Day Two on the tour of the Great Ocean Road...up early, packed, ate breakfast and spent some time at Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Halls Gap. The visit to the cultural centre is the first I've had a chance to learn a little about the Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal people are said to have inhabited Australia dating back approximately 60,000 years. Their existence is and was truly off the land. They adapted and evolved around what the Australian land provided. Their story is one of injustice and sadness. In early days of colonial occupation, Aboriginal children were taken away from their parents "for their own good" and they had no claim to the land. We were able to watch a video on Aboriginal lore regarding creation and the evolution of man. No pictures were allowed to be taken in or of the Cultural Centre. In these "modern" times, they are second class citizens and it is almost as if the problem has gotten so out of hand that Australians would rather ignore than deal with the poverty, alcohol abuse and overall discrimination. In my humble view, the problem parallels that of South Africa and apartheid.
Another long day of driving. We finally made it to the ocean with several stops along the way. The Ocean Road highlights were:
- London Bridge - Now known as London Arch, however, prior to its collapse in 1990, it was know as the London Bridge due to the similarity to its namesake and it formed a complete double span natural bridge. Two tourist were stranded on the outer part of the Arc when the bridge collapsed and they had to be helicoptered off The Arc. The Arc/Former Bridge is a tourist attraction near Port Campbell National Park.
- Loch Ard Gorge - The gorge is named after the shipwreck of the clipper ship Loch Ard, which ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island on 1 June 1878 approaching the end of a three-month journey from England to Melbourne. Fifty-two people were killed, but two 18-year-old survivors were washed into the gorge and found shelter.
- The Twelve Apostles - The Twelve Apostles are giant rock stacks that rise from the Southern Ocean and are the central feature of the Port Campbell National Park. The Twelve Apostles have been created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland that began 10–20 million years ago. The Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs. The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 metres high were left isolated from the shore.