2011 March 11 – Day 65 – Cowes, Phillip Island to Apollo Bay, Australia

We noticed many road signs about accidents or speeding. Australia has a low tolerance for speeding and strictly enforces the highway limits.  Even 3 kmh over the posted limit will get you a ticket plus demerit points on your license.  They have some very shocking and graphic billboards – like a woman’s sheet-draped body beside a wrecked car and the banner “Only a little bit dead!”  There are also lots of rest areas and signs reminding drivers to use them.  They say, “Drive, Revive, Arrive,”  “Drowsy Drivers Die,” “Only Sleep Cures Fatigue.”  Another sign we saw said, “Don’t Tear Along the Dotted Line.”  Many North American and European tourists struggle with “driving on the wrong side of the road” so there are reminders posted along all the highways to drive on the left and to look left for traffic.We noted as well that Australia is a population of active young people.  We rarely saw an elderly person with a walker or wheelchair.  And rarer still were obese people.  It is a very outdoorsy culture with lots of walking and hiking and water sports. The country is also very ethnically diverse and you hear many languages spoken by folks as you travel around.

Especially in the cities, but notably all over, people dress well.  Working young women wear nice dresses and suits, men wear dress shirts and good pants.  Even casual wear is not down and dirty casual, but clean slacks or jeans and nice tops.  It was quite refreshing from the common North American grunge.We left Phillip Island at 11:15 and headed west to Frankston.  Frankston has an international sand sculpture competition every year and they are on display from Christmas to Labour Day (March 1st).  The theme in 2011 was Creepy Crawlies so all of the sculptures incorporated bugs, or bees, or spiders.  The artwork and details was amazing.  I took tons of photos. (If you want you can click on each image and it will go full screen so you can admire the artist’s skill. Or, if you don’t care about sand sculptures you can scroll down quickly and skip them all.)  


  My new Aussie hat.

We spent, obviously, a considerable time at Frankton but eventually we moved on down the peninsula to Dromana and up to the top of Arthur’s Seat (the highest point on the Mornington Peninsula).  We walked to the Seawinds Garden and both view points. After we drove back  to Dromana we went to Sorrento to catch the ferry across Port Phillip Bay to Queenscliff on the Bellarine, a spit of land that juts out into Port Phillip Bay on the west side.  Port Phillip Bay is the port area of Melbourne so by driving down the Morningston Peninsula and taking the ferry we could bypass the city and cut off quite a few kilometers on our way to Adelaide.  It is 890 km (553 miles) from Melbourne to Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road and we had 3 1/2 days to get there to meet our reservation.

The ferry takes about half an hour to do the crossing and a pod of dolphins chases the catamaran all the way from dock to dock.  It made for a very entertaining sailing.  They are so fast and frolic from one side to the other and underneath that it was almost impossible to get a photo of them.  I had to delete all the ones I took because they were not clear or only showed a small part of a back or tail. We traveled through the towns of Tourquay, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Lorne, Wye River, Kennet River, and into Apollo Bay at 7:15 pm. The lovely lighthouse at Aireys Inlet:  Just past Lorne the evening mist started to roll in obscuring our ocean views. Torquay, not far from where we got off the ferry at Queenscliff is the beginning of the Great Ocean Road, the world’s largest war memorial.  It was built to commemorate the sacrifices of the WWI Australian sailors and soldiers.  Most of our travel this day was on the famous highway, but the best section was yet to come. At Apollo Bay we had a fabulous Italian dinner, then downloaded the days photos onto the computer before going to bed.  Total distance travelled was about 250 km (155 miles).  No one can accuse us of speeding!  It was another wonderful day in Australia.

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