the twelve apostlesThe Twelve Apostles
(Rugged Shores)

We’ve all read about the fires which have devastated the state of Victoria during the past month, (they were still raging during our visit this past week,) and the remarkable contrast in climatic conditions on that continent. Victoria, in common with most of the states on the coastal seaboard, has been locked in drought for the past twelve years, while there are parts of Queensland under torrential flood. South Africans cannot imagine what it is to live in a country so parched on the one hand, and so drenched on the other, and then so regularly put to the torch every few years (remember the great fires in Sydney a year or two ago?). So you must know what it’s worth to them when they beat us at cricket! It’s almost intolerable being out there when they’re on top, believe me! Yet, I have to say, the banter’s all in good heart.

On the other hand though, the Aussies can take a beating, and the fact that their sale in Melbourne was 34% down with a low clearance rate, did not get their spirits down. They’re a philosophical bunch, the Aussies, if they’re nothing else, and I have to say, they kept their chins well up, despite the turnaround.

In the event, we completed our purchasing twenty four hours in advance of our anticipated time, so we took a hire car and for the first time, we beat it down the Great Ocean Road, which connects the coastal strip between Melbourne and Adelaide.

Bold words aren’t enough to capture the scale and spectacle that graces the Great Ocean region around Port Campbell. Vast sea canyons, gorges, blowholes and battalions of cliffs; simply being close to such leviathans is invigorating. To witness them in wild weather, battered by the might of the Southern Ocean, is intoxicating. It was just such a day, when we were there, and judging by the vegetation, it’s often like that.

This stretch of coast is a place where mythology and reality meet, where tales of shipwrecks, disaster and heroism resonate against imposing edifices, including the coastline’s most famous feature; The Twelve Apostles. These mighty limestone stacks are up to 45 metres tall and are something else, especially at sunrise and sunset.