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The Bay of Islands
March 312013

Vehicular Access: Sealed highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Several gravel paths leading to a wooden viewing decks.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions. 
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About 45 minutes.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The viewing decks are slippery when wet. There are snakes in the area. Proceed with caution. The cliffs in the area are unstable. Stay on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: This is a relatively quiet and less celebrated area. There is beach access in certain areas and offers an opportunity for families to stretch their legs and have a picnic.

The Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands lies beyond the attractions of Port Campbell. It is perhaps one of the lesser celebrated parts of Great Ocean Road, probably as a result of it being just that little bit further down the road from Port Campbell, where most day trippers have usually reached the end of their energy levels and are ready to head back to Melbourne.

The Bay of Islands is the culmination of the area around the Gibsons Steps, the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, all in one area. In spite of this, and three different areas to park, the fact that it lies about 20 minutes from the Grotto is enough to convince most visitors to not bother visiting. In all honesty, if you’ve had a full day of visiting coastal rock formations, another rock formation precinct doesn’t sound too appealing. In spite of that, it is well worth a visit, especially if you are planning on heading further down the road on to Warnambool and Port Fairy.

Best times to visit

The location is open all year round. Like most of the coast in this area, the weather in the area constantly changes. The best times to shoot here are during early mornings or later afternoons on partially cloudy days. Summer is the best time to visit this particular spot.

Prework

With the weather in this area being as changeable as it is, check the forecast, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes).

Gear Required

The effect of sea spray in this location is fairly minimal. Nonetheless, carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. The use of a tripod is not essential unless you are planning to do time-lapse or long-exposure photography. The winds in the area can get very rough. If you do use a tripod, use one that is sturdy and can be weighed down by attaching your camera bag or other heavy object to it with a hook.

You have a large array or lenses to choose from in this area. Wide angle lenses will give you beautiful landscapes and seascapes. Zoom lenses will allow you to focus on a smaller section of the many limestone stacks which stand in the bay.

While the paved pathways remains a good surface in all conditions, the wooden decks can become slippery when wet. Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you. Your choice of footwear is important. I recommend comfortable walking shoes (not runners).

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The Grotto
March 252013

Vehicular Access: Sealed highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Firm gravel pathway leading to a wooden decked staircase.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Not suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions. 
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About half an hour.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The deck is slippery when wet. There are snakes in the area. Proceed with caution. The cliffs in the area are unstable. It is highly recommended that one stays on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: The volume of tourists in this area peaks around 3p.m. when the tour buses from Melbourne arrive.

 

Beyond the Grotto - the Edge of the World

Beyond the Grotto – the Edge of the World

After a long day of driving, most people have run out of steam by the time they reach the Grotto. If there was ever a situation where the statement of saving the best for last was true, this would be it. Among all the rock formations, the Grotto is perhaps the most enchanting. It it not quite a blowhole, not quite an arch, and not quite a cave – but it’s a bit of everything.

The Grotto is a naturally carved out cave which stands up about halfway from sea level up the cliff. The paved pathway leads to a decked staircase that descends into a viewing area that is blocked off by a wall, preventing access further into the Grotto. What lies beyond is an area covered with smooth boulders that leads to rock pools carved out in the worn but jagged edged limestone. The best view of the Grotto is from beyond the wall and looking in.

The Grotto

The Grotto

Now this is the part that is important to know. The barrier that has been built at the viewing area at the Grotto is the area that is considered safe. Now while I know of several people and myself who have jumped the wall to get closer to the edge, be aware that there are some severe risks involved. Before getting anywhere close the the rock pools, one has to cross a layer of very smooth rocks which are very each to slip on. While these can be negotiated with care, there is a risk of falling and hurting yourself pretty badly.

The Grotto

The Grotto

Once you get beyond the rocks, the rock pools pose another challenge. The rocks are jagged and sharp, and are also coated with a very slippery layer of soil. This is especially so when it is wet (which is most of the time). While negotiating the sharp and slippery rock surface, be careful not to fall into the rock pools. They are filled with very sharp rocks, and a wrong step can lead to disaster. Last, but not least, I recommend not going further beyond the wall without someone accompanying you.

Best times to visit

The location is open all year round. The weather in the area constantly changes. Hence, while the best time to shoot here may be at sunset or sunrise, the reality is that one will probably make the best of the conditions that present themselves at this location. Partially cloudy days offer some of the best conditions to shoot, as do days when the ocean is not too rough. Summer is perhaps the best time to visit this particular spot.

Prework

With the weather in this area being as changeable as it is, check the forecast, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes).

The Grotto from within

The Grotto from within

Gear Required

The effect of sea spray in this location is far less than some of the other more exposed areas. Nonetheless, I recommend that you carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. It is probably desirable to have a tripod with you here, especially if you are planning on jumping the wall.

The winds in the area get very rough.

You definitely need a wide angle lens here – something under 20mm, or even better yet, a fish-eye lens.

Because this location is so closed in, the best time to visit is in the early mornings or late evenings. In either case, be sure to carry a flashlight with you.

While the paved pathway remains a good surface in all conditions, the wooden staircase can become slippery when wet. Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you. Your choice of footwear is important. I recommend comfortable walking shoes (not runners).

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London Arch
March 202013

Vehicular Access: Sealed highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Firm gravel pathway leading to a wooden decked pathways.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions. Wheelchair accessible.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About half an hour.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The deck is slippery when wet. There are snakes in the area. Proceed with caution. The path is wheelchair accessible, but some areas have gentle gradients. The cliffs in the area are unstable. It is highly recommended that one stays on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: The volume of tourists in this area peaks around 3p.m. when the tour buses from Melbourne arrive.

London Arch at Sunse

London Arch at Sunset in Winter

London Arch is what remains of London Bridge after it fell down. This was once a natural double arch, where visitors could walk out to the edge of the arch. One fine day, while people were on the arch, the central arch collapsed leaving several individuals stranded on the end, who had to be airlifted to safety.

While access to arch itself is now no longer possible, there are viewing platforms in three different areas to allow viewing access to this natural rock formation. The pathways are mostly paved, and the viewing decks are made from timber but do tend to get slippery when they are wet.

Best times to visit

The location is open all year round. The weather in the area constantly changes. Hence, while the best time to shoot here may be at sunset or sunrise, the reality is that one will probably make the best of the conditions that present themselves at this location. Partially cloudy days offer some of the best conditions to shoot, as do days when the ocean is not too rough. Summer and winter at this spot are very different.

London Arch in the late morning during summer

London Arch in the late morning during summer

Prework

With the weather in this area being as changeable as it is, check the forecast, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes).

