AUSTRALIA DAY 9 – GREAT OCEAN ROAD

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It was another early morning for us that day as we had signed up for the Great Ocean Road tour with Bunyip Tours. We were waiting outside the meeting point at 6:50 a.m. and it was a chilly morning. Our first stop was a washroom and biscuit break after a 1.5-hour ride on the bus in a small town. After another hour drive, we finally arrived at the Great Ocean Road memorial arch, which is where the Great Ocean Road begins.

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The Great Ocean Road was a project completed by the soldiers who returned from World War I looking for work. It is dedicated as a memorial but also the road was built to connect the settlements who were living by the coast as previously these settlements were only accessible by sea or bush track. The construction began in 1919 and took three years to complete. The road stretches 244 kilometres and is difficult to drive through as there is only one lane in each direction and the speed limit varies from 50 km to 100 km/hour. The roads are also very windy and narrow. The Great Ocean Road travels alongside vertical cliffs which are susceptible to erosion so there are possible rockfalls.  However, it is one of the most scenic drives as it traverses through rainforests, beaches and cliffs while providing visibility of the Bass Strait and Southern Ocean.

Next stop again was a washroom break but it was a good spot to snap a picture of the nice beach. There were also many wild, white cockatoos here.

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After another 45 minute drive, we stopped at a spot where wild koalas and cockatoos are frequently spotted. We only managed to find one koala but there were lots of cockatoos. Our tour guide gave us some seeds to feed them and they were not shy about eating from your hands! I have a phobia of animals with sharp beaks so I was very nervous about feeding the birds. However, I figured that this was probably one of those rare opportunities so I decided to do it anyways. While one was eating off my hand, another one flew on top of my head! Thank goodness I was wearing a hat!

We drove a little further and stopped at a stopping point for photos of the beautiful shoreline. Next stop was finally lunchtime!

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We had lunch at the Iluka Café and we had a choice between roast chicken, fish and chips or lamb shawarma. Between the three of us, we ordered one of each and the food tasted pretty delicious.

After an hour lunch break, we were back on the bus and headed for the Twelve Apostles at the Port Campbell National Park. I believe we were originally supposed to make a stop at another attraction but unfortunately the attraction was closed as they were doing repairs on the damage from the forest fire last week.

The Twelve Apostle is a collection of limestone stacks and were formed by erosion. There was previously nine but the ninth one collapsed back in 2005. The limestones have no connection to the biblical reference. It was simply a name they used in lieu of its previous one, Sow and Pigs. There were many people here when we visited but we were still able to get very clear, beautiful shots of the limestones.

We drove a little further down the Port Campbell National Park to see the London Arch, Loch Ard Gorge, and the Razorback. Each one of these have its own observation area which made it easy to snap some nice pictures.

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The London Arch was previously called the London bridge due to its similarity to its namesake but got renamed when the arch collapsed in 1990.

On the other hand, the gorge was named after the ship Loch Ard which ran aground on its way to Melbourne. Only two out of 54 passengers survived and the rock pillars are named after them, Tom and Eva.

The Loch Ard Gorge was my favourie of the three but required walking up and down a steep staircase.

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However, the photos are totally worth it! Even though the weather was not the greatest when we visited, the photos still turned out really nice. Each one looks just like a postcard!

When we were visiting the Razorback, we also saw a rainbow!

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The next stop was Gibson Steps but not many people from our tour decided to get off the bus for this one as it was raining really hard and the walk down was very steep. It was a little tiring but I felt the photos taken were worth the trip! The Steps are named after the person who built a staircase for visitors to get a closer look of the twelve apostles from below.

We made our last washroom stop and grabbed some food to eat before we headed back home. We saw a double rainbow at the gas station which was really neat as I have never seen one before! The ride back was three hours long. We had a long, busy day so we napped for a bit on our ride home. I am glad we decided to do the Great Ocean Road on a tour rather than driving ourselves as it would have been a very exhausting drive! The price of the tour is reasonable so I think it is better to sit back, relax and enjoy as a passenger rather than doing the drive yourself.

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After we got dropped off around 8 pm, we decided to go for dinner at Chin Chin, an Asian fusion restaurant that my friend highly recommended. There was a 30 minute wait so we decided to go for a walk and come back. Although it was a Monday night, Melbourne CBD was still very busy. We did not get very far in our stroll when they texted us to tell us that the table was ready.

The restaurant was jam packed and there were still many people lining up outside. It was also very loud with music playing in the background so it was a little difficult to hear each other.

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After reading the reviews online, we decided to order the braised wagyu beef pad seuw, caramelised sticky pork, crispy skinned duck and a bowl of coconut rice to share.

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All the dishes were very delicious and very strong in flavour.

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I am not sure if they put a lot of MSG or spices in their food, but I had to drink lots of water to wash down the flavour after dinner. The duck was very crispy as the name suggests and was paired with a nice ginger soya sauce.

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The sticky pork was not too bad but my favourite was the pad seuw. This was a creative dish as I have never had rice rolls stir fried with meat before. Surprisingly, it tastes pretty good with beef! I think I will try to make this at home.

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Price was reasonable and the service was good. Our dining experience at Chin Chin was a great way to end the night!