftsman’s approach to the creative process, Bob Libby is a photographer and writer that has a passion for photographing wildlife and nature.

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