Gear Required

The effect of sea spray in this location is far less than some of the other more exposed areas. Nonetheless, I recommend that you carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. Tripods are not essential unless you are planning on doing a long exposure shot in fading light. The winds in the area get very rough. If you do use a tripod, carry a sturdy one with a hook to which you can weigh down with your bag. Your choice of lens would typically be of focal length ranging from 15mm to 100mm, depending on how close you’d want to zoom into the arch.

If you’re planning an early morning or late evening shoot, be sure to carry a flashlight with you.

While the paved pathway remains a good surface in all conditions, the wooden deck can become slippery when wet.

Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you.

Your choice of footwear is important. I recommend comfortable walking shoes (not runners).

More Information»
The Arch
March 152013

Vehicular Access: Sealed highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Firm gravel pathway leading to a wooden decked pathway.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About 15 minutes.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The deck is slippery when wet. You may run into a snake in the area. Proceed with caution. The path is wheelchair accessible, but some areas have gentle gradients. The cliffs in the area are unstable. It is highly recommended that one stays on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: The volume of tourists in this area peaks around 3p.m. when the tour buses from Melbourne arrive.

The Arch

The Arch

The arch is one of several rock formations in the general area. While in other parts of the world, it may be considered something of a wonder, along this particular coastline, it is reduced to something of a footnote. There is no means to access the arch itself from the parking lot without putting oneself in a bit of peril, and one can get up close and personal with it from the water on chartered boats. The pathway from the parking lot leads to a viewing platform which provides a single perspective of this natural arch.

Best times to visit

The location is open all year round. The weather in the area constantly changes. Hence, while the best time to shoot here may be at sunset or sunrise, the reality is that one will probably make the best of the conditions that present themselves at this location. I am yet to see a photograph of this particular natural arch significantly different from the next, and a lot of that has to do with the single perspective that one gets from the viewing platform.

Prework

With the weather in this area being as changeable as it is, check the forecast, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes).

Gear Required

The effect of sea spray in this location is far less than some of the other more exposed areas. Nonetheless, I recommend that you carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. Tripods are not essential unless you are planning on doing a long exposure shot in fading light. The winds in the area get very rough. If you do use a tripod, carry a sturdy one with a hook to which you can weigh down with your bag. Your choice of lens would typically be of focal length ranging from 15mm to 100mm, depending on how close you’d want to zoom into the arch.

If you’re planning an early morning or late evening shoot, be sure to carry a flashlight with you.

While the paved pathway remains a good surface in all conditions, the wooden deck can become slippery when wet.

Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you.

Your choice of footwear is important. I recommend comfortable walking shoes (not runners).

More Information»
Port Campbell
March 102013

Vehicular Access: Highway access. The viewing deck is off the highway.
Pedestrian Access: Several hiking trails lead to the viewing deck. A well worn path leads from the parking lot to the viewing deck.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions. 
Walk Difficulty:
 Very easy
Amount of time required at the site: About 10 minutes.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The viewing decks are slippery when wet. There are snakes in the area. Proceed with caution. Stay on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: This is a spot that is easy to miss, so keep your eyes out for it.

Port Campbell at Sunset

Port Campbell at Sunset

Port Campbell is where most visitors to Great Ocean Road stay at for the night. This little town is well connected to Melbourne via both the Great Ocean Road (about a five hour drive), and the inland road (about a two and a half hour drive). The town offers a range of different places to stay, several establishments to eat at, a grocery store, post office and service station.

Port Campbell’s economy is heavily influenced by tourism. Tour operators here offer cruises around the Apostles, diving tours, and helicopter rides above the Apostles.

Like most regional Victorian towns, shops close here at 6p.m., and most eating establishments close by 10p.m. The local service station is open late.

Along the highway, while heading towards the Arch, London Arch, the Grotto, and the Bay of Islands, there is a little car park with a deck that offers a scenic view of this idyllic coastal town which is definitely worth pulling over for a few minutes.

Best times to visit

The viewing deck is open all year round. This is a spot that is shielded from the weather. The best time to photograph Port Campbell is at sunrise.

As a town, Port Campbell is open for business all year round. The best time to visit this area is in the fall and early winter.

Prework

Check the weather and the tides, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes).

Gear Required

With the viewing deck being mostly shielded, there is little effect of sea spray in this location. Tripods, though not essential, are nice to have. A wide-angle lens will serve you best at this location.

The wooden deck can become slippery when wet. Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you. As this is an easily accessible spot from the car park, most comfortable footwear is suitable to access this spot.

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The Blowhole
March 82013

Vehicular Access: Sealed highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Firm gravel pathway.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Suitable for some individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About 20 minutes.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The area is heavily vegetated during the summer and may be home to snakes. Proceed with caution. While the path is wheelchair accessible, it is somewhat uneven with gentle gradients. The cliffs in the area are unstable. It is highly recommended that one stays on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: The volume of tourists in this area peaks around 3p.m. when the tour buses from Melbourne arrive.

The Blowhole

The Blowhole

The blowhole is one of five spots of interest in the Loch Ard Gorge precinct. It is the result of constant erosion of the sea against the limestone cliffs, along with the seepage of surface rain water cutting through the limestone cliffs which have caused it to cave in over the tunnel that the ocean has been carving. Blowholes are not uncommon and are in several places around the world. The one here is particularly loud, as one can here the waves churn through the chamber of the blowhole and resonate against its limestone walls.

Best times to visit

The location is open all year round. The weather in the area constantly changes. Hence, while the best time to shoot here may be at sunset or sunrise, the reality is that one will probably make the best of the conditions that present themselves at this location. There are a very limited number of ways to photograph this location, and it perhaps offers more of an experience of being there rather than a photographic subject itself.

Prework

With the weather in this area being as changeable as it is, check the forecast, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes).

Gear Required

The effect of sea spray in this location is far less than some of the other more exposed areas. Nonetheless, I recommend that you carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. Tripods are not essential unless you are planning on doing a long exposure shot in fading light. The winds in the area get very rough. If you do use a tripod, carry a sturdy one with a hook to which you can weigh down with your bag. Your choice of lens would typically be of focal lengths under 40mm.

If you’re planning an early morning or late evening shoot, be sure to carry a flashlight with you.

Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you.

Your choice of footwear is important. I recommend comfortable walking shoes (not runners). Open-toed shoes are not recommended.

While in the area, be sure to check out Loch Ard Gorge, the Razorback, and the Island Arch.

More Information»
Loch Ard Gorge
March 72013

Vehicular Access: Sealed highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Firm gravel pathway leading to a partially decked staircase.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Not suitable for  individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About 20 minutes.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The area is subject to strong winds and constantly changing weather. The cliffs in the area are unstable. It is highly recommended that one stays on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: The volume of tourists in this area peaks around 3p.m. when the tour buses from Melbourne arrive.

Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge

The centerpiece of the Loch Ard Gorge precinct is Loch Ard Gorge. It is the site of a shipwreck of the clipper ship Loch Ard after which it is named. The clipper ran aground on 1 June 1878. It carried 54 passengers; only two survived – 15-year-old Tom Pearce, and 17-year-old Eva Carmichael whom he rescured that fateful night. The two teenagers took shelter in Thunder Cave on the night of the shipwreck.

Today, Loch Ard gorge can come across to the first-time-visitor as an idyllic cove and beach, especially on a hot summer afternoon. Do not be fooled by the ever changing weather. The waters of this area are not recommended for swimming. The waves are strong, the currents are treacherous, and the rocks are unforgiving. Access to the gorge is via an easy climb down a set of stairs onto a very soft sandy beach.

Best times to visit

The location is open all year round. The weather in the area constantly changes. The best times to shoot here are from sunrise to the middle of the morning. This location can only be photographed from a limited number of vantage points – from sea level, and from elevated vantage points from above.

Prework

With the weather in this area being as changeable as it is, check the forecast, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes).

Gear Required

The effect of sea spray in this location is very pronounced, and further excacerbated by strong winds that are prevalent in the area. It is recommend that one carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep one’s lenses clean. Tripods are recommended, especially if you are planning to do a long exposure shot on the beach level. The winds in the area get very rough. If you do use a tripod, carry a sturdy one with a hook to which you can weigh down with your bag. Your choice of lens would typically be of focal lengths from 17mm to around 50mm.

If you’re planning an early morning or late evening shoot, be sure to carry a flashlight with you.

Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you.

Your choice of footwear is important. Comfortable walking shoes (not runners) are recommended. Open-toed shoes are unsuitable for this location.

While in the area, be sure to check out the Blowhole, the Razorback, and the Island Arch (now known as Tom and Eva).

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Tom and Eva
March 52013

Vehicular Access: Sealed highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Firm partially paved pathway.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Suitable for most individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About 20 minutes.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The area is subject to strong winds and constantly changing weather. The cliffs in the area are unstable. It is highly recommended that one stays on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: The volume of tourists in this area peaks around 3p.m. when the tour buses from Melbourne arrive.

Tom and Eva

Tom and Eva

If you ever needed evidence of erosion on the surf coast, the two limestone stacks known as Tom and Eva, which are the remnants of the Island Arch, would rank at the top. They are named after the two teenage survivors of the wreck of the Loch Ard from 1878. This shot was taken in April 2010. When I first visited Great Ocean Road in the southern summer of 2007, the Island Arch was still whole.

The central section that is now void between the two limestone stacks still stood, and remained standing till June 2009 when I’d paid a visit. A few weeks later, I’d read the news reports… the arch had finally collapsed. It happened at dawn with just a couple of tourists nearby who heard the rumbling and the crash, only to turn around and see that the scene that they had observed just moments earlier had completely changed. For now, this is how it lies, before mother nature carves another piece off the rocks into the waters of the ocean beneath.

The Island Arch in 2008

The Island Arch in 2008

Access to the viewing deck of  Tom and Eva is via an even gravel path that is partially paved. It is an easy walk taking no more than a few minutes.

Best times to visit

The location is open all year round. The weather in the area constantly changes. The best times to shoot here are from sunrise to the middle of the morning. While there are a few alternative vantage points to shoot this feature from, this one seems to be the most popular.

Prework

With the weather in this area being as changeable as it is, check the forecast, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes).

Gear Required

The effect of sea spray in this location is very pronounced, and further excacerbated by strong winds that are prevalent in the area. It is recommend that one carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep one’s lenses clean. Tripods are recommended, especially if you are planning to do a long exposure shot. The winds in the area get very rough. If you do use a tripod, carry a sturdy one with a hook to which you can weigh down with your bag. Your choice of lens would typically be of focal lengths of under 40mm.

If you’re planning an early morning or late evening shoot, be sure to carry a flashlight with you.

Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you. If there are showers in the area, consider wearing a weatherproof jacket, and have a rain-shield or plastic cover handy for to protect your camera.

Your choice of footwear is important. Comfortable walking shoes (not runners) are recommended.

While in the area, be sure to check out the Blowhole, the Razorback, and Loch Ard Gorge.

 

More Information»
The Razorback
March 42013

Vehicular Access: Sealed highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Firm partially paved pathway.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Suitable for most individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About 20 minutes.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The area is subject to strong winds and constantly changing weather. The cliffs in the area are unstable. It is highly recommended that one stays on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: The volume of tourists in this area peaks around 3p.m. when the tour buses from Melbourne arrive.

The Razorback

The Razorback

The Razorback is yet another rock formation that one can view when visiting the Loch Ard Gorge precinct. It lies along the same path that takes one from the parking lot to Tom and Eva, and lies a further 5 minutes walk up the path.

The name is given to a limestone stack that stands in a cove that is constantly subjected to the forces of wind and water erosion of the Southern Ocean. The path to the vantage point of the Razorback forks into a loop. While approaching, the left fork will take one directly to the most direct vantage point to view the limestone stack. If you spend a few minutes watching the waves crash against the coastline, you will notice another cave forming in the cliff face, which is likely to one day form into a blow hole, or into another arch.

The right hand fork loops around the cliff top, and offers one a side view of  Tom and Eva, and a view of Muttonbird Island.

Best times to visit

The location is open all year round. The weather in the area constantly changes. The best times to shoot here are from sunrise to the middle of the morning. Realistically, there are two alternative vantage points to shoot this feature from. Both will require you to have a very wide angle lens.

Prework

With the weather in this area being as changeable as it is, check the forecast, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes).

Gear Required

The effect of sea spray in this location is very pronounced, and further exacerbated by strong winds that are prevalent in the area. It is recommend that one carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep one’s lenses clean. Tripods are recommended, especially if you are planning to do a long exposure shot. The winds in the area get very rough. If you do use a tripod, carry a sturdy one with a hook to which you can weigh down with your bag. Your choice of lens would typically be of focal lengths of under 24mm, or fisheye.

If you’re planning an early morning or late evening shoot, be sure to carry a flashlight with you.

Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you. If there are showers in the area, consider wearing a weatherproof jacket, and have a rain-shield or plastic cover handy for to protect your camera.

Your choice of footwear is important. Comfortable walking shoes (not runners) are recommended.

While in the area, be sure to check out the Blowhole, Tom and Eva, and Loch Ard Gorge.

