The morning after I returned from my New Zealand trip, I woke bright and early, finished packing, and headed to a hostel in St. Kilda to be picked up for the start of my Outback adventure. The first day of my trip was spent on the Great Ocean Road.
I have previously traveled the Great Ocean Road, and blogged about it here and here. So, for the most part, things were not new as we stuck to the well trod tourism path. As a result, while I may update my older posts, I won’t be re-blogging the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, etc.
What is worth noting is that this time, instead of stopping at London Bridge, my tour involved the full road, i.e. through Warnambool. Doing the full Great Ocean Road in one day is a herculean task in my opinion. Between the late night arrival from New Zealand and pre-dawn packing, I was exhausted just getting on and off the bus. The sun had set by the time we finished London Bridge. So, there was not much to do for the last half of the trip but drive. I think it is fair to say, however, that if you are short on time you shouldn’t feel bad about not doing the full road. The major scenic tourism spots are along that first half and the second half seems to me more geared towards pushing tourists into the Grampians. In fact, the original Great Ocean Road only ran to Apollo Bay.
The big news that I learned on this trip though was that major construction is planned on the Great Ocean Road starting, effectively, in 2014. I have in many ways been avoiding local politics. I have lived in Australia for ten (10) months and have already had three (3) prime ministers. One of the campaign promises of Tony Abbott, the prime-minister elect of Australia, was to pledge A$25M (an amount that the Victorian Roads Corporation agreed to match) to repaving the road, fixing bridges and improving the safety of the road. The Great Ocean Road is 81 years old. And I am willing to believe the experts when they say that it is in need of repair. It is a worthy monument to the men who fought in WWI and a major tourism driver for the region. But I can’t help but imagine that this will be a disaster for those wanting to visit the Great Ocean Road during the upgrade. I will definitely be monitoring the situation before advising any visitors to do the drive.
Has anyone heard of how traffic is planned to be managed during the construction?