Saturday, May 19, 2012

2010_12_26 Around Mt.Gambier and along the Great ocean road day 5

Woke up to a cloudy morning!!! 
And we had a good exploration of the old Mount Gambier gaol which is small but quite interesting!!!
This Gaol cum hostel is definitely one of the highlight of the our trip to Mt.Gambier!!!
The sinkhole and cave garden were the other highlights of Mt.Gambier!!! A garden in a sinkhole was certainly creative and unique!!! 

I was pretty happy that we made our way to Portland and to Cape bridgewater.
The big long stretch of beach was simply breathtaking!!! Wished we could stay longer, but the time was ticking, All the time we were racing with the clouds, trying always to stay a step ahead. The petrified forest was on the other hand so so, if no one said it's a petrified forest, I would have thought of them as weird rock or land formation, haha. I love Cape Nelson lighthouse too, haha, I guessed by now one can tell I'm a fan of Lighthouses!!!

There's many town to stop by on the Great ocean road, and my colleague has been bragging bout how she enjoyed Port Fairy, a quaint fishing town which was once a whaling port. So we visited this township though we kinda really didn't spend enough time there to perhaps appreciate the town much. But it's definitely a relaxing place and an ideal place to retire with your own yacht here. 
Warrnambool was just another bigger town where we stopped by for lunch and fuel. 

Pretty much from Warrnambool onwards, is where the Great Ocean Rd gets interesting!!! It's a long winding drive snaking along the coastline. We made our way all the way to Port Campbell and then camped at a caravan park in Princetown. 
Highlights??

Well, contrary to many beliefs and the great promotion, the twelve apostles was a bit disappointing. Maybe the sun light wasn't enough, but it was definitely not in its glorious days anymore. What you saw in most pictures and postcards were old pictures reprinted before more and more of the rock stacks collapsed. However, the Victorian tourism did a GREAT job in luring the crowds to come and see them!!! There were so many people and cars that evening we were there. I really wondered what was on their mind??!! 
Most people only join the tour or drive to see the twelve apostles and a bit around the area from Melbourne (~5hrs drive one way along the coast), which I reckoned is definitely great but the Great ocean rd has a lot more to offer than just the twelve apostles!!! Of course, you can't do it in a short time you are here unfortunately. 

However, we did saw a lot of other cooler attractions least promoted along the drive which my friend and I agreed is MUCH better than the twelve apostles!!! LOL. 
Among them are
Bays of islands, the Bay of Martyrs, the grotto and the London Bridge.
Don't miss these places if you visit the Great ocean road which are just a little bit further down than Port Campbell!!!
Oh, I must say that my pictures really don't justified well the beauty of the Great ocean rd as well as our JOY when we saw these spectacular coastline!!!


One of the smaller courtyard in the Mt.Gambier Gaol/hostel. At the far end is the entrance to a bigger courtyard which is used by the women.

The living room next to the little courtyard, free internet access which is just what we need to read the weather forecast. Here after dinner, I met a girl from Victoria?? and chat a long time...she was a bit of a troubled girl and her ex-bf in jail in Mt.Gambier.

Interestingly, here I learned tea can mean dinner too from her!!!



The women's courtyard. And that blue thingy at the far end is an open toilet?? haha.

This was once the chapel which house the wooden crucifix hand crafted by one of the prisoner. 

The transformed courtyard right after you step in from the big gates.
It was once where bullock and carts would enter and bringing with them both inmates and supplies to the gaol.

This room somehow with that curtain gives me an eerie feeling, haha. 

This is the biggest courtyard of all, originally the exercise yard for male inmates.The mural on the west wall was painted by an inmate too.

Part of the exercise yard transformed into a hanging out place. The greyish building is the dining room. 

At the end of this alley, it was assumed two graves were buried there. All these cells will be transformed too according to the owner!!!


The blue lake

One of the sinkhole, apparently during winter when it pour, this place will looked amazing with the water running down.


the cave garden - SUPER pretty!!!!



Ever seen a white roo? 
Seeing white roos on the way to the Great Ocean road was interesting too, though there were behind the fences and not people-friendly, haha. 


Cape bridgewater!!! Love it!!!


The petrified forest



Cape Nelson








Port Fairy




Bay of islands!!! 
This place is a bit like the twelve apostles, but with more shorter rocks and little islands crowded together!!!



Bay of martyrs!!! 
The sea mist at the far end create a mysterious feeling when you look at it.


The grotto



On the way.....driving...racing against time and sun and clouds!!!

 The curvy cliffs near the London bridge really looked spectacular under the soft sunset lights!!!

The London bridge 
which was once connected to the main land but collapsed isolating the other part alone, haha. There's an interesting story of what happened during the collapse though, go find it!!

The twelve apostles!!!
too bad many rock stacks were gone...
Can you imagine this as the twelve apostles in the next 5 years?? 


Waiting for the sun to set and hoping to get a glimpse of the magical light was really suffering at this windy cold coastline. It really a bloody hell cold night!!!! We even waited to try to get a glimpse of little penguins going onshore as told by the park rangers, however...we could only see dots, haha. 

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