More Information»
The Twelve Apostles
March 32013

Vehicular Access: Sealed highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Paved pathway via the visitors centre from the parking lot to a wooden deck.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About half an hour.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day (Visitors centre closes at 5:00pm)
Notes of caution: The deck is slippery when wet. You may run into a snake in the area. Proceed with caution. The path is wheelchair accessible, but some areas have gentle gradients. The cliffs in the area are unstable. It is highly recommended that one stays on the marked paths only.
Recommendations: This site is very popular among tourists, and peaks in attendance around 3p.m. when the tour buses from Melbourne arrive. The best times to visit are from sunrise to around 10a.m.

The-Apostles-at-Sunset.jpg

The Twelve Apostles at Sunset

The Twelve Apostles are the culmination of a good day’s driving on Great Ocean Road. They are somewhat of a misnomer, as there aren’t twelve of them. They are also rapidly decreasing, as the sea continues to swallow them one at a time. Nonetheless, they are the iconic images of Great Ocean Road, and are easy to get to.

The Twelve Apostles are part of the Port Campbell Marine National Park. Access to the Apostles is via the visitors centre. There is plenty of parking, and while the centre is not open 24-hours-a-day, access to the viewing platforms is.

This is the most popular tourist spot along Great Ocean Road. The viewing decks spread across the cliffs and provide views which are both eastbound and westbound along the southern coast. This area tends to be severely weather-beaten and windswept, and the weather here can change with little notice. The key things to observe here are the limestone stacks known as the Apostles.

Best times to visit

While the location is open all year round, the best time to shoot here is in the late spring through to the early autumn when the weather is warm. The cooler weather brings with it a lot of rain that can play spoil sport with any plans of capturing some good images. Like with most landscape photography, the anchors are best viewed at sunrise and sunset. However, on a day with a lot of cloud activity, you can probably pull off some good shots through till the late morning.

Winters can offer an interesting perspective when passing showers pass by from one side and the sun beats down from the other. This part of the coast has a high occurrence of rainbows (I have observed four complete rainbows – two of them double rainbows – in an hour on the same morning).

Prework

With the weather in this area being as changeable as it is, check the forecast, and allow yourself some extra time in case you get caught in a passing shower (most of which last about 15 to 30 minutes). The visitors centre offers adequate shelter during the day. It is also worth checking on the times for sunrise and sunset.

Gear Required

From the perspective of a photographer, the odds are that your camera lenses will take a beating from the sea spray. I recommend that you carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. Tripods are not essential, but the winds here get very rough. If you do use a tripod, carry a sturdy one with a hook to which you can weigh down with your bag. Your choice of lens would typically be a wide-angle lens.

If you’re planning an early morning or late evening shoot, be sure to carry a flashlight with you.

While the paved pathway remains a good surface in all conditions, the wooden deck can become slippery when wet.

Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you.

Your choice of footwear is important. I recommend comfortable walking shoes (not runners) or preferably hiking boots.

More Information»
The Gibson Steps
March 22013

Vehicular Access: Highway access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Wooden staircase, sandy and partially rocky beach.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Not suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Medium
Amount of time required at the site: About an hour.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: Not safe when the tide is high. The stairs are slippery when wet, and are very steep. You might run into a snake or two in the area. Proceed with caution.
Recommendations: Use a pair of hiking poles. They will make your walk along the beach much easier.

Some of the most iconic images of this region are shot from this location. The Gibson Steps allow one access to the beach level, where one can stand almost toe to toe against a couple of the limestone stacks that make up the Apostles. The Gibson Steps have undergone a redevelopment around 2008, and were still being further developed during my last visit in May 2013. The step set of steps descend to a sandy beach, and are open round the clock (thought I would not recommend making this descent after dark). During high tides, parts of the beach can become impassable.

The car park of the Gibson Steps is right along the highway, and becomes heavily used in the mid to late afternoons when the bulk of tourists – day trippers from Melbourne – arrive in Port Campbell. The descent to the beach takes no more than 10 minutes, and the walk to get up close and personal with the limestone stacks are a further 15 minutes.

"The Sentinels" from the beach at the Gibsons Steps

“The Sentinels” from the beach at the Gibson Steps

Best times to visit

While the location is open all year round, the best time to shoot here is in the late spring through to the early autumn when the weather is warm. The cooler weather brings with it a lot of rain that can play spoil sport with any plans of capturing some good images. While both sunrise and sunset are the best times to visit, early mornings in the winter also offer mist cupled with the early morning viewed at sunrise and sunset.

The weather here constantly changes, and its not uncommon for a cloudless sky to suddenly become inclement. On a day with a lot of cloud activity, one can probably pull off some good shots through till the late morning, and then again around sunset.

Tides affect this location considerably. At low tide, one can walk up to the limestone stacks. The wet sand offers a flat, highly reflective surface that offers “the” iconic composition.

The Lone Apostle under a rainbow

The Lone Apostle under a rainbow

Prework

Check the tide. This area is impassable at high tide. If the tide is coming in, it is probably not safe to visit this area.

As with all outdoor locations that are a good hike, it’s a good idea to check on the weather and the tides. This part of the coast has constantly changing weather patterns, and it is not uncommon to go from bright and sunny to miserable and rainy in a matter of minutes. It is also worth checking on the times for sunrise and sunset.

Gear Required

From the perspective of a photographer, the odds are that your camera lenses will take a beating from the sea spray. I recommend that you carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. Tripods are essential. Your choice of lens would typically be a wide-angle lens. You will probably not shoot anything at a focal length of beyond 60mm, so I recommend leaving the zoom lens at home.

If you’re planning an early morning or late evening shoot, be sure to carry a flashlight with you.

The ground that you will have to cover is soft. My recommendation is to wear a pair of good, solid hiking boots.

Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you. Last, but not least, I recommend the use of a hiking pole.

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Wreck Beach
March 12013

Vehicular Access: Gravel road to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Gravel pathway from the parking lot to a wooden staircase, sandy and partially rocky beach.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Not suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Medium
Amount of time required at the site: About two hours.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The stairs are slippery when wet, and are very steep. You might run into a snake or two in the area. Proceed with caution.
Recommendations: Use a pair of hiking poles. They will make your walk along the beach much easier.

The Anchors of the Marie Gabrielle

The Anchors of the Marie Gabrielle

It is one of the most sought after locations on Great Ocean Road, yet it is surprisingly poorly sign posted. Wreck Beach at Moonlight Head along Great Ocean Road was (and still is) on of my favourite spots to visit along Australia’s Southern Coast. It is the site of two anchors from shipwrecks that make for amazing photographic subjects in the right conditions. When I made my first trip to the Great Ocean Road, I was hoping to come across these two. However, it took me 5 visits before I finally found where they were – and it wasn’t without a fair bit of asking before I finally located these two anchors.

