Exploring Australia’s Great Oceans

Me at the 12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria

As soon as I had rented out my house back in the States & I knew for sure that I would be able to travel to Oz on the 12 month Work & Holiday Visa, I immediately began making plans to meet up with one of my best friends, Heather, who was already living abroad. Due to differing travel plans, I thought I’d be lucky to spend a week with her & her friend Adam driving from Melbourne to Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road, but it has now been almost six weeks & I am happy to report that the three of us are still traveling together, currently exploring Western Australia! It’s amazing that in such a short time I’ve already seen so much of this beautiful country & I’m looking forward to continuing our road trip for several more weeks before we have to part ways.

As the three of us traveled from the state of Victoria (home of the Great Ocean Road) through South Australia & recently on to Western Australia, I was surprised to learn that WA boasts its own β€œGreat Ocean” near the town of Esperance in the southwestern part of the state. Dubbed the Great Ocean Drive, it’s a 38 kilometer loop with amazing views of turquoise-tinted water & white sandy beaches. Although it’s a much shorter & less well-known drive than Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, it did not disappoint.

Great Ocean Drive, Western Australia

The colors of the ocean in much of Western Australia are just amazing

Perhaps because I had such high expectations of Victoria’s famed Great Ocean Road, this part of our trip was not necessarily one of the highlights for me, although to be fair the cold, dreary weather probably had a lot to do with that. If the sun had been shining the water would have absolutely sparkled, but every time I pulled out my camera it seemed to mock me by hiding behind a cloud. Nevertheless, if the Great Ocean Drive revealed more pristine colors, the Great Ocean Road had the more picturesque landscape & some interesting history to boot!

Loch Ard Gorge, site of an 1878 shipwreck. Two 18-year-olds were the only survivors out of a total 51 passengers & crew.

London Bridge, part of which collapsed in 1990 leaving two people stranded until they were rescued by helicopter.

The Grotto - I don't know any stories about this one, I just love the pic!

As you might have noticed from my flickr photos (see sidebar at right), we’ve seen a number of beautiful beaches beyond what I’ve described in this post (many of them in WA). The weather has even cooperated enough to allow us to swim in a couple of them! πŸ™‚ Although not part of the “Great Oceans” I’ve described above, I’m choosing to end this post with some pictures of one of my favorite bodies of water I’ve seen on the trip thus far – and yes, this is one of the two places we went for a swim! – the Greens Pool in William Bay National Park, Denmark, Western Australia.

Brilliant Colors

Despite the rock formations that help to soften the waves from the Southern Ocean, we felt some fairly strong currents in certain areas

A Beautiful Day for a Swim

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marie
    Mar 26, 2011 @ 15:12:27

    Niki, what beautiful pictures and what a great experience for you. So happy things are going well.
    Enjoy all your posts, so glad your Aunt told me about this.
    Marie

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Mar 28, 2011 @ 11:49:48

      Thanks Marie! When the sun cooperates, the water comes out so beautifully in the photos. We’ve enjoyed the beaches in Western Australia best of all.

      Reply

  2. camille
    Mar 26, 2011 @ 19:22:07

    Here’s to Chasing Wonderlust and the spectacular oceans, beaches, scenary, food and drinks you have experienced so far throughout your travels in Australia and sharing the experience with one of your very best friends (Heather) and a great Aussie friend (Adam) and the determined Paul Heinz camper van. Your photos are spectacular and your writing shows your excitement.

    Just think – this is only the beginning…..LIFE IS GOOD! Stay safe –
    Love Mom & Dad

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Mar 28, 2011 @ 11:25:57

      Thanks! We arrived in Perth, Western Australia last night & so far it seems like a great city. We plan to stay for a few days, so hopefully we’ll be able to pack a lot into a short amount of time. I’m sure I’ll write about it at some point. πŸ™‚

      Reply

  3. Heather
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 11:33:56

    I LOOOVED Greens Pool and like your photos a lot — may have to borrow them later for my post and of course give credit where credit is due πŸ™‚

    Who would have known when you first told me you were applying for the visa that we would have been able to spend 2+ months together, seeing new territory for the both of us?!

