Last summer I drove the coast of California for the second time. The sequel to anything is rarely better than the first, but in that case the second time around was much better. Two years ago, I drove The Great Ocean Road and I decided to test the same theory. It turns out, sequels rock!
Yesterday, I had my alarm set for 4:45am as I was planning to catch the sunrise over Australia’s Surf Coast. When I looked out the window, it was raining cats and dogs, so I decided to go back to sleep and try for another day. I went about my morning, doing some editing and having some breakfast. By 11am, the sky had cleared and I decided to pack up my gear and head for the coast.
The last time I drove the Great Ocean Road, it was a very grey and overcast day. This is ideal for shooting portraits, but not very colourful when you are shooting landscapes and natural beauty. Yesterday had the perfect mixture of blue skies and clouds. A perfect combination for a day of landscape photography.
This drive is very similar to the drive down the coast of California, with one huge difference. I am driving on the other side of the car and on the other side of the road! There were many “S” bends, chicanes and other chances to test the limits of your car, but I did not have the sporty convertible that I did when I drove down the coast this past summer. This was probably for the better, as there was a lot of fallen rocks and debris on the road from the heavy rains over the last few months.
The amazing road takes you over and around huge hills, tracing the coastline and the views are spectacular. The small towns and villages along the coast are packed full of people as Australia day is only a few days away.
The drive takes you through rainforests with trees that completely cover the road and along sheer cliffs that will have your knuckles bright white from the anxiety. As you drive further west, the scenery gets more and more beautiful until you reach the pinnacle, the Twelve Apostles. These formations were created over millions of years and countless waves eating away at the coastline. As I stand on the beach and look off into the distance, I realize that the only thing out there is Antarctica! It is on my list as the last continent I have yet to visit, but it’s unreachable from here.
I decided to take the inland route back because it is much faster. I have already spent six hours on this journey, and I did not want to drive the coastline in the dark. This part of the drive took me through endless green pastures, farms and thick forests. There were Kangaroo warning signs everywhere along the drive back, but I didn’t see a single one. At one point I had a Pink Cockatoo flying right beside my window.
This drive is just one of the reasons I always say that Australia is one of the most amazing countries on Earth.