Access to Wreck Beach is via a walking trail from a car park which is located at the end of a gravel road that forks off Great Ocean Road at Moonlight Head. The best way to get there is by road. You do not need a 4-wheel-drive to get there. Even a small car in good repair will be able to comfortably negotiate the approach road to the car park.

The car park is normally quite deserted, with ample parking for about 40 vehicles at any given time. Given that this location is poorly sign-posted from the main road, the odds are that you won’t find an awful lot of visitors here at the same time. It’s also a location that is a little off the beaten path from where tour buses typically stop, so you will not run into hordes of tourists here.

The location of the anchors is about 35 minute (to the Marie-Gabrielle anchor) to 45 minute (the Fiji Anchor) hike (one way) from the car park. The hike starts along a well-marked out trail that leads down 350 metres at a mostly level gradient before meeting a cliff staircase of all of 366 stairs. The stairs are made of wood, and don’t always have railings at all its sections. They’re quite well put together and are of no concern when its dry. They can, however, become very, very slippery when its wet or when it rains.

Once you’ve walked down the cliff stair case (about a 15 minute stroll from the car park), you will need to turn to your right to approach the two anchors. The walk is along the beach, along very soft sand (with a few patches of sturdy rock to walk on). The anchor of the Marie-Gabrielle is the first one that you will meet after about a 15 minute walk from the base of the staircase, encrusted in the rocks, and surrounded by a few rather deep tide pools that can be very disagreeable if you were to take a bad step. The Fiji anchor is visible from here further up the coastline, clearly seen to be standing erect at where it has come to rest.

Best times to visit

While the location is open all year round, the best time to shoot here is in the late spring through to the early autumn when the weather is warm. The cooler weather brings with it a lot of rain that can play spoil sport with any plans of capturing some good images. Like with most landscape photography, the anchors are best viewed at sunrise and sunset. However, on a day with a lot of cloud activity, you can probably pull off some good shots through till the late morning.

Tides offer another perspective. The Fiji anchor is typically unaffected by tides. However, the anchor of the Marie-Gabrielle is much closer to the water line and is hence a perfect candidate for tidal effects. Consider shooting at high tide with a long exposure to get the effect of foam around the anchor.

Prework

As with all outdoor locations that are a good hike, it’s a good idea to check on the weather and the tides. This part of the coast has constantly changing weather patterns, and it is not uncommon to go from bright and sunny to miserable and rainy in a matter of minutes. It is also worth checking on the times for sunrise and sunset.

The Anchor of the Fiji at Wreck Beach

The Anchor of the Fiji at Wreck Beach

Gear Required

From the perspective of a photographer, the odds are that your camera lenses will take a beating from the sea spray. I recommend that you carry a towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. Tripods are essential. Your choice of lens would typically be a wide-angle lens. You will probably not shoot anything at a focal length of beyond 60mm, so I recommend leaving the zoom lens at home.

If you’re planning an early morning or late evening shoot, be sure to carry a flashlight with you.

The ground that you will have to cover is soft. My recommendation is to wear a pair of good, solid hiking boots. If you’re planning to shoot the Marie-Gabrielle anchor at high tide, a pair of waders are essential (unless it’s in the summer and you’re wearing sandals, and planning on going barefoot).

Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes, and its very easy to suffer from exposure to the elements. In the summer, it is imperative that you have sunscreen on you. Last, but not least, I recommend the use of a hiking pole.

Bear in mind that a visit to these anchors will take at least an hour and a half, so it’s a good idea to have some water and snacks on hand to keep you going.

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Cape Otway Lightstation
February 282013

Vehicular Access: Sealed road to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Well maintained gravel and paved paths to the lighthouse.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. May not be suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy.
Amount of time required at the site: About two hours.
Price of Admission: Adults – $18.50; Concession – $16.50; Children (school students) – $7.50; Family (2 adults 4 children) – $46.50; Pre-school children – free. Discounted tickets can be pre-purchased from the Visitor Information Centres at Apollo Bay and Lorne, and from Otway Fly.
Access hours: Every day except Christmas Day from 9a.m. to 5p.m.
Official web site: http://www.lightstation.com
Notes of caution: There are strong winds in the area. When near the edge of the cliff by the lighthouse, stay within the safety barriers.
Recommendations: Access to the lighthouse requires a 12km (one way) detour off the highway which is via a sealed but very circuitous route which will take you through areas of forests that are home to koalas. Allow yourself at least half an hour in each direction to get to the lighthouse, and keep an eye out for koalas in the trees, and occasionally, on the road. Also, consider staying overnight at the lighthouse grounds (very limited accommodation, and bookings are essential) in the Head Lightkeeper’s House or the Manager’s House for a truly unique experience.

Cape Otway Lightstation in summer

Cape Otway Lightstation in summer

When you consider a lighthouse of significance in Australia, Cape Otway Lightstation is perhaps among the most important. It occupies a place in history in Australian maritime history as the oldest surviving lighthouse built on the mainland, on a site that was hard to access. Access to it is much easier now, but involves a 12km detour off the main highway. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1994, replaced by a low powered solar light in front of the original tower. It is now more of a tourist attraction, where one can book accommodation to spend the night on the lighthouse grounds.

Alfresco dining at Cape Otway Lightstation

Alfresco dining at Cape Otway Lightstation

The lighthouse was set up to mitigate the occurrence of shipwrecks which claimed hundreds of lives in this section of the Australian coastline. Australia’s first submarine cable was laid between here and Launceston, Tasmania in 1859.

The lighthouse itself offers quite the photographic subject, but do not limit yourself to the outside of the lighthouse alone. Consider taking a tour to the top of the lighthouse to get a close up view of the lighting system (which has now been decomissioned and has been left in place purely for historical purposes). The traditional light in the lighthouse has since been replaced with a solar powered beacon in front of it, towards the cliff face.

If you are here around 3p.m., make sure that you partake of freshly baked scones at the tea shop at the top of the hill which looks down upon the lighthouse.

Cape Otway Lightstation in the Fall

Cape Otway Lightstation in the Fall

Best times to visit

The time of the year has a lot to do with what you can expect to capture while visiting here. In the summers, unless you were staying at the lighthouse, you would be hard pressed to capture anything but a daytime shot of the lighthouse and its grounds. In the winters, if you come here around 4:30p.m., you should have just enough time to capture the lighthouse in the dying rays of the sun (sunsets are as early at 5:00p.m. around the winter solstice). This is an area with very little light pollution, and hence, provides a perfect location for long exposure astro-photography if you’re staying here overnight.