    Thank you for joining me on the road trip — wouldn’t have had it any other way!

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Mar 28, 2011 @ 11:53:09

      Awwww, thank YOU for inviting me along! I’m so glad things worked out the way they did – if I had come to Oz much later we might not have been able to meet up & if I had come much sooner I might have started working or made other plans & missed out on the Oz Road Trip – how sad that would have been!!

      Reply

  4. Dalene
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 19:52:45

    Nicole,
    It looks like you’re having an amazing time & taking in all the natural beauty that surrounds you. The London Bridge & Grotto look like such interesting formations- I want to explore them myself! It was 25 degrees here this morning, so I’m a bit jealous πŸ™‚
    Miss you!
    Dalene

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Mar 29, 2011 @ 09:39:43

      Thanks Dalene! Yikes – 25 degrees, huh? That actually has new meaning for me now – when you say it’s 25 degrees in Australia it means 25 degrees Celsius, which is like 77 Fahrenheit! It’s been about 31-32 here in Perth & much of Western Australia, so high 80s. It’s nice to have the warm weather (we were freezing in parts of Tasmania!), but my Buffalo blood can only take so much heat all at once – LOL. πŸ˜‰

      Reply

  5. Aunt Penny
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 01:52:13

    Hi Niki,
    Uncle Norm and I are still enjoying following all of your adventures. How wonderful it is for the three of you to have new experiences every single day. We love your stories, photos, and videos and are looking forward to more.

    Much love from both of us!

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Mar 29, 2011 @ 09:46:13

      Thanks! Hey, did you happen to notice my pictures of “Normanville” beach (Normanville was also the name of the town)
      Normanville Beach, South Australia

      & “Penny’s Hill” winery?
      Penny's Hill Winery, South Australia
      Penny's Hill Winery, South Australia

      Both were in South Australia & I was thinking of you two at both of those places. πŸ™‚ Oh, we bought a bottle of sparkling shiraz from Penny’s Hill – very nice!

      Reply

  6. Auntie Marilyn
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 18:05:16

    I love these photos and your posts. I think you should be a journalist!

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Mar 31, 2011 @ 04:17:41

      I don’t know about that, but thanks for the vote of confidence! πŸ™‚ I thought I’d be writing more often, but I’m glad I’m taking the time to just enjoy this part of my travels. Once I settle down somewhere maybe I’ll write a bit more frequently – we’ll see! πŸ˜‰

      Reply

  7. Uncle Terry & his wife
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 23:10:30

    Hey Niki! God, the beaches are gorgeous. I want 4 8×10’s of them for over our bed. We repainted our bedroom blue, and we’ve been looking for peaceful beach pictures—–to no avail so far. Needless to say, we are so envious of your travels. How are you doing with the bugs? Are kangaroos friendly? Do they come with boxing gloves? Do you eat anything besides dessert? Uncle Terry hopes that you are budgeting well as I am spending all his scoots. How do you like sleeping in a tent? It looks like about 1/4 of a person can fit in it. Do your feet stick out? Just wondering. Well, keep traveling and see all you can. Remember, we’re traveling vicariously through you. If I spelled that wrong, I’m sure you’ll tell me. Take care and have fun!

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Mar 31, 2011 @ 04:22:39

      You are welcome to have some photos – maybe between you & my mom you two can figure out how to get them off of flickr & printed . . . good luck – hahaha! The bugs are driving me crazy, but I’m managing. Heather often has to rescue me from them, so I would be lost without her! Kangaroos are quite friendly – no boxing gloves, LOL. πŸ˜‰ I DO eat things other than dessert – ranging from nice cafe meals to tuna out of a tin can – blecch. We’ve eaten some pretty sad meals out of the van at certain points. The tent is not as small as it probably looks from the outside – no my feet don’t stick out – that would just be asking for the bugs to come & attack!

      Reply

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Map of Australia

WA = Western Australia; NT = Northern Territory; SA = South Australia; QLD = Queensland; NSW = New South Wales; ACT = Australian Capital Territory; VIC = Victoria; TAS = Tasmania

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