Prework

Plan your arrival. The lighthouse is a 12km drive from the highway on a road that winds through the forest and climbs. Entry to the grounds closes at 5:00p.m. sharp, though you can exit after that without any issues. Make sure that you have enough petrol to get back either to Apollo Bay, or up to Lavers Hill. These are the closest places where you will be able refuel.

Gear Required

Your choice of lens would be wide angle or fish-eye. There isn’t much impact of sea spray here, but passing showers might give you a bit of grief. Carry a small towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. Tripods are not, and you would comfortably be able to shoot hand held, unless you are shooting with long exposures.

The site has well marked out paths. A comfortable pair of walking shoes is recommended. Runners are also suitable. Sandals and open-toed shoes will also suffice, though I wouldn’t recommend wearing them in this region if you have visits to other places in the area.

Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes.

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Triplet Falls
February 202013

Vehicular Access: Unsealed road access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Unpaved path, decked walk ways and decked stair cases leading to a steel viewing deck.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Not suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Medium
Amount of time required at the site: About 2 hours.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: In the interest of personal safety, this is a location that I recommend visiting with at least one other companion. Mobile phones do not work in this area. Consider carrying walkie-talkies to stay in touch with each other.
Recommendations: The parking lot opens up in a rest area with tables. Carry some food with you to eat either before, or after the shoot. On a hot day, carry some drinking water with you. The use of hiking poles is highly recommended.
There are toilets in the area.

Triplet Falls is about 15km from Lavers Hill, and lies a further 2km from Otway Fly. Access to the falls is through a well marked trail that runs in a circuit. When entering the trail, you have the option to either go left, or right. The right fork will take you there more directly. The trail makes its way through heavy vegetation, and has moderately steep inclines, but does require some degree of prolonged exertion, especially on the way back up.

Triplet Falls

Triplet Falls

The falls are best seen from a steel viewing platform. They are somewhat difficult to get to, given that there is a step chasm between the trail and the falls themselves, in which a lot of the native vegetation has continued to grow. I am personally not a huge fan of these falls as they’re not easy to get close to without putting oneself in a bit of peril by stepping off the marked path.

Best times to visit

Waterfalls are at there best in the winters after a rainstorm or passing shower. In the summers, the area typically offers a cool relief to visitors, but the flow can be considerably weaker and somewhat of a disappointment. For the purpose of photography, overcast days offer the best conditions. Consider visiting this spot either early in the morning, or late in the afternoon. When the sun is overhead, harsh shadows can ruin a good photographic opportunity.

Prework

Allow for at least two hours of daylight to take this location in without having to rush. The approach to the falls is down an inclined walking trail of boarded and steel steps which leads to a viewing deck. One can get closer to the falls making their way down to the bottom of the falls and walking along the stream. The approach is not for the faint hearted or inexperienced, and should never be attempted alone. I have not felt comfortable doing this trail myself, and do not recommend that anyone who is not reasonably sure-fotted undertake this. When visiting this location, I recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots for a visit here. Under no circumstances should one wear open-toed shoes or sandals.

Gear Required

While the falls generate a fair bit of spray, there is little chance that your camera lenses will be affected directly, though you might get dripped on from any rainwater clinging onto leaves of the trees above you on a wet day. I highly recommend the use of a tripod here. You will need to zoom in to get a good view of the falls from the viewing deck. Consider using lenses of focal lengths between 50mm and 135mm. In order to capture the smooth flow of the water, I recommend using a neutral density filter.

If you’re planning on coming here at the end of the day, be sure to carry a flashlight or headlamp with you.

On an overcast day, when there are passing showers in the area, carry an umbrella or raincoat with you, as getting back to your vehicle quickly will not be an option. Consider carrying or using some insect repellent in the summer.

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Hopetoun Falls
February 72013

Vehicular Access: Unsealed road access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Unpaved path, wooden staircase, and boardwalk.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Not suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Medium
Amount of time required at the site: About an hour.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The stairs are slippery when wet, and are very steep. There are snakes, insects and arachnids in the area. Proceed with caution. In the interest of personal safety, this is a location that I recommend visiting with at least one other companion. Mobile phones do not work in this area. Consider carrying walkie-talkies to stay in touch with each other.
Recommendations: Use a pair of hiking poles. They will make your walk up the steps and path much easier. On a hot day, carry some drinking water with you.

Hopetoun Falls is one of several waterfalls in close vicinity to each other, and along the same approach route to Beauchamp Falls. It is relatively easy to get to, and is definitely worth the visit. It is one of the many iconic waterfalls of the Otways which is best viewed on an overcast day, especially after there have a few passing showers in the area

Hopetoun Falls

Hopetoun Falls

Best times to visit

The waterfalls are at there best in the winters after a rainstorm or passing shower. In the summers, the area typically offers a cool relief to visitors, but the flow over the falls can be somewhat of a disappointment. For the purpose of photography, overcast days offer the best conditions.

Prework

Allow for at least two hours of daylight to take this location in without having to rush. The climb down to the falls is relatively quick (about 10 to 15 minutes); the walk back up takes between 20 to 25 minutes but is not overwhelming. During wet weather, the steps on the pathway can become soaked, muddy and slippery. I recommend wearing sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots for a visit here. Under no circumstances should one wear open-toed shoes or sandals. I recommend the use of a hiking poles to ease your ascent from the waterfall. As a general rule, to be safe, I would recommend coming here with at least another person.

Gear Required

While the falls generate a fair bit of spray, there is little chance that your camera lenses will be affected directly, though you might get dripped on from any rainwater clinging onto leaves of the trees above you on a wet day. I highly recommend the use of a tripod here. While you might consider going off the beaten path across the stream to shoot from another perspective, I would recommend shooting from the viewing platform (which has a bench that will comfortably seat 3 adults). Consider using lenses of focal lengths under 85mm. In order to capture the smooth flow of the water, I recommend using a neutral density filter.

If you’re planning on coming here at the end of the day, be sure to carry a flashlight or headlamp with you.

If it starts raining while you’re at the falls, the way back to the car park is up a steep staircase. If you visit when the weather is wet, carry an umbrella or raincoat with you. Consider carrying some insect repellent.

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Beauchamp Falls
February 72013

Vehicular Access: Unsealed road access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Unpaved path, wooden staircase, and boardwalk.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Not suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Medium
Amount of time required at the site: About an hour.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: The stairs are slippery when wet, and are very steep. There are snakes, insects and arachnids in the area. Proceed with caution. In the interest of personal safety, this is a location that I recommend visiting with at least one other companion. Mobile phones do not work in this area. Consider carrying walkie-talkies to stay in touch with each other.
Recommendations: Use a pair of hiking poles. They will make your walk up the steps and path much easier. On a hot day, carry some drinking water with you.

Beauchamp Falls is one of several waterfalls in close vicinity to each other, and along the same approach route to Hopetoun Falls. It is relatively easy to get to, and is definitely worth the visit. It is one of the many iconic waterfalls of the Otways which is best viewed on an overcast day, especially after there have a few passing showers in the area

Beauchamp Falls

Beauchamp Falls

Best times to visit

The waterfalls are at there best in the winters after a rainstorm or passing shower. In the summers, the area typically offers a cool relief to visitors, but the flow over the falls can be somewhat of a disappointment. For the purpose of photography, overcast days offer the best conditions.

Prework

Allow for at least two hours of daylight to take this location in without having to rush. The climb down to the falls is relatively quick (about 10 to 15 minutes); the walk back up takes between 20 to 25 minutes but is not overwhelming. During wet weather, the steps on the pathway can become soaked, muddy and slippery. I recommend wearing sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots for a visit here. Under no circumstances should one wear open-toed shoes or sandals. I recommend the use of a hiking poles to ease your ascent from the waterfall. As a general rule, to be safe, I would recommend coming here with at least another person.

Gear Required

While the falls generate a fair bit of spray, there is little chance that your camera lenses will be affected directly, though you might get dripped on from any rainwater clinging onto leaves of the trees above you on a wet day. I highly recommend the use of a tripod here. While you might consider going off the beaten path across the stream to shoot from another perspective, I would recommend shooting from the viewing platform (which has a bench that will comfortably seat 3 adults). Consider using lenses of focal lengths under 85mm. In order to capture the smooth flow of the water, I recommend using a neutral density filter.

If you’re planning on coming here at the end of the day, be sure to carry a flashlight or headlamp with you.

If it starts raining while you’re at the falls, the way back to the car park is up a steep staircase. If you visit when the weather is wet, carry an umbrella or raincoat with you. Consider carrying some insect repellent.

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Stevensons Falls
February 12013

Vehicular Access: Unsealed road access to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Unpaved path.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Not suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy
Amount of time required at the site: About 45 minutes.
Price of Admission: Free
Access hours: 24 hours a day
Notes of caution: In the interest of personal safety, this is a location that I recommend visiting with at least one other companion. Mobile phones do not work in this area. Consider carrying walkie-talkies to stay in touch with each other.
Recommendations: The parking lot opens up in a shaded glade which is a great spot to break for a bite to eat. Carry some food with you to eat either before, or after the shoot. On a hot day, carry some drinking water with you.

Stevenson falls is about 35km from Apollo Bay, and takes about 40 minutes to drive to. It is one of several waterfalls in close vicinity to each other, and has perhaps the easiest approach among all the waterfalls in the area. Like all waterfalls, it is best viewed on an overcast day, especially after there have a few passing showers in the area.

Stevenson Falls on an overcast day

Stevenson Falls on an overcast day

Best times to visit

Waterfalls are at there best in the winters after a rainstorm or passing shower. In the summers, the area typically offers a cool relief to visitors, but the flow over the falls can be somewhat of a disappointment. For the purpose of photography, overcast days offer the best conditions. Consider visiting this spot either early in the morning, or late in the afternoon. When the sun is overhead, harsh shadows can ruin a good photographic opportunity.

Prework

Allow for at least an hour of daylight to take this location in without having to rush. The approach to the falls is quick (about 10 minutes) over a mostly flat walking trail which leads to a viewing deck. One can get closer to the falls by climbing over the viewing deck, but beware – the constant flow of water in the area makes the rocks very slippery. I do not recommend that anyone who is not reasonably sure-fotted undertake this. I certainly do not recommend that anyone attempt to do this on their own, and only attempt to do this when with a companion. I recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots for a visit here. Under no circumstances should one wear open-toed shoes or sandals.

Stevenson Falls on a hot day in bright daylight

Stevenson Falls on a hot day in bright daylight

Gear Required

While the falls generate a fair bit of spray, there is little chance that your camera lenses will be affected directly, though you might get dripped on from any rainwater clinging onto leaves of the trees above you on a wet day. I highly recommend the use of a tripod here. You might consider going off the beaten path across the stream to shoot from another perspective. Consider using lenses of focal lengths under 85mm. In order to capture the smooth flow of the water, I recommend using a neutral density filter.

If you’re planning on coming here at the end of the day, be sure to carry a flashlight or headlamp with you.

On an overcast day, when there are passing showers in the area, carry an umbrella or raincoat with you. Consider carrying or using some insect repellent in the summer.

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Vehicular Access: Sealed road from the highway to the parking lot.
Pedestrian Access: Easy pedestrian access from the car park to the beach.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Not suitable for wheelchair access or for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy.
Amount of time required at the site: Between 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the time of day, and what you plan to shoot.
Price of Admission: Free.
Access hours: 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
Notes of caution: This area is prone to tidal activity and is impassable at high tide.
Recommendations: This is an excellent spot for long exposure photography against a rocky beach. Consider shooting after dark for best results.

Marengo Reef's Marine Sanctuary

Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary

Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary lies a few kilometres up the road from Apollo Bay and is one of those “best kept secrets” of Great Ocean Road. It is a rocky beach that sits at the bottom of the town of Marengo, just next to the sandy beach that lies between Apollo Bay and the sanctuary itself.

This area is impassable at high tide. At low tide, it is a favourite hangout for anglers and families alike. The rocky beach offers a myriad of rock-pools, most of which are teeming with life. It is not uncommon to come across an assortment of crabs and other small crustaceans in the many rock-pools in this area, and is a place that most children will find plenty to fill their curiosity and inquisitiveness.

As a landscape photographer, the main draw card is the rock formations, and the many fissures in the area.

"Copper Block" - Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary

“Copper Block” – Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary

The image above was shot after sunset one winter evening. This particular tide-pool had a serpentine channel through which the sea water would trickle in and out of. This was shot at a time when I had a Canon 1000D witn no filter. I had to wait until it was dark to be able to capture this composition, shot at f/22 with an exposure time of 1 minute.

If a sandy beach is more your thing, you need do little more than walk to your left rather than to your right from the car park, and will be greeted with an unspoiled stretch of sand the extends to Apollo Bay.

Marengo Beach at sunset

Marengo Beach at sunset

Best times to visit

As a coastal location, different times of the day will offer you different conditions to work with. Summers offer early sunrises and late sunsets with long twilights and mostly clear skies. Winters offer overcast conditions, late sunrises and early sunsets and make it perfect for long exposure photography with the weather adding lots of drama. The best times are in the early mornings and late evenings on cloudless to partially cloudy days.

Prework

There is ample parking near the site, and easy pedestrian access. A good set of water resistant hiking boots are recommended. There are good odds that you will get your feet wet, so consider having an extra pair of socks and shoes at hand. If you are planning on heading out onto the sand, I good pair of high-ankle hiking boots are the best choice. Runners are unsuitable and will get soaked very quickly.

This area is impassable at high tide. Be sure to check the tide before visiting. If you are shooting after dark, make sure that you have a flash-light or headlamp.

Gear Required

If you are planning on capturing long exposure surf activity, a tripod is essential. Also consider using neutral density filters (I usually keep an ND4, and ND8 and an ND400 close at hand). Your camera gear will be exposed to the elements here, so it is inadvisable to change lenses while in the area. Consider using a lens that will give you a good wide to medium range (something like a 24-105mm). You will also be subject to a fair bit of sea spray. Keep a towel and micro-fibre cloth handy to wipe your lenses down. Also consider using a weather shield or plastic bag over your camera body to protect it from the elements.

If you are planning on getting in the water to shoot up into the rock formations, consider wearing a pair of waders. Note that currents can get quite strong here, so if you are planning to get into the water, make sure that you have someone to accompany you.

The weather and temperature here constantly changes. Dress in layers, and ensure that you have both a hat, and a weather-proof jacket handy if it begins to drizzle on your shoot. If shooting during the day, ensure that you have sunscreen.

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Memorial Arch
January 102013

Vehicular Access: Parking lot on the side of the highway.
Pedestrian Access: Easy pedestrian access from the car park to the arch.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. Wheelchair accessible and suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy.
Amount of time required at the site: Between 10 and 20 minutes.
Price of Admission: Free.
Access hours: 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
Notes of caution: Watch for entering and departing traffic in the car park.
Recommendations: This makes a great introduction image for a photo book or blog.

The Memorial Arch on Great Ocean Road

The Memorial Arch on Great Ocean Road

The Memorial Arch is a marker to announce to travelers that they have begun traveling down Great Ocean Road. It was built as a tribute to the soldiers from the First World War who were engaged in the construction of the Great Ocean Road. It a great photographic opportunity for travelers embarking on a trip making their way to Lorne.

On the side of the road, by the the arch, there also stands a sculpture commemorating the returned servicemen. It was commissioned and placed during the 75th anniversary of the road celebrations.

Best times to visit

This is a quick stop that most people make during the day all year round. While I have never tried it myself, there is low light pollution in the area, and I suspect will make an interesting subject when shot before sunrise in long exposure.

Prework

There is ample parking near the site, and easy pedestrian access. Comfortable walking shoes, sandals and running shoes are suitable to wear while visiting this location.

Gear Required

The most appropriate lenses to shoot this area with would have focal lengths in the 24mm to 135mm range. Most shots can be made hand-held without the aid of a tripod. (This does not apply to long exposure shots and time-lapse photography which requires one to keep their cameras steady). If you would like to blur out the many people who are likely to be here at the same time, consider using a neutral density filter.

The weather and temperature here constantly changes, but you will be close to your vehicle and ought to be able to take shelter fairly quickly..

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Split Point Lighthouse
January 12013

Vehicular Access: Sealed road to the parking lot. Disabled parking is available right next to the lighthouse.
Pedestrian Access: Sealed road to the lighthouse. Well maintained gravel paths around the lighthouse.
Fitness levels required: Suitable for any reasonably fit individual. May not be suitable for individuals with mobility restrictions.
Walk Difficulty:
 Easy.
Amount of time required at the site: Between 20 minutes to an hour, depending on whether you choose to tour the interior of the lighthouse or not.
Price of Admission: Access the lighthouse grounds is free. Lighthouse tours are available at the following prices: Adult $12.00; Concession $10.00; Child $7.00 (aged 5- 16 years); Family $35.00 (2 adults and 2 children. Additional children cost $7.00). Private tours for parties of 4 or more can be booked during the week.
Access hours: The lighthouse grounds are accessible and open 24 hours a day/7 days a week. The lighthouse is open 7 days a week from 10a.m. to 4p.m. between December 26th and the end of January school holidays, and from 11a.m. to 2p.m. for the rest of the year. Tours begin on the hour, are subject to weather conditions, and last about 45 minutes.
Official web site: http://splitpointlighthouse.com.au/
Notes of caution: There are strong winds in the area. When near the edge of the cliff by the lighthouse, stay within the safety barriers.
Recommendations: Consider visiting this lighthouse after sunset on a clear moonless night. The lack of light pollution makes this an excellent location to shoot astro-photographs.

Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet

Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet

Of the several places to stop along Great Ocean Road, one of the first is Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. The stop takes a mere 15 to 30 minutes to take in the one feature of the area that is of key interest – the lighthouse. On a good day, you might be lucky enough to catch a brief phase of perfect weather sandwiched between two bleak periods and lots of cloud activity to add drama to this serene location.

The lighthouse typically has lots of visitors during the early part of the day. However, after 5p.m., this area is almost deserted, and is a great spot to shoot at.

This is an unmanned lighthouse since 1919. Public access to this lighthouse was a very rate treat until 2005 when the lighthouse was opened for tours.

Best times to visit

Summers produce lots of clear skies around this part of the coast. Autumn through to early spring produces lots of weather systems around this area, creating amazing cloud patterns. The position of the lighthouse makes it such that it is best to shoot from the path leading towards Split Point. Both sunrise and sunset are the best times to shoot at this location. This is an area with low light pollution, and hence, provides a perfect location for long exposure astro-photographyafter dark.

Prework

There is ample parking around the lighthouse, and pedestrian access is easy. Comfortable walking shoes, sandals and running shoes are suitable to wear while visiting this location.

Gear Required

Your choice of lens would be a wide angle lens (focal length under 24mm). The area around the lighthouse is elevated from the coastline and is shield by the local vegetation. Hence, there isn’t much impact of sea spray here, but passing showers might give you a bit of grief. Carry a small towel and some microfiber cloth to keep your lenses clean. While tripods are not essential, and you would comfortably be able to shoot hand held, unless you are shooting with long exposures. This might be something you might want to do using a neutral density filter when shooting at peak activity.

The site has well marked out paths. A comfortable pair of walking shoes is recommended. Runners are also suitable. Sandals and open-toed shoes will also suffice, though I wouldn’t recommend wearing them in this region if you have visits to other places in the area.

Always dress in layers. The weather and temperature here constantly changes.

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